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1 – 10 of 17
Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Diana Ingenhoff, Alexander Buhmann, Candace White, Tianduo Zhang and Spiro Kiousis

The purpose of this paper is to examine how varying degrees of media-constructed associations between organizations and their home countries affect audience perceptions of such…

1512

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how varying degrees of media-constructed associations between organizations and their home countries affect audience perceptions of such associations and, subsequently, how recipients attribute crisis responsibility and reputational damage to the home country. Additionally, the paper investigates if pre-crisis country image can buffer negative effects of the crisis for the country.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors hypothesize that the strength of actor associations in media reports about crises affects recipients’ cognitive processes of crisis responsibility attribution and, thus, the “direction” of reputational damage (corporation vs country). Empirically, the authors analyze the effects of different levels of actor association in crisis reports (strong actor association vs weak actor association) regarding a Chinese corporation in a one-factorial (between-subjects) experimental design; and the intervening effect of China’s country image prior to the crisis. Participants for the study lived in Switzerland and the USA.

Findings

The effect of different actor associations presented in the media on perceived association between a corporation and its home country is confirmed. Furthermore, these varying perceptions lead to significantly different tendencies in people’s ascriptions of crisis responsibility (corporation vs country), and different degrees of reputational fallout for the home countries. Finally, the data did not confirm a moderating effect of pre-crisis country image on the reputational damage caused by the crisis.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to the understanding of key factors in the formation of crisis attributions as well as insights for the study of country image and public diplomacy.

Practical implications

It provides a new approach for corporate communication and public diplomacy to analyze the complex interdependencies between countries and internationally visible and globally known corporations, which potentially affect the country’s perception abroad.

Social implications

Particularly for smaller countries that cannot rely on political and economic power to defend national interests in a global context, their “soft power” in terms of reputation and country image can play a central role in their political, economic, and cultural success.

Originality/value

The paper applies a new conceptual framework and methodology to analyze how both mediated and cognitive associations between different actors influence attribution of responsibility in crises, and how these associations ultimately bear on reputation spillover for the different actors.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Article
Publication date: 20 July 2022

Jana Brockhaus, Alexander Buhmann and Ansgar Zerfass

This article studies the digitalization of corporate communications and the emergence of communication technology (CommTech). The authors show communicators' expectations…

1668

Abstract

Purpose

This article studies the digitalization of corporate communications and the emergence of communication technology (CommTech). The authors show communicators' expectations regarding digitalization, gauge the current level of digitalization across communication departments and agencies and examine the effectiveness of strategic approaches to manage digitalization.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conceptualize the phenomenon of CommTech and propose a framework for studying CommTech's emergence and consequences by combining (1) recent theorizing on digitalization in corporate communications, (2) the concept of digital maturity from information systems research and (3) a socio-technical approach to analyze the development of work systems. The authors apply this framework in a quantitative study (n = 2,664) among communication practitioners from 46 countries.

Findings

While digitalization of both communication activities and the underlying support infrastructure is seen as critically important among communicators, a large fraction of communication departments and agencies are still assessed as digitally immature. Further, data reveal the relevance of different (technology, tasks, structure and people) dimensions of digitalization strategies and the influence of such strategies on the digital maturity of communications.

Practical implications

The framework and empirical instruments developed in this study help practitioners to uncover and evaluate the level of digital maturity of communication departments and agencies. This allows to identify current challenges and future opportunities for improvement.

Originality/value

The authors propose a concise definition for the much-debated concept of CommTech and develop a new theoretical framework for understanding CommTech's emergence and consequences in the profession. This empirical work constitutes the first large-scale study on the digital maturity of communication departments and agencies.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 May 2018

Alexander Buhmann and Peggy Simcic Brønn

The purpose of this paper is to understand factors that may stimulate or inhibit communication practitioners when it comes to measurement and evaluation (M&E) of communication…

1373

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand factors that may stimulate or inhibit communication practitioners when it comes to measurement and evaluation (M&E) of communication initiatives at the outcome level (i.e. impact on stakeholder’s attitudes and behavior or business results).

Design/methodology/approach

Based on Ajzen’s (1985) theory of planned behavior (TPB), the authors develop and test a new model to analyze antecedents to M&E behavior (attitude, perceived norms, and behavioral control) and assess how they impact practitioners’ intentions to perform outcome M&E. The model is tested in a standardized online survey (n=371).

Findings

Findings show that the TPB model explains a large amount of the variance in practitioners’ intentions to engage in M&E at the outcome level. The model demonstrates that attitude toward outcome M&E and perceived behavioral control, particularly lack of skills, are the two strongest drivers influencing practitioners’ intentions to measure and evaluate outcomes of their communication initiatives. Perceived norms to perform outcome M&E has only a very weak effect on intentions.

Research limitations/implications

The findings highlight the potential of education when it comes to developing M&E capabilities in the practice. They also suggest that the role of normative pressure to perform outcome M&E needs to be better understood in terms of the dynamics of standardization specifically regarding design, implementation, and monitoring of M&E standards.

Originality/value

The study is the first to go beyond the common descriptive focus in studying M&E practices and is the first application of the TPB to understand the factors that drive communication practitioners’ intentions to perform M&E.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Alexander Buhmann, Fraser Likely and David Geddes

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the current state of communication evaluation and measurement (E&M) as a vital field connecting academics and practitioners in…

1303

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the current state of communication evaluation and measurement (E&M) as a vital field connecting academics and practitioners in communication management.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors track recent developments in the field, address the ongoing struggle toward E&M standards, and propose six agenda points for the future E&M debate.

Findings

While the authors see an engaged, international interest community making considerable headway in important E&M issues, the conclusion is that several areas require further work: dynamics of standardization; going beyond the effectiveness-based view; internal services evaluation; addressing intervening variables; closer ties to related fields; and dissemination into the wider practice.

Originality/value

The paper gives a pointed reflection of the state of the field and also provides a comprehensive list of current resources for those who aim to further the E&M debate.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 June 2019

Erich J. Sommerfeldt and Alexander Buhmann

In recent years, expectations for demonstrating the impact of public diplomacy programs have dramatically increased. Despite increased calls for enhanced monitoring and…

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, expectations for demonstrating the impact of public diplomacy programs have dramatically increased. Despite increased calls for enhanced monitoring and evaluation, what texts exist on the subject suggest the state of practice is grim. However, while the current debate is based mostly on practice reports, conceptual work from academics or anecdotal evidence, we are missing empirical insights on current views of monitoring and evaluation from practitioners. Such a practice-level perspective is central for better understanding factors that may actually drive or hamper performance evaluation in day-to-day public diplomacy work. The purpose of this paper is to update knowledge on the state of evaluation practice within public diplomacy from the perspectives of practitioners themselves.

Design/methodology/approach

This study assesses the state of evaluation in public diplomacy through qualitative interviews with public diplomacy officers working for the US Department of State – a method heretofore unused in studies of the topic. In total, 25 in-depth interviews were conducted with officers in Washington, DC and at posts around the world.

Findings

The interviews suggest that practitioners see evaluation as underfunded despite increased demands for accountability. Further, the results show a previously not discussed tension between diplomacy practitioners in Washington, DC and those in the field. Practitioners are also unclear about the goals of public diplomacy, which has implications for the enactment of targeted evaluations.

Originality/value

The research uncovers the perceptions of evaluation from the voices of those who must practice it, and elaborates on the common obstacles in the enactment of public diplomacy, the influence of multiple actors and stakeholders on evaluation practice, as well as the perceived goals of public diplomacy programming. No empirical research has considered the state of evaluation practice. Moreover, the study uses qualitative interview data from public diplomacy officers themselves, an under-used method in public diplomacy research. The findings provide insights that contribute to future public diplomacy strategy and performance management.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 October 2019

Alexander Buhmann, Øyvind Ihlen and Craig Aaen-Stockdale

Meta reviews are central for mapping the state of the field, consolidating the heterogeneous public relations body of knowledge, and pointing to new potential research directions…

Abstract

Purpose

Meta reviews are central for mapping the state of the field, consolidating the heterogeneous public relations body of knowledge, and pointing to new potential research directions. Habermas is one of the most influential contemporary social theorists and his work has repeatedly been used in public relations scholarship. While some have maintained that his work has been most influential in the development of public relations theory, this stream of research has never been reviewed empirically.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the authors present a bibliometric literature review of 263 public relations research articles published between 1980 and 2016 that cite and use Habermas’ work. A network analysis of these publications based on the technique of bibliographic coupling was used to identify common forms of application, research themes, as well as patterns of impact.

Findings

Results show that the use of Habermas has grown significantly, specifically in the recent decade. At the same time, researchers have a narrow focus specifically on earlier developments in the theory. Finally, we discover three main topical research clusters that have been influenced by the theory: public relations and the public sphere, dialogic stakeholder relationships, as well as public relations and communication ethics.

Originality/value

The findings map out an important stream of scholarship in the field by showing where public relations scholars have been and where the research community has not ventured yet. Based on the results of our analysis, the authors propose directions for research to advance future theory development in public relations using Habermas’ work.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Computer-Mediated Communication and Social Media
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-598-1

Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Alexander Buhmann and Diana Ingenhoff

The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a new model for the measurement of the constitution and effects of the country image as a central target construct in…

2626

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a new model for the measurement of the constitution and effects of the country image as a central target construct in international public relations.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors combine concepts from reputation management (Eisenegger and Imhof, 2008; Ingenhoff and Sommer, 2007), national identity theory (Smith, 1987), and attitude theory (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980) to derive a four-dimensional model, conceptualizing country images as stakeholder attitudes toward a nation and its state, comprising specific beliefs and general feelings in a functional, normative, aesthetic, and emotional dimension. Furthermore, the authors develop a path model to analyze the country image’s effect on stakeholder behavior. This model is operationalized and tested in a survey regarding the country image of the USA and its effects on travel behavior.

Findings

Results show how functional, normative and aesthetic image dimensions vary in affecting the formation of the affective image component. It is also demonstrated how the affective image di-mension acts as a mediator in the image’s effect on stakeholder behavior.

Practical implications

For international public relations and public diplomacy practice the developed model supplies a new approach for country image analyses which will serve and improve the development and evaluation of cross-national communication strategies.

Originality/value

The paper introduces a new theory-grounded approach to clarify the dimensionality of the country image construct. It is the first to operationalize cognitive and affective dimensions of the country image by combining formative and reflective indicators in a mixed specified construct.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Computer-Mediated Communication and Social Media
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-598-1

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