The study described in Orlando Rivero and John Theodore’s 2014 article “The Importance of Public Relations in Corporate Sustainability,” which appeared in the Global Journal of Management and Business Research highlighted the importance of the three areas of corporate sustainability and the relationship of these three areas to public relations in communicating the intent and application of corporate sustainability. The study concluded that the leadership of a corporation, specifically the CEO, must have the ability to both develop and apply the corporate sustainability in a dynamic international business environment. An inability to do so causes both internal and external complications for the continued success of the corporations continued sustainability and ultimately, its success.
This article was based more upon theoretical and philosophical principles than empirical research. There were no specific corporations under the microscope in this study, but rather there was a set of definitions of the key words presented and detailed explications of why these key terms were important and how their meaning could create a positive public image for legally structured corporations. . A corporation was defined as a separate entity from its owners and employees in a legal sense, at least (Rivero & Theodore, 2014). Sustainability was defined as a specific set of actions that included plans, rules, and measures that meet the current and future goals of a corporation (Rivero & Theodore).
Finally, public relations was defined as “a management tool designed to establish among a firm’s various internal and external publics” (Rivero & Theodore, 2014, p. 21). As there was not a specific corporation or set of corporations under study in this article, the researchers instead proposed a theory that public relations as a strategy is a more powerful tool than advertising, at least in a corporate sustainability sense. The researchers suggested that corporations not only reach outward to procure a good public relations image with the global public, but that they also look inward “to understand the value of public relations in an effort to meet institutional goals and objectives” (Rivero & Theodore, 2014, p. 2).
The major findings of this research are based upon speculation of a theory rather than on empirical evidence. The findings are grouped into three areas of the inter-relationship between corporate sustainability and public relations: the physical environment or ecological arena, the sociological arena, and the corporate, or business arena. Regarding the environmental role for a corporation, the researchers suggest that corporations must direct public relations “toward the domestic and international centers of ecological interests and concerns toward the public in general” Rivero & Theodore, 2014, p. 22). In discussing the sociological sustainability, the researchers advise corporations to direct public relations toward the corporation’s stakeholders. Finally, regarding the business endeavors of a corporation, the researchers conclude that the best strategy is to brand the products and services well in conjunction with the sociological and environmental public relations efforts.
Because this article was theoretically speculative without empirical evidence, I don’t believe that is has much use regarding practical application. Of course, considering theories and strategies is useful; however, this article does not delve into how to complete the tasks of directing the public relations efforts toward the three systems it details. A list of ways to conduct some practical application of the theoretical ponderings would have made this article much more useful in applying it to real-world business, educational, or coaching situations. I did appreciate and absorb that public relations needs to be more than an external façade for a corporation. By bringing public relations into the inner workings of a corporation, it would be easier for the employees of a corporation to understand the mission, function, and value of that corporation in the global market.
- Rivero, O., Theodore, J. (2014). The importance of public relations in corporate sustainability. Global Journal of Management and Business Research: E Economics and Commerce, 14(4), 20-24.