DUE: by 10 a.m., Wed., Dec. 9, 2009

FORM: hard copy to instructor’s mail box

This 100-point final exam consists of 5 short answer/multiple choice questions (worth 5 points each) and three written case study analysis questions worth 25 points each.

Case Study Scenario 1 ( 25 points)

In Chapter 7, the concept of ecology as applied to public relations suggests that organizations and others in their environments are interdependent, and that public relations’ essential role is to help organizations adjust and adapt to change in their environments. This is an extension of the PR function that continually scans and interprets the internal and external environments to look for issues and opportunities in an effort to build and enhance mutually beneficial relations with key publics. Refer to the systems concepts in Chapter 7 and our previous ethics discussions (Chapter 5) to evaluate the following case study. Include page number notations for specific concepts that you cite and include the questions in your analysis.

You are the director of public relations for a hospital. You learn that one of your staff physicians is an impostor. He has a high school education, but no college or medical school preparation. He has delivered babies, set bones, sutured wounds, written prescriptions, etc. His skills appear to be sufficient enough to have fooled hospital officials, his fellow medics at the hospital, his colleagues in medicine generally, the American Medical Association, the state medical society, and the county medical society. When confronted with the evidence, he admits to being an impostor, but points to his unblemished record of patient care.

  1. Which systems guidelines appear to be most appropriate for this scenario?
  2. Which ethical guidelines are most appropriate to keep in mind while preparing and implementing a plan for this case?
  3. Which action provides the most open and responsive means of repairing the hospital’s relations with the impostor’s patients?
  4. Do you have any additional thoughts not covered by these questions?

Case Study Scenario 2

Chapter 11 focuses on defining the public relations problem through the use of effective research methods. Refer to this chapter to evaluate the following case study. Include page number notations for specific concepts that you cite and include the questions in your analysis.

You are public relations manager for the economic development commission in your city. The city’s Department of Waste Management has announced plans to open a new landfill in the rural hills seven miles from the city. The department’s “Environmental Impact Report” states that there will no danger to nearby residents or to the ground water in the area, but offers little solid evidence on which to base this conclusion. Opponents point out that this claim is unscientific conjecture.

  1. Assuming that you have an adequate budget, what would you do to research the problem?
  2. How would you present your findings to upper management to maximize acceptance of your key messages?
  3. If your research confirms that the danger to citizens and the ground water is not substantial and that the economic boost will be even more significant than originally claimed, how would you proceed?
  4. Do you have any additional thoughts not covered by these questions?

Case Study Scenario 3

In Chapter 13, Harold Burson notes that public relations has evolved from helping clients/management decide “what to say” to deciding “what to do.” Now, all organizations need public relations, first to help determine what to do, and then to work out what to say and how to say it. Action strategy typically includes changes in an organization’s policies, procedures, products, services, and behavior. It is based on knowing how an organization’s outputs contribute to public relations problems. It also concentrates on adjustment and adaptation within the organization. Communication strategy supports the action by: 1) informing internal and external publics of the action, 2) persuading those publics to support and accept the action, and

3) instructing publics in skills needed to translate intention into action. Communication must be targeted to specific audiences and framed appropriately to achieve desired results. Refer to Chapter 13 to evaluate the following case study. Include page number notations for specific concepts that you cite and include the questions in your analysis.

The manager of a Twin Oaks Hotel refused to book a reception for participants in a regional Special Olympics to be held in his city. A local television reporter was informed and contacted the manager for a statement. The resulting sound bite showed the manger saying, “I can’t be responsible for the safety of so many handicapped people in the hotel,” as he slammed the door to his office in the reporter’s face. It was the lead story on both the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. local news shows.

The station’s national network picked up the story, so stations in many other cities where Twin Oaks Hotels are located also broadcast the segment. By the third day, the hotel chain had received thousands of protest letters, e-mail messages, and phone calls—including threats to cancel conventions, reservations for rooms, banquets, and wedding receptions.

As director of corporate public relations for the Twin Oaks Hotel chain, you were understandably alarmed when you saw the network story and witnessed the response from across the nation. Your CEO asks you to study the situation and to counsel him on how to respond.

  1. Even without knowing all the details, which strategy best represents how you would begin the hotel chain’s response to the crisis?
  2. What type of action-communication programs would you expect to produce the best long-term results? (Keep in mind the open system model in Chapter 7 as you think about the elements of your program.)
  3. Who are your key audiences in this case and what would be your key messages?
  4. Do you have any additional thoughts not covered by these questions?

Multiple Choice/Short Answer – Please read the following questions carefully as they are multiple-answer questions. Each is worth 5 points.

1. In contrast to what many organizations and their associations do, the California Pistachio Commission (the growers) asked the Agriculture Department to apply tighter standards and to increase inspections to ensure product safety when increased levels of mold were found in their product. What best describes the industry’s approach? Why?

A.Open systems approachD.Morphogenesis in practice

B.Reactive public relationsE.Cybernetic control system

C.Functional public relations

2. A helicopter operated by a metropolitan police department crashes, injuring the two policemen aboard and damaging a home. It crashes in a minority neighborhood, prompting speculation that this is yet another example of the oft–repeated charge that the police department does most of its patrolling in that community. You are the public relations officer for the police department.

Which of the following is the best way of handling this crisis? Explain your reasoning.

A.Don’t do or say anything until you have all the facts.

B.Announce that the department is looking into the possibility of suing the company making the helicopter.

C.Issue a news release, describing the technical problem that caused the crash using the technical language of the department’s consulting engineer.

D.Meet with neighborhood groups, reminding them that the police have to patrol their neighborhood more than most because the crime rate in the area is the highest in the metropolitan area.

E.Follow the crisis communication plan which identifies the steps necessary to gather the facts, put a crisis team into place, and take appropriate action.

3. The fourth element of the foundational PR process is evaluation of the program and communicating the findings to enhance future programs and the PR work being done in an organization. Sometimes, however, the evaluation does not meet expectations. Identify and describe three possible explanations for why the expected impact of a program may not be detected in the evaluations.

4. The book authors identify 10 ways that PR practitioners can “sell” evaluation research and increase the chances that it will be accepted by an organization’s management. Of these 10 recommendations, choose the three recommendations you think have the most merit and explain why.

5. Throughout the semester, the differences in goals for internal versus external publics has been discussed. Which one of the following is typically NOT a goal of employee publications? Justify your choice.

A. Informing employees about the organization’s strategy and goals

B. Providing employees information they need to perform their assignments

C.Encouraging employees to maintain and enhance the organization’s standards

D.Providing a direct vehicle for employee “whistle blowers” to report abuses

E.Recognizing employees’ achievements and successes