The situational theory of publics, a public relations theory, aids health practitioners and public relations professionals in segmenting publics in ways that allow for greater communication effects. The theory, developed by James Grunig, is a tool for understanding publics' perceptions of and communication about a given issue. The theory explains why publics communicate and when they are most likely to do so, suggesting analysis of communication about a given issue can be used to classify publics into groups and predict the publics' communicative and active responses to issues. The situational theory is based on John Dewey's conceptualization of a public as a group of individuals connected through identification with an issue. Publics may not yet be formally organized, or may not be aware that ...

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