The second day of the 20th International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) offers a rich agenda again with important topics of great interest to communication professionals at large and to internal communication professionals as well. We are particularly looking forward to the results of the Delphi study identifying standards for internal communication, also recognized by the Institute for Public Relations W. Ward White Awards for Top Two Papers of Practical Significance.
As we did for the first day of the Conference, we gathered below the research discussion paper abstracts that will be discussed between researchers and practitioners today. You can follow the Conference on Twitter via hashtag #IPRRC, and on Facebook.
Research Discussion Paper Abstracts to be discussed Friday, March 10th
Timothy Penning High Performance Corporate Communication Teams: Views of Top CCOs
High Performance Corporate Communication Teams: Views of Top CCOs
Mark Bain, Upper 90 Consulting, and Timothy Penning, Grand Valley State University
In-depth interviews with 14 top corporate communications officers (CCOs) reveal how they value and define “high performance” for business overall and the communication function specifically. The study also delves into the factors that drive and impede high performance on corporate communication teams. Individual, team and organizational themes emerged.
Katy L. Robinson and Patrick D. Thelen What Makes the Grapevine So Effective?
What Makes the Grapevine So Effective?
Katy L. Robinson and Patrick D. Thelen University of Florida
This study recognizes existing relationship management theory research to encompass the establishment of organizational-employee relationships and aims to advance research to include peer-to-peer relationships in the internal communication function through the dimensions of interpersonal relationships. It expands the theory of organizational-peer relationships to include peer-to-peer relationships offers broader study to a rich and powerful communication tool, the grapevine, an informal peer-to-peer communication network.
The Space Between Students and Campus Police: Revisiting Co-Orientation in the Context of Unrest and Crime Alerts
Taylor Lutz and Melanie Formentin, Towson University
This study uses a coorientational model to examine the impact of current events and changing emergency alert systems on the relationship between students and campus police. Interviews with officers and focus groups with students suggest a state of false consensus regarding perceptions of training, usefulness of alerts, and officer abilities.
Does Engaged Publics’ Evaluation of Networking Practices Matter? The Effects of Polarized Attitudes and the Reputation of Networking on Publics WOM Behaviors
Jisu Kim, Keonyoung Park, and Hyejoon Rim, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities
The study examines how polarized attitudes toward PETA and the organization’s perceived ability to network with its stakeholders can shape trends in WOM behavior on social media. Given the importance of strengthening relationships with the engaged public, the study pays particular attention to the engaged public’s evaluation of the organization’s networking practices.
We Can Do Good Too: Examining Oil and Gas Companies’ Social Media CSR Messages and Their Impact on Public Perception and Engagement Alan Abitbol, University of Dayton, Judson Meeks and R. Glenn Cummins, Texas Tech University
We assess the extent to which oil and gas companies communicate about their CSR practices via Facebook and how online stakeholder engagement is affected. We examine the impact of the message’s topic and language on the number of likes, shares, and comments and the type and tone of the comments.
Exploring Effects of Pre- and Post-Crisis CSRs on Reputation Restoration
Hyun Jee Oh, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong and Jeesun Kim, Incheon National University, South Korea
CSR authenticity has multiple dimensions such as truthfulness, facts, honesty, genuineness, and trustworthiness. By comparing the effect of proactive and reactive CSR activities in crisis situation, this study explores which aspects of perceived authenticity are more susceptible than others so that PR practitioners can use them in after-crisis CSR activities.
Studying Social and Digital Media Use in Public Relations Practice: An Annual Longitudinal Analysis Donald K. Wright, Boston University, and Michelle Hinson, University of Florida
This paper reports on the results of a 12-year longitudinal analysis trend study of more than 5,500 public relations practitioners. Findings confirm that the use of social media has increase each year. Results from 2017 include benchmark comparisons of those who practice public relations—and an analysis of how these opinions have changed during the past 12 years.
Deploying Image Repair Strategies for Multiple Publics with Competing Interests: a Content Analysis of Facebook’s News Feed FYI Series Abdulaziz Muqaddam, Michigan State University
This paper is about Facebook employment image-maintenance strategies regarding the issue of its news feed algorithm. The two issues this paper examines are: First, How micro-customization news benefit advertisers, but it isolate users into filter bubbles. Two, how could the newsfeed system filter out spam and hoaxes, or “fake news.” The research used thematic content analysis on the posts related to these two issues, focusing on how end-users versus advertisers were addressed differently.
Juan Meng and Bruce K. Berger Preparing Future Communication Leaders
Preparing Future Communication Leaders: Understand Millennial Communication Professionals Better by Filling the Perceptual Gaps Full Study here Juan Meng, University of Georgia, and Bruce K. Berger, University of Alabama
We designed two online surveys to obtain two national audience panels to explore talent management approaches to attract, engage, develop, retain, and gain from millennial communication professionals. Significant perceptual gaps were found. We also discussed implications on how to help prepare these young professionals for leadership in the field.
Finn Frandsen and Winni Johansen Methodological Consequences of a Multivocal Approach to Crisis Communication
Methodological Consequences of a Multivocal Approach to Crisis Communication: Network pictures and digital methods Finn Frandsen and Winni Johansen, Aarhus University, Denmark
The aim of this paper is to compare and evaluate two new methodological approaches which share the ambition to go beyond the “methodological individualism,” and to demonstrate how crisis communication can profit from these new approaches.
Kaisa Pekkala and Vilma Luoma-aho Looking Back, Looking Forward: From Spokespersons to Employee Advocates
Looking Back, Looking Forward: From Spokespersons to Employee Advocates
Kaisa Pekkala and Vilma Luoma-aho, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
This conceptual paper focuses on evolutionary stages of employee advocacy from orators to spokespersons and beyond. We compare these through the factors of ownership of voice and message content. The paper explains the contributions of each stage to present day public relations and helps predict future direction of the profession.
William D. Nowling and Mi Rosie Jahng
Agenda Building of Public Official Communication in the Pre-Crisis Stage of the Flint, Michigan Water Contamination William D. Nowling, Finn Partners, and Mi Rosie Jahng, Wayne State University
Exploring the process prior to the 2015 Flint water crisis, this paper seeks to examine how local officials made the case to move to Detroit water system to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). Based on agenda building, an exploratory content analysis examined how local officials utilized public communication efforts to build the agenda around the local news coverage.
Gendered Leadership in Crisis Contexts: Exploring the Intersections of Discourse of Renewal and Ethic of Care Shoaa Almalki, St. Mary’s University This study examines GM ignition switch crisis to explore the intersections of discourse of renewal theory, ethic of care, and gendered leadership, and apply findings from that analysis to draw new insights about the glass cliff effect.
PR Managers in Japanese Corporations: A Preliminary Study on How Life-Long Employment System Affects PR/Communication Function
Junichiro Miyabe, Hokkaido University, Japan, and Koichi Yamamura, TS Communication, Japan PR managers in Japanese corporations assume that PR post is one of the diversified steps of career development within a company. The situation in Japan seems quite different from that of the US. Based on these observations, our research focuses on how life-long employment and job rotation affect operation of PR department. We will present results of our preliminary study.
Right to Know as a Foundation for Ethical Practice: A Reinterpreted and Expanded Public Relations Code of Ethics Michael J. Palenchar, University of Tennessee, and Bernardo Motta, University of South Florida—St. Petersburg This paper examines that while community right to know mirrors public relations ethics codes, the field falls short of its basic philosophy and tenets. Ultimately right to know as an ethical foundation for public relations moves current ethics codes beyond the sovereignty of consumer choice and concepts such as transparency.
Sean Williams and Julie O’Neil A Delphi Study to Identify Standards for Internal Communication (Photo Credit Institute for Public Relations)
A Delphi Study to Identify Standards for Internal Communication
Julie O’Neil, Texas Christian University, Michele Ewing, Kent State University, Stacey Smith, Jackson, Jackson & Wagner, and Sean Williams, Communication AMMO
[Institute for Public Relations W. Ward White Awards for Top Two Papers of Practical Significance]
Researchers from an international task force conducted a two-round Delphi study with a purposive sample of internal communication thought leaders to identify internal communication standards. This paper describes those findings and defines standards that practitioners can use to measure internal communication in a consistent and comparable manner—the goal of standardization.
Looking Back: Exploring ‘On-the-Job’ Moral Development of Public Relations Professionals
Katie R. Place, Quinnipiac University This study applied Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development to understand how moral growth of PR employees takes place. It fills the dearth of knowledge regarding how PR practitioners evolve as moral individuals and how organizations cultivate moral development. Participants described their moral development as cultivated via ethical decision making, exposure to industry ethical standards, ethical industry mentors.
Cross-national Conflict Shifting and MNC-government Bargaining: GlaxoSmithKline Bribery Scandal Revisited Tianduo Zhang, University of Florida The study explores GSK’s bribery scandal in China in the context of MNC-government bargaining. The study provides practical insights into how companies can improve government relations and take advantage of government policy-making while remaining compliant with changing political norms in China’s since Xi’s anti-corruption campaign.
The Sorry State of Social Media: Analyzing Public Apologies
Jean Kelso Sandlin and Monica Gracyalny, California Lutheran University
Evidence suggests social media functions on an interpersonal level, yet public relations image repair strategies are based on a mass media model. Using image repair strategies from both theoretical frameworks, this study examined behaviors of public figures apologizing on social media, and associations of audience perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness.
Examining the Role of Social Presence and Information Source for Strategic Crisis Communication via Social Media Soojin Roh, Syracuse University An online experiment tested impacts of perceived social presence and information source on public responses towards a corporate crisis. Heightened social presence predicted less negative emotion, positive credibility assessment, and greater likelihood of crisis action acceptance. Crisis infoTMrmation delivered by a third party information elicited greater indignation among participants.
From Ethical Responsibility Crisis Perceptions to Product Evaluations: Spillover Effect of an Employee Mistreatment Crisis Seoyeon Kim, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and EunHae (Grace) Park, University of Missouri
The current study, as an attempt to explore effects of CSR crises, hypothesized that a reputational crisis caused by employee mistreatment (versus product-related crises) would generate a) negative corporate reputation, b) consumer retaliatory actions against company, and c) negative corporate ability perceptions. All of the three hypotheses were fully or partially supported.
Putting Out Fires: How Communication Professionals Understand and Practice Conflict Resolution
Putting Out Fires: How Communication Professionals Understand and Practice Conflict Resolution
Kenneth D. Plowman, Brigham Young University, and Susan D. Allen, Johns Hopkins University Do communication professionals fill the role of negotiators and conflict resolvers within their organizations? In this study practitioners experienced most conflict within teams and other internal audiences, practiced conflict avoidance rather than conflict engagement, understood individual level factors as major contributors to conflict, and avoided digital channels in conflict resolution.
Revisiting the Best Practices in Risk and Crisis Communication: A Multicase Analysis
[Institute for Public Relations W. Ward White Awards for Top Two Papers of Practical Significance]
Shari R. Veil, University of Kentucky, Kathryn E. Anthony, University of Southern Mississippi, Nicole Staricek, University of Kentucky, Laura E. Young, Baker University, Timothy L. Sellnow, University of Central Florida, and Pam Cupp, University of Kentucky
This study extends the best practices in risk and crisis communication by synthesizing the contributions from research thus far and assessing the applicability of the best practices framework in a multi-case analysis. We conclude with essential guidelines for ongoing risk and crisis communication and outline ethical implications for practice.
Understanding Gender Disparity in Public Relations: An Evaluation of the Perceptions of the Field Dustin W. Supa and Emma E. Pizzardi, Boston University This study explores the concept of gender disparity in public relations using a survey of undergraduate students’ perceptions of subfields and tasks associated with public relations. It finds that although many of the tasks associated with public relations are perceived as masculine, the field as a whole is considered feminine.
Liang (Lindsay) Ma When Love Becomes Hate: The Dark Side of Consumer-Brand Relationships in Crisis Communication
When Love Becomes Hate: The Dark Side of Consumer-Brand Relationships in Crisis Communication [Red Raider Public Relations Research Award]
Liang (Lindsay) Ma, Texas Christian University
This study re-conceptualized organization-public relationships (OPRs) into non-identifying relationships and identifying relationships and examined the interaction effects between OPRs and crises on consumer attitudes and emotions, which then influenced behavioral intentions. Although the non-identifying relationships offer the buffering effects, the identifying relationships primarily offer the love-becomes-hate effects.
Linjuan Rita Men and Aimei Yang Government-Public Relationship Cultivation in the Digital Era
Government-Public Relationship Cultivation in the Digital Era: The Impact of Public Engagement and Political Leadership Communication on Social Media
Linjuan Rita Men, University of Florida, Aimei Yang, University of Southern California, Baobao Song and Spiro Kiousis, University of Florida
Using a survey of 396 WeChat users, this study tested a model that links publics’ political social media engagement, leadership communication on social media, publics’ evaluation of the political leader, and government-public relationship outcomes (i.e., trust and satisfaction towards the government) in the context of China.
Robert I. Wakefield and Devin Knighton Situational Theory of Publics, Social Networking, and Opportunities
Situational Theory of Publics, Social Networking, and Opportunities: A Case Study of Leveraging PR Alumni through Facebook Robert I. Wakefield, Brigham Young University, and Devin Knighton, Purdue University
This paper uses a case to show the value of reframing the situational theory to include opportunities and not just problem solving. In this framework, the three variables would become opportunity recognition, level of involvement, and opportunity cost. It also examines the role of social network theory in using social media platforms.
The Stories We Tell: Immigrants’ Communicative Patterns and Agency in Impacting Perceptions of Their Host Country Kelly Vibber, University of Dayton
This study aims to provide empirical context and insight to the largely theorized role of immigrants in public diplomacy and their impact on the perceptions and soft-power of their host country. This research in progress, begins from an exploratory approach, utilizing in-depth, semi-structured interviews with immigrants.
Mapping the Storm: Identifying Key Voices and Actions in Crisis Communication
Mikkel S. Christensen, University of Missouri, Thomas Albrechtsen, Nextwork, Denmark, Erika Johnson, East Carolina University, Nadia Engelst Rostved and Jakob Bæk Kristensen, Analyse & Tal, Denmark When a crisis unfolds on social media, it’s important to get a quick and accurate overview over the key voices, to give the best response. A visual mapping tool that can map the key actors and demographic information is presented and tested on a recent crisis scenario from Denmark.
Caitlin Szczepanik Consumer Perceptions of Retail Banks and Their Impact on Corporate Communication Strategies
Consumer Perceptions of Retail Banks and Their Impact on Corporate Communication Strategies Caitlin Szczepanik, Boston University To determine which factors are most salient to retail bank choice, 1279 respondents answered a questionnaire measuring their general perceptions of banking. The results showed that bank choice is driven by perception of peer recommendations, perception of personal financial security, perception of bank proximity, perception of customer service, and perception of bank-to-stakeholder communication.
Do Publics Adopt a Stance?: A Continuation of Adapting the Contingency Theory to Examine Public Perceptions of the NFL’s Concussion Crisis Douglas Wilbur and Danielle Myers, University of Missouri
This study analyzes tweets made by individuals in response to Sony’s motion picture Concussion, which created a crisis for the National Football League. It aims to address the shortcomings of the attempt to adapt contingency theory for the examination of publics. It also addresses the question of whether publics can adopt stances.
Applying a Century of Learning Theory to PR Pedagogy
Amanda Kennedy, St. Mary’s University, and Julia Daisy Fraustino, West Virginia University
Public relations professors are highly skilled in theory and practice—and teaching. However, less familiar are the trajectories of interdisciplinary learning theories entrenched in a century of thought that underpin and advance PR pedagogy. This paper traces the development of major learning theories, making relevant connections to PR pedagogy.
A “Post-Marriage” Context: How LGBTQ Advocacy Communication Has Changed Since Obergefell Dean Mundy, University of Oregon This paper examines how LGBTQ advocacy communication strategies have shifted since the 2015 Obergefell decision granting marriage equality to same-sex couples. This “post-marriage” context requires organizations to navigate a lack of media attention and funding, while confronting hundreds of anti-LGBTQ religious freedom bills. They are doing so, however, by leveraging key lessons learned during the marriage campaigns.
How Failures in Employee Relations Lead to Tarnished Reputation, Corporate Distrust, and E-Loyalty Intentions: The Examination of Employee Dissent Expressions on Work Environment Concerns
Minjeong Kang, Indiana University
This study explored the possible negative effects of employee dissent expressions on corporate reputation and the intervening effects of corporate image advertising on this relationship via an experiment. Further, the effects of tarnished corporate
reputation were explored on corporate distrust, e-loyalty, and negative WOM. Findings from the study will be discussed.
Walking the Talk: CSR Perceptions and Practices of the Pharmaceutical Sector in Switzerland
Anda Hirceaga and Krishnamurthy Sriramesh, Purdue University This study sought to understand the perceptions and practices vis-à-vis Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Switzerland’s pharmaceutical sector. Interviews with NGOs, activists and experts indicated that the sector does not receive high marks for its CSR activities, and that there is a gap between the sector’s talk and walk.
How do Organizations Use Social Media to Build Dialogic Relationships? A Comparison between Nonprofit and For-profit Organizations [Peter Debreceny Corporate Communication Award]
Yuan Wang and Yiyi Yang, The University of Alabama
Grounded in the dialogic theory, this study examined how 100 nonprofit and for-profit organizations used Twitter to establish relationships with publics through a content analysis of 6,678 organizational tweets. It found how these organizations employed dialogic principles, their different usage patterns, and the interactions between Twitter followers and organizational tweets.
IPRRC Conference program, including the complete list of abstracts discussed between March 9 and March 11, 2017, is available here.
IC Kollectif is a support partner of the IPRRC.
Photo Credit: Sean Williams
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