Skip to main content

Career strategies in public relations: constructing an original tapestry paradigm.

Yaxley, H., 2017. Career strategies in public relations: constructing an original tapestry paradigm. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

Full text available as:

YAXLEY, Heather Marie Liddiment_Ph.D._2017.pdf



The thesis constructs a new ‘tapestry paradigm’ to offer an original contribution towards understanding of career strategies in public relations. It addresses a lack of academic research into careers within the occupation and sits at the intersection of critical consideration of professionalisation of public relations and emerging theories in the field of career studies. Narrative inquiry from the viewpoint of a visible insider sheds new light on how public relations careers have developed to date, and may develop in future. Whilst not its primary focus, the thesis considers career implications of increased feminisation of the occupation and responds to calls for greater research into the intersection of work and family lives in that context. An historical perspective underpins the thesis by exploring the origins of public relations careers and researching the career experiences of female practitioners during the 1970s and 1980s. Investigation of contemporary career strategies involves a series of twenty-one in-depth, oral interviews with British-based mid-career practitioners using an innovative visual timeline technique. This is supported by bricolage archival research to situate the participants’ experiences in a wider historical and social context. Examination of career development processes and practices is undertaken using a conceptual framework that connects social cognitive and career construction theories. A constructivist philosophy with an interpretive approach is adopted using qualitative methods to understand research participants’ lived experiences. Analysis of the research findings reveals four original theoretical constructs: knotted patterns of mobility; fluidity in career middleness; multi-layered, polyphonic sense making; and a non-linear, kairotic element of time. Construction of a new tapestry paradigm supports the identification of career strategies within public relations as being opportunistic, agentic and rhizomatic. This paradigm confronts the dominant professionalisation perspective within public relations scholarship and practice of an implicit chronological, hierarchical career system predicated on individualistic characteristics and behaviours. It accommodates jurisdictional and definitional challenges to the occupation and enables understanding of individual and collective career experiences within public relations at the micro (individual), meso (organizational/occupational) and macro (societal) levels.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:career strategies; public relations; tapestry paradigm
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:29913
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:25 Oct 2017 10:24
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:04


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -