Rethinking Internal Public Relations: Organizations and Publics as Community Members

Hongmei Shen, Hua Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This essay connects the community-building approach, embedded in responsive communitarianism, with internal public relations. By integrating principles of the community perspective with components of current scholarship in internal public relations, we reposition internal public relations as a community-building function. We introduce seven tenets of internal public relations from the community approach, including but not limited to communitarianism being the philosophical foundation, creationand dissolution of internal communities, the importance of solidarity, and principles of community development–cultivating members’ individual agency, committing to agreed-upon rules and core communal values, and balancing individual rights and common good. We also explain how conducting research on internal public relations from a community approach enhances community agency, internal relationships, internal communication, globaland intercultural community building, and methodological diversity. We hope to further stimulate theoretical dialog in internal public relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-428
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Public Relations Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021


  • Internal public relations
  • agency
  • communitarianism
  • community building
  • community relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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