This thesis attempts to better understand the importance and application of the personal influence model in relationship building between organizations and public decision makers. The personal influence model was added by Sriramesh and Grunig (1992) as a potential fifth model to Grunig and Hunt's (1984) four models of public relations practice (as cited by Grunig in Heath, 2007); however, this essential relationship building approach has not been examined in the public relations literature as it could have been. Scholarly research since the addition of the personal influence model has mostly occurred in Asia and India. Studies on the topic have been published in just a few instances in the United States. Furthermore, the studies have largely focused on internal communication or on exclusively domestic contexts, with no attempts to extend the examination to organizations that necessarily practice relationship building across national boundaries. This study seeks to contribute to the public relations literature based on the personal influence model by examining the practice of this model outside of Asia, in a global, non-profit religious organization that is headquartered in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter referred to as LDS Church). For three decades this global organization has implemented and emphasized the building and nourishing of one-on-one relationships with civic leaders and key decision makers across nations. This research will also examine the impact of such practices. The method chosen for this study is a qualitative exploration through personal interviews with ten public affairs practitioners of the organization, from both domestic and international arenas. The practitioners of this entity have accumulated decades of combined experiences in cultivating the personal influence model.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Communications



Date Submitted


Document Type





personal influence, interpersonal communication



Included in

Communication Commons