There's something about PR_
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THE PR:
INFLUENCE OF POSITIVE AND NORMATIVE MODELS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ON JOB
SATISFACTION AMONG BULGARIAN PRACTITIONERS
University of Florida
University of Florida
Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria
Please, address correspondence to:
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College of Journalism and Communications
University of Florida
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Paper submitted for presentation to the annual conference of the Association for
Education in Journalism and Mass Communication,
New Orleans, LA, August 4-6, 1999
Existing public relations theories have been constructed mostly through studies
in the United States. Fortunately, this has not stopped researchers in the field
from aiming the lens of scientific inquiry at other nations and cultures, in an
attempt to explain public relations practices there. In his seminal primer on
theory construction Reynolds (1971) argued that a hypothesis should be tested in
different societies as a means of proving if it is capable of bearing
generalization. In the case of public relations, since most of its theoretical
framework explores the relationship between public relations practices,
organizational structure and environment, there is multitude opportunities for
cross-cultural studies and comparisons of same hypothetical structures over and
For instance, studies have argued that public relations models in the United
States describe also the practices of international public relations (J. Grunig,
L. Grunig, Sriramesh, Huang & Lyra, 1995). But at the same time Sriramesh (1992)
contended that research on international public relations has often missed
something vital in the communication process - cultural consideration. Sriramesh
(1992) argued that the public relations models developed in the United States
need more cultural consideration before applying to other countries because
"public relations practice can be linked with a society's cultural
idiosyncrasies" (p. 252).
All of the existing public relations theories have neglected culture as an
environmental variable. But culture is a very important factor in view of
international public relations. In the comparative analysis of international
public relations, Coombs, Holladay, Hasenauer, and Signitzer (1994) also
insisted on the necessity of cultural consideration. From their comparison of
Austrian, Norwegian, and American public relations practitioners, they found
different viewpoints that suggest a mixed model of standardized and localized
Four Public Relations Models
Grunig (1976) conceptualized two kinds of public relations: synchronic
communication and diachronic communication. Later, Grunig and Hunt (1984)
elaborated on four models of public relations based on the historical
development of public relations. Present models are derived from the four
possible combinations of two dichotomous dimensions: direction of communication
(one-way vs. two-way) and balance of intended effect (asymmetrical vs.
symmetrical) (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1989). Direction of communication is
conceptually clear, and the balance of intended effect refers to the purpose of
the organization's communication (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1989).
Grunig's well-known four models are: press agentry/publicity (one-way
asymmetrical), public information (one-way symmetrical), two-way asymmetrical,
and two-way symmetrical. The public information model was corrected to an
asymmetrical model later because practitioners of the public information model
have the effect of manipulating publics even if that is not their intent (J.
Grunig, 1989). We should mention, that the typology of two dimensions for
explaining the models is considered ineffective now. J. Grunig and Hunt (1984)
expanded the characteristics of the four models of public relations by the
purpose of public relations, the nature of communication, diagrams of
communication models, research activities, and historical background.
Press agentry/publicity describes a propaganda function of public relations,
whose primary goal is to obtain media attention in almost any way possible (J.
Grunig & Hunt, 1984). In this model, communication is always one-way. There is
no feedback from the public. Often public relations practitioners disseminate
incomplete and incorrect information. This model does not use research for
public relations practices. This model can be called one-way asymmetrical.
Public information model has the purpose of dissemination of information. This
model characterizes public relations that performs a "journalist-in-residence"
role to provide generally accurate information about the organization (J. Grunig
& Hunt, 1984). But practices of this model do not volunteer negative information
to the public. This model corresponds to the so-called second stage of public
relations history and is one-way symmetrical.
Two-way asymmetrical model has one important distinction - according to this
model practitioners use research as a tool to persuade the public. But this
model is rather manipulative in that "public relations programs use research
(methods of scientific persuasion) to identify the messages most likely to
produce the support of publics without having to "change the behavior of the
organization" (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1989, p. 31).
Two-way symmetrical model has the ostensible purpose to foster mutual
understanding. The intended direction of communications is balanced both ways.
In this model, public relations practitioners conduct research for the mutual
benefit of organizations and the public. J. Grunig and L. Grunig (1989)
described this model:
Public relations departments use bargaining, negotiating, and
conflict-resolution strategies to bring symbiotic changes in the ideas,
attitudes, and behaviors of both the organization and its publics (p.
Many studies have shown that the two-way symmetrical model is more effective in
resolving conflict than the two-asymmetrical model, and is therefore the best
way of practicing public relations (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1989; Childers,
1989; Pearson, 1989; Olasky, 1989).
Craft and Professional Public Relations
J. Grunig and L. Grunig (1989) also defined the four models in terms of two
continua: one of craft, and one of professional public relations. Press agentry
and public information are called craft public relations, which means one-way
communication ranging from propaganda (press agentry) to journalism (public
information). Professional public relations is practices in two-way models,
which range from persuasion (two-way asymmetrical) to conflict management
(two-way symmetrical) (J. Grunig, L. Grunig, Sriramesh, Huang & Lyra, 1995).
Craft public relations means one-way models that practice publicity and
information dissemination. Professional public relations indicates two-way
models that manage public relations in a more sophisticated way and use research
for creating dialogue with publics.
American corporations are practicing mainly the two-way asymmetrical model even
though the two-way symmetrical model is the most effective model from a
normative perspective. The two-way asymmetrical model and two-way symmetrical
model are practiced in a mixed model. That is the reason J. Grunig divided the
four models into the craft model (one-way models) and professional model
The reason we can call the two-way asymmetrical model professional is that
persuasion in this model is not an ineffective method in public relations
practice (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1992). Persuasion represents the common
understanding of interest between the public and organizations. A criterion
validity test showed that both two-way models are not distinguishable (J. Grunig
& L. Grunig, 1989; Leichty & Springston, 1993).
The press agentry and the public information model can be called craft public
relations because these models are based on unilateral communication and showed
consistent correlation with criterion variables (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1989;
Leichty & Springston, 1993).
This reconceptualization means that the four models can be explained more
exactly with two continua of craft and professional public relations even though
the four models possess their own characteristics.
But J. Grunig and L. Grunig (1992) did not always agree that the two models of
craft public relations and professional public relations had enough explanatory
power. They thought that the mixed usage of models in one organization better
explains the correlation of each of the four models rather than a new division
of craft public relations and professional public relations. If many
organizations use more than one model and there is also some correlation between
models, the integration of models can be used for a more distinguishable
Public Relations Models in International Perspectives
Taking an international perspective, Huang (1990), Lyra (1991), Sriramesh
(1991), and Penteado (1996) applied the four models to Taiwan, Greece, India,
and Brazil, respectively.
Huang (1990) insisted that "social gathering nature," "drinking or eating
nature," or "tempting, enticing nature" can be other activities related to
public relations activities. This outcome is related closely with the personal
influence model, which focused on personal relationship with key individuals in
the media, government, or political and activist groups. J. Grunig, L. Grunig,
Sriramesh, Huang, and Lyra (1995) found all four models of public relations
previously identified in the United States are practiced outside the United
States. However, the two-way symmetrical model seems to be more of an ideal,
normative model in Taiwan, Greece, and India than it is in the United States.
J. Grunig (1984) developed a knowledge criterion for practicing public
relations models. Lyra (1991) tested the knowledge for practicing public
relations models with 81 public relations practitioners in Greece. Outcomes were
that Greek public relations practitioners had more knowledge of craft public
relations than professional public relations. Wetherell (1989) showed the strong
correlation between the four public relations models and practitioners'
knowledge. This means that public relations practitioners practicing each public
relations model had the requisite knowledge. But, public relations practitioners
who were practicing the craft public relations model did not show the knowledge
needed for the two-way models.
Besides the four models, Lyra (1991) developed a personal influence model and a
cultural translator model for public relations practitioners in Greece. Lyra
contended that management expected public relations practitioners to build up
the relationship with important people in the social and political arena in
Greece. The personal influence model is not related to theories of opinion
leaders in mass communications. This model focused on personal relationships
with key individuals in the media, government, or political and activist groups.
Sometimes, the ability to make contacts with important people can be the
standard for hiring public relations practitioners. In Bulgaria, personal
influence is an important factor for successful public relations (Karadjov,
1995; Borodinov, 1997). It is still not uncommon to give gifts to journalists,
and pay for using press releases in news stories (Damianova, 1999). Also, there
are many ex-journalists among public relations practitioners who maintain
personal contacts with their former colleagues, and keep on utilizing their
access to government officers gained while working for the media. But, as the
business environment is changing rapidly with democratization in
post-communist Bulgaria, the influence of personal contact is decreasing,
albeit slowly, and giving way to a more systematic, professional approach
(Borodinov, 1998). It is not illogical to expect that higher professional
standards will be preferred by those practitioners who view public relations as
a worthwhile occupation. That is why our objective is to evaluate positive
(existing) vs. normative (ideal) practices, and probe for their influence on job
satisfaction among the PR practitioners.
Job Satisfaction - Professionalism vs. Craftsmanship
Using a questionnaire originally developed for the measurement of journalists'
job satisfaction, McKee, Nayman, and Lattimore (1978) examined how public
relations practitioners see themselves as professionals. This survey indicated
that non-professional items have larger disparity (between the perception of
ideal job and present job) than professional items. This outcome provides
evidence that public relations practitioners are more satisfied with
professional jobs than craft ones, and are striving for professional
Wright (1978) determined that job satisfaction of public relations
practitioners is related directly to professionalism. He contended that
professionalism in public relations should be examined in terms of the
individual rather than the total practice.
This study was conducted in 1977, and compared the difference among public
relations practitioners by measuring their professional orientation. More than
300 practitioners participated in the survey. The outcome indicated that
professionals high in orientation were more satisfied than professionals whose
orientation was medium or low.
Selnow and Wilson (1985) examined the overall level of job satisfaction with
public relations work and six specific characteristics of public relations work
for males and females: travel time away from home, social relationships,
security of position, creative challenge, number of hours job requires, and
Outcomes showed that overall job satisfaction was very high. Travel time
away from home was judged to be the most satisfying job characteristic, and
salary the least satisfying. As for the creative challenge, women were more
disappointed when faced with mundane, daily tasks. In indicating job
satisfaction with public relations positions, the creative challenges of the job
were found by both sexes to be the most important contributing component.
Pratt (1986) examined job satisfaction among Nigerian public relations
practitioners defined as the perceived difference between what is expected from
the job as a reasonable return and what is experienced in reality. Pratt's
(1986) study indicated that most professional-related items showed significant
differences between ideal and current job attributes. In contrast,
non-professional items did not show any significant differences between the
actual and ideal job attributes. This outcome means fewer ideal, professional
values were activated in these practitioners' actual jobs than non-professional.
The practitioner's influence in organizational decisions from the professional
index explained a high portion (57%) of the total variance. As practitioners
have a strong voice in organizational decision making, they are more satisfied
with the job. This means the managerial-dominant role increased the
practitioners' job satisfaction because they can use more professional public
relations practices (Pratt, 1986).
Broom and Dozier (1986) investigated whether there is a significant
relationship between overall satisfaction and holding a management role. Their
study failed to draw sufficient evidence for such a relationship. Important
enough, changing from a technician role to a management role was shown to
elevate practitioners' job satisfaction.
Olson (1989) compared job satisfaction of journalists and public relations
personnel in the San Francisco Bay area. His results indicated that public
relations practitioners were more satisfied with both their job and profession
than journalists. Also journalists had comparatively low levels of autonomy,
although both groups showed a highly significant positive correlation between
job satisfaction and autonomy. He concluded that the level of autonomy is an
important indicator of job satisfaction.
Rentner and Bissland (1990) utilized the Quality of Employment Survey (QES)
conducted in 1977 by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.
They surveyed 649 public relations specialists from 46 states and the District
of Columbia about overall satisfaction and each facet of satisfaction: job
comfort, challenge and variety, autonomy, financial rewards, task significance,
support, and promotions. The most important demographic variable was job role.
Practitioners who think of themselves as managers are prone to be more satisfied
with their jobs than technicians, thus corroborating Pratt's (1986) findings.
Two theories, equity and discrepancy, which compared the actual outcome with,
respectively, the ideal and input outcome, were used to measure job satisfaction
among practitioners in the United States (Shin, 1989). Shin, again, found that
public relations managers are more satisfied with their jobs than public
relations technicians. And practitioners in corporations were less satisfied
with their jobs than were practitioners in agencies.
Overall, the job satisfaction of public relations practitioners has been a
limited research. The relationship between the level of public relations
practices and job satisfaction has not been investigated because most of the
questionnaires used for examining public relations practitioners have been
borrowed from the measurements of journalists - and in journalism theory there
are no "four models", or something similar. This study uses a self-administered
questionnaire that tests exactly which public relations model pertains to
varying degrees of job satisfaction among practitioners.
Public Relations in Bulgaria
"No matter what public relations strategies your organization uses, in the end
it still has to hand $50-100 to each journalist to get the sponsor's name in the
newspaper." This is how one of the authors of the present study describes his
experience with practicing "scientific" public relations in post-communist
This may be an overly grim picture of corruption among journalists and
PR-practitioners alike, but it's inference is clear - the practice of public
relations in Bulgaria is still in its infancy (Karadjov, 1995). Borodinov (1998)
contends that public relations was a practically meaningless term to the social
scientists, and practitioners (journalists) in Bulgaria until the early 1990s.
Public relations was considered one of those "awkward English terms that defied
exact translation, and sounded funny and foreign" (Karadjov, 1995, p. 8). And no
wonder, until 1989-1990 there was no obvious need, and to say a little, no
freedom at all to practice public relations - the dominance of the Communist
party ideology and propaganda was absolute and unchallenged (Karadjov, 1995).
Yet since then the progress has been truly amazing. Karadjov (1995) and
Borodinov (1998) are among many researchers who followed the evolution of public
relations into a full-fledged profession with a separate curriculum in
Bulgaria's journalism schools. There are two specialized magazines devoted to PR
problems, and a the corpus of practitioners and researchers is growing, albeit
the process of professionalizing public relations is very far from completed
Space limitations do not permit us to discuss all the peculiarities in the
development of Bulgarian public relations, but it will suffice to mention just a
few. First, the profession is not well-separated from advertising and marketing.
As Damianova (1999) attested, public relations is still largely identified by
managers as "advertising by other means." Or, a professionals in a PR
agency/department would be considered clonings of a single spokesperson.
Second, public relations, as they are, are still mostly of concern to large
private companies, or to government bureaucracy. Very often they do not rely on
local practitioners. When United Bulgarian Bank, for instance, launched a public
relations campaign, it relied on focus-group research done by Bulgarian-British
Social Surveys Gallup International, and hired Saatachi&Saatchi to carry on the
campaign. Smaller organizations who cannot afford such expenses, do not pay much
attention to systematic public relations, and replace them with rudimentary
press agentry, often based on leaks and personal favors to journalists, or
sales-promotion type of relations with the press (Karadjov, 1995). Since
structures of civic society are "under construction" (Krastev, 1999), and do not
seem influential enough to support a full-scale dialog between different social
groups, interests and publics (Krastev, 1999; also Borodinov, 1998), there is
still not much impetus for developing professional public relations outside
companies and institutions. As Borodinov (1998) puts it: "_there has been little
need for public relations in a society deprived for a half century of real
However, this is changing and the present study has the task to catch at least
one of the aspects of the change - inevitable professionalization of public
relations in Bulgaria (Borodinov, 1998). Specifically, we were interested in
aspirations of practitioners and discrepancies between their ideal, textbook
view of public relations and their job reality.
The bottom line - public relations is a young and aspiring genre in Bulgarian
communication industry, but it yet has to become its darling.
Research Hypotheses and Research Question
This research proposes the following research hypotheses, based on hypotheses
proposed and tested by Kim (1996) in Korea:
H1: Public relations practitioners will practice craft public relations
models (press agentry/ public information) in Bulgaria, more than
professional public relations models (two-way asymmetrical/ two-way
H2: Professional public relations models will be the normative model
for public relations practitioners.
Job satisfaction is one of the variables that is linked to the public
models. Many researchers have shown that job satisfaction among public
relations practitioners is positively related to professional public relations.
the relationship between the public relations models and job satisfaction is
important to detect reasonable public relations models for Bulgarian
To test this relationship, the following research hypotheses were developed:
H3: Practitioners practicing the high professionally oriented models
will be more satisfied with their job than practitioners practicing
the low professionally oriented models.
H4: Practitioners desiring low professionally oriented models will be
more satisfied with their job than practitioners desiring the high
professionally oriented models.
H5: The difference between the positive model and the normative model
of public relations will be negatively related to job satisfaction.
There is no definitive research related to job satisfaction by type of
organization such as the comparison of job satisfaction between public
relations practitioners in corporations and in public relations companies. But
public relations companies are accepting advanced public relations more rapidly
than in-house public relations departments and have more chances to execute
their knowledge to foreign companies in Bulgaria. There is a big difference
between the two organizations.
Some research also has indicated that the roles of female practitioners were
related to excellent public relations (Wetherell, 1989; Childers, L. Grunig, &
Dozier, 1992). Recently, public relations is one of the most sought after jobs
for women in Korea. Women definitely have participated in the development of
public relations. Also young people are a new force to reshape public relations
in Korea. They feel differently about their job compared to the established
To explore all these variables, the following additional research question was
Research question: How do other variables such as organization, sex,
age, and experience affect the relationship between public relations
models and job satisfaction among Bulgarian public relations
We had the best intention to acquire a random sample of public relations
practitioners. However, lack of professional registry barred scientific sampling
and we had to put up with a convenience sample with elements of randomization.
A total of 102 questionnaires were completed. Of those, more than half (n=59)
were completed at the 1998 annual meeting of the Bulgarian Public Relations
Society (BPRS). However, since BPRS is not an all-inclusive professional
organization, additional questionnaires were mailed or given personally to
companies and organizations throughout Bulgaria and addressed to known PR
practitioners, whose names were listed in various directories, including
American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria. Ten questionnaires were completed at
the 1999 annual conference of Association of Advertising Agencies in Bulgaria,
and eight were handed to a class of PR students.
Overall, our most conservative estimate is that the 102 surveyed practitioners
are well over 1/2 of all those in Bulgaria who count public relations as their
professional occupation. As for students in the sample, they are required to
take internships with PR agencies or departments. More importantly, an
overwhelming majority of them work there full or part time even during the
semester, since economic hardships of their parents have left the financial
support of most students to their own initiative.
Of the surveyed practitioners, 70 (68.6%) were female, and 32 (31.4) were male.
Seventy-three (71.6%) reported a completed college degree, which in Bulgaria
means at least master's, since until very recently universities offered only a
5-year course resulting in thesis without the option to terminate it before that
(that is, opt for a bachelor's degree). Twenty-four (23.5%) were students, and
six described themselves as advertising managers or experts "doing public
A great majority, 75 (74.3%) reported that their experience in public relations
is two years or less, including 28 (27.7%) whose experience was less than a
year, and this was the modal score. On the other side, one respondent had 23 (!)
of experience in public relations. Because questionnaires were anonymous there
was no way of checking that claim, but we can speculate it was someone who
served as press liaison for a government organization.
Finally, average age of the sample was little over 29 years, with a mode at 22
(12 respondents), and range between 20 and 48 years old.
The instrument in this study was adopted from Kim (1996), and includes
three sets of items: positive public relations models (Table 1), normative
public relations models (Table 2), and job satisfaction items (Table 3). A total
of eight positive and normative public relations models were measured on four
items each. They were grouped in two sections of 16 questions.
Job satisfaction was in a separate section with six items measuring it.
All items were measured on a five-point scale from 1-strongly disagree to
5-strongly agree, with 3 as a neutral point.
Last portion of the questionnaire included a set of demographic questions and
an overall job satisfaction 5-point scale from "1 - very low" to "5 - very
A note here - the questionnaire was administered in Bulgarian, translated by
the first author of this paper, and then reverse-translated by two independent
Bulgarian and English-speaking persons to achieve maximum veracity to the
In addition to this four-model two-perceptions questionnaire, we created four
additional composite indices. These were measuring integral models of
professional vs. craft public relations in both positive and normative setting.
Professional PR index was composed of mean scores on two-way symmetrical and
asymmetrical models, and craft was combining press agentry and public
information model scores. These indices were calculated separately for normative
and positive perceptions. Thus professional and craft public relations could be
compared in the real world of practitioners and in their ideal job environment.
As a positive model (Table 1), the press agentry/publicity model (M = 3.71, SD
= .65), and the two-way asymmetrical model (M = 3.51, SD = 1.15), show higher
means than the public information model (M = 3.16, SD = 1.00) and the two-way
symmetrical model (M = 3.25, SD = 1.08). The third item in the press agentry
model indicated a comparatively high score (M = 4.28, SD = 1.08). This outcome
suggests that most Bulgarian practitioners are trying to manipulate the
dissemination of true information as a major public relations strategy.
A look at public information items reveals high score on the second item (M =
2.73, SD = 1.57) which is about disseminating accurate information, but not
volunteering unfavorable facts about your organization. This supports an earlier
observation that Bulgarian PR practitioners see their relations with journalists
as a game of hide and seek (Karadjov, 1995).
Table 1 approximately here
The two-way asymmetrical model shows a higher average score than the
symmetrical model which comes to say that practitioners see their job as a
predominantly leading to one-way effect. The fourth item in two-way asymmetrical
shows a comparatively high score (M = 4.16, SD = 1.11). Even though Bulgarian
practitioners are not conducting research to determine public attitudes, they
usually think that they are practicing public relations for the sake of
persuading publics. But there is a fluff of altruism (and inconsistency) in the
two-way symmetrical model, where the fourth item shows a high score (M = 3.80,
SD = 1.26), suggesting the practitioners' belief that organization's management
and its publics can share the harmony of mutual understanding (perhaps, the only
requirement for this is to persuade the publics to do so).
In the normative dimension (Table 2), the two-way asymmetrical model (M =
4.54, SD = .48) and the two-way symmetrical model (M = 4.41, SD = .60) show
considerably higher means than the press agentry model (M = 2.97, SD = .72) and
the public information model (M = 2.62, SD = .71). The two-way asymmetrical and
the two-way symmetrical model show very high scores across the board, and the
press agentry/publicity model shows higher scores than the public information
Even though Bulgarian practitioners think public relations and publicity should
be essentially different (M = 1.88, SD = 1.21), they consider media relations
very important to the practice of public relations - item three (M = 3.99, SD =
1.19). Yet again, even in the normative, ideal representation of the profession
in its public information model, there is a predominant opinion that unfavorable
information need not be volunteered (M = 3.71, SD = 1.32).
Table 2 approximately here
Finally, the fact that two-way asymmetrical and two-way symmetrical model
indicate consistently high scores in all items shows that even though Bulgarian
practitioners stick to media relations as an essential tool in their practice,
they desire to utilize two-way models.
For the model items, this study used indices already established by other
studies. The model indices already had strong agreements among many researchers
and were tested by criterion-related validity (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1989).
In the reliability test of the model indices, integrated positive public
relations models (professional and craft) yielded good results (Cronbach's alpha
= .85 for professional, and .60 for craft model). Unfortunately, in the
normative integrated models Cronbach's alpha came down to as low as .43 for the
craft normative model. We acknowledge this as a relative weakness of the study.
One possible explanation is the novelty of public relations education in
Bulgaria, which leaves many practitioners self-educated and with vague ideas how
their profession looks in the West, and what should be its ideal state.
As for the third section of the questionnaire (Table 3), removal of the first
item in the job satisfaction index - excessive amount of work - increased the
combined reliability of the other items from Cronbach's alpha = .67 to .75. This
suggests that amount of work is not an important consideration for the overall
job satisfaction of Bulgarian public relations practitioners.
Table 3 approximately here
Hypothesis testing includes two groups: Hypothesis One and Two for the
application of public relations models, Hypothesis Three through Five for the
relationship between public relations models and job satisfaction. After these
hypotheses tests, one research question investigates the relationship among
other variables and public relations models and job satisfaction.
As the previous descriptive statistics indicated, there was a difference in
means between models. Hypothesis one and two tested the integrated craft vs.
professional models consecutively in positive and normative perceptions.
Hypothesis One was not supported by the data - t (101) = .373, p = .710.
Craft public relations models did differ significantly from professional public
relations model in the real practice of Bulgarian public relations. This means
that in Bulgaria there is no dominance of craft public relations model (press
agentry/ public information) over professional public relations models (two-way
asymmetrical/ two-way symmetrical), or vice versa. This is a somewhat surprising
and counterintellectual result. We would speculate that surveyed practitioners
somewhat embellished their daily routine, and made it more socially desirable.
Support for this speculation we find in the next hypothesis' testing.
For Hypothesis Two, t-test for difference between a craft and a professional
models in the normative, idealistic perception yielded significant results - t
(99) = -25.116, p = .000. Integrated professional public relations model (M =
4.47, SD = .42) scored higher than craft public relations models (M = 2.80, SD =
.58). This means that Bulgarian public relations practitioners are aspiring to
professional public relations (two-way asymmetrical/two-way symmetrical), rather
than craft public relations models (press agentry/public information). Since
this aspiration is at obvious odds with reality, we may hope that it will become
true one day.
From the outcomes of Hypotheses One and Two, we may conclude that Bulgarian
public relations practitioners desire professional models even though they
practice both craft and professional models (and we suspect they tend to
practice more the craft model).
To investigate the relationship between public relations models and job
satisfaction, we tested Hypothesis Three and Four. But before that, respondents
were grouped according to their scores (indices) on professional orientation
into a high and a low category, depending on their preference either for
professional or craft models, respectively. Cutpoint for the positive,
real-world setting was 0 (median score), and for normative, ideal setting
cutpoint was set higher at 1.6875 (median score).
So we conducted a t-test for the difference between low professionally oriented
practitioners and high professionally oriented practitioners on their practical
job satisfaction, measured on five items in Part Three of the questionnaire. The
result of the t-test supported Hypothesis Three t = -2.861, p = .005. Hypothesis
Four was suggesting difference in job satisfaction on the basis of aspirations
to practice lower or higher professionally oriented model. Data did not give
evidence of such disparity - t (98) = .789, p = .432, no significant results at
least with this sample.
In short, those who are practicing higher professionally oriented public
relations models (M = 4.09, SD = .63) are more satisfied with their jobs than
those who are stuck with lower professionally oriented public relations models
(M = 3.69, SD = .78). For the ideal case - how practitioners aspire to perform -
question of job satisfaction was obviously irrelevant, since work-related topics
seem to be deeply grounded in reality.
In spite of this limitation, there is no significant difference in job
satisfaction between practitioners desiring the low professionally oriented
public relations and practitioners desiring the high professionally oriented
Hypothesis Five that suggested correlation between the differences in positive
and normative models and job satisfaction was rejected, too, with insignificant
regression coefficients. The 2-way ANOVA model was marginally significant at p=
.07 with predictors differences on professional and on craft public relations,
and dependent variable job satisfaction. Because of lack of significant
findings, we will not elaborate on the intricacies in the construction of
There were also no significant differences in job satisfaction by gender, age,
experience or type of organization. The lack of effect by gender is especially
interesting in comparison with a Korean study (Kim, 1996) which also did not
find gender to be of significance for job satisfaction. Not only this is a
cross-cultural corroboration of findings, but Bulgarian and Korean samples have
almost reverse gender structure - in Bulgarian case, about 2/3 of the studied
practitioners - and ostensibly, of all practitioners - were female, while in
Korea the composition of sample was 2/3 male.
As for type of organization, we included it mostly for comparative purposes in
later studies. So far, Bulgarian public relations is not well-structured as a
professional field with distinctive organizational differences. Some companies
combine their PR and advertising departments, some add marketing specialists,
and some use outside consultants. It was too early to expect findings here, and
we did not have any.
Discussion and Implications of Findings
Bulgarian practitioners are relying on both press agentry/publicity and the
two- way asymmetrical model. But ideally they aspire to practice only the
two-way asymmetrical model and the two-way symmetrical model. Bulgarian public
relations practitioners seem to be trying to manipulate the dissemination of
information, and its influence on publics. They attempt to get favorable
publicity into the media, and to keep unfavorable publicity out. Disseminating
true information seems difficult to Bulgarian practitioners. The public
information and two-way symmetrical models show relatively low scores. And in
the two-way asymmetrical and symmetrical models, items related to conducting
surveys and research show low scores, too. Even though Bulgarian practitioners
think they are practicing at least one of the two-way models (asymmetrical),
they are not using the actual skills and strategy that are implied in it.
As a normative model, press agentry/publicity shows a somewhat higher score
than the public information model. Public relations in Bulgaria is deeply
related to media relations, and Bulgarian practitioners consider publicity an
important part of public relations even though two-way models are the ideal.
This belief can limit the development of public relations in Bulgaria. This
outcome also is related to ethical standards of Bulgarian public relations
practitioners. In an ideal perception, Bulgarian practitioners make deals with
the press to keep unfavorable publicity out. A more serious problem is that they
consider those activities legitimate public relations strategies.
Hypothesis Two indicated that Bulgarian public relations practitioners are
aspiring to the professional public relations models even though they are
practicing, or at least reporting, a mixture of professional and craft public
relations. Differences in means between normative models are much bigger than
those for positive models. This suggests that Bulgarian public relations
practitioners definitely are desiring professional public relations models in
spite of the actual difficulties such as publicity-oriented demands of fledgling
domestic businesses (i. e., Borodinov, 1998). For the development of public
relations in Bulgaria, professional public relations models should be the actual
public relations models.
Hypothesis Three showed that practitioners who practice high professionally
oriented public relations models are more satisfied with their job than
practitioners practicing low professionally oriented public relations models.
The more practitioners practice professional public relations models, the more
they are satisfied with their job. This research detected again the necessity of
professional public relations for the development of public relations in
Bulgaria. But lack of support for Hypothesis Four indicates that ideal public
relations models cannot be a reliable indicator of job satisfaction, at least in
Hypotheses Three and Four indicated how professional orientation is related to
job satisfaction. But these hypotheses did not clarify the relationship between
the difference of a positive and a normative model and job satisfaction.
Hypothesis Five treated that situation, and to no avail. There was no influence
of differences between actual and desired practice of public relations on job
satisfaction. We explain this with higher job mobility and lack of established
professionalism in the field.
There are some implications of this findings. Because Bulgarian public
relations practices focus on media relations, Bulgarian practitioners are not
familiar with professional public relations strategy and skills even though they
desire professional public relations. Bulgarian practitioners should adjust the
confusion over media relations and discard the overemphasis on contacts with the
press which is a limitation to the development of their professional skills.
There are also ethical implications for Bulgarian practitioners. Bulgarian
practitioners may be misunderstanding professional public relations. They need
to realize that public relations cannot develop professionally by practicing
models devoted to influence over the publics. Bulgarian practitioners need a
supervisory organization that can lead public relations to a strong ethical
standard. This organization could develop a "Code for professional standards for
the practice of public relations" such as that written by the Public Relations
Society of America. Also, education related to public relations professionalism
has to be considered.
And finally, professional public relations has to be the actual model for
development of public relations in Bulgaria. Job satisfaction of public
relations practitioners originated from what they are doing, not from what they
are thinking they should do. The gap between positive and normative models
indicated the strong relationship between professional models and job
satisfaction. Professional orientation also was a decisive factor related to job
satisfaction. For the development of public relations in Bulgaria, more
professional public relations should be practiced and advanced professional
strategies and skills should be elaborated. Bulgarian PR needs strong efforts to
close the gap between actual and ideal models.
Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research
Females and students are overrepresented in the studied sample. Women are a
majority in the journalism profession, too, but we are not aware of systematic
explanations why this is happening. Public relations as a professional
occupation is yet gaining in popularity, so number of practitioners is still
very small. In the coming years we can expect significant increase and maybe
significant change in their practices.
Although this study used a convenience sample of Bulgarian public relations
practitioners, it surveyed well over half of them. But still, there is little
basis for generalization of the outcomes to other public relations practitioners
in Bulgaria, mostly because the profession is still very unstable with people
coming in and out constantly (Borodinov, 1998). Without an all inclusive public
relations association such as PRSA, it was impossible to conduct a random sample
survey. Such a survey could be an area for future research.
By adopting the two models of craft and professional public relations, the
problems of indistinction between the two-way asymmetrical and two-way
symmetrical model was solved in this study. Still, those models did not
accommodate the new public relations trends and different public relations
practices in Bulgaria.
As a next step, the availability of a positive and a normative model for the
method of examining public relations in developing countries has to be verified.
Also, only the relationship between public relations models and job satisfaction
was investigated in this study. In a next study, other factors such as public
relations roles, professionalism, management decision making, and cultural
issues have to be investigated.
Even though Grunig's models were applied to the Bulgarian situation
successfully, inconsistent things also were detected in this study. The
press-agentry model showed a comparatively high score as an ideal model. One
item in the public information model showed the least score in the whole
positive model. This means that the dissemination of true information is the
most difficult task in Bulgarian public relations. Bulgarian practitioners also
think that they are practicing two-way models even though their actual practices
are far behind.
Those inconsistencies cannot be explained by this research.
Specific public relations practices in Bulgaria discussed in the literature
review - specifically, personal influence model - were not considered in this
study. As an exploratory study of public relations models, our research was
confined in the application of existing theories and focused on investigating
the status of public relations in Bulgaria. As a next step, Bulgarian public
relations models should be developed that can explain the specific practices and
guide the development of public relations in the country.
 Once a loyal member of the Soviet block, Bulgaria acquired multi-party
system, democratic institutions including free press, and began its transition
to market economy in the wake of "velvet revolution" that swept through Central
and Eastern Europe at the end of 1989.
 Lyudmil Karavasilev
 Diana Damianova is the president of one of the first PR agencies in
Bulgaria, D&D Agency.
 Kim's (1996) study is the closest predecessor of this research, and in many
respects this study replicates the method and questions addressed for Korean PR
There's something about the job_
Means and Standard Deviations for Positive Public Relations Models
Press agentry/publicity model
1. In our public relations, public relations and publicity 3.25
mean essentially the same thing.
2. The purpose of public relations in our company 3.78
is to get publicity for an organization.
3. In public relations, we mostly attempt to get 4.28
favorable publicity into the media and to keep
unfavorable publicity out.
4. We determine how successful a program is from 3.52
the number of people who attend an event or use
our products and services.
Public information model
1. In our company, public relations is more of a neutral 2.86
disseminator of information than an advocate for the
organization or a mediator between management
2. In public relations, we disseminate accurate
information but do not volunteer unfavorable
3. Keeping a news clipping file is about the only way 3.08
we have to determine the success of a program.
4. In our public relations, nearly everyone is so busy 2.73
writing news stories or producing publications that
there is no time to do research.
Table 1 (continued).
Two-way asymmetrical model
1. Before starting a public relations program, we look at 3.24
attitude surveys to make sure we describe the
organization in ways our publics would be most likely
2. Before beginning a program, we do research to 3.37
determine public attitudes toward the organization
and how they might change.
3. After completing a public relations program, we do 3.28
research to determine how effective the program
has been in changing people's attitudes.
4. In public relations, our broad goal is to persuade
publics to behave as the organization wants them
Two-way symmetrical model
1. In our company public relations provides mediation 3.09
for the organization, to help management
and publics negotiate conflicts.
2. The purpose of public relations in our company is 3.06
to change the attitudes and behavior of management
as much as it is to change the attitudes and behavior
3. Before starting a program, we do surveys or informal 3.04
research to find out how much management and
our publics understand each other.
4. The purpose of public relations in our company is 3.80
to develop mutual understanding between
the management of the organization and publics
the organization affects.
Means and Standard Deviations for Normative Public Relations Models
1. Public relations and publicity should mean 1.88
essentially the same thing for PR practitioners.
2. The purpose of public relations should be to get 2.68
publicity for an organization.
3. In public relations, PR practitioners should attempt 3.99
to get favorable publicity into the media and to keep
unfavorable publicity out.
4. The success of a public relations program should be 3.33
determined from the number of people who attend
an event or who use products and services.
Public information model
1. Public relations should be more of a neutral 2.17
disseminator of information than an advocate
for the organization or a mediator between
management and our publics.
2. In public relations, accurate information should 3.71
be disseminated but unfavorable information
need not be volunteered.
3. The success of a public relations program should 2.91
be determined from a news clipping file of items
which PR practitioners disseminated.
4. In public relations, public relations practitioners
should be busy in writing news stories or producing
publications. There is no time to do research.
Table 2 (continued).
Two-way asymmetrical model
1. Before starting a public relations program public 4.72
relations practitioners should look at attitude surveys
to make sure the program describes the organization
in ways our publics would be most likely to accept.
2. Before beginning a program, public relations 4.74
practitioners should do research to determine
public attitudes toward the organization and
how they might change.
3. After completing a public relations program,
practitioners should do research to determine how
effective the program has been in changing people's
4. The broad goal of public relations should be to 3.84
persuade publics to behave as the organization
wants them to behave.
Two-way symmetrical model
1. Public relations should provide mediation for the 4.38
organization, to help management and publics
2. The purpose of public relations should be to change 4.27
the attitudes and behavior of management as much
as it is to change the attitudes and behavior of publics.
3. Before starting a program, public relations
practitioners should do surveys or informal research
to find out how much management and the publics
understand each other.
4. The purpose of public relations should be
to develop mutual understanding between
the management of the organization and the
publics the organization affects.
Means and Standard Deviations for Job Satisfaction Items
Job satisfaction (all six items)
1. I am not asked to do excessive amounts of work. 3.48
2. My present job provides me with experiences which 4.45 .98
are generally meaningful and worthwhile.
3. My present job requires that I keep learning new things 4.38 .96
and I do not do the same things over and over again.
4. I have a lot to say about what happens on my job and 4.00
have the freedom to decide what to do on my job.
5. My communication with co-workers and my immediate 3.99 1.15
supervisor or subordinate is good and I have enough
information and help to get the job done.
6. I have achieved or am achieving my overall or 3.01 1.37
long-term goal in public relations practice.
There's something about the job_
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