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Among the many competing definitions of public relations, J. Grunig and Hunt’s is the most widely cited definition of public relations: Public relations is “the management of communication between an organization and its publics.”Grunig and Hunt (1984), p. 4. Emphasis in original. One reason this definition is so successful is its parsimony, or using few words to convey much information. It also lays down the foundation of the profession squarely within management, as opposed to the competing approaches of journalism or the promotion-based approach of marketing and advertising that focuses primarily on consumers. The component parts of Grunig and Hunt’s famous definition of public relations are as follows:
As “the management of communication between an organization and its publics,” public relations has radically departed from its historical roots in publicity and journalism to become a management discipline—that is, one based on research and strategy.