Generally accepted practices in communication in Canada: Comparative analysis, 2010-2015

Marc D. David (PhD, Université de Sherbrooke), Marie-Ève Carignan (PhD, Université de Sherbrooke), Nadège Broustau (PhD, Université du Québec à Montréal).

This document presents preliminary results of a survey conducted among Canadian communication professionals, aimed at identifying the evolution of generally accepted practices and better understanding the organizational context (in terms of strategy and execution), the stakeholders involved, as well as the dynamics guiding professional practices in communication in Canada.
 

This project follows a study conducted in 2010 as part of the annual research of the Strategic Public Relations Center of Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California (U.S.C), on generally accepted business practices in the public relations industry in the United States. Results obtained in 2015 in Canada are compared to those obtained 5 years ago in order to identify the profession's current trends and issues in a diachronic perspective.

The survey was conducted with the help of an online questionnaire (which took 12-15 minutes to fill) emailed to a sample group of 5,000 professionals between March and April 2015. Topics covered in the questionnaire included:

  • Personal information on the communications professional (including responsibility level)
  • Description of the organisation
  • Practice fields overlooked by communications
  • Communications structure and function within the organization
  • Human and financial resources
  • Communication planning and management process
  • Supplier relations
  • Performance measures and communication tools
  • Ethics and professional conduct among communication practitioners

Analysis of the data obtained this spring targets the evolution of practice under various angles: women's status within the profession, level of strategic involvement of communications in the organisation's decision making, evolution of the importance given to media relations and social media, skills perceived as requirements, etc. We also plan a SPSS analysis, as well as a more qualitative analysis.

Project results will give access to up-to-date data on the evolution of professional practices, which will benefit teachers and researchers as well as reflexive analysis with practitioners.

 

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Authors

Nadège Broustau, faculty member at the Department of social and public communication of the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM) and researcher at the Research Chair of Public Relations and Marketing Communication

Nadège Broustau is a professor at the Department of social and public communication of the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM) since June 2011, as well as director of the Caisse Chartier Press Analysis Laboratory and researcher at the Research Group about Journalism Mutations (GRMJ) and at the Research Chair of Public Relations and Marketing Communication. She has previously worked as a journalist, a web content editor, a consultant and a head of communications. She holds a Master degree in Information and Communication Sciences - Journalism from Université Bordeaux 3 (France), a Master degree in Public Communication from Université Laval and a Ph.D. in Public Communication and Political Journalism from the same University. She notably teaches Public Relations Writing, Media Relations, Social Media, Research Methodology. Her research interests mainly focus on the links between public relations and journalism, the evolution of the public communication professions, argumentation analysis in the media and media representations, public communication practices in the cultural and artistic sector.

Marc D. David, PhD, Professor of Communication, Université de Sherbrooke

Nadège Broustau is a professor at the Department of social and public communication of the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM) since June 2011, as well as director of the Caisse Chartier Press Analysis Laboratory and researcher at the Research Group about Journalism Mutations (GRMJ) and at the Research Chair of Public Relations and Marketing Communication. She has previously worked as a journalist, a web content editor, a consultant and a head of communications. She holds a Master degree in Information and Communication Sciences - Journalism from Université Bordeaux 3 (France), a Master degree in Public Communication from Université Laval and a Ph.D. in Public Communication and Political Journalism from the same University. She notably teaches Public Relations Writing, Media Relations, Social Media, Research Methodology. Her research interests mainly focus on the links between public relations and journalism, the evolution of the public communication professions, argumentation analysis in the media and media representations, public communication practices in the cultural and artistic sector.

Marie-Ève Carignan, Ph.D, Université de Sherbrooke

Marie-Eve Carignan, PhD, is a professor of information and public communication at the Department of Literature and Communications of the University of Sherbrooke. She is also co-director of Applied Communications graduate programs.

She holds a doctorate in Information Sciences and Communication from the Institut d'études politiques d'Aix-en-Provence and a doctorate in Communication from the joint PhD program of the University of Montreal, the University of Quebec at Montreal and Concordia University. She focuses her research on media content analysis, journalistic practices and ethics, risk and crisis communication, including war and terrorism, and public relations.

Over the last four years, Marie-Eve has worked for Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton as Director of Marketing, Communications and Business Development for the Montreal and National regions. Prior to that, Marie-Eve held the position of communications officer and analyst for the Quebec Press Council for over six years. The Council acts as a dispute resolution panel for the Quebec press industry. From 2009 to 2014, she also lectured at the University of Montreal where she contributed to the training of a great number of communications and media professionals.