Title

Diversity in Public Relations: The Implications of a Broad Definition for PR Practice

Campus

Gainesville

Publication date

6-1-2020

Publisher

Institute for Public Relations

Abstract

Diversity and inclusion in the workforce continue to be important topics across industries. In public relations, diversity efforts have led to increases in the number of women in executive ranks and people of color at all levels, but inequalities and under-representation still exist. As the leading professional organization in public relations, the Public Relations Society of America recently released an updated diversity toolkit with a suggested definition of diversity and associated activities. The update defines diversity to include demographic characteristics, such as race, gender, and sexual orientation and also career-related differences. The purpose of this study is to determine if and how the top 50 global PR firms, as identified by the Holmes Report, communicate about diversity on their websites. The definitions these firms adopt are crucial because they form the basis for programs and policies. The specific research questions are: 1) Does the website mention diversity in any of the major sections? 2) If given, what is the definition? Which definition does it fit: traditional, broad without mentioning the traditional descriptors or a combination of both? 3) Does the website mention any diversity-related activities? If given, do the activities match the criteria outlined in the definition? Over half of the websites sampled contained definitions; the majority included expanded conceptualizations of differences, and most did not mention demographic characteristics specifically. Of the nine firms that outlined distinct activities, such as employee networks, all of the activities addressed demographic characteristics of diversity. Implications of these findings on the diversification of public relations and future directions are discussed.

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Diversity in Public Relations: The Implications of a Broad Definition for PR Practice

Diversity and inclusion in the workforce continue to be important topics across industries. In public relations, diversity efforts have led to increases in the number of women in executive ranks and people of color at all levels, but inequalities and under-representation still exist. As the leading professional organization in public relations, the Public Relations Society of America recently released an updated diversity toolkit with a suggested definition of diversity and associated activities. The update defines diversity to include demographic characteristics, such as race, gender, and sexual orientation and also career-related differences. The purpose of this study is to determine if and how the top 50 global PR firms, as identified by the Holmes Report, communicate about diversity on their websites. The definitions these firms adopt are crucial because they form the basis for programs and policies. The specific research questions are: 1) Does the website mention diversity in any of the major sections? 2) If given, what is the definition? Which definition does it fit: traditional, broad without mentioning the traditional descriptors or a combination of both? 3) Does the website mention any diversity-related activities? If given, do the activities match the criteria outlined in the definition? Over half of the websites sampled contained definitions; the majority included expanded conceptualizations of differences, and most did not mention demographic characteristics specifically. Of the nine firms that outlined distinct activities, such as employee networks, all of the activities addressed demographic characteristics of diversity. Implications of these findings on the diversification of public relations and future directions are discussed.