The State of Public Diplomacy Research in the Public Relations Field

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Abstract

This study analyzes public diplomacy research in public relations scholarship through a content analysis of published articles between 1990 and 2022. It aims to understand the status of public diplomacy research and identify future research directions in the public relations field. Findings suggest that the field of public relations has the potential to contribute to the intellectual and practical development of public diplomacy. Relationship management theory was frequently applied to public diplomacy research and conceptual convergence of two disciplines was the most frequently researched category in the public relations field. This study also suggests that it might be time for scholars to move beyond normative theories of public relations and apply critical and postmodern theoretical approaches of public relations to inform public diplomacy practices. Findings also indicated how the public relations field can inform public diplomacy research through a variety of theoretical perspectives and methodologies. Future research recommendations are also offered.