Su Lin YEO

Asian Multiculturalism in Communication: Impact of Culture in the Practice of Public Relations in Singapore

Co-author: Augustine Pang

This study aims to understand the role of cultural values in influencing public relations practice in Singapore. Given that Singapore exhibits a hybrid of cultures, it purposes to comprehend how multiculturalism is operationalized and to uncover if the values that have a greater influence on organizational communication resemble those in individualistic or collectivistic societies. Using Gudykunst’s (1998) seven dimensions that influence individualism-collectivism on communication as a guide, it interviews 20 public relations practitioners in Singapore.

Findings showed that although the patterns expressed is slightly more consistent with those found in collectivistic cultures, it does not resemble collectivism in entirety. Multiculturalism in Singapore displays a blend of certain cultural hybridity which is aligned with it being a multicultural cosmopolitan capitalist city which embodies western modernity while retaining its Asian values. This could be attributed to an overarching operating culture that pervades all strata and fabric of life in Singapore.


Su Lin YEO is Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication (Practice) for the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at the Singapore Management University (SMU). She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technology University. Her primary research interests include crisis communication and image recovery, corporate reputation and health communication.


YEO has won top paper awards at leading international conferences, and has received seven research grants from the time she was a PhD candidate. Recently she was recognised on the Dean’s Teaching Honour List at the Business School in SMU, where she teaches a range of communication modules from undergraduate to postgraduate.

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