Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dennis F Kinsey, Professor
Sung-Un Yang, Professor
Citizenship and Public Affairs
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration
During my six month study abroad expericence in Hong Kong, I became fascinated by the duality of China mainland and its “Special Administrative Region”, (Hong Kong) from a public relations perspective. With its one government, two system approach to politics, I sought to understand how the practice of public relations evolved in these two regions. Through literary analysis, personal interviews with public relations practitioners and personal observations during an internship in Hong Kong, I explore the development of the public relations practice in China and Hong Kong through first a western lens, and then through a global perspective.
My first analysis utilizes a western lens of comparison, using public relations models set forth by the alleged forefathers of public relations, James Grunig and James Hunt. I begin this section by defining the four models of public relations evolution as described by Gruing and Hunt. I then explore how public relations in China mainland has progressed through these four models and where it stands now. Similarly, I look at the history of public relations in Hong Kong, also relating to the four western models of the practice. Yet due to Hong Kong’s much younger history, I include both personal observations and interviews with current public relations practitioners as well.
Through case studies and other literary analysis I draw the conclusion that both Hong Kong and China have not quite achieved the most evolved or mature level of public relations practice, due to the lack of two-way, symmetrical communication in several key incidents. I then suggest that perhaps this western lens limits a thorough analysis of the public relations in a country that may not adhere to the same cultural, political, and economic contextual factors.
In my second perspective of public relations, I analyze the dangers of an ethnocentric approach, or the assumption that all practitioners around the globe should practice a western model of public relations. My analysis calls upon public relations scholars who suggest a more global approach and the main factors that influence its use. I conclude that measuring the evolution of public relations through a western standard does not always accurately capture the practice and meaning of its use in other cultures. It is the global exchange and observation of public relations practiced differently around the world that will continue to develop towards a best practice for each country or culture.
Engel, Jessica, "The History of Public Relations in China: A Western Comparison and Beyond" (2012). Honors Capstone Projects - All. 176.
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