The anxious profession : a study of competencies, qualifications, and education in Canadian public relations
Manley, Dustin Paul
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Public relations' anxiety in identifying as a specialized profession has been documented since its modern foundation in the early 20th century. One of the root causes of public relations' anxiety is its lack of empirical and theory building knowledge, due in part to Canadian universities refusal to actively teach it at the undergraduate and graduate-level until the beginning of the 21st century. Through interviews with 22 leading practitioners and academics and a survey of 231 practitioners, this study provides an overview and insights into the current state of education, competencies, and accreditation in Canadian public relations. A consensus is found amongst practitioners and academics regarding the value of specialized education and strategic thinking skills for contemporary practitioners. A discernable skillset for public relations practitioners is also found and included in the curriculums of most of post-secondary programs. Despite this, public relations' anxiety is evident within its accreditation and certification programs which after four decades remain unrecognized by the industry, practitioners, and academics. However, the recent growth of graduate-level public relations appears poised to alleviate public relations' anxiety by offering practitioners access to internationally recognized credentials as well as contributing to the establishment of a theoretical and empirical foundation of knowledge for the practice.
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