The article seeks to present first findings regarding the nature of discrepancies in communication and action and draws conclusions to induce further research. Although (internationally) operating organisations are far too complex to avoid discrepancies at all in corporate communication and action, monitoring discrepancies and developing strategies to deal with them, can be a contributing factor in avoiding losses of public trust or public trust crises.
Building on the theory of public trust and the ongoing corporate trust study conducted by the University of Leipzig and PMG Presse Monitor GmbH, the authors designed a content analytical study researching the role of discrepancies in the process of public trust.
Owing to the nature of the mass media system and the public sphere emerging out of it, discrepancies start to unfold their effect when crossing the barrier of publics awareness. The upcoming of a large number of discrepancies within a short period of time, and their remainder in the public conciousness for a certain period, makes it more likely that the issue which is subject to the discrepancies is going to be discussed in the public arena and leads to a change in the behavior of the audience and the environment of the organizational system.
Because of the nature of content analysis, only published public trust was researched. Researching public trust would have meant using a survey design, which has to be done in future research.
The study suggests three steps, monitoring and distinction of, and focussing on discrepancies in order to organize corporate communications more effectively.
This study is the first study researching the role of discrepancies in the process of losing/gaining public trust/confidence, regarding organizations in economy.
Seiffert, J., Bentele, G. and Mende, L. (2011), "An explorative study on discrepancies in communication and action of German companies", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 349-367. https://doi.org/10.1108/13632541111183389
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