The Other Side of the Coin: An Analysis by Turkish Public Relations Professionals on the Qualifications of Public Relations Academics and Curricula
Keywords:Public relations profession, public relations professionals, public relations academics, qualifications
This study aims to investigate the opinions and perceptions of senior Turkish public relations practitioners on the knowledge, skills, competencies, and personal attributes of public relations academics and public relations curriculums. A total of 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted with public relations practitioners working in corporations or consultancies. Results show that the top knowledge areas for public relations practitioners include sociology, psychology, and communication, the most prominent skills include communication skills, IT skills, and visioning, the most important personal attributes include good image, sensitivity/humanity, and life-long learner, and the top competencies are performing and creating. Practical knowledge is as important as theoretical knowledge. Public relations professionals have respect for public relations academics, appreciate their input, but they suggest that the public relations curriculum should be improved and that the graduates should be better informed. This paper also reveals how a dialogue can be established between Turkish public relations academics and professionals. The collected data were analyzed under the guidance of Wengers’ communities of practice framework, and suggestions for forming communities of practice were proposed by taking the dimensions of events, leadership, connectivity, membership, learning projects, and artifacts into account. By providing data from Turkey, the findings of this work can help us improve industry–academia ties and subsequently contribute to the professionalization of public relations.