High quality relationships between organizations and their key publics result in positive outcomes for organizations such as mutual understanding and benefits (Ledingham, 2006). Favorable perceptions of OPR lead to relational satisfaction, loyalty, positive organizational attitudes, and supportive behaviors (Grunig, Grunig, & Dozier, 2002; Ledingham, 2006; Ledingham & Bruning, 1998).
They also serve as a buffer against reputational damage among organizations going through crises by making publics more sympathetic to crisis response strategies (Park & Reber, 2011). In order to reap these benefits, OPRs must be cultivated and maintained. Bruning, DeMiglio, and Embry (2006) argued that developing mutually beneficial relationships is the key to building and sustaining high quality OPRs. Moreover, publics’ awareness of the existence of a relationship with an organization is an antecedent to positive relationship outcomes.
Communication is also a crucial part of building and maintaining OPR, as this process facilitates information exchange between organizations and their key publics. Broom and Dozier (1990) also suggested that the quality of OPR is determined by the degree to which an organization and its public agree on key issues, as well as how well one party can predict the other party’s position on those issues.
Organization-public relationship models
PR scholars have proposed models to conceptualize OPR theory. First, Broom et al. (1997) put forward a three-stage model consisting of relationship antecedents (which explain the reasons for the development of relationships with particular publics), relationship concepts (characteristics of exchanges, transactions, communications and other related activities), and consequences (identified as loss of autonomy/ dependence, goal attainment, and routine / conventional behavior)