Living resilience in public relations practice

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This paper builds on a previous study (Authors, 2019) that explored the lived experience of regional practitioners’ understanding of the concept of resilience in public relations practice. A survey of regional practitioners highlighted the skills required to maintain and strengthen resilience and its inherent value in supporting professional success and longevity.Resilience is the ability to respond positively to ongoing challenges while maintaining momentum to pursue personal and professional goals (Authors, 2019). Further, it is an iterative process that requires practitioners’ to have the following characteristics: refined communication skills, strong personal and professional relationships, an ability to set and reset priorities, the agility to respond to constant change and a commitment to self-preservation.Our motivations for undertaking this study were twofold; firstly to understand the concept more fully and articulate a definition relevant to public relations practice, and secondly, to respond to a recent call from Guo and Anderson (2018) for public relations scholars to explore individual resilience more purposefully. This study follows the interpretive-critical turn within the literature by privileging the participant voice in presenting the findings of this work (Buzzanell, 2010; Hutcheon & Lashewicz; Russell, 2015).Using a qualitative methodology, this study surveyed 27 practitioners gaining insight into the participants lived experience of resilience. A thematic analysis revealed insights into how the practitioners built individual resilience in the context of regionally located practice. Specifically, resilience was deepened by the relational focus of practice and the strength of the connections and interactions with others, when those relationships were positive and collaborative in nature. Conversely, interactions within practice contexts that challenged practitioners also proved invaluable in maintaining practitioner resilience.Further research could build on these findings by exploring the individual qualities of resilience and their relationship to enhancing organisational capability. A deeper understanding of the strategies practitioners apply in sustaining their own practice could identify opportunities to embed resilience in curriculum as an essential tool for emerging practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2019 Annual Conference - Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House , Canberra, Australia
Duration: 03 Jul 201905 Jul 2019


ConferenceAustralia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2019 Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleMaking sense: Data, publics and storytelling
OtherThe conference will interrogate the link between broad sociocultural dynamics and changes in communication, media and the arts, in an age of datafication. In a highly digitalised society, our transactions, communications, movements and relationships leave digital traces that can be collected and processed systematically and in massive volumes.
This datafication of society has dramatically changed the dynamics of power relations in the distribution and communication of information. It will be an opportunity to incubate and develop theories, research, and frameworks and inform methods for the field and its practices.
We invite researchers, artists and activists to problematise the challenges we face in the twenty-first century, with a special focus on the impacts of digital technology on arts, media and communication practices, and to consider how the public is responding to the new power relations mobilised by changes in communication and media.
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