The purpose of this paper is to explore the practices and outlooks of public relations (PR) and corporate communication practitioners in six countries of South East Asia, through the eyes of practitioners themselves.
The paper draws on the findings of a doctoral research project comprising an online questionnaire sent to 100 active PR and corporate communication practitioners in six countries of South East Asia, attracting 30 responses; and a subsequent series of 14 semi-structured, in-depth face-to-face interviews. While taking some account of a range of theories in formulating questions, the research is primarily inductive in nature, seeking to reveal self-perceptions of the working worlds, worldviews, values and concerns of practitioners themselves.
The project confirms, in the South East Asian context, hypotheses previously advanced by researchers including Sriramesh (2004), Sriramesh and Vercic (2001), Bardhan (2011) and others which assert that distinctive worldviews and local and regional cultures can be significant considerations in understanding the ways that communication strategies are developed and applied in different geographical locations. Going further, the research confirms that local practitioners see other environmental variables including differences in infrastructure, the composition of local languages and a range of other factors which go beyond “attitudes” and “values” as having important impacts as well, and therefore being worthy of more detailed attention by international communication planners and scholars.
The research has implications for practitioners seeking to develop effective communication strategies in South East Asian environments. For scholars, the research has implications for better understanding of the significance of a range of environmental variables which may impact the effectiveness of professional practice in the region but which as yet may not be sufficiently recognised by existing theory and case studies. The project has a small sample size, with respondents drawn primarily from the membership of two English-speaking international professional associations. All research was also conducted in English. It may therefore not be fully representative of all practitioners across the region.
The findings draw attention to ways that communication strategies might be more successfully developed and applied in particular Association of South East Asian Nations countries, and how professional practice in this region can help to better inform the development of more inclusive, comprehensive and critical “international” PR theory, curriculum and pedagogy.
The research has social implications in regard to promoting better understanding of the outlooks and influences upon a group of professional people who arguably enjoy disproportionate influence upon the communities and societies in which they operate, by virtue of the work they undertake to explain, persuade and build relationships on behalf of other influential parties.
This is the first research project providing extensive first-hand simultaneous insights into the working worlds and personal outlooks of a broad cross-section of corporate communication practitioners across a number of major countries of South East Asia, embracing a comprehensive range of discussion topics.
William Domm, G. (2014), "Beyond culture", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 357-370. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-04-2014-0022Download as .RIS
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