Institute for Public Relations http://www.instituteforpr.org The Science Beneath the Art of Public Relations Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:36:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 71127201 Measuring the Impact of PR on Consumer Brand Perception http://www.instituteforpr.org/measuring-impact-pr-consumer-brand-perception/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=measuring-impact-pr-consumer-brand-perception http://www.instituteforpr.org/measuring-impact-pr-consumer-brand-perception/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:15:16 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29386 In a time of constant digital innovation, the media environment today has introduced a new ability for consumers to broadcast their opinions about companies on global platforms. Social media in particular allows for content to circulate quickly and consistently. Perhaps most significantly, news stories can travel at a more rapid rate than ever before, putting […]

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In a time of constant digital innovation, the media environment today has introduced a new ability for consumers to broadcast their opinions about companies on global platforms. Social media in particular allows for content to circulate quickly and consistently. Perhaps most significantly, news stories can travel at a more rapid rate than ever before, putting companies at constant risk of weakening their brand image in the eyes of consumers.

A recent study conducted by Clutch, a B2B research platform, finds that there is a direct relationship between media coverage and brand perception. Brands that are featured negatively in the press subsequently have a negative perception in the minds of consumers. To gather this information, Clutch surveyed 1,000 consumers in the US.

As a solution to monitoring this risk and ensuring a stable brand image, Clutch points to public relations as a steady long-term strategy that all companies should uphold.

In the report, Clutch finds that 52% of consumers spend their time using social media more than any other media outlet. As a result, the window of time that companies have to respond to negative media coverage has dramatically shortened. Companies are now at the will of consumers who can change their perception of that brand within seconds of being exposed to a failed marketing tactic, controversial political stance, or recent news event.

There are three top-name brands that serve as examples of this phenomenon, according to Clutch. United Airlines, Pepsi, and Chick-Fil-A are large, globally-recognized companies that have all recently suffered from a recent PR crisis and have thus experienced a change in their consumer following.

Clutch asked consumers to express their reaction to each brands’ media coverage in the form of their likelihood to continue purchasing that company’s products or services.

In the case of United, 53% of consumers say they are less likely to buy plane tickets from the brand in response to the mishandling of a security official in removing an unwilling passenger from a flight.

For Pepsi, 77% of consumers say they are “unaffected” by the brand’s recent commercial that takes an insensitive approach to police brutality because their brand loyalty outweighs the marketing mistake.

Chick-Fil-A’s overt religious values that conflict with the LGBTQ community have actually generated a positive response from consumers, 25% of whom say they are more likely to buy meals from the brand in respect of their right to religious expression.

Though each brand presents a different report of how press coverage actually drives consumers’ purchasing behavior, the perceptions these consumers have of the brands are still negative overall.

To ensure that brand image remains strongly upheld in the minds of consumers, PR teams are now required to adjust their strategies to the new media environment. Because news travels quickly, PR teams must act even quicker to ensure brands emerge in front of the negative press, avoiding a potential loss in brand loyalty and consumer support.

To read the full report, please visit: https://clutch.co/pr-firms/resources/measuring-brand-perception-effect-of-pr


Jenna Seter is a Business Analyst & Content Marketer at Clutch.co. To contact the author of this study, please email her at jenna@clutch.co. Follow her on Twitter @jennaseter.

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PR Leaders are Pretty Average | Plank Center Report Card 2017 http://www.instituteforpr.org/pr-leaders-pretty-average-plank-center-report-card-2017/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pr-leaders-pretty-average-plank-center-report-card-2017 http://www.instituteforpr.org/pr-leaders-pretty-average-plank-center-report-card-2017/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:48:09 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29379 What’s your leadership grade? The Plank Center Report Card 2017 suggests leadership in public relations is average (C+), and it’s not improving. In 2015 the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and Heyman Associates produced its first Report Card on PR Leaders. Leaders earned passing grades for the five areas examined—leadership performance, job engagement, […]

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What’s your leadership grade? The Plank Center Report Card 2017 suggests leadership in public relations is average (C+), and it’s not improving.

In 2015 the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and Heyman Associates produced its first Report Card on PR Leaders. Leaders earned passing grades for the five areas examined—leadership performance, job engagement, trust in the organization, work culture and job satisfaction—but crucial gaps highlighted areas for improvement.

Recently, nearly 1,200 PR leaders and professionals in the U.S. completed the same survey.* Grades for leadership performance and trust were unchanged in 2017, but slipped for work culture, job engagement and job satisfaction. The overall grade for PR leaders fell from B- to C+.

Gaps between leaders’ and employees’ perceptions of the five areas remained wide, while gender differences deepened sharply. Previous concerns about two-way communication, shared decision-making and diversity were again underscored by men and women.

Four Key Findings

  1. Performance of the Top Leader (A-/C+)

Leaders’ and their employees’ perceptions of the top leader’s performance again differed sharply: Leaders gave themselves an “A-,” while followers gave them a “C+.” The grades were virtually identical to those in 2015. Leaders received higher marks for ethical orientation and involvement in strategic decision-making but earned lower grades for their vision, relationship-building skills and team leadership capabilities.

  1. Job Engagement (B-)

The grade fell because fewer professionals were engaged. In 2017, 57.2% of respondents were engaged (vs. 59.7% in 2015); 35.9% were not engaged (vs 34.4%); and 6.8% were actively disengaged (vs. 6.0%). The decline is largely tied to lower engagement among women. In 2015, more women (61.3%) were engaged than men (57.9%). However, in 2017 more men (62.1%) were engaged than women (52.9%).

  1. Job Satisfaction (C+)

This grade dropped as those satisfied or very satisfied with their job declined from 66.7% to 61.9%. The percentage of those dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their jobs rose from 22.1% to 24.1%, while those neither satisfied nor dissatisfied rose from 11.2% to 14.0%. More men (65.9%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their job than women (58.3%). Agency PR professionals were most satisfied compared to those working in companies or nonprofits.

  1. Gender Divide

Women in public relations were significantly less engaged, less satisfied with their jobs, less confident in their work cultures, less trusting of their organizations and more critical of top leaders than men. The findings were more pronounced among women working at lower levels in the organization. The only area without a significant gender issue was at the top: top female and male leaders in organizations rated each of the five areas more or less the same.

Three Crucial Gaps

  1. The perceptions of top leaders and their employees. Top leaders rated their performance and all other areas significantly higher than their employees. Things look different—and far better—at the top. Leaders may often rate their performance higher than their employees, but statistically the gap is huge. Leaders at all levels can benefit from relying less on the transmission mode and more on the reception mode when communicating with employees. Other solutions include: 1) increased power sharing, 2) strengthened two-way communications, and 3) enhanced interpersonal skills in team work.
  2. Existing culture and a culture for communication. Issues like the lack of two-way communication, limited power sharing and diversity concerns point to differences between existing cultures and a rich communication system sometimes referred to as a culture for communication. Such a culture is characterized by: 1) an open communication system; 2) dialogue, discussion and learning; 3) the use of two-way and multiple channels; 4) a climate in which employees can speak up without fear of retribution; and 5) leaders who support and value public relations and internal communications.
  3. Perceptions of women and men in the profession. The gender gap deepened in the 2017 survey in every subject area. Women’s perceptions of their lack of shared power in decision making, insufficient two-way communication, and de-valuing of their opinions are reflected in lower levels of trust in the organization and its culture, less confidence in leaders and declining job engagement; nearly half (47.1%) of women were not engaged or actively disengaged.

Progress in diversity in several senses remains painfully slow. For women in the survey, it appears that being successful in the field is still challenging; the pay gap is real; the opportunity gap is real; and the being-heard-and-respected-gap is real. The power to act to close these gaps resides in the minds, hearts and hands of current leaders at all levels in the profession.

The purpose of this biennial report is to assess leadership in PR, identify enrichment opportunities and then act to strengthen our profession’s leadership—a crucial strategic asset. The 2017 Report Card underscores the continuing gaps. While social tensions in our world today have likely exacerbated these issues, we need to be bigger leaders and close the gaps.

A full report of the research is available at: plankcenter.ua.edu/

Background & Demographics*

A 39-question survey was distributed online to about 31,000 PR leaders and managers, and 1,185 completed the survey. This response provides a 99% confidence level (+/- 5%) the results represent the larger population of surveyed professionals. Most participants were senior leaders and managers: 75% of the 1,185 respondents were the #1 or #2 communications professional in their organization, and 92% had 11 years of experience or more. More women (631 or 53.3%) than men (554 or 46.7%) completed the survey. The majority of participants worked in public (453 or 38.2%) or private (189 or 15.9%) corporations, followed by nonprofits (357 or 30.1%), communication agencies (157 or 13.2%) and self-employed or others (29 or 2.5%).


Dr. Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of Advertising & PR at the University of Alabama. In addition to being the Founding Director of The Plank Center for Leadership in PR he also serves as its Research Director. He is also an IPR Trustee.

William Heyman is the Founder, President and CEO of Heyman Associates, as well as Founder and Director of Taylor Bennett Heyman, an affiliated firm with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Melbourne. He is also an IPR Trustee.

Juan Meng, Ph.D., is the Director of University of Georgia’s ADPR China Program and Associate Professor in Public Relations at the University of Georgia

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PRSA and IPR Partner to Relaunch the “Public Relations Journal” http://www.instituteforpr.org/prsa-ipr-partner-relaunch-public-relations-journal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=prsa-ipr-partner-relaunch-public-relations-journal http://www.instituteforpr.org/prsa-ipr-partner-relaunch-public-relations-journal/#respond Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:53:02 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29357 Combined Venture Provides Content-Rich Expertise for the Public Relations Profession NEW YORK  – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community, and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), an independent, nonprofit foundation focused on research applicable in communications practice, announce their commitment to providing communications professionals with […]

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Combined Venture Provides Content-Rich Expertise for the Public Relations Profession

NEW YORK  – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community, and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), an independent, nonprofit foundation focused on research applicable in communications practice, announce their commitment to providing communications professionals with actionable research through a joint journal publication branded as the “Public Relations Journal.”

Public Relations Journal is a free, web-based, open-access, peer-reviewed, indexed quarterly academic journal offering the latest public relations and communication-based research. The Public Relations Journal will publish original research articles, commentaries, research-in-briefs and case studies in a variety of formats including content and articles by academics or practitioners who examine public relations in depth and/or create, test or expand public relations theory.

“IPR is pleased to collaborate with PRSA to provide a comprehensive online publication focused on research that matters to the profession,” said Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, President and CEO of IPR. “The Journal will serve as a source for key academic research studies for professionals to incorporate in their day-to-day practice.”

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with IPR to leverage their extensive knowledge and create a dynamic, research offering designed to meet the needs of public relations practitioners, scholars, students of public relations and other industry professionals within the disciplines of communication and business,” said PRSA 2017 Chair Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA.

Both PRSA and IPR will work together to select an Editorial Board of a mix of senior public relations professionals and academics from their list of reviewers and other experts in the field. PRSA and IPR will search through an open call for a new Editor-in-Chief. The application deadline is August 1, 2017.

“The partnership on the Public Relations Journal underscores the commitment PRSA has made to engage industry partners and provide new programming and resources that speak to the core of its membership,” said PRSA CEO Joe Truncale.

Today’s Public Relations Journal will provide its readership with the most relevant topical research and insights through an open website platform primarily residing on the Institute for Public Relations website. The current issue of the newly combined journal and past issues of the former Public Relations Journal and Research Journal of the Institute for Public Relations can be accessed at http://prjournal.instituteforpr.org/

About the Public Relations Society of America

PRSA is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community.  The organization’s mission is to make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career.   PRSA achieves this by offering its members thought leadership, innovative lifelong learning opportunities to help them develop new skills, enhance their credibility and connect with a strong network of professionals.  The organization sets the standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct for the public relations industry.  PRSA collectively represents more than 30,000 members consisting of communications professionals spanning every industry sector nationwide and college and university students who encompass the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Learn more about PRSA at https://www.prsa.org

About the Institute for Public Relations

The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice.  IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at www.instituteforpr.org.

Contact:

Sarah Jackson
Communications Manager
sarah@instituteforpr.org

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Creating a Democracy for Everyone: Strategies for Increasing Listening and Engagement by Government http://www.instituteforpr.org/creating-democracy-everyone-strategies-increasing-listening-engagement-government/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=creating-democracy-everyone-strategies-increasing-listening-engagement-government http://www.instituteforpr.org/creating-democracy-everyone-strategies-increasing-listening-engagement-government/#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 19:42:38 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29348 This study appears courtesy of Dr. Jim Macnamara, FAMEC, FAMI, CPM, FPRIA, Professor of Public Communication, at the University of Technology Sydney. The full study can be found here. Governments and political parties spend hundreds of millions of dollars, euro, pounds, and other equivalent currency on public communication. Apart from the vast amounts spent on […]

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This study appears courtesy of Dr. Jim Macnamara, FAMEC, FAMI, CPM, FPRIA, Professor of Public Communication, at the University of Technology Sydney. The full study can be found here.

Governments and political parties spend hundreds of millions of dollars, euro, pounds, and other equivalent currency on public communication. Apart from the vast amounts spent on election campaigns, particularly in the USA, governments have ongoing programs of public communication. For example, the UK national government spends around £300 million a year on communication to inform and engage citizens. Even state governments spend $100 million a year or more on activities such as advertising and PR. The European Commission has conducted single issue communication campaigns across its 28 member states costing upwards of €30 million

Despite major investments in public communication, there are signs that democracy is breaking down or broken in a number of Western democratic countries. This is evidenced in:

  • Low levels of trust in government, politicians, and political processes as well as in other institutions central to democratic and civil society;
  • Disengagement from traditional political participation. For example, while a few political parties have gained support recently (e.g., the Scottish National Party), membership of the three major political parties in the UK (Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat) totaled just 1.6% of eligible voters in 2016;
  • Declining voter turnouts in elections other than some recent ‘protest votes’;
  • Increasing radicalisation and extremism ranging from the rise of Far right political parties in a number of countries to youth becoming ‘foreign fighters’ with violent extremist organizations.

Research shows that the cause of this dissatisfaction with democracy can be attributed to organizations’ focus on message dissemination (i.e. speaking) and organizational listening that is solely instrumental.

“Creating a ‘Democracy for Everyone” commends the UK Prime Minister’s commitment to “a country that works for everyone.” However, the study notes that the Prime Minister’s goals “will not be achievable without a sustained commitment to listening to stakeholders and citizens.”

Based on two and a half years of in-depth research in Australia, the UK, and the USA as well as a number of interviews and consultations in Europe, this report identifies strategies designed to create more equitable, sustainable governments—democracies that work for everyone.

Findings:

Digital media including Web sites and social media afford opportunities for low-cost engagement with many stakeholders and citizens and are still under-utilized. However, it needs to be recognized that digital communication and service delivery are not used by some sectors of society (e.g., many older people and many in low socioeconomic circumstances). Therefore, governments need a mix of digital and ‘analogue’ methods of communication and engagement, as well as face-to-face interaction (e.g., direct community engagement, partnerships, etc.).

Politicians listen, but they mostly listen to and are influenced by:

  • Traditional media – often spending much of their time garnering publicity and monitoring media such as newspapers, TV, and radio in the belief that these channels both influence and reflect the views of stakeholders and citizens. With ‘audience fragmentation’13 and a major decline in trust in traditional media, this belief is misplaced. Large sections of society now derive their news and information via social media and do not read newspapers or watch TV for news or current affairs. Also, many media organizations reflect partisan views;
  • Political parties – most major political parties have flagging membership and no longer represent or speak for the majority or even a significant minority of the sectors of society that they purport to serve. As noted previously, despite membership increases in some minority parties, membership of the three major political parties in the
    UK (Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats) amounts to just 1.6% of eligible voters in the UK.
  • In summary, the major sources of information and feedback that politicians rely on are declining institutions that do not represent the voice of stakeholders and citizens.

Methodology:

The findings and recommendations in this report are based on in-depth qualitative research undertaken in four countries between 2014 and 2016 in two stages:

1) Case study analysis of the public communication and stakeholder engagement of 36 organizations in Australia, the UK, and the USA in 2014–2015

2) Participatory action research in which the lead researcher worked intensively with staff in two major UK government organizations and in close consultation with staff in 10 other UK government departments and agencies over a six-month period to evaluate government communication and engagement with citizens and to develop, trial, and test strategies for improving communication and engagement. This report focuses particularly on the second stage.

For the full study, visit here.

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Why Measurement Should be Non-Negotiable: Presented by Dr. Tina McCorkindale at the 2017 AMEC Conference http://www.instituteforpr.org/measurement-non-negotiable-presented-dr-tina-mccorkindale-2017-amec-conference/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=measurement-non-negotiable-presented-dr-tina-mccorkindale-2017-amec-conference http://www.instituteforpr.org/measurement-non-negotiable-presented-dr-tina-mccorkindale-2017-amec-conference/#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 19:03:41 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29339 IPR President and CEO, Dr. Tina McCorkindale, traveled to Thailand to present at the 2017 AMEC Conference in Bangkok. She presented the following speech during the session, “Measurement and the PR & Communications Professional: Why Measurement Should be Non-negotiable!” Download (PDF): Measurement and the PR & Communications Professional: Why Measurement Should be Non-negotiable! Thank you […]

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IPR President and CEO, Dr. Tina McCorkindale, traveled to Thailand to present at the 2017 AMEC Conference in Bangkok. She presented the following speech during the session, “Measurement and the PR & Communications Professional: Why Measurement Should be Non-negotiable!”


Download (PDF): Measurement and the PR & Communications Professional: Why Measurement Should be Non-negotiable!

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.

The Institute for Public Relations is a nonprofit research foundation devoted to research that matters to the profession. We have a Measurement Commission that has been around for 20 years and we appreciate the opportunity to work with industry partners like AMEC.

First, I want to touch on measurement and then dive into challenges for our industry moving forward. It’s not just about how we prepare for today but how we get ready for tomorrow’s challenges. First, as we heard yesterday, measurement should never be done for measurement’s sake. It should not be just a box we check or something we do to simply prove our worth and value. It must be strategic and focused on achieving outcomes.

While we all understand the importance of research or we wouldn’t be here, we need to think about what’s happening in the industry and the profession. Now, let’s shake things up a bit.

As the great Bob Dylan said, “Times they are a changing.”

In 2016, PriceWaterhouseCoopers launched the results of their Global CEO Survey of 1,400 CEOs. The CEOs reported a need to apply data and analytics more effectively to measure and express performance around business and strategy, purpose, and values. This is all while operating in a time of tremendous change and in growing expectations of transparency and trustworthiness in a very fractured and changing media environment. According to the most recent Cisco Visual Networking Index, mobile data traffic has grown 18-fold over the past 5 years and will increase sevenfold over the next five years.

How does this impact us? Our profession needs to be better prepared for this rapidly changing world and we are NOT there yet, NOT even close.

Let’s look more into our future. Multiple research sources, including McKinsey and Pew Internet Research Center, have predicted that massive numbers of jobs are at risk as smart, self-learning systems—or artificial intelligence—are increasing. Can our jobs be automated? To some degree, yes.

According to a recent Pew Research study about the future of jobs, workers of the future will need to deeply cultivate activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments.

Added to all this are the 17 sustainable goals outlined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015). As you can see, we have societal challenges we will need to address and many companies are focusing on certain goals to help make our planet stronger and healthier.

With all these changes, what is the future of our profession? I would argue it’s more important than ever.

We will always have some mainstays of measurement. But, what is our future media model and is this really the focus? The media environment is changing and how people consume information. How personalized will it become?

We need to be strategic and make sure we are measuring the right things. We do our profession a tremendous disservice when we report inflated or invalid metrics – we engage in this kind of “success” theater – billions of eyeballs through impressions had an opportunity to see a regional program? We need to look at the validity of what we do and come up with a stronger model. And we can’t give clients invalid metrics such as AVEs because they ask for it.

We need to pull in more measures from psychology, sociology, and other “ologies.” We need to measure for the long-term such as trust, engagement, motivation, reputation, loyalty, values, etc., and measure them as accurately as possible. We should focus on more precise measurement techniques and other ways to measure behavior. We have access to all sorts of human behaviors that are now quantifiable: habits, sleep patterns, facial recognition, biometrics, physiological factors, and others. We can further hone in on the specific demographics, psychographics, attitudinal and behavioral data to draw insights.

With increased personalization – look at our smartphones for example – we can grasp and collect data with more nuanced information. We can incorporate more predictive analytics and build more formulas, more accurately for measurement.

We need to learn new tools and skills – how to work with data and algorithms, statistical literacy, behavioral science – how attitudes and opinions affect behavior, how to work with 3-D modeling, printers, holographics, virtual reality, and how to implement findings from AI and automation. Technology is center of it all. Just look at Watson at IBM or Alexa at Amazon.

With all the changes to our global societies, we must be prepared to make sure our measurement techniques evolve….for the better…..as well. Gleaning insights are key – we throw this term around but are we using it correctly? Reporting a percentage increase from 3 to 5% is not insights. We need to adopt standards for mutual understanding. We need to tell stories with data. How to evaluate sources. How to locate information in a flood of data, and I mean a flood. How to influence. How to do research. Not just visualizing data, but truly tell a story that the computer can’t. And by the way, the Washington Post is already using a bot with its Heliograf software to write stories for them. And it does a great job. As Marc Andreessen said, “software is eating the world.”

Barry Chudakov of Sertain Research said our greatest skill will be the ability to think through the cloud of facts, data, experience and strategic direction that products and services require. Design thinking and data management will be important—thinking, problem-solving, reflection and visioning are more difficult to teach.

So to sum up, we have to get this right. We must evolve as a profession and be prepared for the future that awaits us. Thank you.

 

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Senders’ Bias: How Can Top Managers’ Communication Improve Strategy Implementation? http://www.instituteforpr.org/senders-bias-can-top-managers-communication-improve-strategy-implementation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=senders-bias-can-top-managers-communication-improve-strategy-implementation http://www.instituteforpr.org/senders-bias-can-top-managers-communication-improve-strategy-implementation/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:38:21 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29335 Author(s), Title and Publication Katsuhiko Shimizu, Keio University, Yokohama, Japan (2017). Senders’ bias: How can top managers’ communication improve, or not improve strategy implementation? International Journal of Business Communication, 54(1), 52-69. DOI: 10.1177/2329488416675449 Summary Organizational change can lead to increased uncertainty that, if not addressed, can negatively impact strategy execution. In this study, the author […]

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Author(s), Title and Publication

Katsuhiko Shimizu, Keio University, Yokohama, Japan (2017). Senders’ bias: How can top managers’ communication improve, or not improve strategy implementation? International Journal of Business Communication, 54(1), 52-69. DOI: 10.1177/2329488416675449

Summary

Organizational change can lead to increased uncertainty that, if not addressed, can negatively impact strategy execution. In this study, the author examines the critical role of communication as a means of effective strategy implementation. In particular, this research focuses on the disparity between leaders’ perception of the value of their own communication, and employees’ perceptions of leaders’ communication. Identified as senders’ bias, leaders have a tendency to overestimate the quality and quantity of their communications. Creating a gap between leader expectations and employee interpretations, senders’ bias potentially limits strategy implementation and overall organizational success. The contemporary business climate, including increased competition, has accelerated the need for organizations to be nimble and efficient. While technology has certainly enabled efficiency, it has likewise added complexity to senders’ bias, as electronic and impersonal communication limits feedback and opportunity to adjust and modify messaging. The research and literature utilized in this study is intended to increase understanding of the idea of senders’ bias in effort to reduce the bias, and improve communication, and strategy execution.

This research suggests new strategies are often met with resistance due to organizational member’s uncertainty, differing perspectives than those of top management, and fear of challenging the comfortable status quo. Compounding this resistance, overreliance on electronic communication from top management closes the feedback loop, leaving voices unheard. The literature suggests top management utilize consistent, value-driven communication, in formal and informal, and personal and electronic environments to help align organizational members with organizational goals, values, and strategies.

Implications for Practice

Managers should (1) be mindful of their own possible senders’ bias, and (2) actively seek feedback from organizational members to understand potential reasons for resistance, (3) explicitly state openness to employee voices and ideas in one-on-one, group, and electronic communication, (4) pay close attention to non-verbal communication cues as indicators that the message is being heard, and (5) ask questions to minimize the occurrence of simple misunderstandings or misinterpretations that may lead to resistance and reduce effectiveness.

Location of Article

This article is available online at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2329488416675449

(abstract free, purchase full article)

 

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Moral Foundations of Forgiving in the Workplace http://www.instituteforpr.org/moral-foundations-forgiving-workplace/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=moral-foundations-forgiving-workplace http://www.instituteforpr.org/moral-foundations-forgiving-workplace/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 13:32:23 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29331 Author(s), Title and Publication Paul, G. D. & Putnam, L. L. (2017). Moral foundations of forgiving in the workplace. Western Journal of Communication, 81(1), 43-63. DOI: 10.1080/10570314.2016.1229499 Summary Offensive behavior in the workplace can lead to a number of problems. In this study, the authors examine how coping responses in the workplace are rooted in […]

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Author(s), Title and Publication

Paul, G. D. & Putnam, L. L. (2017). Moral foundations of forgiving in the workplace. Western Journal of Communication, 81(1), 43-63. DOI: 10.1080/10570314.2016.1229499

Summary

Offensive behavior in the workplace can lead to a number of problems. In this study, the authors examine how coping responses in the workplace are rooted in organizational values and expectations surrounding task performance, relationship maintenance, and interaction. In particular, the researchers focus on the practice of forgiving, arguing that forgiving can take many forms that are distinguishable by their associated values and norms. The utilized data was collected in four schools selected on the basis of information obtained from initial informant interviews with the principals of those schools. A total of 103 individuals who had worked in the education field for an average of 13 years participated in the study. Semistructured, in-depth interviews were utilized to explore three subject areas: the social environment of the workplace, situations when participants experienced a hurtful act, and responses of organizational members to hurtful situations.

Participants tended to cope with hurtful events in two stages. Initially, they vented negative emotions to people inside and outside the workplace with whom they felt comfortable. Following this venting, participants engaged in prolonged avoidance or reengagement. Most participants reengaged with the other person, though to differing degrees and for differing reasons. Four reengagement responses were evident: “moving on,” “not taking it personally,” “letting go,” and “forgiving.” Of these practices, participants engaged in moving on most frequently. Three practices–letting go, moving on, and not taking it personally–reflected a strong emphasis on task accomplishment. Conciliatory forgiving was only moderately associated with task accomplishment concerns and emphasized relationship maintenance.

Implications for Practice

Organizations should (1) be mindful of how dispute resolution recommendations and “best practices” influence coping responses, and that popular prescriptions to be “professional” by controlling emotions and engaging in problem solving may constrain employees’ ability to empathize, (2) enable all members of an organization to dialogue about one another’s diverse assumptions about coping responses, and (3) be aware that the effectiveness and appropriateness of a forgiveness practice depends on workplace values and norms and the nature and type of harmful behavior.

Location of Article

This article is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10570314.2016.1229499?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=rwjc20 (abstract free, purchase full article)

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Disrupting the Function of Internal Communication: A Global Perspective http://www.instituteforpr.org/disrupting-function-internal-communication-global-perspective/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=disrupting-function-internal-communication-global-perspective http://www.instituteforpr.org/disrupting-function-internal-communication-global-perspective/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:37:39 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29312 The internal communication profession faces turbulent times and the role of IC practitioners may well be at a turning point. Caught between multiple increasing challenges brought about by the impact of technology, the convergence and integration of communication disciplines and over-riding agendas like employee engagement and advocacy, the profession must dig deep for insights and […]

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The internal communication profession faces turbulent times and the role of IC practitioners may well be at a turning point. Caught between multiple increasing challenges brought about by the impact of technology, the convergence and integration of communication disciplines and over-riding agendas like employee engagement and advocacy, the profession must dig deep for insights and new ways to define itself.

For the first time, a collective global effort attempts to address these questions in a new ebook published by IC Kollectif, a Montréal-based nonprofit organization connecting communication professionals with knowledge, research and the community of expertise that are focused internal and organizational communication globally.

With responses from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, and thirty renowned senior communication professionals across age, gender, background and the in-house and consultant spectrum, Disrupting the Function of IC – A Global Perspective, offers a broad, actionable, global picture of where internal communication must be in the future by providing key pointers to help drive better business outcomes.

The ebook was launched in New York, on Monday, June 12 by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, representing 160,000 communication professionals worldwide.

In her foreword, Professor Anne Gregor, Former Chair of the Global Alliance and Chair of Corporate Communication at the University of Huddersfield, writes “this new book by IC Kollectif makes a major contribution to the exploration of the rich and complex work of internal communication. The collection of contributing authors is first class: drawn from across the world and all with a record of being thought leaders in the area as well as experienced practitioners.”

Reality Check
Authors take a realistic yet critical look at the profession by raising issues communication professionals can no longer ignore. We operate in a field where many people consider themselves to be experts1. More than ever, communication professionals need to be able to prove their value to the business and all efforts should be based on significant business results, focused on outcomes, rather than outputs2. Quite simply, if what we do can’t be measured, then we are not adding value and therefore our efforts become irrelevant.

As one of the author puts it, “internal communication strategic planning remains a critical first step, regardless of what technological advances present themselves. Just as with external constituencies, organizational strategy must lead communication strategy, let alone communication tactics and tools. Without a clear set of expectations, interim measures and definitions of success, communicators run the risk of succumbing to fads.3

The 222-page ebook offers a comprehensive reference section and eight chapters:

  1. Changes and Challenges looks at how turbulent times impacts the profession and how internal communication professionals can deal with these issues.
  2. Skills and Knowledge of Internal Communication Professionals sheds light on the main skills and talents that will drive IC going forward.
  3. Impact of Technology on the Profession discusses the extent to which changes in technology will drive and/or impact on internal communication into the future, and the role that IC professionals should play in this context.
  4. Leadership Role of IC Professionals examines the need for IC professionals to step up and take ownership of their role as a leader, why this has become paramount to the practice, and provides advice to practitioners to succeed in this new role.
  5. Employee Advocacy is discussed from the new research perspective showing that employee engagement has grown far beyond the common definition, moving toward employee advocacy. The authors discuss their views on the subject and what this mean for internal communication professionals.
  6. Convergence and Integration of Communication Disciplines takes a look at how the traditional lines between internal and external communication are blurring from key messages to audience analysis, strategies and channels and what this means to the future of the internal communication function.
  7. Collaboration Between Internal Communication and Other Disciplines insists on the necessity for IC to work closely with other disciplines, such as external communication, marketing and others, and suggests approaches that should be considered for the benefits of the organization.
  8. Future of the Profession examines how the rules of internal communication have changed and are changing, and makes recommendations on how communication professionals should be dealing with those.

What Lies Ahead
The velocity of change in a global economy is never going to slow down, and the human need to adapt is only going to become more urgent. This has immense consequences, not only internally, but externally as well.4

If the walls between internal and external communication have still not officially come down yet in some organizations, the truth is that employees have already made them implode. Inevitably, any information shared with the employees can be made public and we must be able to manage this. In this context, how can internal communication and external communication can afford not to join forces? Collaboration between IC and other disciplines, convergence and intergration of communication disciplines seem to be the natural next steps.

Indeed, social media, and the way people connect and share information has changed the practice of IC forever. Yet, our job is to put business goals ahead of technology tools and focus on strategy more than tactics. It’s more important than ever for us to help create an effective communication environment and build communication strategies that help teams accomplish their business goals.

What is really the role of IC? To what extent have rules changed for the practitioners? What lies ahead for the profession? These are important questions that any communication professional who is serious about internal communication, should consider.

Disrupting the Function of IC – A Global Perspective is available free of charge and can be downloaded on the IC Kollectif’s website.


Lise Michaud, Founder of IC Kollectif, has more than 25 years of experience in senior communication roles across the public and private sectors in Canada. She was recently named to the list of the 2017 Global Employee Engagement Influencers. You can follow IC Kollectif on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

References

Disrupting the Function of IC – A Global Perspective (2017) IC Kollectif

1 p. 39

2 p. 55

3 p. 70

4 p. 22

5 p. 79

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The Impact of the Financial Crisis Still Lingers: 2016 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Survey http://www.instituteforpr.org/impact-financial-crisis-still-lingers-2016-makovsky-wall-street-reputation-survey/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=impact-financial-crisis-still-lingers-2016-makovsky-wall-street-reputation-survey http://www.instituteforpr.org/impact-financial-crisis-still-lingers-2016-makovsky-wall-street-reputation-survey/#respond Mon, 12 Jun 2017 18:34:41 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29301 This post appears courtesy of Makovsky. The full study can be found here. Nearly a decade has passed since the 2008 financial crisis, but its impact remains present in the minds and balance sheets of consumers and industry alike. Just as many consumers are still in the process of rebuilding the wealth lost during the […]

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This post appears courtesy of Makovsky. The full study can be found here.

Nearly a decade has passed since the 2008 financial crisis, but its impact remains present in the minds and balance sheets of consumers and industry alike. Just as many consumers are still in the process of rebuilding the wealth lost during the crisis and its resulting recession, many financial services companies are still in the process of rebuilding their reputations. They are grappling with a poor industry image, continued consumer mistrust and revenue losses, not to mention regulatory and compliance problems. The 2016 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Survey found financial service executives are focusing their rebuilding efforts around three key stakeholder groups: consumers, employees and financial regulators.

Due to these lasting effects of the financial crisis, 27 percent of consumers have lost trust in the financial services industry, while 91 percent are concerned that another financial crisis could happen in the future. Another major concern for many consumers is cybersecurity. Eighty-six percent of U.S. consumers said they would be likely to switch financial institutions due to data breaches. For many consumers, the ability for a large financial institution to be able to combat a security threat is a major key to building a strong reputation. In order to rebuild trust with the consumer market, consumers say they would like to see more transparency, more personalized customer service and they would like to see companies follow regulations more closely.

Employees’ perceptions also play a role in building the reputation of a company. Seventy percent said negative employee perceptions of the company and its products and services can be a concern to upholding the reputation of that company. To address the concern of negative employee perceptions, companies have implemented employee recognition programs, increased employee communication and increased their social media usage. Social media allowed companies to engage a younger audience, project a more transparent culture, communicate with employees about company news and more. More than half of those surveyed said employee satisfaction is very important to improving their company’s reputation over the next year.

Financial regulators also play a role in strengthening or damaging reputation. Most executives believe that more regulation will improve reputations and trust with consumers more quickly, however, many executives also believe non-compliance with regulation will pose a challenge to building a strong reputation. There is also a concern where an increase in complaints on a company to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could pose a threat to reputation.

With the findings of this survey, financial service institutions can understand that American consumers do not view the market the same way as they did before the 2008 financial crisis and they can target their reputation building efforts on the proper audience to rebuild the trust they need in order to be successful.

The Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Survey is a compilation of 228 interviews with executives and managers at large and mid-sized publicly traded and private financial service institutions. A random sample of 1,079 U.S. consumers were also surveyed. Makovsky is one of the nation’s largest and most influential independent integrated communications firms.


Jordan McCrary is a public relations student at the University of Florida. She is the Vice President of the UF PRSSA Chapter. Follow her on Twitter @mccrary_jordan.

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Internal Stakeholders: Walking the Walk or just Talking the Talk? http://www.instituteforpr.org/internal-stakeholders-walking-walk-just-talking-talk/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=internal-stakeholders-walking-walk-just-talking-talk http://www.instituteforpr.org/internal-stakeholders-walking-walk-just-talking-talk/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 17:47:20 +0000 http://www.instituteforpr.org/?p=29287 Author(s), Title and Publication Brunton, M., Eweje, G., & Taskin, N. (2017). Internal stakeholders: Walking the walk or just talking the talk? Business Strategy and the Environment, 26, 31-48. DOI: 10.1002/bse.I1889 Summary While organizations recognize the need to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable initiatives, the research focus is more often on communicating […]

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Author(s), Title and Publication

Brunton, M., Eweje, G., & Taskin, N. (2017). Internal stakeholders: Walking the walk or just talking the talk? Business Strategy and the Environment, 26, 31-48. DOI: 10.1002/bse.I1889

Summary

While organizations recognize the need to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable initiatives, the research focus is more often on communicating with external stakeholders rather than internal audiences. In order to explore employee perceptions of CSR communication, a two-phase mixed-method study was undertaken by the authors. In Phase I, a series of one-to-one semi-structured interviews with 20 CSR managers in New Zealand organizations determined the scope of the study and provided content to inform a questionnaire survey for staff in these same organizations. In Phase II, a quantitative online questionnaire seeking feedback from employees resulted in 161 respondents from five organizations. This paper reveals the influence of the perceived value congruence between managers and employees in influencing internal stakeholder perceptions of CSR and sustainability initiatives. The goal was to identify whether CSR communication in small to medium enterprises (SMEs) was meeting stakeholder communication needs, was perceived to represent a legitimate identity, and was seen as integral to the culture of the organization by employees.

The results indicate that managers articulated the importance of communicating CSR initiatives and policy to their employees, and consider the process as a significant organizational communication strategy, based on the premise that CSR was central to both their culture and identity. The positive relationship revealed in the survey between organizational culture and face-to-face communication shows the preference of employees for this approach over mediated communication. However, the comments also highlighted a level of frustration with a perceived top-down approach. Additionally, the positive association of organizational identification with all initiatives illustrates the importance of this construct in influencing employee perceptions of CSR activities.

Implications for Practice

Organizations should (1) place a special emphasis on face-to-face communication with employees as it is positively associated with all organizational initiatives, (2) be aware that a ‘top-down’ approach may undermine effective communication, (3) be willing to ensure they ‘walk the walk’ through a cultural integration of CSR, especially when considering employee initiatives, and (4) increase perceptions of congruent values between employees and their organizations as this creates a more favorable identification with all organizational initiatives.

Location of Article

This article is available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bse.1889/full

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