شبکه های سرمایه اجتماعی : توسعه مدل روابط عمومی جامعه مدنی در پرو
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4382||2013||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Public Relations Review, Volume 39, Issue 1, March 2013, Pages 1–12
Scholars have argued that public relations can and indeed must be used to improve society. This article builds on the work of Taylor and Doerfel (2005), who advocated for the continued study of civil society through the lens of public relations theory. This study contributes to a normative public relations model of civil society by examining how interorganizational relationships, which may initially be established for purposes of resource exchange, benefit civil society through the creation and maintenance of social capital. The study examined a segment of Peruvian civil society dedicated to media development, as media is a key partner in building civil society (Taylor, 2009). The results of the study help to explain how interorganizational relationships contribute to the creation of social capital in a civil society network, and how certain network positions are integral to maintaining the social capital of a community of actors. Implications for the role of public relations in building and maintaining networks of interorganizational communities are discussed.
The existence of a robust civil society is thought by many scholars to be an essential precondition of a successful democracy (e.g., Doerfel and Taylor, 2004, Gibson, 2001, Hadenius and Uggla, 1996, Taylor, 2000, Taylor and Doerfel, 2005 and Taylor and Doerfel, 2011). However, it is the quality of relationships among civil society actors and organizations that may truly demonstrate whether civil society is capable of supporting democracy and what Heath (2006) termed a “fully functioning society.” Given the important role of interorganizational relationships in civil society, Taylor and Doerfel (2005) argued that public relations has much to contribute to civil society research. They suggested, “public relations, as a relationship-building function … must be at the center of the civil society process” (p. 122). A civil society requires quality relationships to be effective and to benefit a community of actors from the social capital generated through such relationships (Sommerfeldt and Taylor, 2011, Taylor, 2009 and Taylor and Doerfel, 2011). Assessing the relationships that exist among civil society actors, then, is essential to understanding the efficacy of civil society movements and to how public relations may support civil society. More work is needed to integrate public relations into civil society theory and practice. The purpose of this study is to further Taylor and Doerfel's (2005) public relations model of civil society in two ways. First, the study examined how relationships facilitate social capital by questioning whether organization–public relationships among civil society actors lead to increased levels of social capital. Second, the study further interrogates the concept of structural holes in social networks (Burt, 1992a) by examining the extent to which important civil society organizations are bridging structural holes and maintaining quality relationships so that social capital in a civil society network is maximized. To explain the importance of relationship quality among civil society actors, the first section of the paper reviews literature on interorganizational relationships in civil society, social capital and civil society networks, and how network composition is related to social capital. The paper then presents the results of network analyses of media development civil society organizations in Peru. In so doing, the study focuses on the role of interorganizational relationships in generating the social capital necessary to maintaining a successful civil society. Last, two propositions are offered to extend a public relations model of civil society.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Public relations has a clear and important role in civil society networks through maintaining relationships that facilitate cooperation and information exchange. This function becomes particularly vital in those organizations that bridge structural holes, as such actors as best positioned to ensure network sustainability. The results of the inter-organizational analysis provide a picture of a civil society sector with organizational leaders that are high in social capital, and others that lack quality relationships or the structural position to enact influence in the network. The answers to the hypotheses and research questions provide two general points of insight into furthering a public relations model of civil society: (1) relationship quality is key to the generation of social capital and (2) important civil society organizations should occupy positions that bridge structural holes. 5.1. Relationships are equivalent to network social capital The results of the first hypothesis lend further credence to calls from public relations scholars to consider relationships as akin to social capital (Ihlen, 2005, Kennan and Hazleton, 2006, Sommerfeldt and Taylor, 2011, Taylor, 2009, Taylor, 2010 and Taylor, 2011). Clearly, there is a strong link between the quality of a relationship between two actors and the information and cooperation exchanged. Indeed, relationship quality accounts for a high percentage of the variance in the social capital variables studied, making it reasonable to say that relationships are indeed analogous to the social capital of an organization—furthering Ihlen's (2005) argument that quality organizational relationships result in social capital. The substance of beneficial relationships is akin to the social capital embedded within them, making social capital not only an outcome of relationships, but of the relationship itself. Good relationships are organizational social capital, and vice versa. Important foundational actors in civil society, such as donors like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are largely responsible for contributing to the development of civil societies (Brown and Ashman, 1996 and Taylor and Doerfel, 2011). As can be inferred from the data, relationship quality is strongly correlated with social capital outcomes such as information exchange and cooperation. However, while some donors, USAID included, ranked high in organizational importance, they lacked in relationship quality, as assessed through the OPR measures. For example, USAID ranked third in organizational importance, but was also perceived to maintain relationships of less quality than many other important actors, such as the ombudsman's office. Moreover, as interrogated in the second hypothesis, those high in organizational importance were also significantly more likely to be high in degree centrality. At the same time, the answer to the third hypotheses suggests those actors who occupy positions high in degree centrality were more likely to rank highly in information exchange and cooperation. The findings of the second and third hypotheses indicate that important actors are also likely to be highly embedded in the network. Therefore, these actors should seek to maintain quality relationships in order to contribute fully to the success of a civil society by providing social capital. This assertion contributes to the first proposition of a normative model of public relations in civil society: Proposition 1. Important civil society actors should be highly embedded in the network and maintain quality relationships so as to facilitate social capital outcomes. 5.2. Important organizations should maintain strategic positions Organizations enter into relationships out of a need for resources (Broom et al., 1997). Previous research on civil society networks has thus placed great emphasis on the structural position of donor organizations and their network relationships. Indeed, understanding the position of donors in civil society and the extent to which they help to shape effective networks is a beneficial research avenue for public relations. As Taylor and Doerfel (2011) explained, donors can create relationships in civil society and “serve as liaisons in the network by being strategically central and by eliminating redundancy” (p. 330). Research has thus suggested donors should have high degree centrality and effective and efficient links. Effective size is an indication of the extent to which an actor has access to diverse parts of a network. As Burt (1992a) explained, network relationships should be “non-redundant so as to reach separate, and therefore more diverse, social worlds of network benefits” (Burt, 1992a, p. 69). Donors should thus seek to “spread the wealth,” as it were, so that parts of the network are not excluded. Important organizations were likely to have a greater effective size, enabling them to research broader parts of the network. As partially explained above, organizations with high degree centrality were likely to be important organizations, and perceived as more cooperative or better providers of information. This arrangement makes important actors in the network purveyors of social capital. As can be seen in Table 2, those actors high in degree centrality are more often than not NGOs. Moreover, four of the top five organizations in effective size and the entire top five in efficiency were NGOs, providing an indication of the leadership role NGOs such as Calandria, CAD, and others are providing to actors across the media development network. Organizations such as the ombudsman, National Radio Coordinator (NCR), the Peruvian Press Council, Calandria, Citizen's Day, and the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS) all occupied positions high in degree centrality—many were also ranked as important actors. The data suggests a network in which it is NGOs and not donors that are responsible for the proliferation of social capital. Recognizing that sustainable civil societies must eventually function without intense donor engagement, the burden of network maintenance will normatively fall to important NGOs (Taylor & Doerfel, 2003). Indeed, donor participation in Peruvian media development appears to be on the decline. According to media development NGO and donor representatives, several European donor organizations have recently begun to pull out of Peru, citing improving macro-economic indicators in Peru as well as a decline in international aid budgets. The relative lack of structural prominence of some donors in the network, and the concurrent prominence of some NGOs is thus not surprising. While many of most central actors in the network were NGOs, they also had more effective and efficient links than some of the donors. The relationships maintained by the National Endowment for Democracy, and the American and British Embassies (all long-time actors in the media development scene of Peru) are not fully integrated into the civil society network, which is likely an indication of a withdrawal from full engagement in the network or a limited engagement with a select few actors. The retreat of donor organizations and the bridging of structural holes by NGOs are not necessarily indicative of a decline in the stability of a network. As Taylor and Doerfel (2005) explained, while donors should work to foster cooperative relationships, the primary relationship-building work and structural prominence of donors should be in the earlier stages of civil society development. As donor organizations slowly exit civil society networks—as appears to be the case in Peru—foundational NGOs should begin to bridge structural holes. Not only are NGOs such as Calandria and IPYS—both large, highly respected NGOs in the community in question—assuming network positions that bridge structural holes, they hold higher quality relationships in the environment than donor organizations such as USAID, which in turn indicates they contribute more social capital to the network. Adapting structural holes theory to the study of public relations’ role in civil society thus enables the interrogation of civil society's structural evolution—and how public relations may aid this evolution. The more embedded an organization is in a context, as measured through centrality and structural holes, the more likely an organization can create opportunities for others (Taylor & Doerfel, 2011). Civil society organizations are awarded structural prominence and brokerage roles by engaging in positive relationships. The importance of public relations is therefore heightened in organizations that bridge structural holes. As Burt (2002) explained, those who bridge structural holes will generally stand out for their skills in (a) communicating across differences of opinion, (b) reasoning from the interests of the other, (c) establishing mechanisms that build trust and reputation, and (d) re-structuring the organization or market where the current structure is a problem (p. 229). From Burt's (2002) description, it would appear that organizations that successfully bridge structural holes not only bear the burden of network relationship maintenance and information brokerage, but they are recognized for their role in establishing relationships built on trust, negotiation, and problem-solving—responsibilities long ascribed to the public relations function. In the Peruvian network, it is unclear the extent to which structural prominence is granted to organizations with the capacity or organizational will to sustain the network in the long-term. For example, although Citizen's Day (CAD) exhibited the highest scores for information exchange and cooperation, the organization was not recognized to be among the most important in the sector. This discrepancy represents either a flaw in the arrangement of the Peruvian network, or a failure on the part of participants to recognize the influence of CAD based on the arrangement and number of its relationship ties. This disconnect is of significant concern for establishing a normative model of public relations in civil society. It raises questions such as: does the mission and capacities of the organization match its network role? Moreover, are important organizations, those recognized to be valuable communication partners, able to best contribute to the network through occupying strategic positions? Perceptions of organizational importance are an indication of those organizations that are most vital to the continuation of civil society (Doerfel & Taylor, 2004). A model of public relations in civil society should also recognize the importance of maintaining quality relationships that facilitate social capital as well as the larger goal of establishing sustainable network structures. Donor organizations or foundational NGOs, those with greater resources and better quality relationships, should sit in strategic positions in the network that make them crucial partners for less well-connected and resource-poor agents in civil society. Proposition 2. Organizations that bridge structural holes should be aware of their strategic position and become willing brokers of information and resources, but also must have the capacity and resolve to maintain the successful functioning of a network. What is essential, then, is that important actors maintain positions high in degree centrality, bridge structural holes, and cultivate positive relationships so that social capital may flow through the network unimpeded. In the early stages of civil society, these positions may be occupied by donor organizations, as they are best equipped to provide the resources that develop civil societies and relationships. However, as civil societies mature, important NGOs may begin to bridge structural holes. Bridging structural holes affords public relations the opportunity to create “a normative environment” that fosters cooperative exchanges and strengthens the positions of all actors in the network (Stohl & Stohl, 2005, p. 461). The existence of structural holes in a network is thus not only a boon for organizational prestige, but serving to bridge those holes is an ethical imperative if public relations is to help build communities and societies.