The communication and PR community around the world can now rely on a piece of work which offers new directions for defining and understanding the public relations and communication management profession. After a two-year research project led and funded by the University of Huddersfield, the Global Alliance launched the very first Global Capability Framework (GCF) for public relations and communication management, at the World Public Relations Forum, in Oslo.
Dr Anne Gregory, Professor of Corporate Communication at the University of Huddersfield and director of the project, assembled an international research group, with partners in nine countries, across all seven continents and appointed Dr Johanna Fawkes to lead the research.
The GCF was developed with the collaboration of expert practitioners, academics and employers. The research looked at 3 questions :
Is there a shared set of PR capabilities that defines the profession globally?
What, if any, are the variations by region/ culture and by stakeholder groups?
How can such a framework(s) be of practical value for professional development, at individual, national, regional and global level?
"Our brief is to construct a capability framework that can be applied globally; reflects cultural and regional variations in public relations as a profession; and is forward looking in its approach. Our intention is that it will be used by the global academic and practitioner communities."
The Global Capability Framework for Public Relations and Communications Management is designed to be used by PR professional bodies and practitioners around the world, as well as influencing curricula.
The framework identifies 11 key capabilities under 3 categories. The research partners agreed that the GCF represents a fair summary of the shared capabilities that emerged from the world-wide research. The language was revised several times to avoid confusion. The sub-capabilities, that can be found in this report, were created from partners’ findings to clarify what is meant by the main headings. This is what we have in common globally:
To align communication strategies with organisational purpose and values
To identify and address communication problems proactively
To conduct formative and evaluative research to underpin communication strategies
To communicate effectively across a full range of platforms and technologies
To facilitate relationships and build trust with internal and external stakeholders and communities
To build and enhance organisational reputation
To provide contextual intelligence
PROFESSIONAL CAPABILITIES (those expected of any professional)
To provide valued counsel and be a trusted advisor
To offer organisational leadership
To work within an ethical framework on behalf of the organisation, in line with professional and societal expectations
To develop self and others, including continuing professional learning
Dr Anne Gregory notes that "no one is expected to excel at all these capabilities. Our careers make us want to develop some more than others at various stages and that is just fine. You decide, or your employer or another peer group. Context determines what capabilities are appropriate
(including access to resources to develop capabilities)."
Each country has its own framework and inspection reveals some variation between nations regarding the capabilities of the profession: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. The full set of country frameworks can be accessed at hud.ac/ect.
How to use the Framework
The framework is a powerful tool for personal development and a self-assessed solution with a focus on team-orientated improvement. Whether you're an individual, a small team or a larger organisation, this framework can provide the basis to develop key PR capabilities. It can also be used to review team strengths, draft job ads, prepare for appraisal or promotion, argue for more responsibilities, set long term career goals.
An online assessment tool was developed and designed to encourage professionals to identify the capabilities they would like to develop and access resources to assist in these goals. You can use the GCP by accessing the Home for the Global Capability Framework for public relations and communication management.
What the two-year, nine-country research suggests, overall:
There is a widely shared set of public relations and communication capabilities that helps define the profession globally.
There are minor, but significant, variations between countries’ capability sets, particularly concerning the social role of public relations and in the use of terminology.
Professional bodies and large employers are enthusiastic about using the framework to manage membership training and education, individual and team management.
Fawkes, J., Gregory, A., Falkheimer, J., Gutiérrez-García, E., Halff, G., Rensburg, R., Sadi, G., Sevigny, A., Sison, M.D., Thurlow, A., Tsetsura, K., & Wolf, K. (2018), A Global Capability Framework for the public relations and communication management profession. Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA) Research Report.