McKie, David and Willis, Paul (2012) Renegotiating the terms of engagement: Public relations, marketing, and contemporary challenges. Public Relations Review, 38 (5). pp. 846-852. ISSN 0363-8111

Territorial disputes between public relations and marketing are nothing new. At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, Hutton (2010) refocused them as a matter of survival in the face of marketing attempts “to include or subsume much or all of public relations” (p. 509). In addition to aligning with his call to resist marketing imperialism, this article seeks to renegotiate traditional turf wars between the two fields through a review of recent significant marketing books. Advocating a complexity-based perspective, it argues that evolving disciplines, like evolving species, need to respond not only to each other but also to the wider environment and that requires cooperation as well as competition. It also draws on complexity thinking as a resource for improving disciplinary intersections and for adapting to the uncertain and turbulent conditions of the present.


► We focus on the relationship between public relations and marketing. ► We seek to renegotiate traditional turf wars between the two fields. ► We advocate for a complexity based perspective. ► We highlight disciplinary intersections and opportunities for adaptation. ► We highlight the dangers of forced integration and imperialism.

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