Public Relations (PR) APA Paper Sample

Executive Summary
This report aims at examining various issues that faces the public relations department. The discussion draws attention to the what public relation is, its importance, McDonald’s stakeholders, and issues facing McDonald’s public and why they matter to the organisation. Further, it unearths the importance of public relation to any organisation regardless of it nature of business. It then concludes that it will be important for McDonald’s management to know that it is the productive image of an organization that makes other organizations individuals’ and communities conducts business with it.


Public relation has been existing in our midst as from the early 20th century; a formal and common practice that has been defined in numerous varying ways. The description keeps evolving along with public relations’ changing roles as well as technological development. The problems facing public relations are easier to tackle if they are well understood by McDonald’s public relations department. This report is aimed at looking at the issues that public relations undergoes while at the same time associating them with McDonald’s case in Tacoma. In doing so the report will concentrate on understanding what public relation is, its importance, McDonald’s stakeholders, and issues facing McDonald’s public and why they matter to the organisation. The report is limited to only issues that face public relations.

Definition of Public Relations

It is a formal and common practice, which has been defined in numerous varying factors such as time of description. This keeps evolving along with public relations’ changing roles as well as technological development. It has changed from the earliest model that gives an emphasis to press agent and publicity, while the modern characterizations slots in the models of “engagement” and “relationship building” (Dobson, 2004). A more modern and understandable definition states that “Public Relations are a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics” (Ledingham, 2003).
This definition simply slots in the fundamental concept of public relations as a communication process, which is strategic in nature and is inclined toward mutual beneficial of the relationship between the concerned parties (Dobson, 2004). The ‘process’ in itself emphasizes on the management functions responsible, while on the other hand, the relationship relates to public relations’ role, which is instrumental in bringing together the organization with members and their key stakeholders.

Importance of Public Relations in Organizations

Public relation profession involves more than just drafting press releases and constructing associations with major media representatives. This demands that they must be well versed with the attitudes and fears of customers, human resources, communal interest groups, and the public in order to institute and uphold accommodating working relationships among these groups. This is the reason that it is acknowledged as the foremost sustenance for any company or organization in the world today. It is evident that without the public goodwill, be it in service industry or product, it is not possible to survive due to the competitive nature (Bowen, 2004; Baker & Martinson, 2002). Many organizations in the world depend on the public trust in order to grow and survive since the public will deem it as a truly reliable organization. It is the productive image of an organization that makes other organizations individuals’ and communities conduct business with it. Such positive representation can only be achieved through many of years of providing excellence and should be communicated by means of good public relation.

Who are McDonald’s stakeholders?

In the early days in the life of a venture, it is vital to recognize all of the organizations and individuals who may affect the venture in different ways, and all those who may be affected by the existence of the venture. The simple definition of a “stakeholder” is any individual or organization that is keenly involved in a venture, or whose wellbeing may possibly be affected either in a positive manner or in negative manner by the implementation of the venture (Ipsos MORI, 2009). In most cases, stakeholders are classified as internal to the business or external. In most ventures, the community at large is an essential stakeholder to be well thought-out during the implementation and running of the venture. The same applies to McDonald’s `which has witnessed a lot of problems emanating from the community in Tacoma.

Any organisation regardless of position in the market place has its own shareholders. Stakeholder management has been acknowledged as a fundamental element of an organisation’s success (Ipsos MORI, 2009). Stakeholders engage in an important responsibility as campaigners, sponsors, associates and agents of change. This is because different stakeholder groups consider the level of authority they have on the business and the impact the organization’s performance has on them is an imperative element in prioritizing and harmonizing the diverse demands of these groups (Ipsos MORI, 2009). Stakeholder groups are also vital when coming to a decision on how the business will institute and sustain a discourse with the different groups of stakeholders to ensure there is continuous business prosperity. There are a number of stakeholders that McDonald’s have and they include Competitors, Employees, Professional associations, Government regulatory agencies, Prospective customers, Investors and Local communities just to name a few (Ipsos MORI, 2009). Many organizations are facing challenges emanating from their inability to report all types of coverage, whether by means of print media, online media, or social media.

Challenges Facing McDonald’s

McDonald’s plans to build a enormous 24/7 store and drive-through in Tacoma on the Dandenong ranges, which will lead to the demolition of local iconic structures on the site, in addition to placing it directly opposite the kindergarten and school (Garry, 2013). This has lead to massive protest from health experts and the public who are its stakeholders. The locals are of the opinion that since McDonald’s application was rejected by council instead of respecting the public wishes, McDonald’s has appealed the decision. Moreover, McDonald’s is using their enormous monetary and legal influence to intimidate their way into Tacoma town (Mark, 2013). Just as any other field, there are numerous public relation issues that face many organizations. They vary from improving social and digital skill, conflict of interest, changing media landscape and lack of commercial skills. This enormous change and upheaval have emerged in recent years. For instance, the availability of numerous channels of communication has made it difficult to adapt to the social and digital revolution. However, for many clients with minimal budget social media such as ‘Twitter and LinkedIn’ have become important aspect of public relation (Hessink, Bollen, & Steggink, 2007; Ledingham, 2003 and Wickham, 2006). These challenges have hindered the most important reponsibility of public relations, which is to transform McDonald’s so that it is more inclined towards their stakeholders’ desires and want.

McDonald’s Publics and Why Do They Matter

It is important to note that stakeholder are public. However, it should also be noted that not all publics are stakeholders. A good comparison of the above two phrases is that is also a key component in public relations efforts to comprehend that not the entire public is stakeholders (Baker & Martinson, 2002; Ipsos MORI, 2009 and Trent, 2006). This call for the revisiting of the meaning of stakeholders in simple terms, which states that Stakeholders are groups that have an authentic stakeholders in the business, which may include patrons, contributors, human resources, students, shareholders, and financiers among others. On the other hand, publics are considered as any faction that might have a common significance or standards in specified circumstances. However, they do not have any stake in the business (Melanie, 2007). Conversely, it is important to appreciate that it does not mean that the public certainly is not a powerful group in any business environment.
The public is more powerful to McDonald’s as compared to the stakeholder despite the fact that stakeholders have a stake at the business. It happens all the time that the public is in a position to do the most damage to holding back any business’s capability, or to achieving its objectives. This alone stresses on the important of the public it has the ability to taint other publics’ view of the McDonald’s brand.


The description evolves every so often based on changing roles of public relations as well as technological development. However, these do not affect the roles played by the public relations department. If more public relation experts focused on the main role of communication in form of a constructive dialogue, it is possible to overcome difficulties that many McDonald’s is facing in Tacoma. Public relation is important since it makes an organization to appear more reliable and responsible, thus, attracting the public who consists of it clientele. It will be important for McDonald’s management to appreciate the productive image of an organization is what causes other organizations, individuals, and communities to conduct business with it.


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