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Article
Publication date: 30 June 2021

Grazia Murtarelli, Stefania Romenti and Chiara Valentini

Online images can convey sensory-based elements affecting digital users' emotions and digital engagement. The purpose of this study is to investigate which image-based…

Abstract

Purpose

Online images can convey sensory-based elements affecting digital users' emotions and digital engagement. The purpose of this study is to investigate which image-based features are more effective in conveying and stimulating particular emotions and engagement towards organizations operating in the food industry.

Design/methodology/approach

An online experimental survey was implemented. Two image-based features, narrativity and dynamism were chosen. The stimuli comprise four images, one with high and one with low level of narrativity, and one with high and one with low dynamism, published by a food company on its official Instagram account. Food-identity, emotional appeals and digital visual engagement behaviours were measured. A total of 141 students between 19 and 25 years old of a European University completed the questionnaire. Data was analysed through SPSS software using t-test analysis.

Findings

Results show that both narrativity and dynamism impact digital users' emotions and it was found to impact digital visual engagement attitude. Food involvement was measured in terms of food identity impact the effects of specific image-based features on emotions and visual engagement.

Research limitations/implications

The study focuses on only two visual social semiotics features – narrativity and dynamism – and therefore, only partially captures the potentialities of images in digital communications.

Practical implications

This study provides professionals with empirical evidence and insights for effectively planning a visual social media strategy.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the stream of research in social media communications by investigating the visual social semiotic features of images published online by a food company.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 15 October 2020

Chiara Valentini

During the past few years, public trust in organisations, institutions and systems has decreased. Trust is an important antecedent not only for relationship-building but…

Abstract

Purpose

During the past few years, public trust in organisations, institutions and systems has decreased. Trust is an important antecedent not only for relationship-building but also for image and reputation management. This study aims to systematically review scientific publications on public relations and trust to explore the current status of trust research, including its conceptual definition, measurement and theorisation.

Design/methodology/approach

Only English-language scientific papers published in key public relations journals were analysed. Titles, abstracts and keywords were searched with the terms “public relations” and/or “strategic communication” and/or “communication management” and “trust”, returning 254 discrete articles. Quantitative content analysis and thematic analysis were used to extract information.

Findings

Trust research has limited methodological and intellectual diversity. Most studies have been published by North American scholars using surveys and interviews as the primary methods, and most are positioned within the public relations literature. One-third of papers do not use any specific theory to define trust, and about 13% of those in which trust is a central element do not refer to any conceptual foundation. The majority of papers are centred on professional and managerial problems, with limited discussion of publics/stakeholders' or societal problems.

Originality/value

This study offers important information about the development of trust research in public relations and sheds light on current knowledge gaps that can inform future research.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2018

Chiara Valentini and Dean Kruckeberg

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the corporate behavior of Volkswagen in its emissions scandal. It describes and analyzes a complex ethics dilemma within the…

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5270

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the corporate behavior of Volkswagen in its emissions scandal. It describes and analyzes a complex ethics dilemma within the purview of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate sustainability (CS) and examines how this dilemma impacts critical stakeholders, thus offering several “opportunities to learn” for professionals.

Design/methodology/approach

The case takes a stakeholder perspective, applying Cavanagh et al. (1981) and Gao’s (2008) ethical judgement framework. It is situated within a qualitative approach to textual analysis. Social actors, topics and evaluative statements were identified and grouped into broader categories.

Findings

Six major stakeholders were directly affected by Volkswagen’s behavior: customers, investors and shareholders, the US Environmental Protection Agency, German authorities, European institutions and society-at-large. Stakeholder concerns were condensed into three dominant themes: economic, legal and environmental. According to the ethical judgment framework, Volkswagen corporate behavior showed ethical problems, theoretically demonstrating that under no ethical principle was Volkswagen’s actions justifiable, even under instrumental justifications.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis was primarily based on corporate material and news media reporting. Consequently, diverse managers’ prospectives and opinions are not entirely captured.

Practical implications

This paper offers several “opportunities to learn” for corporate communication professionals.

Originality/value

The focus on stakeholder perspectives allows professionals to take an outside-in approach when evaluating the impact of corporate actions on stakeholders’ interests. The case analysis through Cavanagh et al. (1981) and Gao’s (2008) ethical judgment framework provides a practical theoretical instrument to assess corporate behaviors that can be used both as pre- and post-evaluations of corporate actions on CSR and CS issues.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2018

Chiara Valentini, Stefania Romenti, Grazia Murtarelli and Marta Pizzetti

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of visual communications on Instagram users’ propensity to engage with image-based content through online behaviors…

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6376

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of visual communications on Instagram users’ propensity to engage with image-based content through online behaviors such as liking, sharing, commenting and following, and their intention to purchase the product depicted in the visual communications.

Design/methodology/approach

An experimental design was used to measure the effect of branded Instagram images on a sample of active Instagram users. Two features of Instagram images (subject’s gaze: direct vs indirect; product salience: low vs high) were manipulated and their interactive effect tested on online behaviors.

Findings

The paper offers empirical evidence that direct gaze and high product salience positively affect digital visual engagement. Moreover, digital visual engagement influences intention to purchase.

Research limitations/implications

The hypotheses were tested on a single product category and on only two image-based features. Further studies might replicate the experiment on different product categories and include different image-based features.

Practical implications

This empirical study can offer communication managers important information on the image-based features that are most effective in increasing digital visual engagement and positively influencing purchase intentions in visual communications.

Originality/value

The study empirically demonstrates that the choice of specific image-based features in visual communication matters for increasing digital visual engagement among Instagram users.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Stefania Romenti, Chiara Valentini, Grazia Murtarelli and Katia Meggiorin

The purpose of this paper is to develop a measurement scale for assessing the quality of dialogic conversations among companies and digital publics in social media…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a measurement scale for assessing the quality of dialogic conversations among companies and digital publics in social media. Dialogic conversations are defined as sequences of communicative actions and counteractions taken by social actors for different purposes based on specific linguistic choices and characterised by diverse communicative approaches and the role played by the involved parties.

Design/methodology/approach

A multidimensional scale for measuring dialogic conversations is developed from relevant literature concerning dialogue and public engagement in the fields of corporate communication, public relations, management studies and conversation analysis. The scale is built on three main dimensions: organisation turn-taking, sequencing of conversation, repair strategies and procedures. A pilot study was conducted to purify it from irrelevant variables.

Findings

Results of the pilot study show a general good level of reliability for the majority of the proposed variables for Facebook but not for Twitter. This may indicate that Facebook is a more dialogical forum than Twitter.

Originality/value

This is the first study proposing a systematic measurement of the dialogue orientation of online conversations that takes into consideration the role of language and communicative actions. The proposed measurement offers corporate communication managers a concrete tool for evaluating the quality of their online communications and for identifying those areas of their online communication that need improvement.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 3 June 2020

Salla Syvänen and Chiara Valentini

The purpose of this study is to review the extant literature on chatbots and stakeholder interactions to identify major trends and shed light on knowledge gaps.

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2047

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to review the extant literature on chatbots and stakeholder interactions to identify major trends and shed light on knowledge gaps.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review was conducted combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. A code book based on early systematic literature reviews was developed and used to extract information from 62 discrete peer-reviewed English articles. An inductive approach was used to analyse definitions of chatbots, topics, metrics, perspectives and implications.

Findings

Chatbots have been studied by many different disciplines, but not much from organizational, stakeholder and corporate communication perspectives. Existing studies focus on the technical developments of chatbots and chatbot language and conversations skills. Research has remained anchored at the micro-level understanding of the phenomenon, that is, the nature of chatbots, but has not yet taken into consideration the meso (organizational) or macro (societal) levels.

Research limitations/implications

This study focused only on academic peer-reviewed papers in English and excluded conference proceeding, books, book chapters and editorials that may have offered other important and relevant reflections. The limited number of studies in communication-related disciplines shows that corporate communication scholars could contribute more to the discussion of chatbot–stakeholder interactions.

Originality/value

This is the first research in the field of corporate communication that examines organizational chatbot–stakeholder interactions. Results of this review offer important information on chatbots' organizational capabilities and affordances, which, arguably, must be taken into consideration when stakeholder engagement strategies are set.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 November 2011

Chiara Valentini and Stefania Romenti

The aim of this paper is to explore the role of the blogosphere in framing Alitalia's performance during its 2008 crisis.

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1377

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore the role of the blogosphere in framing Alitalia's performance during its 2008 crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis was chosen as research method to investigate bloggers' perceptions of Alitalia's crisis. Five major Italian blogs were selected and each blog was operationalised in units of analysis and explored for posts and post comments. The final sample comprises 27 blog posts and 467 blog post comments.

Findings

The results show that the Italian blogosphere was mostly interested in the exploration of technical, economic aspects of the crisis and consequences for the community. Although some differences in the way the crisis was discussed by bloggers and blog readers are visible, both bloggers and blog readers primarily framed Alitalia's crisis with a negative tone and were extremely critical towards the Italian government and Alitalia management in the way they handled the crisis.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the choice of a qualitative inquiry, based on a single case study, generalisability of results is not possible.

Practical implications

This analysis suggests that crises are framed differently in the blogosphere than in traditional media and therefore, public relations managers should differentiate their crisis response strategies addressed to the blogosphere from those for traditional media. The lack of official statements by Alitalia also shows that public relations practitioners should have taken a more active role in the discussions in the blogosphere to correct wrong or distorted information in posts and comments.

Originality/value

This study provides practitioners and scholars with interesting insights into the blogosphere and bloggers' opinions during a crisis situation.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2007

Chiara Valentini

The aim of this paper is to present and compare two approaches (the global and the cultural) to public relationship management and to argue by reference to different…

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2232

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to present and compare two approaches (the global and the cultural) to public relationship management and to argue by reference to different cases, why the cultural approach can be considered more effective in establishing good relationships in different national cultural contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion identifies some of the limitations of recent thinking regarding the nature of a global public and the possibility to define and treat international publics as a global public in public relationship management. As validation of this claim, cases in the European context are presented to show that a cultural approach provides better interpretations of human behaviour in different national contexts and thus better understanding of organisations' publics.

Findings

It is argued, that the idea of a global public in public relationship management does not work in different national cultural contexts, while the traditional cultural approach can work in situations characterised by diversity in values, interests and principles.

Originality/value

The paper intends to demonstrate the enduring validity of the cultural approach in international contexts, especially where public relations activities are directed at establishing good relationships with publics belonging to different nations, cultures and interests.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2004

Giovanni Valentini and Maria Chiara Di Guardo

The paper explores the impact of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) on technological performance. We posit that the post‐acquisition technological performance is positively…

Abstract

The paper explores the impact of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) on technological performance. We posit that the post‐acquisition technological performance is positively related to the technological combination potential of the merging firms and to their ability to realize this potential. In turn, the combination potential depends on M&As motives aimed at complementing firms’ technological resources, whereas firms’ ability to realize their potential is significantly influenced by their prior experience in M&As and technology integration.

Details

Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1536-5433

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2010

Chiara Valentini

The purpose of this study is to look into Italian PR practitioners' opinions on whether or not specific social networks, the personalised networks of influence, are…

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1346

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to look into Italian PR practitioners' opinions on whether or not specific social networks, the personalised networks of influence, are perceived to be one of the main strategic resources and the degree of relevance they give to such networks. Personalised networks of influence are also tested with Italian journalists.

Design/methodology/approach

The data of the study were gleaned from a survey on PR practitioners' and journalists' self‐perceptions and perceptions of each other that was conducted in Italy from March to October 2007. The survey was based both on qualitative data collected through personal interviews with senior PR practitioners and journalists and on quantitative data gathered through an online, close‐ended questionnaire. The study is based on the analysis of the survey data on personal influence.

Findings

The findings show no statistical difference between PR practitioners and journalists. PR practitioners and journalists did not perceive the importance of having personalized networks of influence differently with regard to their professional activities, although they valued more significantly having strong professional skills than personalised networks for their career advancement.

Originality/value

The study offers new insights into the personal influence model and the concept of influence and power in relation to public relations practitioners' career advancement and professional activities.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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