Research organization IPR to focus on international PR

GAINESVILLE, FL: The Institute for Public Relations, an independent research organization based at the University of Florida, has created a commission to research the "science" of international PR.

GAINESVILLE, FL: The Institute for Public Relations, an independent research organization based at the University of Florida, has created a commission to research the "science" of international PR.

Frank Ovaitt, IPR's president and CEO, said that the group is tasked with formalizing knowledge for a practice that has until now used anecdotal stories as its main form of education.

The commission's first step will be a survey of all existing research on international PR, to better understand the current state of the field. "Based on that, we'll try to back out of there and say, What does that tree of knowledge actually look like?'" Ovaitt said.

One possible outcome of the research could be a country-by-country guidebook for PR practitioners with tips for operating in different cultures. Ovaitt said the commission's work will help avoid "falling over yourself, making all the mistakes that everyone made before."

The commission's charter members are 11 PR scholars and corporate practitioners from around the world. Its work is already under way, but no deadline has been set for the release of a report.

The IPR, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, formed the group as part of an ongoing effort to better organize and manage its research strategy.

"We're trying to get a much clearer set of priorities going forward," Ovaitt said, "and we feel that probably the best way to do this is to break [PR] down into more manageable chunks."

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