The 20th annual meeting of the International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) is taking place in Orlando until this Saturday. As Sean Williams, owner of Communication AMMO, explained in a recent interview, the IPRRC Conference is all about discussion, where reseachers and practitioners talk with each other. The Conference focuses entirely on public relations research from a variety of perspectives—theoretical, experimental, case study, survey, participant- observation, measurement, pedagogical, etc. “PR” is used here as inclusively as possible, therefore organizational, internal and employee communication are part of the agenda. Between Thursday, March 9 and Saturday, March 11, more than 100 PR research will be discussed. Each day, we'll publish the research discussion paper abstracts that will be discussed over the day. You can follow the Conference on Twitter via #IPRRC, and on Facebook.
Don W. Stacks, Ph.D, Executive Director, CEO, Board of Director IPRRC, University of Miami,
launched the 20th annual meeting of the International Public Relations Research Conference earlier today.
Research Discussion Paper Abstraits to be discussed today
Perceived Motivations for Corporate CSR in Socially Stigmatized Industries
Lucinda L. Austin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Barbara Miller Gaither, Elon University
This CSR study explores how company-cause relationships and acknowledgement of benefit impacts perceived motivations and skepticism. Low-fit CSR appeared to be more in the public’s interest and more values-driven than high-fit. Acknowledgement of benefit did not impact skepticism—for a socially-stigmatized company, CSR fit appears most fundamental to public response.
“We’re Just Better at It”: How Activists Use the Internet to Challenge Corporations
Chelsea L. Woods, University of Kentucky
Using issues management, this paper examines how activists use the Internet, focusing primarily on social media, to challenge corporations. Data collected from interviews with activist practitioners shows how these individuals use the channel to identify target firms, spur and sustain interest in issues, and organize actions to achieve their goals.
María E. Len-Ríos Communicating wellness plans to employees... PRIME Research award winner
Communicating Employee Wellness Plans to Employees: The Effects of Gain-Loss Framing and Message Source on Intentions to Enroll [PRIME Research Award]
María E. Len-Ríos, Hyoyeun Jun, and Yen-I Lee, University of Georgia
This study examines message design strategies companies can use to encourage employees to join wellness programs. Such programs have been shown to reduce absenteeism, improve productivity, and reduce healthcare costs (Berry, Mirabito, & Baun, 2010). Results from a 2 (message framing) x 2 (image) x control experiment suggests gain-framed messages increased enrollment intentions.
Tsuyoshi (Yoshi) Oshita Risk Communicators’ Dilemma—Should I Say It or Not?
Communicators’ Dilemma—Should I Say It or Not? : Effects of Communicating Emergency
Response Preparedness on Public Attitudes and Acceptance Toward Nuclear Power Stations
Tsuyoshi (Yoshi) Oshita, Michigan State University
This study explores risk communicators’ dilemma: Should they proactively inform the public of risk-related information about their facilities and activities? Focusing on the commercial use of nuclear power, I examined the effects of emergency preparedness communication on public attitudes and acceptability toward the risk-generating facilities.
Extending the Relational Public Diplomacy Model: The Role of Foreign Policy in Communicating about the Syrian Refugee Crisis
Nur Uysal, Marquette University, and Rhonda Zaharna, American University
Despite its increasing importance, migration and refugee studies have been rarely addressed in the public diplomacy scholarship. This study addresses this gap by focusing on the nexus of non-state diplomacy, state foreign policy and asylum/ migration policies. The study examines how foreign policy and public diplomacy generate shifts in communication tactics and relational dynamics.
Yusuke Ibuki Three Ways to Bring Them Up as Communication Executives
Three Ways to Bring Them Up as Communication Executives: A Conceptual Study
Yusuke Ibuki, San Diego State University, and Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan
If conceptual skill (Katz, 1955) matters for communication executives, how can they obtain this skill? To answer this research question, I propose three ways to bring them up as communication executives: formal education, introducing the “dual ladder” system in public relations human relations management, and job rotation.
Ashley Stevens National Tragedies as Promotion Messages
National Tragedies as Promotion Messages: Using Remembrance of Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and Natural Disasters to Influence Publics
Jensen Moore and Ashley Stevens, University of Oklahoma
This study employed a 2 (type of tragedy: man-made vs. natural disaster) X 5 (type of message: commercial, image, participation, patriotic, and public interest) within-subjects experimental design. Dependent variables included mood during viewing, attitude toward the message, perception of the organization, and behavioral intent including likelihood of boycott and purchase.
PhD Student Emiliana Pomarico Ribeiro New Context, New PR and New Narratives
New Context, New PR and New Narratives
Paulo Nassar, Emiliana Pomarico Ribeiro, and Gustavo Carbonaro, University of São Paulo, Brazil
We live in the age of urgency and uncertainty, which leads us to the absence of narratives that bring meaning to our lives. Those new contexts require new PR professional profiles to create new narratives, with new technologies and new ways of feeling
and being in the world.
Marcia DiStaso discussing Trends in Purpose: How Companies are Changing the World by Doing Good
Trends in Purpose: How Companies are Changing the World by Doing Good
Marcia DiStaso, Pennsylvania State University
This study identifies trends in companies that are trying to change the world. The analysis looks at sectors (Energy; Financials; Food; Health Care; Hotels, Restaurants and Leisure; Industrials; Retailing; Technology), impact segments (Economic Opportunity/Financial Inclusion; Education/Discovery; Environmental Impact; Human Rights/Social Justice; Public Health/Nutrition) and communication tools (traditional and social).
Peggy Simcic Brønn Drivers and Barriers in Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation
Drivers and Barriers in Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation: Analyzing Effects on Behavior
Alexander Buhmann and Peggy Simcic Brønn, Norwegian Business School, Norway
We investigate practitioners’ attitudes about measuring and evaluation through Ajzen’s (1985) theory of planned behavior (TPB), which states that a person’s intention to perform a behavior increases as their attitude toward the behavior becomes more favorable. Variance-based structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) is used to link intention to measure at the outcome level to respondents’ attitudes toward M&E, their perception of norms for M&E and their perceived behavior control. Attitudes toward M&E and perceptions of personal ability are the two strongest factors influencing practitioners.
Donors & Authenticity: An Examination of An Ethical Conceptualization in the Nonprof it Sector
Diana C. Sisson, Auburn University
Using an online survey and qualitative analysis, this study tests Bowen’s (2010) conceptualization of authenticity among donors of local animal welfare organizations and offers practical insights for nonprofit organizations regarding its inclusion in their relationship management strategies.
Struggling for Academic Legitimacy. A German Perspective on Public Relations and the Gap between Profession and Academic Discipline
Michael Johann and Anne-Christin Hoffmann, University of Passau, Germany
Download the study here
Public Relations has always been a heterogeneous professional field with changing demands in education and practice. This complementary mixed-method study examines the status quo of PR education at German universities in comparison to contemporary requirements of the professional field. The content analyses of job advertisements(N = 188) and university curricula (N = 107) as well as the interviews with young professionals (N = 180) and leading PR practitioners (N = 27) indicate an insufficient integration of academic and professional perspectives on public relations education.
The Evolution of Online Activism and Corporate Social Responsibility: In-Depth Interviews with the Experts
Sasha Dookhoo, PAN Communications, and Melissa Dodd, University of Central Florida
This research explores the role of online activism and the ways companies are engaging in—or are pressured into—corporate social responsibility (CSR) by online activists. In-depth interviews with PR professionals who have served in CSR roles provides context for how activists may affect change within organizations, and influence approaches to CSR and organizational policy.
Mismatch vs. Magnitude: Defining and Testing Types of Organizational Crisis Response Overreaction
Tyler G. Page, University of Maryland
Organizations in crisis often have stakeholders demanding action before all facts are known—a perfect recipe for overreaction. This study explores overreaction, defines two different types of it, and tests them with 783 participants in two experiments. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Exploring the Effects of Different Media Types and Information Sources on Individuals’ Attitude, Perception, and Behavior Intentions Toward Crisis Responses
Tham Nguyen, Katerina Tsetsura, and Doyle Yoon, University of Oklahoma
This study employs a 2 (media types: Twitter, blog) x 4 (information sources: organization, industry expert, celebrity, private citizen) experimental design, using the Volkswagen’s emissions scandal as a crisis scenario, to test how information from blog and Twitter accounts published by various sources can affect the crisis response effectiveness.
Is It Real? The Impact of Fictional PR Professionals on Popular TV Shows
Bora Yook and Kirli Kirch, University of Miami
By using an online survey, this paper examines the relationship between media portrayals of public relations professionals on current popular American TV shows and undergraduate students’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward the professions.
Ming (Bryan) Wang Explicating Authenticity in Public Relations
Explicating Authenticity in Public Relations
Ming (Bryan) Wang, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This paper examines authenticity in both professional and academic literature to test the dimensions of the construct through surveys of the general public and PR practitioners. Results confirm the multi-dimensional nature of authenticity and will help PR practitioners manage organizational reputation and relationship building activities with stakeholders more successfully.
Ejae Lee Explicating Authenticity in Public Relations
Explicating Authenticity in Public Relations [University of Miami School of Communication Top Student Paper Award]
Ejae Lee, Indiana University
This study aims to explicate the concept of authenticity in the theory and practice of public relations. Grounded in multidisciplinary literature examining authenticity, this study explores the fundamental constructs of authenticity and then proposes the explicated definition of authenticity in public relations with two constructs: true-self awareness and genuineness.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Female Entrepreneurship: The Case of Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Initiative
MaryClaire Schulz, Elon University
In 2010, Coca-Cola launched a women-focused CSR initiative called the 5by20 initiative with the goal of empowering five million women by 2020. This case study analysis examines the 5by20 initiative’s communications efforts to determine how Coca-Cola engages with different stakeholder groups on a global scale.
Image Cultivation of Nations: The Impact of a Public Relations Campaign for Kenya
Dane Kiambi and Samone Behrendt, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This study examined whether there was any noteworthy systematic difference in the coverage of Kenya between the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods which could be attributed to the public relations effort of the agency hired to rebuild the country’s image following the 2007 – 2008 post-election violence. Results showed that hiring the PR firm was not a worthwhile investment for the country.
Sung-Un Yang Integrating a Dialogic Theory of Public Relations and Organization-Public Relationship (OPR) Management Perspective
Integrating a Dialogic Theory of Public Relations and Organization-Public Relationship (OPR) Management Perspective: The MERS (Middle East Respiratory) Outbreak Crisis in South Korea
Sung-Un Yang, Indiana University
This research aims to understand activism behavior of publics from the perspective of organization-public relationship management in the context of the South Korea’s MERS (Middle East Respiratory) Outbreak crisis. To this end, this study proposes research hypotheses among 1) antecedent of government-public relationships, 2) attributes of relationship outcomes, and 3) consequences of relationship outcomes.
Cayce Myers Public Relations or “Grassroots Lobbying”?
Public Relations or “Grassroots Lobbying”?: How Lobbying Laws Are Re-Defining PR Practice
Cayce Myers, Virginia Tech
This paper examines the definition and licensing debates in the context of lobbying and PR practice. From these debates this paper analyzes how PR practice could be subject to lobbying laws, and what this type of categorization would mean for modern public relations.
Why Character Assassination Should Be Studied by PR Scholars?
Sergei A. Samoilenko, George Mason University
Character assassination (CA) is a deliberate and sustained effort to damage the reputation or credibility of an individual. This papers addresses several reasons for studying the use of character assassination in U.S. politics. It argues for a unified theoretical “umbrella” framework to study character assassination as a social phenomenon, which proved highly relevant for the public relations field in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Lan Ni Community Engagement and Public Health
Community Engagement and Public Health: A Qualitative Study of Strategic Communication of Hispanic Community Organizations [Jackson-Sharpe Award]
Lan Ni, University of Houston, Maria de la Flor, Communica PR Consulting, Veronica Romero, University of Houston, and Qi Wang, Villanova University
This faculty-practitioner collaborative project examines community engagement and public health management for ethnic organizations. Using 23 in-depth interviews with community health organizations that serve the Hispanic/Latino population in a southern metropolitan area, this study explores how organizations can communicate strategically and engage effectively with community members to increase health awareness.
Ansgar Zerfass and Sophia Charlotte Volk The Strategic and Operational Contributions of Corporate Communications
The Strategic and Operational Contributions of Corporate Communications: Multiple Rationales and Diverging Roles
Ansgar Zerfass and Sophia Charlotte Volk, University of Leipzig, Germany
This presentation reports on a research project in progress investigating communications’ contribution to organizational success based on an interdisciplinary literature review and qualitative case studies in 10 organizations. The newly developed Communications’ Contributions Framework (CCF) suggests that communication departments deliver four core contributions to the organization, which can be further distinguished into strategic and operational tasks.
Don W. Stacks,Chun-Ju Flora Hung-Baesecke Corporate Social Responsibility to Creating Shared Value
From Corporate Social Responsibility to Creating Shared Value: A Comparison Study from the Communication Perspective in the US and China
Chun-Ju Flora Hung-Baesecke, Massey University, New Zealand, Don W. Stacks, University of Miami, W. Timothy Coombs, Texas A&M University, Yi-Ru Regina Chen, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, and Ben Boyd, Edelman Public Relations
This study explores how publics in the US and China perceive effective communication channels and what kind of content they expect from corporations creating shared values. Moreover, Edelman Trust Barometer® data will be employed in analyzing the possible positive outcomes in terms of public perception of companies’ efforts in incorporating stakeholders’ values. Theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.
Approaching “the Publics” in International Problems: Testing the Applicability of Situational Theory of Problem Solving in Public Diplomacy
Yicheng Zhu, University of South Carolina
Using the US trade deficit with China as the thematic context, this study provides supportive evidences, as well as suggestions of improvement, to the applicability of the situational theory of problem solving (STOPS) in the context of public diplomacy, or international problems in general.
No Media Relations, No Public Relations? The Role of Relationships in the “New” Media Relations Landscape
Justin Pettigrew and Amber Hutchins, Kennesaw State University
This study seeks to analyze how the top companies in the United States utilize social media theories or features for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Specifically, it focuses on how the top 25 Fortune companies use social media features to inform, communicate, and engage stakeholders in CSR initiatives and messages.
Justin Smith, Cassandra Gesecki, Caleb Eames, Kalyna Bechtel Policy Aside: A Framing Study on Influencing Cultural and Policy Change within an Organization (Photo Credit Bey-Ling Sha)
Policy Aside: A Framing Study on Influencing Cultural and Policy Change within an Organization
Justin Smith, Cassandra Gesecki, Caleb Eames, and Kalyca Bechtel, San Diego State University
This study uses the theory of framing to investigate its effect on the public’s perception of the Marine Corps as women prepare to enter combat jobs. Results indicate that the framing of gender integration has a significant impact on participant perception of the Marine Corps’ reputation, credibility, and characteristics.
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Communication in Japan: A Case Study of Green Advertisements in “Nikkei Ecology” Magazine
Yanyan Liu, Nagoya University, Japan
This study is an exploratory analysis of how the green advertising of Japanese corporations uses words and images related to the discourse of environmental responsibility. A content analysis was conducted on a sample of 124 green advertisements published in the environmental business magazine “Nikkei Ecology”. The analysis revealed significant variations in the patterns of words and images used in different categories of advertisement.
Ali Alanazi, Donald Wright and Michelle Hinson Studying the Use of Social and Digital Media in Public Relations Practice
Studying the Use of Social and Digital Media in Public Relations Practice in Saudi Arabia and the USA
Ali Alanazi, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
This study measures differences and similarities between how social and other digital media are being used in public relations practice in Saudi Arabia and the United States. The paper compares results of a survey (in Arabic) of Saudi public relations practitioners with findings of the Wright-Hinson surveys that have been presented annually at IPRRC each year since 2005.
Looking Back, Looking Forward: 20 Years and More of Gender Theory for Public Relations Practice
[IPRRC Board of Directors Award]
Elizabeth L. Toth and Linda Aldoory, University of Maryland
A review essay, the paper presents the history, evolution, current movements and practical orientation in United States public relations gender research, 1985 to the present. Theoretical perspectives include human capital theory, organizational and social norms theory, and feminist theory. The authors recommend next gender research studies and propose professional and policy changes.
Repeat Crises: How Crisis History Affects Stakeholder Attributions and Coping
LaShonda L. Eaddy, University of Georgia, John Brummette, Radford University, and Yan Jin, University of Georgia
Crises involving active shooters on university campuses have become more prevalent recently. The study examines the effects of crisis history and information source on publics’ crisis perceptions and emotions. The findings suggest the source and valence of crisis history information significantly impacts publics’ perceptions of organizational control and crisis responsibility.
How Far Have We Come?: Looking Back One Year Later on the Effectiveness of the Women in Combat Public Affairs Campaign in the U.S. Marine Corps
Kaye D. Sweetser, San Diego State University, Eric Flanagan, Jeremy McLean, and Rachel Nolan, U.S. Marine Corps
Using a longitudinal survey guided by the coorientation model (2016 employees N = 490, leadership N = 11; 2017 employees N = 316, leadership N = 7), this research examined an organization implementing a cultural shift policy change. Results reveal gap and trends of leaders’ view of workforce policy knowledge.
Deborah Davis and Jeffrey Ranta Fostering Self-Efficacy in Strategic Communications Through Student-Run Agencies
Fostering Self-Efficacy in Strategic Communications Through Student-Run Agencies: Equipping the Next Generation of Communicators
Jeffrey Ranta, University of South Carolina, and Deborah A. Davis, Ball State University
To better prepare tomorrow’s professionals, student-run agencies provide integrative learning opportunities with hands-on experience in skills highly desired by employers. This study examined one soft skill, self-efficacy. A national survey was conducted to determine if agency members would self-report a level of self-efficacy as a result of their participation.
Visuals, Emotion, and Buffering: Attributing Good Intentions to “Bad” Corporate Players
Sun Young Lee, Texas Tech University, and Sungwon Chung, Fort Hays State University
This study analyzes how well the U. S. Marine Corps communicated a new organizational policy of integration of women into all combat roles. Using the coorientation model, the researchers evaluate the alignment of understanding of the new policy between Marine Corps leadership and regular employees.
The Conference Program, including the complete list of abstracts that will be discussed between March 9 and March 11, 2017, is available here.
IC Kollectif is a support partner of the IPRRC.
Photos Credit: Sean Williams
Day 3 | "Connecting public relations theory and research to practice" IPRRC
Proceedings from past IPRRC Conferences