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DAY 3 | Connecting Public Relations Theory and Research to Practice IPRRC


Lise Michaud

Researchers and practitioners will be discussing the last 24 papers to be presented at the 20th International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC), today, in Orlando. During the afternoon, an award recognition ceremony will celebrate the work behind twelve papers presented during the conference.

The following research discussion paper abstracts will be presented today. Find the links to previous abstracts: presented March 10th and March 9th. You can follow the Conference on Twitter via hashtag #IPRRC, and on Facebook.

Research Discussion Paper Abstracts, Saturday, March 11th

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Tell Me the Past, Present and the Future of All...” The Moral Imperative of Relating: Elevating Public Relations from Emotional Labor to Emotional Work Among the Public Relations Professionals

Priyanka Khandelwal, West Texas A&M University, and Kevin Stoker, Texas Tech University With the help of the interviews, this study aims to establish that PR professionals engage in the act of emotional labor. In times of crises, the PR professionals have to wear the face of the organization and act in a way that is in compliance with the values of the organization and disregard their feelings and emotions therefore, engaging in emotional labor.

Ann D. Jabro Digital Literacy, Media Planning and Storytelling: An Interdependant Relationship

Digital Literacy, Media Planning and Storytelling: An Interdependent Relationship

Ann D. Jabro, Robert Morris University

Digital Literacy is “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills” (Visser, 2012, para. 2). A 400-level PR course required students to create i-Movies and a media plan for non-profit clients. The visual products and media plans were analyzed for digital literacy progress. Results are presented.

Public Relations is a ‘Snap’: How Brands are Strategically Using Snapchat to Cultivate Relationships, Engage with Publics, and Accomplish Organizational Objectives

Christopher Wilson and Pamela Brubaker, Brigham Young University

Communication professionals have become enamored with ephemeral social media like Snapchat; however, little academic research has addressed it. The aim of this study is to understand how brands are using ephemeral social channels while “looking back” to the existing literature on relationship management, social media engagement, and visual communication.

Diana Martinelli, Elina Erzikova Public Relations Leadership Development Cycle

Public Relations Leadership Development Cycle: A Cross-cultural Perspective

[Arthur W. Page Center Benchmarking Award]

Diana Martinelli, West Virginia University, and Elina Erzikova, Central Michigan University

Using 51 purposive in-depth interviews with PR practitioners and students across five countries, this exploratory study examined when public relations leadership dimensions appear/are learned and how they are manifested. Cross-cultural differences and commonalities are noted, as are implications for leadership development.

Craig Carroll The C-P-R Framework and the Intellectual Mapping of the Public Relations Body of Knowledge

The C-P-R Framework and the Intellectual Mapping of the Public Relations Body of Knowledge: A Methodology and Case Study with Policy Implications

Craig Carroll, New York University

This paper introduces the C-P-R Triangle, a methodological framework for unpacking any key concept with greater precision and clarity. The triangle consists of three mutually exclusive perspectives (claims, perceptions, and rules). A case study on organizational strategy is used to illustrate how the framework can be applied.

Coast Guard Public Affairs History: The Search for Symmetry

Matthew M. Kroll, San Diego State University

This exploratory study discovered the history of public affairs in the United States Coast Guard and identified the organizational changes in the program. The researcher used Grunig and Hunt’s (1984) four models of public relations to show how Coast Guard’s external communication practices evolved over time.

Tweeting about #Diseases and #PublicHealth: Communicating Global Health Issues Across Nations Jeanine Guidry, Shana Meganck, and Marcus Messner, Virginia Commonwealth University, Alessandro Lovari, University of Sassari, Italy, and Jay Adams, Virginia Commonwealth University Little is known about public health department Twitter use across different nations. A quantitative content analysis of 1200 tweets by 12 leading health departments showed that the topics often lack in broad coverage—cardiovascular disease is barely mentioned. However, these departments increasingly use behavioral theories, which seems to increase Twitter engagement.

Veterans’ Suicide and Ethical Response: Examination of the VA’s Twitter Feed

Nandini Bhalla, University of South Carolina This exploratory study uses content analysis to examine comments posted by the

U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) and its followers on its official Twitter page, concerning the issue of veteran’s suicide. This study examined the four models of public relations used by the VA and the valence of the public’s tweets.

Research discussions session

Differences between Corporate, Not-for-Profit, Government, and PR Firm Practitioners in Professional Competencies and Molar Work Activities Vincent Hazleton, Independent Scholar, and Emilie L. Tydings, Virginia Technical University

Using the data from an online survey, this research addresses two important questions related to variations in public relations behavior. 1) Do all practitioners engage in the same pattern of molar work activities? And 2) do all practitioners need to have the same knowledge and skills?

The Psychological Process Underlying the Situational Theory Of Publics: An Application to the Evaluation Of the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty Joon Soo Lim, Syracuse University This paper explores how and why social media have been utilized to expand Poland’s soft power capabilities. By drawing on a stored Facebook data and a set of interviews, our study explores discursive exchanges between citizens-users of social media and nation branders in order to unpack new dynamics of nation-building in the globalized world.

Ethics Training at Public Relations Agencies: Identifying Current Trends and Future Directions

Denise Sevick Bortree, Pennsylvania State University Ethical behavior among public relations professionals is critical for continuing to build

the reputation of the field. Interviews with 10 PR executives at top agencies explored how agencies are training their employees on ethical topics. Results suggests that few are providing consistent training, but best practices emerged from strong advocates.

Rebecca Swenson, Nathan Gilkerson, Michael Ziviani Evaluation and Measurement Programs in Organizational Communication Departments

Evaluation and Measurement Programs in Organizational Communication Departments

Rebecca Swenson, University of Minnesota, Nathan Gilkerson, Marquette University, Forrest Anderson, Forrest W. Anderson Consulting & George Washington University, Fraser Likely, Likely Communication Strategies & University of Ottawa, Canada, Tim Marklein, Big Valley Marketing, and Michael Ziviani, Precise Value, Australia

Our goal is to better understand how organizations overcome challenges to improving evaluation practices and identify drivers of effective measurement. Using insights from in-depth interviews, our research-in-progress focuses on planning processes, perceptions of communication value, utilization of metrics by leaders, and alignment of measurement processes with industry standards and models.

Understanding Online Engagement from the Stakeholder Point of View: How Goals, Motives, and Affordances Drive Online Stakeholder Engagement Lisa V. Chewning, Pennsylvania State University—Abington This study approaches the concept of online stakeholder engagement through a dual framework of Uses & Gratifications (U&G) and a dialogic theory of public relations. Results provide insight into the psychological factors, affordances, and dialogic elements that drive social media use for stakeholder interaction with organizational platforms.

Winning in the Court of Public Opinion: Exploring PR- Legal Collaboration during Organizational Crises Soojin Kim, Singapore Management University, Singapore and Arunima Krishna, Boston University

This study explores the process by which public relations consultants develop co-narratives with legal counsel when formulating crisis communication strategies. Specifically, using 12 semi-structured interviews, this study investigates how public relations consultants reach the middle ground with legal counsel to achieve both legal and communication objectives.

Employee Prosocial Engagement in CSR through Empowerment in Decision-Making: A Qualitative Study Baobao Song, University of Florida, Weiting Tao, University of Miami, Sarab Kochhar, APCO Worldwide & Institute for Public Relations, and Mary Ann Ferguson, University of Florida This in-progress qualitative study explores an involvement-based internal CSR communication strategy that requires companies to engage their employees in systematic dialogue to co-constructing CSR decisions. The in-depth interviews are to reveal the perceived effectiveness of this strategy in creating engaging prosocial experiences for employees and in cultivating organization-employee relationships.

Silent & Unprepared: Millennial Practitioners yet to Embrace Role as Ethical Conscience

[Brigham Young University Top Ethics Paper Award]

Marlene S. Neill, Baylor University, and Nancy Weaver, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Millennial practitioners do not feel prepared to offer ethics counsel and do not expect to face ethical dilemmas at work. Through survey research, significant differences were found regarding perceptions of readiness to offer ethics counsel based on availability of mentors and ethics training in college or at work.

Research discussions session

Kap Takes a Knee: A Media Framing Analysis of Colin Kaepernick’s Anthem Protest

Danielle Sarver Coombs, Cheryl Ann Lambert, David Cassilo, and Zachary Humphries, Kent State University

Media frame analysis of Colin Kaepernick’s anthem protest revealed Virality, Power and Influence, Individual Action, and Deflection and Distraction. This study has substantial implications for corporate public relations professionals because media frames inform reputation. Anthem protest coverage could lead to a strategic shift

in the NFL’s response approach.

Negativity and Information Sharing on Twitter

Zongchao Cathy Li, San José State University, Yi Grace Ji, University of Miami, and Guangliang Chen, San José State University

This study investigates negative sentiment in tweets and how it relates to online information sharing behaviors. Tweets data for the 2016 presidential election were retrieved through Twitter API and analyzed by sentiment analysis programs, followed by regression analysis. Several sentiment analysis programs were introduced and compared.

What is Beautiful is Good? Reputation Management Using PR Practitioner’s Physical Attractiveness and Self-Presentation Information Hyunmin Lee, Drexel University, and Seoyeon Hong, Webster University This experiment tested the impact of spokesperson attractiveness and practitioner self-presentation information in using advocate vs. accommodating responses for reputation management. Findings suggest that people evaluate organizations with attractive spokespeople higher for socially responsible reputation, however, its influence is contingent upon the crisis response and self-presentation availability.

Show Me the Ethics! How UPS Demonstrates Corporate Social Responsibility on Facebook to Build Relationships: A Case Study Joon K. Kim, Shannon A. Bowen, and Won-ki Moon, University of South Carolina

A content analysis of 169 Facebook posts by United Parcel Service that showcase corporate social responsibility (CSR), found that employing two-way symmetry and disclosing an explicit ethical message together in CSR posts have a significant positive association with Facebook users’ engagement (comments, shares, and emoji functions).

Less is More? Exploring Conspicuousness of Disclosure in Social Media Endorsement

Young Eun Park, Taeyoung Kim, and Cheonsoo Kim, Indiana University Is less conspicuous (vs. conspicuous) disclosure of sponsorship good for the brand?

The study explores the effects of conspicuousness of the disclosure in blogger endorsement. The study hypothesized that the interaction effects of conspicuousness and levels of influence on attitude toward the brand and cause, and purchase intention.

Tiffany Derville Gallicano From Cluster Tweets to Retweets: A Big Data, Rhetorical Exploration of Digital Social Advocacy in the Context of the

Charlotte Protests on Twitter

From Cluster Tweets to Retweets: A Big Data, Rhetorical Exploration of Digital Social Advocacy in the Context of the Charlotte Protests on Twitter [Boston University Award for the Top Paper about Public Relations and the Social and Emerging Media]

Tiffany Derville Gallicano, Ryan Wesslen, and Jean-Claude Thill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

This big data study involved an analysis of 1.3 million tweets posted to the hashtags that were used during the Charlotte protests. We used a rhetorical lens for a deep examination of the tweets from three organizations that stood out in the sea of data. We also examined hashtag naming.

Sungsu Kim Applying the Public’s Perception of Temporal Distance into Crisis Communication: An Extended Concept of Threat

Applying the Public’s Perception of Temporal Distance into Crisis Communication: An Extended Concept of Threat Sungsu Kim, University of Georgia This paper reviews a three-tier dimensionality of threat in threat appraisal model and construal level theory. As an approach to conceptualize threat from the audience perspective, it proposes to build an extended concept of threat by applying perceived temporal distance. Future research recommendations and implications are also discussed.

Rebecca Cohen Businesses Under Close Watch: Examining the Factors That Affect Reputation Repair

Businesses Under Close Watch: Examining the Factors That Affect Reputation Repair

[Koichi Yamamura International Strategic Communication Award]

Rebecca Cohen, Jesson & Co, Canada Through in-depth interviews, content analysis, and survey, results of this study

suggest that reputation management is a top priority amongst Canadian organizations. Majority of survey participants and interviewees use multiple tools to monitor and measure reputation. Interview results demonstrated that communications teams had representation at the executive level.

An “Organic Theory of Public Relations: Its Genesis, Development, Present State, and Heuristic Potential

Marina Vujnovic, Monmouth University, and Dean Kruckeberg, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

This paper advocates and examines the potential of an “organic theory” of public relations, which literature has existed for over a decade. This “organic theory” provides a sustainable worldview and a grounded moral philosophy to address the inadequacies of present-day public relations theory-building.

Public Relations Practices in Grassroots Social Enterprises: A Case Study of Maitri in India

Meghana Rawat and Krishnamurthy Sriramesh, Purdue University This study uses the generic principles related to strategic public relations management to evaluate the extent of excellent public relations management practiced by Maitri, a small grassroots social enterprise which works with domestic workers. The goal of this study is to explore strategic public relations practices in a relatively understudied context in the scholarship, i.e. social enterprises and to enhance the work in PR which juxtaposes strategic management of PR and relationship management to build effective organizations.

Diversity and Inclusion: Assessing Website Recruitment Practices of PR Agencies

Erica Hilton and Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed, Pennsylvania State University

This study analyzes job applicants’ interpretations of PR agency website messages through in-depth interviews of college students who are diverse in gender, race, nationality or sexuality. Findings present PR agencies with recommendations on how to improve corporate communication practices to attract and retain diverse employees.

Global Responses to Corporate Sustainability: Evaluating the Impact of Messaging and Region of Residence Holley Reeves, Butin Integrated Communications

In many markets, sustainability programs have become an expected part of doing business. Multinational corporations face a broad audience of stakeholders with different community needs and different understandings of what it means to be a responsible or sustainable corporation. Drawing on Organization-Public Relationship Theory, a global experiment indicates that consumers respond differently to sustainability messaging based on region of residence.

Savannah Jung, Robert Pritchard and David Hecht Navy Public Affairs and the Aircraft Carrier Fleet: Toward a Predictive Model of Success in Social Media and External Media Efforts

Navy Public Affairs and the Aircraft Carrier Fleet: Toward a Predictive Model of Success in Social Media and External Media Efforts

Robert S. Pritchard, University of Oklahoma, R. David Hecht, U. S. Navy, and Katey Bishop, Hayley Struck, Whitney Jones, Savannah Jung, and Kate Stanke, University of Oklahoma

This study evaluates the social media and external media efforts of four U.S. Navy aircraft carriers to identify and understand the factors making up the success or failure of key stakeholder engagement. The study also involves depth interviews with each ship’s PAOs to identify commonalities and differences among their strategies.

David M. Dozier ​Turning Rhetoric Around: Action Strategies, Dominant Coalitions, and Persuasion

Turning Rhetoric Around: Action Strategies, Dominant Coalitions, and Persuasion

David M. Dozier, San Diego State University The rhetorical approach focuses on persuading publics through “dialogue” with

organizations. However, the rhetorical approach is more useful if “turned around.” That is, the rhetorical perspective is more appropriate and useful when applied to dialogue between public relations practitioners and members of dominant coalitions.

Yang Cheng Examining the Business Outcomes of Media Coverage in the General Motor Recall Crisis: An Exploratory

StudyExamining the Business Outcomes of Media Coverage in the General Motor Recall Crisis: An Exploratory Study Yang Cheng, PRIME Research This study applied the Vector-Auto Regression model to explore the business impacts of media coverage in a recall crisis. Findings showed the media agenda, especially traditional media coverage played an important role in predicting business outcomes. Future practitioners may consistently monitor both traditional and new media coverage in their crisis communication.

The 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.

Photos Credit: Sean Williams

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