The role and functions of government public relations. Lessons from public perceptions of government
María José Canel Crespo and Nazareth Echart
(Complutense University of Madrid, Spain)
ABSTRACT: One of the questions to be addressed in public relations is that of how to measure the stakeholders’ perceptions of an organization. This paper applies this debate to government public relations: it analyzes public perceptions of the Spanish national government performance and its implications for governmental public relations. Results of a regression analysis show that in assessing governments, citizens are not only influenced by ideology but they also look at environmental conditions; other public policies (such as education and employment) load higher than economy in explaining overall government performance; and evaluation of different public policies shows that citizens attribute responsibilities exonerating the government from what they think is not of its responsibility or is out of its control. Based on these results, this research finally highlights the importance of understanding what drives the public image of governments and deals with some implications in the conceptualization and practice of government public relations.