This article argues that organization–public relationships (OPR) generate challenges for PR as both a practical and theoretical discipline. The investigation is set against the backdrop of the growing pre-occupation with OPR in research and practice. The study highlights disconnections between how the field represents itself in an OPR context and the existence of particular attitudes and practices in each of these areas. It uses the Orwellian concept of doublethink as a conceptual device to tease out these tensions. These contradictions are framed as public relations doublethink and presented as critical propositions designed to illustrate the gaps that can exist between representation and reality. The article also debates the implications of these examples for the practical and theoretical development of public relations using research that considers how organizations listen to stakeholders on-line. It seeks to stimulate further debate through a new conceptualization of social media listening, as well as a set of inter-disciplinary insights concerned with the study of complex phenomenon.
- Department of Management - Professor of Corporate Communication
- Huddersfield Business School
- Centre for Sustainability, Responsibility, Governance and Ethics - Director