The state of the public relations profession in the UK: A review of the first decade of the twenty-first century

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a status report on the development of the public relations profession in the UK in the first decade of the twentyfirst century. This is the most comprehensive review to date and its aim is to provide a definitive overview of developments and trends in the UK and the issues it faces. Design/methodology/approach – A review of three major surveys of the public relations profession taken at three points in the first decade of the twentyfirst century, along with six other reference reports, supplemented by appropriate literature. Findings – The report provides a perspective on the profession as a whole, the work and demographics of professionals and CEO views on the profession and the issues and opportunities facing it. Research limitations/implications – The main three research studies are based mainly on membership of the professional body in the UK and therefore could have a potential bias. The four research studies which includes CEO interviews have limited numbers of participants and two studies are based on National Health Service CEOs only so the results may not be entirely representative. Practical implications – The uses of this study are fourfold: first, the UK public relations profession is second in size to the USA and worth investigating in its own right. Second, the study will allow comparison with other benchmark investigations in other countries. Third, the study will identify the state, issues, trends and challenges of the profession in the UK and help those studying the practice into setting a research agenda which will help the profession practically and generate opportunities for theory building and testing. Fourth, it will inform curriculum content for those designing study programmes in public relations and corporate communication. Originality/value – The findings presented here provide the most comprehensive study of the UK profession's development over the first decade of the twentyfirst century to date.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalCorporate Communications: An International Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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