The academic study of Public Relations was best developed in the United States during the 20th century and, because of that, experienced North American scholars were being accused of not “globalizing” the term Public Relations (Verčič, Van Ruler, Bütschi, & Flodin, 2002). In 1987, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defined Public Relations as a tool that “helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other”.
According to the Delphi study realized by the European Public Relations Body of Knowledge (EBOK), Verčič et al concluded that due to linguistic and cultural idiosyncrasies, the definition, dimension and domain of Public Relations could vary (p.377). The main difference they found between the European and the American definitions were regarding the PR functions.
In the European perspective the PR work translates to developing strategies to maintain relationships, implementation and evaluation of communication plans, reflect and analyze organizational standards and values, and teach, train and prepare internal public groups (p. 380); whereas the PRSA definition didn’t include an internal public education and a reflective sphere. Starting 2011, PRSA led an international effort to modernize the definition of public relations and it was established as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics”.
Both, the European and the new American perspective on public relations agree that, mainly, PR has to been seen as a strategic process of viewing an organization from an public view (Verčič et al., 2002, p. 382).