The role of public relations: case study of selected corporate organisations within the greater Durban area
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Public relations is an important subsystem of an organisation and the effective practice of public relations is integrally bound to the health of an organisation. As such, it provides the avenue for the organisation to effectively monitor, interact and react with other key groups within the organisational environment. According to Naidoo (2007:3), “public relations has been described as synonymous to marketing. The function of public relations is becoming more confusing as initial scanning of the environment has revealed that certain organisations within the greater Durban area have merged public relations with other departments such as marketing”. Whilst some organisations may view public relations as a separate entity as opposed to marketing, others see these two functions as falling under a common umbrella. It is, therefore, evident that the boundaries between public relations and marketing are very blurred. Many organisations do not show the public relations office as an independent role. Since so many factors influence how public relations begins in organisations, public relations departments, in some organisations, have large numbers of staff and generous budgets even though the original motivations for their functions have long been forgotten and their mission is not clearly defined. Conversely, many, if not most, organisations reorganise the public relations functions, reduce the number of staff and try to do more with fewer people. Even practitioners disagree about what is the best structure and place for their functions in various types of organisations. This study, therefore, seeks to investigate the role that public relations plays within the selected corporate organisations in the greater Durban area.