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Public Relations Journal — Vol. 9, No. 4

Editor's Column
Robert I. Wakefield, Ph.D., APR


 

Title: Millennials and Public Relations Leadership in the 21st Century: Are They Ready?

Authors: Shirley Serini, Ph.D. APR, PRSA Fellow, and Diane S. Krider, Ph.D., APR

Abstract: Public Relations professionals are taking an increasingly important role as part of the “C-suite” team. Millennials (born 1982-2000) will need to be ready to assume leadership positions earlier in their careers than any generation before them. The study presented here uses the results of nine focus groups and two depth interviews conducted during the summer of 2014. It explores how current public relations professionals who manage Millennials evaluate them for promotion and the concerns and issues they face as they do so. Many of the qualities of a good leader identified in the leadership literature are inherent in how Millennials have been raised and educated. However, the focus group findings point to several key areas of concern about Millennials engaged in public relations work: personal qualities, communication skills, business acumen, and work ethic. Additionally, there are some concerns about collaboration and social media. Suggestions for future research are presented in the conclusion.

Keywords: Millennials, leadership, public relations leadership, Millennials in public relations

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Title: Exploring a Process Model for Stakeholder Management

Authors: Hyun Soon Park and Yun Hee Lee

Abstract: This paper expands stakeholder management practice by incorporating concepts from the issues management process model. Based on Jones and Chase’s issues-process model, this study provides a comprehensive three-step stakeholder management process: (1) stakeholder identification and analysis, (2) development and implementation of stakeholder management strategies, and (3) stakeholder management evaluation. From a practical point of view, the stakeholder identification step helps organizations picture what types of reactions or attacks will occur in the near future. In addition, stakeholder analysis allows organizations to enlist salient stakeholders and offers a practical initiation into stakeholder management. The criteria for stakeholder identification and analysis in this model can provide practical guidelines for ongoing brainstorming drills within organizations to determine which stakeholders should be engaged. Furthermore, an organization’s stakeholder management strategies are created and selected according to stakeholder categories on the basis of types and priorities. This cyclical process can motivate organizations to continue their implementation and evaluation, which will lead to an effective and efficient issues management process that can result in the construction of a better society.

Keywords: Communication Strategy, Issues Management, Public Relations, Stakeholder Management Theory

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Title: Emerging Issues in Internal Communications: Generational Shifts, Internal Social Media & Engagement

Author: Marlene S. Neill, Ph.D., APR

Abstract: Internal communication is rising in prominence and resources due to generational shifts as Baby Boomers retire and Millennials enter the workforce. Through 32 interviews with executives in marketing, public relations and human resources, this study identifies some of the communication challenges and opportunities presented for internal communicators. These issues are explored based on theories of organization power and encroachment, stakeholder theory and organizational identity. Some of the major trends include the emergence of internal social media channels and efforts to drive and measure employee engagement. The findings suggest that public relations tends to lead internal communications initiatives in close collaboration with human resources and executive leadership. This study also identifies differing organizational structural relationships for internal communication and their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the findings provide support that internal communication is becoming a strategic function and is shifting from one-way to three-way communication.

Keywords: internal communication, employee engagement, internal social media, organizational identity

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Title: Student Evaluations of a University Crisis Communication Response: The Gunman Threat at North Carolina A&T

Authors: Tatjana M. Hocke-Mirzashvili, Ph.D., Stephanie Kelly, Ph.D. and Patrick MacDonald, M.A.

Abstract: Through open-ended, structured interviews, 25 students evaluated a campus gunman threat. Themes revealed that the university’s crisis communication response was evaluated positively by students who received word from a university-affiliated source first and were usually off campus. Students who received messages from non-university sources, and were usually on campus, evaluated the response negatively. Social media played a large role as information source, increasing the number of voices in the crisis. The paper concludes by integrating the findings into CERC and other crisis models, supports the importance of stakeholder emotions during crisis, and discusses the threat as a form of paracrisis.

Keywords: university crisis, interviews, paracrisis, crisis communication, CERC, crisis response, stakeholder emotions

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Title: Social Media as a Loudspeaker for Nike: Can Image Repair Communication on Facebook Impact Emotion and Responsibility Attribution?

Authors: Erika K. Johnson and Seoyeon Celine Hong, Ph.D.

Abstract: There is limited understanding of how publics attribute responsibility for public relations crises through social media. Public involvement in social media has emerged as an area of interest in conflict management because involvement impacts negative emotion and attribution of responsibility to an organization. The researchers measured involvement, as related to emotional reaction and responsibility attribution, using a content analysis of Facebook consumer comments (N= 236) made after Nike Running issued an apology and statement of corrective action about the technical problems with the Nike Plus Sports Kit. The frameworks of Contingency Theory of Accommodation and the Situational Crisis Communication Theory illuminated the findings. The results revealed that effortful involvement in commenting was positively associated with crisis responsibility attribution. However, involvement was not associated with emotional venting. This suggests that corrective action may quell emotional reaction, but responsibility attribution may be of concern when using social media as a two-way communication tool.

Keywords: Social media, involvement, emotional venting, crisis responsibility attribution, publics, crisis communication, conflict management

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Title: Conceptualizing Credibility in Social Media Spaces of Public Relations

Authors: Carolyn Mae Kim, Ph.D., APR and William J. Brown, Ph.D.

Abstract: There is not an organization today that can afford to ignore the power of social media. Public relations professionals have recognized that it is essential to leverage social media to build and maintain relationships with increasingly interactive publics in a credible way that will foster strong relationships. The purpose of this national study is to re-conceptualize our understanding of credibility in the context of social media by analyzing how organizations employ social media to build credibility. The findings of the study not only extend source and medium credibility research into a timely context, but also to contribute to theoretical development and practice in the public relations field. Findings indicate that trustworthiness, expertise, personable interaction and invitational rhetoric are critical dimensions for the credibility of an organization interacting through social media.

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