Purpose - This paper identifies key forces influencing the degree of managerial public relations (MPR), i.e. the practice of public relations (PR) as a strategic tool. Design/methodology/approach - Using survey data of nearly 300 PR consultants from English firms, the authors propose a conceptual framework of MPR and test it through structural equation modeling (SEM). Findings - Findings reveal that research expenditure and importance given to qualifications are key antecedents of MPR. Surprisingly, while the direct effect of the perceived quality of PR graduates on the practice of MPR is non-significant, the indirect effect through research expenditure is highly significant and negative. Research limitations/implications - Future research is encouraged to identify key drivers of MPR by investigating clients' perceptions on this topic. Such an approach would bring interesting guidelines for improving the agency-client relationship as well as consultancies' performance. Research is also encouraged to investigate not only MPR antecedents, but also MPR outcomes. Practical implications - From a practitioner perspective, a better comprehension of MPR might promote the understanding of PR as a strategic tool, the understanding of the client's problem from a strategic standpoint, the inclusion of research and evaluation in the PR process, and incursion in long-term policies. Originality/value - Following the principle of strategy-environment co-alignment, this paper shows that the practice of PR is a result of a strategic response by consultants to the interplay of internal and external forces over their consultancy firm.
- Linear structure equation modelling
- Marketing communications
- Public relations
- United Kingdom