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Considering the source: What the public thinks of sponsors of public relations

Lynne M. Sallot (Department of Advertising/Public Relations, Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 1 February 1996


In order to test effects of motives, communication style and licensing on the reputations of sponsors of public relations, a 4 × 2 × 2 factorial design experiment was conducted by the author with 585 non‐student adults and undergraduate university students in the USA. Perceived motives to impression manage had a strong effect on results, with prosocial or mixed and selfish motives seen as a ‘hustle’ on the part of corporate sponsors. Mixed support was found for licensing as a means of enhancing the reputation of public relations. Communication style — ‘symmetric’ versus ‘persuasive’ — had no effect on results. Impression management theory suggests that perceived motives and self‐interests may explain the poor reputation sometimes attributed to public relations and its clients or sponsors.



Sallot, L.M. (1996), "Considering the source: What the public thinks of sponsors of public relations", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 145-165.




Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited