An Inquiry into the Transformation of the PR roles’ Concept

Christian Fieseler*, Christoph Lutz, Miriam Meckel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – 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. Design/methodology/approach – 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. Findings – 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). Originality/value – 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCorporate Communications: An International Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)76-89
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Professionals
  • Management roles
  • Roles
  • Participation in management decision making

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