Excellence theory is a general theory of public relations that resulted from a multiyear study of best practices in communication management funded by the International Association of Business Communicators Research Foundation from 1985 to 2002. The research tradition that culminated in excellence theory conceptualizes public relations as a strategic management function rather than a symbolic-interpretive function (messaging, publicity, and media relations). This general theory incorporates a number of middle-range theories of public relations, including theories of publics, public relations, and strategic management, as well as models of public relations, evaluation of public relations, employee communication, public relations roles, gender, diversity, power, activism, ethics and social responsibility, and global public relations. The rest of this entry discusses the background of the research that produced excellence theory, ...

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