The Importance of the Four Models of Public Relations

James E. Grunig, public relations expert and guru, has over 20 years of experience in the field of public relations. The early days of public relations knew no theories knew no theories, thus little to no thought was put into communication plans, tactics, strategies, or programs. With no theoretical foundation, public relations in many cases did more harm that good because legal ramifications, such as libel and fraud, were not considered. This oversight and bad judgment had dire consequences (i.e.profit loss and a tarnished organizational image) that had to be alleviated and avoided in order to insure public relations' survival.

Grunig's research has added many new theories to the body of knowledge that already exists. These theories have helped to improve the field of public relations in many ways. Public relations practitioners are better able to serve the organizational and public interest by using the best model or models listed below.


Grunig's Four models of Public Relations

Model Name Type of Communication Model Characteristics
Press agentry/publicity model One-way communication Uses persuasion and manipulation to influence audience to behave as the organization desires
Public Information model One-way communication Uses press releases and other one-way communication techniques to distribute organizational information. Public relations practitioner is often referred to as the "journalist in residence.
One-way asymmetrical model One-way communication Uses persuasion and manipulation to influence audience to behave as the organization desires. Does not use research to find out how it public(s> feel about the organization.
Two-way symmetrical model Two-way communication Uses communication to negotiate with publics,resolve conflict, and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its public(s).