Public Relations 2012 Abstracts

Open Papers

Trust me, trust me not: An experimental analysis of the effect of transparency on trust and behavioral intentions in organizations • Giselle A. Auger, Duquesne University • Since the early 1990s calls for increased transparency have risen in all sectors of society. Seen as a solution to lapses of organizational ethics and misdeeds, transparency can help to restore trust, curtail employee dissatisfaction, and diminish reputational risk or damage (Bandsuch et al., 2008; Rawlins, 2009).  Research has identified transparency as a two part construct highlighting either an organization’s reputation for transparency or its efforts to communicate transparently (Auger, 2010; Rawlins, 2009).

Political Public Relations and the Promotion of Participatory, Transparent Government through Social Media • Elizabeth Avery, & Melissa Graham, University of Tennessee • Using data collected from over 450 local government officials from municipalities across the United States, this study examines the impact that various community features have on local government social media use.  It specifically addresses citizen expectations and how social media are being used as a public relations function to promote participatory and transparent government.  Results indicated that citizen expectations and perceived social media effectiveness by government officials was a strong predictor of social media use.

Empowered & Engaged: A Phenomenological Study Exploring Social Media Best Practices for Nonprofit Organizations • Tessa Breneman, Alexis Abel, & Frauke Hachtmann, University of Nebraska-Lincoln • Although nonprofits see value and potential in social media, many have not yet mastered social media and harnessed its full potential. This phenomenological study sought to discover what the best social media strategies and tactics are for effectively engaging existing and potential donors, volunteers, and stakeholders, according to social media nonprofit professionals. Six themes emerged, including the following: listen to know and understand your audience; and focus on engagement and not fundraising.

Defining And Measuring Organization-Public Dialogue • Heewon Cha, Ewah Womans University, Sung-Un Yang, Indiana University at Bloomington; Minjeong Kang, Ball State University • The purpose of this research was to define and measure the quality of dialogue between an organization and its publics. Reviewing the literature from multiple disciplines, the researchers identified mutuality and openness in explicating dialogue in the context of organization-public relationships. To develop the scale of organization-public dialogue, this study used multiple methods, including in-depth interviews with experts, professional audit, and a survey. This research found the proposed two-factor model had tenable measurement reliability.

Speaking Out:  An Exploratory Analysis of Public Relations Professionals  And their Willingness to Self-Censor • Vincent Filak, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh & Melissa Dodd, University of Miami • Research using the Willingness to Self-Censor (WTSC) scale has shown the desire to withhold one’s opinion is an internal, as opposed to situational trait. This exploratory examination of public relations practitioners and educators (n=121) revealed that participants who scored higher on the WTSC scale were less likely to express their opinions on managing a crisis in a direct environment. These findings held even when controlling for key demographic variables and varying the opinion climate from hostile to friendly.

Navigating Anger in Happy Valley: Using Facebook for crisis response and image repair in the wake of the Sandusky scandal • Melanie Formentin, Denise Bortree, Julia Daisy Fraustino, Pennsylvania State University • Social media are important channels of communication during a crisis. This study examined the use of Facebook as a crisis management tool for Penn State University during the first month of the Sandusky scandal. A content analysis of all 129 posts made by the university during that time period and 2060 comments to the posts suggested that audience reaction to crisis information varies based on crisis response strategy, sources cited, and topics shared.

What Do Blog Readers Think? A Survey to Assess Ghost Blogging and Commenting • Tiffany Gallicano, Yoon Cho, & Thomas Bivins, University of Oregon • In a survey of practitioners, most respondents expressed approval of ghost blogging, provided that the stated author provides the content ideas and gives content approval (Doe, 2012). To investigate the ethics of ghost blogging and ghost commenting and the permissibility of these practices from readers’ perspectives, we conducted surveys with three groups. The groups included 507 readers of corporate blogs, 510 readers of politicians’ blogs, and 501 readers of nonprofit blogs.

Exploring Complex Organizational Communities: Identity as Emergent Perceptions, Boundaries, and Relationships • Dawn Gilpin, & Nina Miller, Arizona State University • Increasing numbers of scholars have been approaching organizations as complex systems. The present study extends this framework to view some organizations as complex communities, or multilevel aggregations of members with a relatively stable core and fluid boundaries, emergent through interactions between individuals, groups, and organizations.

Whistleblowing in public relations: Ethical dilemma or role responsibility • Cary Greenwood, Middle Tennessee State University • This paper responds to the call for a research agenda to address whistleblowing in public relations. Using resource dependence perspective, public relations role theory, and relationship management theory, this study surveys public relations executives in the Fortune 1000 corporations to identify their knowledge of wrongdoing, their reporting of wrongdoing, and their relationships with their employers.

On Publicity: Ivy Lee’s 1924 Address to the American Association of Teachers of Journalism • Kirk Hallahan, and Stephen Cory Robinson, Colorado State University • The presentation at one of AEJMC’s earliest conventions was a historically important event where the pioneer public relations practitioner articulated most fully his views about publicity. Lee’s remarks and the lively Q&A that followed were AEJMC’s first major discussion of public relations. This review examines Lee’s views about the nature of publicity; objectivity, facticity and disclosure; publicity versus advertising; the market-driven nature of news; the deluge of publicity materials and editors’ responsibilities; and publicists’ professional ethics.

Company executive vs. customer testimonial:  Examining credibility of quoted spokespersons in business-to-business communication • Pauline Howes, Kennesaw State University, & Lynne Sallot, University of Georgia • Through the framework of source credibility, this study examines the impact of quoting a company executive versus a customer testimonial in a business communication context.  A 2 x 7 full factorial experiment (N= 514) showed partial support for enhanced perceived credibility of information conveyed by a customer testimonial compared to a company spokesperson in independent and controlled media formats online.

Analyzing the Relationships among Website Interactivity and Organization Impression, Trust and Purchase intention for a Product Recall Crisis • Jooyun Hwang & Spiro Kiousis, University of Florida • Though there has been an array of research on crisis communication, relatively little attention has been paid to the attitudinal and behavioral consequences of public perceptions of web site interactivity as a communication channel during a crisis. In order to fill the gap in scholarship, this study examined the effect of different levels of web site interactivity to address a crisis response on respondents’ organization impression, trust, and purchase intention.

Examining the Relationship between International Public Relations Efforts, Media Coverage, Country Reputation and Performance using Agenda Building & Agenda Setting • Rajul Jain & Lawrence Winner, University of Florida • Using first and second level agenda building and agenda setting as the theoretical framework, this study examines the bottom-line impact of public relations efforts by operationalizing and quantifying the relationship between international public relations efforts, U.S. news media coverage of countries, country reputation, and indicators of economic performance. The study analyzed public relations messages and media coverage of the top 30 countries ranked by Anholt’s Nations Brands Index in 2009.

Enacting Best Practices in Risk Communication: Analysis of an Expert Panel • Melissa Janoske, Brooke Liu, Stephanie Madden, University of Maryland • A two-day workshop and follow-up interviews with risk communication practitioners and researchers were conducted to expand understanding and enactment of risk communication best practices, the obstacles to enacting them, and the gaps in knowledge that could aid in improving upon these best practices. Key findings include the importance of avoiding the myth of preparedness messages instilling public fear, methods for identifying and building key community relationships and partnerships, and suggestions for translating academic research.

Social campaigns help our image, right?: Using the situational theory to explore  effects on attitudes toward a brand and its issues • Elizabeth Johnson-Young, North Carolina State University, & Robert Magee, Virginia Tech • Using the situational theory of publics as a guide, the effects of Dove’s online campaign videos on attitudes toward the campaign issues and Dove’s brand are examined. Participants viewed one of four campaign videos with a different regulatory frame and were asked to respond to several scales that measured their levels of involvement with the issues, collective efficacy, concern for the issues, and attitudes toward Dove as the brand.

Usage and Effectiveness of Facebook for Organizational Crisis Management • Eyun-Jung Ki & Elmie Nekmat, University of Alabama • Through the lens of situational crisis communication theory (SCCT) and interactivity, this study examined the Facebook usage of Fortune 500 companies and the effectiveness with which these companies employed this platform for crisis management. Findings indicated that ‘justification’ and ‘full apology’ were the most commonly used crisis response strategies. The results also show that companies inappropriately match their responses to crisis situations.

“Because the Subaltern Cannot Speak”: An Introduction to the Culture-Centered Approach to Public Relations • Induk Kim, Northern Illinois • This study begins with the contention that current public relations scholarship, including the literature on activist public relations, is not fully equipped with a theoretical foundation to study public relations efforts organized in subaltern spaces. The study introduces the culture-centered approach as a theoretical framework to address this gap in literature and presents a case study of South Korean peasants’ anti-FTA activism to illustrate how the culture-centered approach can be adopted in public relations research.

Relational expectancy, expectancy violations, and post-crisis communication: BP oil spill Crisis • Sora Kim, University of Florida • Adopting the 2010 BP oil spill crisis, this study empirically tests (a) expectancy violation theory’s applicability into the setting of organization-public relationships and explores (b) the effectiveness of post-crisis communication strategies in the post-crisis stage. The findings suggest consumers’ relational satisfaction and predictive and prescriptive expectancies are significant predictors determining their responses toward the organization in the post-crisis stage.

Predictors of organizations’ crisis communication approaches: Full versus limited disclosure • Sora Kim & Emma Wertz, University of Florida • This study investigates the public relations (full disclosure) versus legal (limited disclosure) approaches that may be used by organizations during a preventable crisis, including factors that may predict decisions related to information disclosure. Both tangible and intangible aspects of an organization were explored. The results revealed that degree of crisis preparation, public relations influences, and crisis perception as an opportunity were significant predictors that determine full versus limited disclosure.

Exploring the Role of Senate Majority Leader Political Public Relations Efforts: Comparing Agenda-Building Effectiveness across Information Subsidies • Spiro Kiousis, Ji Young Kim, Ashley Carnifax & Sarabdeep Kochhar, University of Florida • Grounded in first- and second-level agenda building, this study explored the role of the Senate Majority Leader in shaping the salience of issues and issue attributes in news media coverage and policymaking in 2011. A total of 358 public relations messages, 164 newspaper articles, and 83 policy making documents were analyzed. Significant correlations were found supporting agenda-building linkages at both levels among Senate Majority Leader communications, media coverage, and congressional policymaking activities.

Corporate social responsibility communication on the Internet: A content analysis of Fortune 100 companies • Seul Lee, Eunju Kang, Mary Ann Ferguson, University of Florida • The main goals of this quantitative content analysis were to better understand CSR message presentation on corporate websites and the current state of CSR subjects. This study investigated which CSR issues were prominently presented on The Fortune 100 companies’ websites according to ISO 26000 guidelines. The content of websites was also analyzed to see how it presented CSR information.

Uncertainty Reduction Strategies via Twitter: The 2011 Wildfire Threat to Los Alamos National Laboratory • Nicole Merrifield & Michael Palenchar, University of Tennessee • This study applies Berger and Calabrese’s (1975) uncertainty reduction theory as a theoretical framework to describe how participatory publics use Twitter to reduce uncertainty during a crisis. Using the 2011 Las Conchas Wildfire as the event of study, this study adapted Berger’s (1987) three information-seeking typologies—passive, active and interactive—and used a content analysis to examine messages posted to Twitter during the eight-day, mandatory evacuation of 12,000 Los Alamos residents in the summer of 2011.

Theorizing the Global-Local Paradox: Comparative Research on Information Subsidies’ Localization by U.S.-based Multinational Corporations • Juan-Carlos Molleda, Sarabdeep Kochhar & Christopher Wilson, University of Florida • Informed from a multidisciplinary perspective, this study theorizes localization by exploring the extent of local-focus of information subsidies by U.S.-based Multinational Corporations. A total of 150 MNC subsidiary online newsrooms in China, India, and United Kingdom were analyzed in the subsidiary location using quantitative content analysis. The sample was drawn from the 2011 Forbes 500 List.

A Study on Exploring Antecedents of Relationship Dissolution in Organization-Public Relationships • Bitt Moon, Syracuse University & Sung-Un Yang, Indiana University at Bloomington • The purpose of this study was to explore antecedents of relationship dissolution in the context of organization-public relationships. Particularly, the researchers focused on antecedents to lead the relationship termination. A survey with 1,111 respondents was conducted to test the proposed hypotheses. The results suggested that distrust and dissatisfaction had significant effects on relationships either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, our findings indicated that there were differential impact of dissatisfaction and distrust on the relationship termination.

Locating image management in public relations research: A content analysis of image-related studies published in the last two decades, 1991-2011 • Elmie Nekmat, Karla Gower & Lan Ye, University of Alabama • This study reviews the status of image management research in public relations and extrapolates important trends for future research and theory-building. A content analysis of research published in public relations (n=90), organization and business studies (n=122), and communication (n=49) from 1991 to 2011 was conducted. Findings reveal an increasing trend of image-related research in public relations. However, no specific image management public relations theories or concepts were utilized in the studies.

“We’re Not the Only One with the Crisis”: Exploring Situational Variables in an Extension of Situational Crisis Communication Theory • Hyun Jee Oh, Nanyang Technological University & Hyojung Park, San Diego State University • This study examined how crisis consistency and consensus in product-harm crises affect post-crisis outcomes, such as crisis responsibility attribution, corporate reputation, and behavioral intentions. An experiment revealed that lower crisis consensus led to more responsibility attribution to the organization, while higher crisis consistency increased anger, trust, perceived reputation, purchase intention, and negative word-of-mouth intention toward the organization. In this attribution process, anger was an effective mediator between consistency and other post-crisis outcomes.

Keeping It Real: Exploring the Roles of Conversational Human Voice and Source Credibility in Crisis Communication via Social Media • Hyojung Park, San Diego State University & Glen Cameron, University of Missouri • This study examined the effects of conversational human voice and source on crisis communication outcomes, using a 2 (tone of voice: human/organizational) _ 2 (source: public relations executive/private citizen) _ 2 (crisis response: defensive/accommodative) mixed experimental design. Results of path analysis and ANOVA indicate that first-person voice and personal narratives increased perceptions of social presence and interactivity in online communication. These perceptions subsequently resulted in positive post-crisis outcomes, such as reputation and behavioral intentions.

Hegemony, self-disciplining, and stigma among public relations professionals: Exploring Foucault’s concept of bio-power • Katie Place, Saint Louis University & Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, University of Houston • This qualitative study of 20 public relations practitioners examines power in public relations through the lens of bio-power – the control and management of human life through regulatory and discursive forces (Foucault, 1978; Macey, 2009; Vogelaar, 2007). Results suggest that bio-power exists as a) hegemonic knowledges of “brokering information,” “shaping public opinion,” “adding value,” and “pleasing people;” b) disciplining forces of a workaholic culture and self-censorship, and c) stigmas illustrating public relations as “spin” or “fluff.”

Developers’ Views about Public Meetings in the Context Public Relations Theory • Geah Pressgrove & John Besley, University of South Carolina • This study uses qualitative interviews (n = 25) to explore the mental models that real estate developers hold for public meetings, including their goals for such engagement and their views about participants. Developers were the focus because past research has failed to address views about engagement from the private-sector perspective and developers are often involved in public meetings.

Explicating and Investigating Stewardship Strategies on Nonprofit Website • Geah Pressgrove, Brooke Weberling & Erik Collins, University of South Carolina • Stewardship has been called the critical fifth step in the public relations process nonprofit organizations employ to develop relationships with various publics (Kelly, 2001). The purposes of this study are to explicate the meanings of the four stewardship strategies (responsibility, reporting, reciprocity and relationship nurturing) and, employing a quantitative content analysis of nonprofit websites, to further understand how top nonprofits deploy these strategies online. Findings indicate differences based on organization type and web page.

Beyond Reactive Public Relations:  How a Delphi Study of New Technology Informs Professional Practice • Adam Saffer, Michael Kent, Pop Rebeca, University of Oklahoma • This Delphi study assembled a panel of communication scholars and experts to identify trends and issues of online communication technologies. Since the current research has narrowly focused on specific tools, the broader issues of social media and technology have been overlooked. The findings from the study support the power of social media and suggest a mobile future for public relations practice. The essay provides recommendations for practitioners.

What Contributes to Public Relations Professionals’ Own Conflict: Life Affecting Work • Hongmei Shen, San Diego State University & Hua Jiang, Towson University • Based a national random sample (N = 820) of PRSA members, we studied three types of family responsibilities and salaries of professionals as stressors of their life-work conflict experiences. Results found the three types of life-work conflict subject to varied impact of family responsibilities while levels of behavior-based life-work conflict dependent on practitioners’ salary level. The story of life-work conflict is not as simple as a choice between “career vs. life.”

Seeking an Updated Understanding of the Public Relations – Journalist Relationship in the Age of Social Media • Dustin Supa, Boston University & Lynn Zoch, Radford University • Understanding how to effectively practice media relations is of utmost importance to public relations practitioners.  Part of that practice is an understanding of the relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners, and another part is deciding what to present to the media in terms of newsworthiness. Using survey research, this study found great agreement about newsworthiness, but a significant difference in how the two professions view each other.

Predicting Digital and Social Media Adoption Based on Organizational and Practitioner Characteristics • Kjerstin Thorson, Burghardt Tenderich, Jerry Swerling, Niku Ward & Brenna Clairr O’Tierney, University of Southern California • This paper draws on a survey of senior-level public relations and communications practitioners to provide a new empirical look at the adoption of digital and social practices across a diverse set of organizations and to model adoption as a function of practitioner attitudes and organizational variables. We also offer a test of the relationship between digital/social media use and perceived value of the PR function in the organization.

Motivations and Antecedents of Public Engagement on Corporate Social Networking Sites • Sunny Wan-Hsiu Tsai & Rita Linjuan Men, University of Miami • Corporate pages on social networking sites (SNSs) have become the key platform where online stakeholders interact with companies. This study explored the motivations and antecedents that drive publics’ engagement with corporate SNS pages. A conceptual model explicating the effects of social relationship factors on public-organization engagement on SNSs was tested through an on-line survey of 280 Facebook users across various age groups.

Public Relations and Public Diplomacy:  A Divided Past, a Shared Future • Antoaneta Vanc & Kathy Fitzpatrick, Quinnipiac University • This paper assesses the status and scope of public diplomacy research by public relations scholars, revealing substantial theoretical and practical links between the two fields. The results indicate growing interest among public relations scholars in public diplomacy and tremendous potential for public relations to contribute to the intellectual and practical development of public diplomacy as a critical resource for protecting and advancing national and global interests.

Considering familial, sociopolitical, technological, and other factors in a cultural approach to risk communication • Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, University of Houston • Culture is an essential but difficult context within which to situate risk campaigns. This study employed a cultural study with 39 teen girls to learn what personal, familial, education, sociopolitical, and technological/media factors influence their decision-making about the Gardasil vaccine. Findings suggest that girls largely make risk decisions based on their social identities as expressions of their culture. Propositions are made about how to re-consider risk communication using cultural studies.

From Awareness to Advocacy: Understanding Nonprofit Communication, Participation, and Support • Brooke Weberling, University of South Carolina • This paper explores public support for nonprofit organizations by studying a specific fundraising event, Relay For Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society. Using an online survey of undergraduates (N=514), this research employs the situational theory of publics and the theory of reasoned action to explore communication and participation behaviors related to the health issue and organization. Multiple analyses show how the variables combine to represent a continuum that might help explain nonprofit support.

The influence of Confucianism on the Legitimacy of Chinese Organizations • Shuo Yao & John Brummette, Radford University, & Luo Yi, Montclair State University • The literature on organizational legitimacy makes the argument that organizations must adhere to the value-driven standards inherent in the cultures in which they operate.  Using a quantitative content analysis of Chinese Fortune 500 companies’ websites, this study examines the strategic legitimation efforts of Chinese organizations.  Twenty-nine value clusters were identified in the analysis, some of which strongly demonstrate the influence of Confucianism on Chinese organizations (e.g., harmony, national-interests oriented, and self-regulation).

Student Papers

Crisis Attribution in News Articles: A Study of the Effect of Labeling on Corporate Reputation • Alyssa Appelman & Michelle Asmara, Pennsylvania State University • This experiment explores the relationship between labeling of a corporate crisis and corporate reputation. Participants read a news article about a corporate crisis and answered questions about perceived organizational responsibility, intent, locus, negative impression of the organization, degree of trust in the organization, and corporate reputation. The results do not show a relationship between labeling and corporate reputation. Explanations, directions for future research, and implications for public relations practitioners are explored.

Are Public Radio Stations Creating Opportunities for Dialogue on Their Web Sites? • Joshua Bentley, University of Oklahoma • Public radio stations serve their communities and rely on those communities for financial support. Both academic and practitioner literature has recognized the importance of relationship building in effective fundraising. One tool for building relationships is an organization’s Web site. This study applied Kent and Taylor’s (1998) five principles of dialogic Web design to the Web sites of 200 public radio stations. A content analysis revealed that public radio site score high on two of the five dialogic principles. However, there is room for radio stations to improve their sites. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

Winning Hearts and Building Community:  An Analysis of Basic Rights Oregon’s “Love. Commitment. Marriage.” Campaign • Erica Ciszek, University of Oregon • This case study of Basic Rights Oregon, a state-based LGBT advocacy organization, considers the strategies and tactics employed by a local advocacy organization within the context of the national marriage debate. This research demonstrates how an advocacy organization, through political public relations, uses multiple media platforms to communicate particular emotionally and socially framed messages in hopes of gathering public support for political policies.

How to minimize corporate social responsibility (CSR) cynicism in younger generations: Exploring trickle effects of social partnerships • Daewook Kim, Texas Tech University • This study was primarily aimed at exploring trickle effects of social partnerships on CSR cynicism in younger generations. Overall, the results of this study indicated that CSR cynicism was differently associated with attitude toward CSR campaign and perceived CSR efficacy, according to types of social partnerships. In addition, attitude toward CSR campaign and perceived CSR efficacy was differently associated with either communal relationships or organizational identification, according to social partnership conditions.

Social Media as a Relationship Strategy: Twitter’s Impact on Enhancing Brand Loyalty • Zongchao Li, University of Miami • This study examined the relationship strategies on Twitter as represented by U.S. retail corporations. A content analysis was conducted comparing the tweets of two groups of retailers — a brand loyalty leader group and a Fortune 500 group. Findings indicate the brand loyalty retailers used Twitter more in a two-way communication manner, while the Fortune 500 group were more one-way oriented. Two relationship maintenance strategies, positivity and assurance, were found significantly different between the groups.

A Fight for Legitimacy:  A Case Study of the 2011 Education Union Crisis • Paquette, Michael, University of Maryland • This case study furthers the understanding of the post-crisis/learning phase of a crisis by examining the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s response to a legitimacy crisis in February 2011.  Using the theoretical frameworks of reflective management and the discourse of renewal, the study found that the education union demonstrated organizational learning through: increased engagement with stakeholders, an organic response to the crisis, and rearticulating its core values.

CSR-crisis relevance on the public’s blame attributions • Hanna Park • This study examined the main effects and interaction effects of type of crisis (victim or preventable crisis), severity of damage (minor or severe crisis), and CSR-crisis relevance (relevant CSR, irrelevant CSR, or no CSR) on the public’s blame attributions and its perceptions of attitude, trust, reputation, and supportive behavior intention toward a company. A total of 360 general consumers were recruited for an online experiment based on a fictitious company brand.

Strategic Partnership with Nonprofits in Practicing CSR: The Mediating Role of Perceived Altruism and Organizational Identification on Supportive CSR Outcomes • Hyejoon Rim & Jaejin Lee, University of Florida • To provide insight for a company determining ideal nonprofit partners, this study investigates how prior company reputation, nonprofit brand familiarity, and fit between the company and nonprofit influence supportive CSR outcomes. The study also examines the critical mediation role of perceived altruism and public-organizational identification in such associations. The results show the significant direct effects of company reputation, nonprofit familiarity, and cause-brand fit on supportive CSR outcomes.

The Role of the Organization in Networked Social Capital: A Political Public Relations Model of Social Capital Building • Adam Saffer, University of Oklahoma • Social capital is an emerging buzzword in many social science disciplines and the field of public relations (Ihlen, 2005) that explains the significance of social relations in our communication. The emerging literature of political public relations has yet to consider the concept of social capital. This essay introduces social capital to political public relations scholarship and builds a theoretical model that explains how organizations use their relationships with publics to achieve political objectives through mediated channels.

E-mobilization and empowered health activism: How social media changes the mutuality between Korean health activism and its external counterparts • KyuJin Shim, Syracuse University • This case study explores how the Korea Leukemia Patient Group (KLPG) uses social media in its internal communication strategy and how that empowers its relationship with external counterparts. The findings of this study indicate that the local health NGO’s communication strategy is changing in response to the increased effectiveness and impact of social media. With the use of social media like Twitter, the KLPG can construct an issue-based advocacy group quickly and effectively.

Identifying Social Media Influencers: Using Network Mapping to Track Information Flows in Online Interest-Based Publics • Kathleen Stansberry, University of Oregon • This research examines the use of online network analysis methods to identify and map the communication patterns of influencers in interest-based publics. Using the network analysis program IssueCrawler, this paper maps the link pattern among members of the online young adult cancer community. The results of this study show that online network analysis can be a highly effective tool to identify influencers and provide valuable information for public relations practitioners working with online publics.

Examining the Effect of Organizations’ Interpersonal Approach in Social Networking Sites • Kang Hoon Sung, University of Florida • People use social networking sites mainly for interpersonal communication. Thus, corporate communication focusing on promotional activities might create negative sentiments toward the company on those platforms. This experimental study examined the effect of organizations’ interpersonal approaches (e.g., non-promotional messages, interaction) in social networking sites using real and fictitious companies. The results revealed that people evaluated a company more positively when the company was highly interactive with customers.

A Comparative Content Analysis of Fortune 1000 Corporate Communication Strategy on Facebook and Twitter • Weiting Tao & Christopher Wilson, University of Florida • This quantitative content analysis of corporate Facebook and Twitter sites examined: 1) the extent to which Fortune 1000 corporations used Facebook and Twitter to communicate with stakeholders; 2) the communication strategies these corporations adopted for Facebook and Twitter; and 3) the consistency of communication strategies used on both social media sites. The results have practical application for leveraging multiple social media platforms and theoretical implications for the use of social media for public relations.

Corporate Web Site Communication with Investors: The Relationship among Employee Size, Profitability, and Web Site Communication • Nur Uysal, University of Oklahoma • This study examined S&P 500 petro-chemical corporations’ use of Web sites to communicate with investors—shareholders, potential investors, and analysts. The findings of a Web site content analysis suggested that Web site public relations efforts facilitate dialogic communication with investors. Using data from Compustat and CRSP datasets, a pair-wise correlation analysis and a multiple regression analysis revealed that companies with more employees and larger profits tended to provide more dialogic features on their Web sites.

Measuring BP Media Relations Outcomes Post Spill: An Illustration of How Public Relations’ Effects May Be Overestimated • Brendan Watson, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill • A survey examined whether journalists’ (N=126) assessments of BP media relations predict public relations outcomes following the BP oil spill. The study found that the BP-journalist relationship predicted journalists’ attitudes toward the industry’s degree of corporate responsibility. Current research methods advanced in the professional and scholarly public relations literature, however, overestimated this relationship. The importance in public relations research of using multivariate models to control for variables outside of the organization-public relationship is discussed.

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