Where Biology Meets Business: Study Shows PR Best Practices Are Only Second Best

Written by Mike Krings


Within public relations, the standard practice of looking out for No. 1 and viewing relationships as sources of conflict and competition is defended by best-selling textbooks and a generation of research. A growing body of scientific evidence, however, supports a different vision of PR, a University of Kansas researcher has found. Discoveries in evolutionary biology and economics show that helping others and building mutually beneficial relationships can boost an organization’s reputation and build resources.

Charles Marsh, Oscar Stauffer Professor of Journalism & Mass Communications, has published a study analyzing the effectiveness of indirect reciprocity in evolutionary biology and economics. In essence, indirect reciprocity is the idea that party A helps party B, knowing that B cannot reciprocate or pay them back. They are then rewarded by party C, who has observed or learned of A’s treatment of B. Marsh has been building an interdisciplinary case for cooperation and justice as the better approach to building the resource-securing relationships that organizations need to survive and to flourish…READ MORE

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