The professionalism debate in South African public relations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Professionalism is a contentious topic in journals serving a wide range of disciplines, both internationally and in South Africa. However, there is seldom concrete empirical research into professionalism-which limits the usefulness of this debate. In response, the present study empirically investigates the perceptions of South African public relations (PR) practitioners regarding professionalism. The questionnaire-based survey shows that the professionalism problem for PR practitioners in South Africa is twofold. Firstly, the South African PR governing body has not taken ownership of the issues regarding professionalism amongst its members. Secondly, practitioners themselves are making little effort to professionalize their activities. Both parties agree on the importance of professionalization, but claim that the onus is on the other party to promote it. This situation is untenable: professionalization should be actively encouraged so as to maximize the impact of the PR profession in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-229
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Relations Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • Professional standards
  • Professionalism
  • Public relations (PR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing


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