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An inquiry into the transformation of the PR roles’ concept

Christian Fieseler (Department of Communication, Culture and Languages, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway.)
Christoph Lutz (Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.)
Miriam Meckel (Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




Recent years have seen resurgent interest in professionalism in public relations, with several initiatives to enquire about the state of the communication profession and its part in organizational strategy. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the findings of a quantitative investigation into the work roles of European communication professionals. In particular, the research investigates different professional roles, as developed in previous roles research, while taking a particular look at managerial role enactment.


The authors report the findings of an explorative study among 551 European communication professionals. The measures are used in this study are closely aligned with previous roles research, but modernized. The authors analyzed the data with factor analysis and structural equation modeling.


The authors unfold four distinct contemporary managerial tasks (“diagnosis,” “coaching,” “liaison,” and “execution”), extending previous research rooted in distinguishing these managerial tasks from more technical ones. As a result the authors show that managerial role enactment is predominately determined by education and work experience, with a diminishing gender gap when it comes to performing managerial tasks alone, and that these roles just partly relate to salary but highly relate to job satisfaction, particularly when it comes to taking part in management decision making (tasks that require responsibility, accountability, job diversity, and also an analytical, strategic mindset).


The results of the study point to the further transformation of the PR Roles’ concept, turning a more execution oriented job profile into a more managerial and strategically oriented profession.



Fieseler, C., Lutz, C. and Meckel, M. (2015), "An inquiry into the transformation of the PR roles’ concept", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 76-89.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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