Authors: Andrea L Meyer & Anné Leonard

Keyword: relevant skills, skills development


The debate on the professional status of Communication Management/Public relations1has been high on the worldwide agenda for decades. While previous research has focusedon the criteria for professionalism in this field, practitioners and academics often questionthe efforts of professional associations to adequately address the issue of implementingsystems to facilitate professional status. The emergence of the Global Alliance for PublicRelations and Communication Management (GA) as an umbrella body for various regionalprofessional associations, as well as the increased emphasis on regulation, standards andgovernance in all spheres of the global business environment, have led to renewed ques-tions about global efforts to achieve professional status for this field. This study focused onthe goals and actions of member associations of the GA in relation to the question of profes-sional status. In order to understand the current state of affairs an exploratory qualitativeapproach was followed in which member associations were surveyed and their websitesreviewed. The fact that fewer than half of the 27 member associations responded to thesurvey suggests that a study about this matter is not deemed particularly important and/orthat the issue of professional status is not widely pursued. However, the associations thatparticipated in this study agree that professional status is important. The study has alsofound that many similarities exist across continents in terms of the mechanisms utilizedto achieve professional status. Codes of ethics, contributions to a body of the knowledgeand the provision of professional training opportunities are regarded as quite importantwhile divergent viewpoints exist in relation to issues like accreditation and a standardizedtertiary curriculum.