Wednesday January 21, 2015
Many of us who work in communications have come from a creative or arts background. We at least have a leaning towards and interest in working in a creative profession. And it is probably fair to say that we often think that being called ‘creative’ is something of a compliment. The idea that our preference for being thought of as creative can actually count against us when it comes to being recognised and rewarded as managers is therefore an interesting one.
The point was made by Danny Moss, Professor of Corporate and Public Affairs at the University of Chester, who recently talked with our students about the subject of his latest book: ‘Public Relations: A managerial perspective’. If we focus on the ‘craft’ element of what we do, according to Danny, we risk “ignoring the fact that PR is a business function, undervaluing the importance of 'business knowledge', undermining our ability to contribute to management decision making and relegating PR to a tactical functional role, thereby limiting our scope to move into senior management positions”.
So how can we adopt a managerial perspective?
Danny outlines the need for us to understand what management involves. Not simply in terms of roles, but in terms of management tasks and behaviours too. He thinks it is also necessary for us to look at these things in the context of the organisation we work in. An understanding of other functions within the business, organisational size and structure, the value the senior management team places on PR, and the industry sector and culture of the organisation are all factors that Danny believes can influence the extent to which we can enact managerial roles. He also thinks it is important for us to identify and nurture those personal skills required to be an effective manager, and to look beyond our own field to management literature to gain a broader understanding of the management discipline.
These are just some of the things that we need to do to adopt a managerial perspective. As Danny argues, “Only by understanding how to function effectively as communications managers – which by implication means understanding how other functions and senior management think and operate – can we expect to have PR recognised as a core function and claim our 'seat at the top table'.”
Our thanks to Danny for a thought-provoking presentation.