Shen, Hongmei & Fussell Sisco,Hilary (2015). PR professionals’ technology use: Emotional, financial, and professional ramifications. Public Relations Journal, 9(2), 1-17.  


This study examined Information and communication technologies (ICT) use by public relations practitioners and its influence on work-life conflict, income, and professional outlook through a random national survey (n = 820) of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) members. We found that practitioners primarily use direct media more than network-building media and visual media. ICT use (direct and visual media use) was a significant predictor of time-based work-life conflict. Some types of ICT use significantly enhance practitioners’ income and influence their professional outlook.


A random national survey (n = 820) of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) members was conducted.

Key Findings

  • Public relations practitioners are primarily using direct media (email, PDAs, and text messaging) more than network-building media and visual media in their jobs.
  • ICT use (direct and visual media use) was a significant predictor of time-based work-life conflict.
  • ICT use (except network-building media use) significantly enhances practitioners’ income.
  • Different components of ICT appeared to be significant determinants of both negative and positive professional outlook.

Implications for Practice

Organizations should evaluate their time demands of visual and direct media use to alleviate practitioners’ time-based work-life conflict. Also, the income-enhancing benefit of visual and direct media suggests that public relations job seekers may want to refresh their visual and direct media use skills, given the income-enhancing potential. Lastly, the use of network-building and direct media had a positive impact on public relations practitioners’ professional outlook. Organizations should encourage practitioners to use these ICT, specifically social media to grow their connections and build a stronger foundation to communicate with a larger audience. In contrast to these improvements to the practitioner, the use of visual media and direct media negatively impacted public relations professionals’ job. As practitioners adapt to a 24/7 connection to work activities, organizations may begin to expect this type of commitment from all practitioners, in turn, this could increase job dissatisfaction and occupational burnout.

Overall, organizations and public relations professionals should be cautiously optimistic about the integration of technologies in their professional lives. Practitioners should clearly understand the guidelines and policies that may accompany a work-related smartphone or social media account. Organizations should also manage their expectations of professionals’ availability and flexibility outside of work hours. ICT can provide both the practitioner and their organization/clients tremendous professional benefits but they must be wary of the stress that may accompany them as well.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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