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PR Journal

Title: “World-Class” Public Relations One Decade Later: Does the Model Still Apply?

Author: Robert I. Wakefield, Ph.D., APR, Associate Professor, Brigham Young University.

Abstract: Dr. Wakefield’s article reexamines one of the few follow-up studies to a generic/specific theory that focuses on organizational public relation. The original model explained a number of factors that should exist at both the global and local levels in order for an international public relations program to be effective. This model was created a decade ago before the internet and social media stated to add increased complexities to public relations practice. The current study examines this model in the context of current media and tests it using qualitative textual analysis of writings of many international public relations practitioners.

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Title: A Study of PR Practitioners’ Use of Social Media in Crisis Planning.

Authors: Shelley Wigley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Texas at Arlington and Weiwu Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Public Relations, College of Mass Communication, Texas Tech University.

Abstract: The article by Professors Wigley, and Zhang represents one of the few attempts to investigate how public relations practitioners use social media in crisis planning and crisis communication as well as in ordinary situations. This article is based on a survey exploring social media and crisis planning among PRSA members. Results indicate nearly half of respondents have incorporated social media into their crisis plans. The study also found that public relations practitioners whose organizations rely more heavily on social media tools in their crisis planning correlated positively with practitioners’ greater confidence in their organization’s ability to handle a crisis.

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Title: A Three-Year Longitudinal Analysis of Social and Emerging Media Use in Public Relations Practice.

Authors: Donald K. Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, Harold Burson Professor & Chair in Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University and Michelle Drifka Hinson, M.A., Director of Fundraising, Cade Museum for Innovation & Invention, Gainesville, Florida.

Abstract: The three-year longitudinal analysis trend study authored by Don Wright and Michelle Hinson surveyed more than 1,600 public relations practitioners over a three-year period and found that the use of social and other emerging communications media has continued to increase each year. New communications media – especially blogs, micro-blogs and social media networks – are providing unique new ways for organizations to communicate with strategic publics. Results also found social networking site Facebook was considered to be the most important medium for public relations messages in 2010 and 2011. Huge increases were reported in public relations use of Twitter and YouTube between 2009 and 2010.

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Title: Creativity vs. Ethics: Russian and U.S. Public Relations Students’ Perceptions of Professional Leadership and Leaders.

Authors: Elina Erzikova, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, Central Michigan University and Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, University of Alabama.

Abstract: The purpose of the Erzikova and Berger article is to investigate possible similarities and differences in American and Russian public relations students’ interpretations of such concepts as leaders and leadership in public relations. American and Russian students were similar in their perceptions of the public relations profession as prestigious and glamorous and public relations leaders as superior to other leaders. Significant differences emerged between American and Russian participants on the three main issues—professional ethics, creativity, and the nature of leadership. American students believed that public relations is inherently ethical and society-oriented while Russian participants in this study considered public relations to be hidden persuasion.

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Title: A Critical Analysis of Greenwashing Claims

Tiffany Derville Gallicano, Ph.D., School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon.

Abstract: Dr. Gallicano’s article points out that the number of companies issuing “green claims” over the last several years has increased dramatically as consumers and companies are paying more attention to their environmental footprint. Repeatedly, corporations are accused of greenwashing on websites that house such forums. The purpose of this article was to begin to evaluate the fairness of the critical public’s greenwashing accusations through a study of environmental criticisms against a company. The article presents the first comprehensive framework for evaluating whether organizations are engaging in greenwashing. Results should be useful to both scholars and practitioners. Recommendations for studies about greenwashing are also presented.

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Title: Are We Practicing What We Preach? Perspectives on Public Relations Evaluation from Practitioners.

Authors: Susan Grantham, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Communication, University of Hartford; Edward T. Vieira, Jr., M.B.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Management, Simmons College and Christina Trinchero, Marketing Communications Director, Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Abstract: The article by Professors Grantham and Viera, with co-authoring assistance from Ms. Trinchero, explores what factors may influence the inclusion of measurement as a function of public relations and why it is occurring in some places and not in others. This research project looked at current measurement and evaluation practices; perceived attitude toward the need to measure by the practitioners’ organizations; and the practitioners’ perspective on measurement. Results suggest that those (including senior management) involved with strategic planning value public relations measurement. Organizations that communicate the strategic nature communications facilitate a climate of performance assessment and by implication greater accountability.

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Title: Understanding the Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on Consumer Purchase Intention.

Authors: Melissa D. Dodd, a Ph.D. student in the School of Communication, University of Miami and Dustin W. Supa, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University.

Abstract: This issue’s contribution from Melissa Dodd and Dustin Supa examines the effect of consumer social responsibility on consumer purchase intention by using Ajzen and Fishbein’s theory of reasoned action. The study utilizes the hypothesis that a positive association exists between an organization’s involvement in CSR programs and consumer’s purchase intentions – indicating that consumers are more likely to purchase an organization’s product if that organization is involved in socially responsible practices. The study further questions whether consumers are aware of specific organizational involvement or specific noninvolvement of CSR practices. Results indicate a positive relationship exists between corporate social responsibility practices and consumer purchase intention. 

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Title: Not Conformed to this World: How U.S. Religion Communicators Describe Public Relations.

Author: Douglas F. Cannon, Ph.D., APR+M.

Abstract: Although religious public relations represents one of the oldest specializations in American practice, few scholars have examined how U.S. faith groups use communication to manage relationships. One such study is Dr. Cannon’s article in this issue that probes how religion communicators understand public relations. Specifically, this project sees how well communicators and leaders representing U.S. faith groups think measures of the four public relations models in Grunig’s “Excellence Theory” apply to their organizations.

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