Developing a Preliminary Model of Situational PR Leadership: Empirical Evidence from Singapore

Sapphire Lin, Suwichit Chaidaroon


Most public relations (PR) leadership studies identify leadership attributes without contextualization to the profession. The purpose of this study is to investigate specific functions and behaviors of PR leaders in relation to their professional contexts (i.e. routine or non-routine) and organizational positions (i.e. decision-making or not). Three online focus groups were conducted with twelve PR leaders in Singapore. Findings revealed that leadership for PR decision-making positions included being proponents of their organization’s values and mission under routine circumstances, and effective, empathetic and ethical spokespersons enforcing a consistent message under non-routine circumstances. Leadership for PR in non-decision-making positions included serving as advocates of the PR profession under routine circumstances, and organizational supporters ensuring a consistent message under non-routine circumstances. This study contributes to the current PR leadership literature as a preliminary model of situational PR leadership is proposed. Findings also confirm a growing need for PR leaders to be active in dominant coalitions, holding important position no lesser than leaders of other corporate functions.



public relations, leadership, situational, position, contingency

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