Great expectations: Understanding undergraduate students' perspectives on public relations careers

Xavier, Robina J., Mehta, Amisha M., & Larkin, Ingrid K. (2006) Great expectations: Understanding undergraduate students' perspectives on public relations careers. In Empowerment, Creativity and Innovation: Challenging Media and Communication in the 21st Century, 4-7 July 2006, Adelaide, South Australia.

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International research suggests that student expectations differ from the realities of courses and careers in public relations (Bowen, 2003; Storto, 1990). Bowen’s (2003) ‘I thought it would be more glamorous’ study confirmed that students expected to be trained in publicity and public appearances moreso than skills desired by employers such as critical thinking and business skills, and showed limited understanding of non-media specialities in public relations. This limited understanding of public relations has been attributed to the portrayal of public relations in entertainment and by journalists in media articles (Spicer, 1993). Although the gap between perception and reality is not unique to public relations, it has the potential to affect the continued development of public relations as a management function. The employability of graduates must also be considered, especially in light of significant gaps found between desired and actual outcomes of entry level graduates in the opinions of practitioners and educators (Neff, Walker, Smith & Creedon, 1999).

This study explores the Australian perspective through a survey of more than 350 undergraduate students to identify their preferences for positions and workplace environments. The survey was administered in a first year public relations principles unit across four consecutive semesters in 2004 and 2005. The findings are significant to the development of teaching and learning approaches to engage public relations students and to prepare them for the diversity of careers in public relations.

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ID Code: 10135
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference’s web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500) > Marketing Communications (150502)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (The authors), ANZCA, and the University of Adelaide
Deposited On: 12 Oct 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 04:56

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