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Predicting public support: applying theory to prosocial behaviors

Brooke W. McKeever (School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Robert McKeever (School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)
Geah Pressgrove (West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Holly Overton (School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 6 August 2019

Issue publication date: 28 October 2019

388

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply communication theory to explore and help explain public support for causes and organizations in the form of prosocial behaviors, including donating, volunteering and participating in advocacy efforts.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a survey of people (n=1,275) living in the USA who indicated supporting issues they cared about in 2017, this research gathered information about motivations for providing public support for various causes and non-profit organizations.

Findings

The situational theory of problem solving (STOPS) was applied, and support was found for the STOPS model in terms of predicting communicative action. This study also found support for situational activeness influencing other behaviors, including active forms of communication, financial support, volunteer support and other forms of advocacy. Implications for practitioners managing communications or organizations involved in such efforts are discussed.

Originality/value

This research applied STOPS to study behaviors, including communication, volunteering, donating and participating in advocacy efforts as forms of prosocial behavior supporting different organizations related to many important issues. The paper provides theoretical value in terms of adding to the generalizability of the STOPS model for communications scholars and discusses practical implications for non-profit and other types of organizations.

Keywords

Citation

McKeever, B.W., McKeever, R., Pressgrove, G. and Overton, H. (2019), "Predicting public support: applying theory to prosocial behaviors", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 298-315. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-02-2019-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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