Monday, 14 September 2015

Week 11 Lecture: Public Relations: Government and non-profit public relations

Week 11 Lecture: Public Relations: Government and non-profit public relations 


Discussed in the week 11 class was the look of public relations in the government and non-profit organisation through:

- role and purpose of PR  in the public sector 
- Government v Political public relations 
- PR in the third sector 
- Challenges and issues for non-profit communication 

The stories linked to the areas above were Woolworths losing profit due to not listening to customers, Subway’s rebranding of itself and the issue of gun laws in America. Each of these stories looks at how companies need to listen to the public and how they can make the public listen to them. 

In the discussion of American Gun Laws, America has chosen to keep the law that people are allowed to own guns, this has since become a mass problem due to the mass shootings and gun murders that occur daily in America. The US now averages almost one mass shooting per day (where four or more people are shot), with 1125 killed in such attacks since the start of 2013. In that time there have been 32,000 firearm deaths in total in the US. In June, Dylann Roof murdered nine people at a Charleston church, a race-motivated attack that Vester Lee Flanagan (aka Bryce Williams) cited as the catalyst for his sickening crime at WDBJ-TV (Young, M., 2015). 

Before all the deaths American strongly opposed ideas of stopping people from owning guns, the actions being shown today begin to question the reason behind letting the law continue and how the popular decision is not always the right decision in this instance. One of the struggles with changing people’s opinion in the public sector is: 

- Size and Complexity; 
- Community expectations of government responsibility; and 
- Growth in adversity (lobbying) 

The American Government has struggled with the question of should they stop the guns? For years they have said no, it is there right to bear arms and to carry a firearm with them. In the video below it is a segment by SBS on gun shootings in the United States. They have dubbed summer the summer of mass shootings. They also show a video made to show what to do in the instance of a gunman in your building and the actions you should take to survive. A swat team officer also goes to schools and teaches teachers what to do in the event of a gun man in the school and the possible exits that they can take in their own school. 

Through this issue the debate on being a government that is intent on being ethical and doing good must be proved. The United States government needs to look at the ‘fourth sector’ which is a society based business model. Sabeti explains the reason behind this. Our current model of capitalism has generated prosperity and improved the quality of life, but not without undesirable environmental and social consequences. Calls for its reform are getting louder, and many approaches have been put forth. Government and markets must recognise and support for-benefits as an equally legitimate model (2011, pp.12). 

The activities that happen in the ‘fourth sector’ are: 

- corporate social responsibility (reference in week 10 blogpost) 
- sustainability
- cause-oriented marketing and purchasing 
- venture philanthropy 
- social investing 

Applying these activities to the gun law issues through the government and gun supporting organisations could change the opinion on the majority of American’s pro-guns. The debate will continue, hopefully America will soon realise the tragedies that have happened and continue to happen because of the gun crisis and stop the law and make America are safer place to live, instead of living of fear. 


1. Young, M., 2015, The scary fact about gun control in America,,
2. Wilburn, K., Wilburn, R., 2014, The double bottom line: profit and social benefit: Business Horions, (57), pp. 11-20,
3. Sabeti, H., 2011, The for-benefit enterprise: Harvard Business review, 89 (11), pp. 99-104 

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