Dr Petra Theunissen

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Associate Professor, Communication Studies (Public Relations)

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 extn 7854

Email: petra.theunissen@aut.ac.nz

Qualifications:

  • D.Phil (Communication Management)
  • MA (Communication) (cum laude)
  • BA (Hons)(Communication)
  • BA (Communication)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education

Memberships and Affiliations:

Editorial Review Boards

Memberships

  • International Communication Association (ICA)
  • National Communication Association (NCA)
  • Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (MPRINZ)
  • Asia Pacific Public Relations Research & Education Network (APPRREN)

Accreditation

  •  Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), Ako Aronui Pathway

Biography:

Born in the Netherlands, Dr Petra Theunissen has lived in Germany and South Africa before settling in New Zealand. She holds a D.Phil in Communication Management from the University of Pretoria, South Africa and an M.A. (Communication) with distinction from the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to joining AUT, Petra worked in public relations, management, consulting and education. Although her interests span across a  range of topics, she has a particular interest in dialogue, relationship development and social media in Public Relations. She is a published author, and has written and co-edited books, book chapters, peer reviewed journal articles and delivered conference papers on Public Relations and Communication. Her teaching and supervising philosophy is one of life-long learning and co-constructing knowledge through discussion.

Petra welcomes research that explores contemporary issues in Public Relations practice and theory.

Teaching Areas:

  • Public Relations (undergraduate and postgraduate)
  • People and Organisations
  • Supervision of dissertations and theses (Masters & Ph.D)

Research Areas:

  • Social media and technologies affecting Public Relations as a practice and discipline
  • Dialogue and dialogic communication
  • Relationships and relationship management
  • Public Relations theory and practice

Current Research Projects:

Dr Theunissen is currently researching dialogue, dialogic communication, relationships and the effect of technologies on Public Relations.

Research outputs:

Featured research outputs

  • Theunissen, P. (2018). Philosophy and ethics of engagement. In K. A. Johnston, & M. Taylor (Eds.), The handbook of communication engagement. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. doi:10.1002/9781119167600.ch4

  • Theunissen, P. S., & Sissons, H. A. (2017). Relationship building in public relations. New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from https://www.routledge.com/

  • Theunissen, P., Mersham, G., & Rahman, K. (2010). The New Media, Cultural Transformation, Tourism and Orientation. In Z. K. Uslu, & C. BİLGİLİ (Eds.), Media Reviews 2010. Broken Molds - 2: Intercultural Communication, Multicultural (pp. 279-310). Istanbul, Turkey: Beta.

  • Mersham, G., Theunissen, P., & Peart, J. (2009). Public Relations and Communication Management. An Aotearoa/New Zealand Perspective. Auckland: Pearson Education. Retrieved from http://www.pearson.com.au/

Books

Journal articles

  • Theunissen, P. (2019). Extending public relationship-building through the theory of politeness. Public Relations Review. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2019.05.005

  • Kent, M. L., & Theunissen, P. S. (2016). Elegy for mediated dialogue: Shiva the destroyer and reclaiming our first principles. International Journal of Communication, 10. Retrieved from http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/4571

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2015). The quantum entanglement of dialogue and persuasion in social media: Introducing the Per-Di Principle. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 23(1). doi:10.1080/15456870.2015.972405

  • Ott, L., & Theunissen, P. S. (2015). Reputations at risk: Engagement during social media crises. Public Relations Review, 41(1). doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.10.015

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2014). Co-creating corporate identity through dialogue: A pilot study. Public Relations Review, 40(3). doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.02.026

  • Theunissen, P., & Mersham, G. (2011). “New Zealand’s darkest day”. The representation of national grief in the media: the case of the Christchurch Earthquake.. Alternation. Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa, 18(2).

  • Theunissen, P., & Theunissen, C. A. (2008). New Zealand-based students' perceptions and use of the Internet as a communication tool and source of information. Communication Journal of New Zealand, 10(1).

Book chapters

  • Theunissen, P. (2018). Philosophy and ethics of engagement. In K. A. Johnston, & M. Taylor (Eds.), The handbook of communication engagement. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. doi:10.1002/9781119167600.ch4

  • Theunissen, P., Mersham, G., & Rahman, K. (2010). The New Media, Cultural Transformation, Tourism and Orientation. In Z. K. Uslu, & C. BİLGİLİ (Eds.), Media Reviews 2010. Broken Molds - 2: Intercultural Communication, Multicultural (pp. 279-310). Istanbul, Turkey: Beta.

  • Theunissen, P. (2007). Change management strategy. In E. Pio, & L. Gill (Eds.), Organisations and Management. Theory and Applications (pp. 73-89). Auckland: Pearson Education. Retrieved from http://www.pearsoned.co.nz/

Conference contributions

  • Cypher, J. M., Kent, M. L., Lane, A., Saffer, A., & Theunissen, P. (2018). Dialoguing about dialogue: enacting dialogue in social media and social settings. In National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • Kent, M. L., & Theunissen, P. (2018). Toward a theory of mediated dialogic communication. In National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • Theunissen, P. (2018). Extending public relationship-building and dialogue through the theory of politeness. In National Communication Association 104th Annual Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • Theunissen, P. (2018). The philosophy and ethics of (dis)engagement.. In International Communication Association 68th Annual Conference, 24-28 May 2018, Prague, Czech Republic.. Prague.

  • Bhargava, D., & Theunissen, P. S. (2017). The future of PR is ‘fantastic’, ‘friendly’ and ‘funny’: Occupational stereotypes and symbolic capital in intern and graduate job advertisements. In The Second Conference of the Public Relations Society of China & The Tenth International Forum on Public Relations and Advertising. Wuhan.

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2017). Politeness and civility as requirements for dialogue. In The Second Conference of the Public Relations Society of China & The Tenth International Forum on Public Relations and Advertising. Wuhan.

  • Theunissen, P. S., & Sissons, H. (2017). Social media as a site of relationship engagement: a philosophical approach. In Asia-Pacific Public Relations Research and Education Network (APPRREN) Roundtable Seminar. Bangkok.

  • Theunissen, P. S., & Sissons, H. (2016). Ambient power in public relations. In International Communication Association’s 66th Annual Conference. Japan.

  • Kent, M. L., & Theunissen, P. S. (2016). Strategic dialogue, rhetoric and the long now. In International Communication Association 66th Annual Conference. Fukuoka.

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2014). The quantum entanglement of dialogue and persuasion in social media:
    Introducing the Per–Di Principle. In 100th Annual National Communication Association. Chicago. Retrieved from http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/K/Michael.L.Kent-1/NCA2014/SocialMediaPanel.html

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2012). Future Directions of Building and Sustaining COMMunity Relationships Through Dialogue. In National Communication Association 98th Annual Convention. Orlando, Florida.

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2012). Dialogue vs. two-way symmetrical dialogue: Not two sides of the same coin…. In 98th Annual Convention, National Communication Association (NCA). Orlando, Florida. Retrieved from https://www.natcom.org/

  • Theunissen, P. S., & Rahman, K. (2012). Making choices in public relations planning: Are we reinforcing stereotypes?. In The Asian Congress for Media and Communication Journal Vol. 4 (pp. 87-106). Bangkok: Asian Congress for Media and Communication, Inc.. Retrieved from http://aut.researchgateway.ac.nz/handle/10292/4880

  • Theunissen, P. S., & Rahman, K. A. (2012). Making choices in public relations planning: Are we reinforcing stereotypes. In Asian Congress for Media and Communication. Bangkok.

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2011). The language of support: the case of the Christchurch earthquake. In 3rd New Zealand Discourse Conference. Auckland.

  • Theunissen, P. S. (2011). “Let’s have a dialogue”: The potential risks of dialogue for corporations. In The Journalism, Media and Democracy Conference. Auckland.

  • Theunissen, P. S., & Rahman, K. (2011). The art and science of dialogue in public relations practice. In Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Annual Conference. Rotorua. Retrieved from http://prinzconference.weebly.com/speakers-pg-2.html

  • Theunissen, P., & Rahman, K. (2010). Dialogue and two-way symmetrical communication in Public Relations theory and practice. In Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Annual Conference. Hamilton. Retrieved from http://www.anzca.net/component/content/article/92-anzca-2011.html

  • Theunissen, P., Theunissen, C., & Allan, M. (2007). Exploratory study into the perceptions of knowledge, knowledge sources and knowledge uses among students. In Bytes in the Bay. Napier.

Edited books/volumes

  • Mersham, G., Theunissen, P., & Peart, J. (2009). Public Relations and Communication Management. An Aotearoa/New Zealand Perspective. Auckland: Pearson Education. Retrieved from http://www.pearson.com.au/

Awards:

  • NCA 2015 PRIDE Article Award for Innovation, Development, and Educational Achievement in Public Relations for "Reputations at risk: Engagement during social media crises" published in Public Relations Review, 41(1)
  • 2014 George Hines Prize for a Special Edition on "Relationship management and Dialogue", PRism Journal
  • 2012 Dean’s Service Award for Contribution to the Faculty of Design & Creative Technologies for Service to the Faculty
  • 2008 RELT (Learning and Teaching) grant for Developing Podcasts for Public Relations Project