Knowledge workers in the public relations industry

Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” in the late 1950’s, but it is even more relevant in today’s society, with the digital convergence, people are getting more access to knowledge and information, as such news through social media.

We can now read Shakespeare on the Internet with translations and explanations instead of having to hire it out from the library and read it. We are now in a world were instant gratification is key, and our thirst for knowledge is unrestrained once when we wanted to learn a language we had to get classes, now we can simply download an app, podcast or online book with video classes and put it on our laptops, tablets or phones.

As apart of today’s society we are all in tune with digital media, we pitch a fit if there isn’t any internet access or our phone dies, but this reliance on technology while having negative effects has an extremely positive effect on the Public relations industry.

Being on of the fastest growing industries in the world thanks to the increase of digital media, Public Relations is one of the many professions that heavily relies on knowledge workers to adapt and grow their industry. As little as 30 years ago public relations was a vastly different field, with many people believing what they saw in movies or on television, with very few people actually knowing what it is we did, now there is an even bigger and better understanding, however this knowledge isn’t the only thing that has changed in the PR industry.

The tactics have had to be adapted with the ever-increasing globalization of the world, along with the increase in knowledge it was essential that industries related to the media can adapt and learn. Traditionally PR professionals needed good writing skills, communication skills, media relations be proactive and have strong work ethic and attention to details, but not they are also expected to know about blogging, social networking, search engines, coding and social media ethics to name a few. (Fleet, D, 2009) The roles have evolved with the evolution of the Internet and digitalization and convergences off digital platforms, if public relations professionals weren’t knowledge workers than they wouldn’t have adapted.  It can even be argued that Public relations is one of the most important knowledge worker industries, with typical roles of a knowledge worker being explained in the video below.

Knowledge workers are therefore summed up as being people that go above and beyond just doing what they are told, they ask why? So why does this apply to the public relations industry? Within the knowledge economy which is dominated by the increase and thirst for knowledge along with the increasing globalization of the current world society that is contributing to the growth of the knowledge worker it is vitally important therefore that the public relations industry be at the forefront, along with medicine, journalism, media, law and politics are all sectors that have been traditionally associated with thinkers, now thinking and a thirst for knowledge is now an essential skill, no longer a bonus but a requirement.

In public relations it is essential that you can adapt, and know what is happening, what is the latest in social media technology? What trends will affect public relations in terms to digital advancements, trends in society, and trends in knowledge learning. It is essential to keep ahead of the trends, to keep learning and keep ahead of the digital world, particularly when the world is becoming and ever increasing integrated digital society. Public relations therefore fits perfectly into the knowledge economy, they are in the business of telling people about their clients, about messages they need to know. As such public relations can most definitely be considered as apart of the knowledge economy of the ever-increasing globalized world.



Breakenridge, C. (n.d.). social media knowledge skills and abilities . Retrieved Feb 17, 2014, from PRSA:

Brinkley, I. (n.d.). defining the knowledge economy. Retrieved Feb 17, 2014, from

Fleet, D. (2009, August 25). 14 key skills and attributes for new public relations professionals . Retrieved Feb 18, 2014, from conversations at the intersection of communications, pr and social media :

Houghton, J., & Sheehan, P. (2000, February). A primer on the knowledge economy. Retrieved February 17, 2014, from

Naughton, J. (2013, Feb 17). Digital capitalism produces few winners. Retrieved Feb 17, 2014, from the guardian :

Powell, W., & Snellman, K. (2004, Feb 20). The knowledge economy . Retrieved Feb 17, 2014, from

Rosen, E. (2011, Jan 11). Every woker is a knowledge worker. Retrieved Feb 17, 2014, from Bloomberg Business:

what people think pr people do . (2012, Feb 16). Retrieved feb 17, 2014, from PR daily :

Wynne, R. (2011, June 15). A little knowledge about PR and advertising can save you a lot of money . Retrieved Feb 17, 2014, from Forbes :


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