The profession of public relations In Saudi Arabia: a socio-cultural perspective
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Almahraj, Y. (2017) The profession of public relations In Saudi Arabia: a socio-cultural perspective, no. 340.
This thesis examines public relations in Saudi Arabia as an occupational group. The thesis investigates the knowledge public relations practitioners possess, and how Saudi culture and public communication factors affect public relations practitioners. The thesis offers insights into the cultural background of the country, public communication and public relations practice in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, it provides an analysis of theories of the profession and the relationship between the profession and public relations occupation. For the purposes of this research, in-depth unstructured interviews were used to collect data from 27 practitioners. A constructivist paradigm was utilised to examine the Saudi practitioners' perceptions of knowledge, culture, public communication. Moreover, the thesis has followed a socio-cultural approach and theories of the profession to investigate the empirical data. The thesis has several contributions to knowledge. Firstly, it brings an understanding of the role of the state in the process of professionalization. Using Vygotsky's theories the thesis has found that educational institutions influence PR practice and this results in lack of progress and limited opportunities for change, learning and career movement. Secondly, the thesis found that there is disconnection between theories that are taught in universities with PR programmes and PR practices. The thesis found that there is a problematic nature of abstract knowledge, which determines the disconnection between communication theories and PR practice. Moreover, there is a disconnection between the practice immersed in culture and that cultural practices are stronger than professional practice. Finally, the thesis has contributed to the literature by finding out that ethics in Western countries are regarded as something that is developed by a professional body in a way that relates to society, however in Saudi Arabia the Muslim values and ethics are implemented directly in the work context and ethics is not developed by a professional body.