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School of Business | Department of Communication | International Business Communication | 2013
Thesis number: 13442
Public relations in China: An exploration of cultural impact on media relations practices, case company: Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Beijing Office
Author: Chen, Minwen
Title: Public relations in China: An exploration of cultural impact on media relations practices, case company: Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Beijing Office
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Communication
Academic subject: International Business Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; kansainvälinen; international; suhdetoiminta; public relations; media; media; Kiina; China
Pages: 121
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13442.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (2017273)
Key terms: international business communication; media relations practices; public relations (PR); Mainland China; Chinese culture; Ogilvy & Mather
Objective of the Study:

The main purpose of this study was to explore the influence and impact that Chinese culture brings to the practice of media relations in Mainland China through the case company Ogilvy & Mather. Based on the research objective, the following research questions were formulated: (1) How is media relations carried out on a daily basis in Ogilvy & Mather? (2) What kind of relationship exists between the Chinese PR practitioners and the journalists? Has the Chinese culture impacted and shaped the relationship somehow in comparison to the Western countries (Nordic and the United States)? (3) Which aspects of the Chinese culture have influenced the practice of media relations, and how?

Methodology and the Theoretical Framework:

The study was conducted with a qualitative approach. A three months internship and participant observation were conducted at the case company. The researcher worked closely with eight public relations practitioners in a public relations team serving a multinational IT client. Five interviewees, who the researchers believed to know the best about media relations and who were comfortable to discuss openly about it, were selected for semi-structured interviews. The theoretical framework was constructed based on the research questions and the literature review, and it consists of three components: (1) aspects of the Chinese culture that have an impact on public relations practices in China; (2) list of media relations practices; (3) outcomes of media relations practices that appear to be different from the original practices deriving from the United States.

Findings and Conclusions:

The study revealed that Guanxi, Renqing, Hongbao culture, Confucianism, Hall's cultural context and Hofstede's cultural dimensions all had an impact on the media relations practices in Mainland China. The findings confirmed the previous research that the relationship between the Chinese PR practitioners and journalists were collaborative and mutual, whereas it was more adversarial in the United States and in the Nordic countries. In addition, the practice of media allowance and soft articles were discovered. These two practices were ethically debatable and rather implicit, thus, they were somewhat neglected by previous researchers. Lastly, the study found that the practice of guanxi and media allowance in media relations did not have unethical intentions. PR practitioners were merely trying to follow the social norms under the cultural context.
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