Governmental Relations

Governmental Relations

Chapter Summary

Public relations management, just like communication arts, has the interest and the ability to design and present successful messages (Swann, 2010). The local, county, state, and federal municipalities are the levels of administration, in the government. They are responsible for the services and programs that individuals and business operate. The government to enforces the law and develops guidelines that govern how organizations and individuals interact and conduct business. In relation to public relations, the concern for the government is to establish and manage relationships that are beneficial both to the government and public.

In chapter 11, Patricia Swann talks about governmental relations, focusing on PR communication approaches employed by the government, in handling the public. The government’s actions and communications require trust in order to develop effective relationships essential for success in implementing government functions. Swann asserts that the government affects the public; therefore, it must keep them up-to-date with sufficient and timely information.

Case Studies

1) The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

Patricia Swann describes the Abu Ghraib case in three parts. Part one describes public affairs in relation to the scandal. Part two discusses government response and damage control, while part three discusses the on-ground response by the military officials. The case of Abu Ghraib places a prime focus on the White House and Department of Defense’s actions relating to the prisoner abuse scandal involving Abu Ghraib, an Iraqi prison.  The scandal surfaced through an expose by the news media.

In conclusion, the case study expresses the need for a planned and managed communication in crisis management. Whereas the white house and military’s investigative and corrective actions were appropriate, the military’s chain of command reporting policies did not respond in a timely manner. With the absence of pertinent and timely information, the government top level officials were unable to craft an effective and adequate communication response to the crisis.

2) Base Closings and Realignment

In the case, Patricia Swann places a focus on the closure and realignments of military installations. The case description provides a background analysis, including the possible, actual public relations tools for the program. Military installations provide a means for thriving for millions of people and communities living nearby military installations.

Therefore, closures and realignments create resounding impact on the communities. In this respect, the case provides a guide for enhancing proactive public relations between the base and its pertinent public. In summary, the case study emphasizes the significance of open, bipartisan communication in complex and crisis situations.

3) Welcome to Your New Job

In “Welcome to Your New Job”, Patricia Swann wants students to imagine that they are a newly appointed director responsible for public affairs, in a small city. The director takes up the new office when the city is under a series of crises related to city services. The problems are responsible for a couple of embarrassing situations as highlighted by the local media.

The city did not have a public affairs office before; hence, the city handled the crises incorrectly and inefficiently. The situation upsets the hard- working staff, concerned residents and business leaders.  In the case study, Patricia Swann wants the student (the new PR director) to design and present a public relations approach for the city and address the local news media.


Swann, P. (2010). “Public Relations Management. New York, NY: Routledge.

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