Dr. Dan Eller
is defined by Rubin (2002) as an activity "creating a context
and decision in which others choose to work with you toward a
shared goal" (p. 11). Public relations leaders should use
collaboration in their practice of public relations.
In defining what distinguishes collaborative leaders from
other types of leaders, Rubin (2002) noted that
collaborative leaders are distinguished by the bridges they
build; bridges that individuals willingly cross, connecting
their personal needs and motives with a shared public
purpose, and the work that they do with others whose
coordinated alliance can help them do it better, faster,
more easily, more enduringly, more efficiently, with bigger
impact, with broader ownership, or with higher meaning (p.
The public relations practitioner can use collaboration to
build a strong public relations team. According to Stein and
Short (2001), leaders have realized that collaboration helps
participants "make use of each other's talents to do what
they either could not have done at all or as well alone" (as
citied in Wildavsky, 1986, p. 237). Furthermore, Hoff (1999)
concluded, "the sharing of information by a comprehensive
system of communication is probably one of the strongest and
most effective modes of empowering people within any
organization" (p. 323).
Glass and Jackson (1998) regarding the collaborative
development team concluded, "the development team has two
functions, completing the task and maintaining effective
collaborative relationships" (as citied in Bolman and Deal,
1991; Johnson and Johnson, 1995). Maintaining these
collaborative relationships with stakeholders provide a
platform where the team’s public relations efforts can grow
in a sustainable environment.
The lack of collaboration or team work can create
organizational politics that as Hoy and Miskel (2008)
stated, "inevitably produce conflict" (p. 246). 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). Furthermore, according to
Hoy and Miskel (2008), coalition building is the process of
individuals banding together to achieve a common goal" (p.
Finally, collaboration allows internal and external publics
to build successful and sustainable long-term relationships
with the public relations leader and his/her team.
Ultimately, this will allow the public relations
practitioner to create a winning environment.
Glass, J. C. & Jackson, K. L. (1998). A new role
for community college presidents: Private fund
raiser and development team leader. Community
College Journal of Research and Practice, 22(6),
Hoff, K. S. (2004). Leaders and managers:
Essential skills required within higher
education. Higher Education, 38(3), 311-331.
Hoy, W. K. & Miskel, C. G. (2008). Educational
administration: Theory, research, and practice.
New York: McGraw-Hill.
Rubin, H. (2002). Collaborative Leadership:
Developing effective partnerships in communities
and schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press,
Stein, R. B. & Short, P. M. (2001).
Collaboration in delivering higher education
programs: Barriers and challenges. The Review of
Higher Education, 24(4), 417-435.
Dr. Dan Eller
holds a Doctorate in Education from
the Gevirtz Graduate
School of Education at the University of California, Santa
and is an Assistant Professor of Public Relations in the
Department at California Polytechnic State University.
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