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Successful PR through a Focus on Publics
Internal collaboration can build strong external relationships.
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 by Dr. Dan Eller

Dan EllerInternal company collaboration under the direction of the public
relations leader can foster
a productive environment in
an organization.

These collaborative efforts should be promoted by the
public relations leader and directed along through the entire organization.

Scholars and practitioners are finding collaboration within an organization builds a strong company team effort to act as an internal strength and helping to overcome external threats. As Adrianna Kezar (2006) noted in her research, "organizations are realizing the need to redesign for collaborative work based both on external challenges and pressure, and on the documented benefits of working in this manner" (p. 804).

This lack of collaboration can weaken an organization, and often leads to people working in silos. Patrick Lencioni (2006) noted that silos in an organization describe the departmental politics and territoriality that don't allow leaders to work as teammates, and "they waste resources, kill productivity, and jeopardize the achievement of goals" (p. viii).
Additionally Lencioni noted, “yet many organizations continue to let differences between personalities, units, and cultures create stalemates and silos" (p. 1). The public relations leader can facilitate a holistic organization based not on a decentralized workforce, but one where people work together inside the organization as a team instead of working independently in silos.
Collaboration and breaking down silos in an organization provides a work environment where the challenges of overcoming internal problems and finding create solutions can make an organization ultimately more effective working with others outside the organization.
Thomas (1976) concluded that collaboration is an assertive and cooperative style of conflict management that is a problem-solving approach where problems and conflicts are seen as challenges, and differences are confronted and ideas and information are shared where there is a concerted effort to find integrative solutions where everyone wins (as cited in Hoy and Miskel, 2008, p. 248).
By building a collaborative winning holistic team effort within an organization, the public relations leader is providing a platform for the organization to fully meet their goals. Furthermore, according to Hoy and Miskel (2008), “coalition building is the process of individuals banding together to achieve a common goal" (p. 241).
In conclusion, the organization can benefit from the effects of collaboration with regard to the public relations practitioner influencing the entire organization to work together and successfully reach their goals as a holistic team.


Hoy, W. K. & Miskel, C. G. (2008). Educational administration: Theory, research, and practice. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kezar, A. (2006). Redesigning for collaboration in learning initiatives: An examination of four highly collaborative campuses. The Journal of Higher Education, 77(5), 804-838.
Lencioni, P. (2006). Silos, politics, and turf wars: A leadership fable about destroying the barriers that turn colleagues into competitors. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Dr. Dan Eller holds a Doctorate in Education from the Gevirtz Graduate
School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara,
and is an Assistant Professor of Public Relations in the Journalism
Department at California Polytechnic State University.

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