Structure of the public relations/communication department: Key findings from a global study
AffiliationUniversity of Chester; University of Ottawa; Purdue University; University of Sao Paulo
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AbstractThis paper reports on some of the core findings from a program of research focused on the structure of public relations/communication departments. It draws on a recent major global study that was sponsored by the former Research Foundation of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). Analyzing the results from interviews with 26 Chief Communication Officers (CCOs) located in each of the five continents and from a survey sample of some 278 CCOs based in organizations headquartered across the globe, the study found quite notable variations in the type of departmental structures. No one dominant structural model emerged. In effect, each organization appeared to adopt a structural design to suit their individual circumstances, although there were nevertheless some reasonably common component functional elements within each department. CCOs identified those variables that they believed most influenced the design of the public relations department structure. While recognizing department structure is situation dependent, the evidence suggests that CCOs create hybrid structures unique to the circumstances. What was perhaps most surprising was that department structure did not appear to be strongly influenced by department size, other than in terms of the vertical structural design. In short, there do not appear to be any common formulas or prescribed solutions for how organizations should or do orchestrate the design of the public relations department structure, rather CCOs appear to be able to exercise a degree of latitude in determining what works best for them.
CitationMoss, D., Fraser, F., Sriramesh, K., & Ferrari, M. A. (2017). Structure of the public relations/communication department: Key findings from a global study. Public Relations Review, 43(1), 80-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2016.10.019
JournalPublic Relations Review
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