Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
School of Communication
John R. Baldwin
In our globalized world, becoming aware of the interdependence between public relations and culture becomes more and more important. This cross-cultural study combines an emic and etic approach to explore how PR practitioners in two individualistic countries, the United States of America and Germany, experience and perceive the impact of culture on their practice, specifically the development of campaigns. To understand the broader image, the study incorporates Hofstede’s (2009) cultural dimensions; to examine similarities and differences in terms of cultural nuances, the study relates to Spitzberg’s (2015) intercultural communication competence. The participants consisted of sixteen male and female PR practitioners working for corporate, agency, and non-profit organizations, with eight respondents from each of the two countries. Results from qualitative one-on-one in-depth interviews reveal that participants in both countries perceive that the organizational culture of the companies that they are working for affect the PR practice, specifically the development of campaigns, more than national cultural values. The results from United States participants, in terms of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, align more than those of Germans with higher masculinity, more uncertainty avoidance, and less long-term orientation, which contradicts extant research. All participants agreed on digitalization and social media being the most influential elements on the development of campaigns, with these simultaneously being beneficial and introducing the challenges of globalization. All of the American and only a few of the German respondents showed motivation for becoming more interculturally competent. The findings demonstrate the need for more cross-cultural education and training in both countries.
Schmidt, Leila, "A Cross-cultural Comparison of Perceptions by Public Relations Practitioners in the United States and Germany" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 885.