PUBLIC RELATION THEORY AND PRACTICES
The organizational base can be enhanced with approaching the practices of public relation. Public relation practices in an organization can help an entity to maintain efficient and effective relationship between the organization and the public. Public relation approach can enhance the customer satisfaction and annual organizational profitability. In addition to that, the implication of the public relation can help to enhance the brand image of the organization, by minimizing the negative factors and actions of the organization.
This study demonstrates the positive influence of the public relation on the organization, using appropriate strategies and techniques. This discourse evaluates the case of United Airlines, where the public relation approaches have been used to overcome the negative viewpoints and brand image of the organization.
In order to gain a successful business, the organization, needs to maintain the public relations, which can help them to gain a positive and strong image. Proper promotion and public relation of an entity can help to them top run with long term success. Public relation is one the major key, which can help the organization to organize and handle the organizational situations, in an efficient and effective manner.
This course study demonstrates the role of public relation in the organizations, with reference to advantages and disadvantages of PR. The study highlights the case of United Airlines, with reference to David Dao incident. This discourse evaluates the sudden fall of United Airlines and the role of Public Relation in enhancing the reputation of the concerned organization. Different theories and models of public relation theories are discussed in this course study, with aligning the case of United Airlines.
Ground of flight Incident in United Airlines
From the case of United Airlines, it has been seen that, the organization has faced difficulties and sufferings in relation to the brand image and reputation of the organization. In the opinion of Dozier et al. (2013, p.74), the customer retention of the organization and sales can directly influenced by the brand image of the organization. In context of the United Airlines, the organization has faced issues with brad reputation, in relation to the case of Doctor David Dao. The incident of David Dao has declined the reputation of United Airlines, where the public relations of the organization play a crucial role in lifting up the brand name, from the declination of brand image.
The case of David Dao has demonstrated that, he was forcefully driven out from an airplane of the United Airlines, which gone viral on different social media sites, which lead to the declination of the brand image. With the viral of the issue, on social media sites, the United Airlines was alleged by the public, due to the transport service deprivation of David Dao. Due to viral of the issue on the social media sites, the United Airlines has evidenced a drastical downfall in the brand reputation by their customers. In the opinion of Grunig (2013, p.42), the customers of the transport system cannot be deprived or denied to use the service, based on the rules and regulations of 21, which needs to be followed by the organizations.
On the other hand, different facts and statements had come to light. From the reports, it has been seen that, the David Dao was denied to use the air transport service, as because one of the crew member of airlines wanted to travel, despite of completion of all formalities and occupying his own seat, however, other reports have reported that, some people talking about using the air mode transport as inappropriate business.
In such situations, of reputation, as mentioned above, the public relation of an organization can help them to overcome with the negative brand image. As Jin, Liu and Austin (2014, p.78), has commented that, the public relations, acts as a communication medium between the organization and their consumers and customers. As a result of misbehaving to the customer and violation of the policy of rule 21, the United Airlines faced several negative questions and actions, which lead to the downfall of United Airlines. As Eaton (2017, p.37), has stated that, the public relation team of an organization plays a crucial role, during an organizational crisis, however, on the other hand, the public relation team of the United Airlines kept the public and media ignorant.
With approaching the public relation technique, the United Airlines overlooked the individuals, who wanted to hear from the organization. In the comparison to the public curiosity, in terms of knowing the facts, the people, who were expecting to hear from the United Airlines, seemed to be vague. The reason behind the overlooking of the United Airlines might be influenced by the social media power. Dijkmans et al. (2015, p.63) has commented that, the social media sites can be used as a global level, in order to disseminate an information, which can be shared easily and this can reach faster to different corner of world.
The case of David Dao was captured by the video and was uploaded on the social media site, which became viral on the internet that influenced the organization negatively. The viral incident of the David Dao resulted in the gaining of negative feedbacks of United Airlines, from their different customers and consumers, which ultimately downed the customer satisfaction and organizational profits. As the organization was facing the brand issue, because of the negative feedback, the public relation management team apologize to the public. However, in the opinion of Wright and Hinson (2017, p.95), the United Airlines, did not bring up the incident of Dr. David Dao, during apologizing to` the public. The United airlines, on the other hand, apologize to the public for overselling of the air tickets.
As the organizational success depends on the customer satisfaction, thus it was necessary for the United Airlines, to overcome the issues of their customer satisfaction, in terms of the brand image and negative viewpoints of public. As Zerfass et al. (2014, p.75), has mentioned that, in order to gain success and obtain strong market position, the brand image needs to be strong and positive, which can plays a crucial role in shaping the positive reputation of the organization. The negative reputation of an organization can lead to several barriers, such as, business loss, customer loss, business turnover, and other such problems. The United Airlines had also faced the problems, such as, due to the negative brand, they lost the numbers of customers and thus evidenced a drastical downfall in the revenue generation. In such cases of improper handling or behaving with the customers can charge the organization, with a high amount. However, the public relation of the organization managed to implement the strategy of public relation, which helped them to enhance their brand image of the organization, which evidenced in property customer satisfaction and organizational growth.
Handling of issue in United Airlines
The public relation basically focuses on the issue of the organization. The case of United Airlines has evidenced the misbehaving with the passenger, David Dao, who was violently fisted by the crew members of the United Airlines, which negatively hampered the organizational reputation and brand. In order to manage the negative brand image of the organization, the organizational public relation team of the United Airlines, approached the settlement of violation with the passenger and investigated the customer and passenger tackling of the airline services.
Approach of the investigation by the public relation team of the United Airlines, has evidenced, improper handling of the customers and other mistakes, which needs to have been trained. In the view of Gardner et al. (2014, p.217), the organization, needs to provide proper training, to the employees of the organization, in order to manage the internal policies and customer handling. Proper training of the employee can help the organization to gain effective positive enhancement in the organizational process and performance. On the other hand, the organization needs to maintain proper dignity and respect towards their customers, which can help to increase the customer satisfaction and retention. In order to minimize the further such risks, in the United Airlines organization, several rules and policies has been revised and introduced. The employees of the organization and the crew members of the airlines services were trained with the responsibility of the safety of the customers and passengers, to their final destinations. The United Airlines has set rules and organizational policies on handling of the passengers.
The United Airlines has set their customers at a prior level, rather than the operational logistics, in order to minimize such organizational risks, with updating of new policies and rules. In the view of Botan and Trowbridge (2015, p.364), in the airlines services industries, proper volunteering of the crew members needs to have proper knowledge and skills. In addition to that, the aviation industries need to be trained, in order to manage the potential risks, in the airlines services of the customers. In terms of the concerned case of David Dao, in the United Airlines, the organization needs to train their crew members, to handle such situation, further.
The United Airlines made the decision to recruit more volunteers during the airline's services for the customers. Moreover, in order to minimize the further risks, the organization has decided to decrease the overselling of the tickets. On the other hand, the organization of Chicago Aviation has apologized to the United Airlines, for forceful depriving of passenger from the plane.
The crew member was suspended for improper behaviour with the passenger. From the investigations, it has been evidenced that, in the case of David Dao, it was organizational fault and thus, the organization can be sued. In addition to that, the case has evidenced that, the passengers, who will be discriminated, can go to court for justice against the organization.
The United Airlines has changed their policies, in order to tackle such situations in future and introduced the rule of gaining $10,000 US, if the seats will be give up by customer by their choice.
PR theories in United Airlines Issue
Several theories have been developed based on the PR so that organisations can get an idea to build its relations accordingly. On this note, Grunig and Hunt’s PR theories consists of four models, which are analysed in current world for enhancing the effectiveness of the work. Macnamara (2016, p.157) has mentioned that Press Agentry Model, Public Information Model, Two-Way Asymmetrical Model and Two-way symmetrical model are the four parts of this model. Press Agentry Model is completely based on manipulating the behaviour of public with the help of press agents. This model is not suitable for the case of Dao. In this case, there is not any scope for increasing the accuracy of the work.
Figure 1: Grunig’s and Hunt Model
(Source: Created by Learner)
The second model public information model is also not applicable in this particular scenario as this model does not consider provided information to be accurate when it comes to audience. Two-way asymmetrical model is more inclined towards improving the organisational practices. United Airlines need to consider this fact clearly that it has not provided appropriate training to its employees, which got reflected in the case of Dao. This model can help in improving these practices of the venture by focusing on the work process of this entity.
Top management of the venture needs to be very active while taking any decision for the upliftment of the venture. Issue of this enterprise would have resolved to a great extent if organisation management process would have been renovated further. Powell et al. (2016, p.318) stated that Two-way symmetric model is the most ethical process that aims at gathering feedback for developing the practices of the ventures suitably. This is not appropriate for the provided case study as the case study lags behind in maintaining appropriate relations with the public.
In the perspective of Galician (2013, p.48), system theory assists in diagnosing the problems properly and then undertake suitable steps in improving those conditions. This theory works on the basis of four segments namely, input, output, feedback and throughput.
Input helps in collecting information regarding the issues. In the similar case, if it would have considered this theory, then it could have easily identified the issues and would have taken suitable steps in mitigating those. Throughput helps in applying the suggestions for resolving the problems Macnamara (2016, p.252). Some control measures could have been easily undertaken by this entity for uprooting the problem appropriately. Output concentrates upon undertaking safety measures for the people so that they might not feel isolated while using the services or products from the particular venture.
Figure 2: System Theory
(Source: Galician, 2013, p.56)
Dao has faced extremely low, when he was asked to get off from the flight. This situation would not have aroused if proper steps would have been undertaken. Feedback is the most crucial part as it helps in understanding the response of the common people regarding the venture. Therefore, these theoretical implementations were necessary for development of proper public relations within any venture. Westerman et al. (2014, p.178) has mentioned that practical implementation is only possible when theoretical knowledge regarding the particular fact is clear to everyone. When the organisations do have theoretical understanding, then it could easily implement proper strategies for resolving the issues properly.
Public relations are an important part of any business structure because it helps in successful execution of business in an appropriate manner. For the long run, PR needs to be incorporated in the enterprise structure for its betterment. Above study discusses completely about an incident, where PR was neglected thereby, leading to a chaotic situation for the airlines sector. Some set of recommendations are drawn based on the entire analysis so that business houses do not undergo tricky situation.
Setting up of correct business terms with the common people:
When numerous people are involved in a particular business, it is essential that firms remain very soft while dealing with them. Politeness would help in imposing positive thoughts within common people regarding that particular venture. Similarly, in case of United Airlines, if the professionals have been polite with Dao, such mishap would not have occurred. A balance has to be kept among all business tasks so that people do not face any issues while using such services of the organisations.
Soft skills need to be improvised further:
Enterprises need to focus mainly upon its soft skills and be very professional so that no one can raise any complaint against its services. In order to gain the trust of common people, relations need to be maintained properly. This would be better for both business organisations and also for the people, whom these ventures serve. United Airlines could have trained its staffs regarding these skills so that they could have inculcated such skills within themselves.
Maintenance of long term benefits:
Entities need to consider its benefits in lieu of long term so that no extra harm can be done by any constraints in the long run of the business. When such benefits would have been considered with serious concern, enterprises will perform better without affecting its reputation.
So far a constructive discussion has been done regarding PR and its importance in the world of trade and commerce. A case of United Airlines where the venture has violated its terminologies related to its PR with a traveller named as David Dao. However, this ticklish situation has made the venture aware of the poor consequences that might be left upon its process of business. That is why, companies need to strategize properly and develop suitable soft skills within its employees. This would stop in leaving an adverse impact upon the work progression of the ventures.
Moreover, PR experts need to be consulted upon timely so that such relations might not affect the business drastically. In the 21st century, world has noticed immense of advancement in the technology and people residing here, are not at all ready to compromise with the quality of services provided by organisations. In case of any issues with the services or products, they get ample opportunities to switch to any other brands. Henceforth, it is essential to maintain proper public relations by different companies for enhancing its positions among the common people.
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