The purpose of this paper is to introduce a historical development of public relations from its early days until 1970. The study aims to show that in the early stages of development public relations was closely linked with public opinion research.
A historical content analysis is used to establish a “story of identity” through a review of selected articles from Public Opinion Quarterly from 1937 to 1970.
A clear finding is that public relations was once an integral part of public opinion science but later changed its focus to the management field, interested in reaching different publics. From the very beginning public relations was a subject of academic interest.
This paper has a few limitations; one that stands out is that selected articles were analysed from only one journal, which does not offer the recent material (after 1970 and especially from the 1990s). At the end, the paper raises some questions, which should aid the discussion about the identity crisis of public relations discipline (and managerial function) in the postmodern era.
The paper attempts to cover the gap in an interactive relationship between two disciplines: communication studies and public relations. It contributes to the knowledge of historical development of public relations as an academic discipline.
Podnar, K. and Golob, U. (2009), "Reconstruction of public relations history through publications in
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