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Article
Publication date: 12 November 2018

Damion Waymer and Kenon A. Brown

The purpose of this study is to address a practical question and problem: what can explain the small number of underrepresented racial and ethnic practitioners in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to address a practical question and problem: what can explain the small number of underrepresented racial and ethnic practitioners in the public relations industry? By placing race at the center of this study via critical race theory, the authors sought to answer the previously mentioned practical question. The authors focused on the undergraduate environment as a pipeline to the profession. The goal was to determine whether issues of race in the undergraduate public relations environment played a role in students’ ability to succeed in their public relations coursework and in their ability to secure internships, network with professionals, etc.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors interviewed 22 practitioners with five or fewer years of industry experience. The authors used email interviews to gather data from young professionals. Although email interviews are impersonal in nature, because of a lack of the use of social cues and non-verbal communication (Hunt & McHale, 2007), email interviews are more cost-effective, expand the range of participants that one could interview, and this method allows participants to reflect longer on their answers, which could result in more detail – whereby participants might share information they would not normally share face-to-face.

Findings

The findings reveal that half of the Latina, African American and Asian American participants noted that being underrepresented was not necessarily a hindrance to their academic success; rather, being underrepresented was uncomfortable for them at times, as they believed they had to prove themselves more than whites. Additional findings reveal that in terms of developing social skills for the profession, participants did not experience negative or positive effects of race. Findings are used to gain insight into how to increase diversity in the profession and to gauge the extent to which racial identity plays a role in public relations students’ collegiate development.

Originality/value

This study asks racially and ethnically underrepresented applied communication students to reflect on their experiences as undergraduates as a means of refining the undergraduate educational experience to make that experience more attractive for and conducive to academic success for current and future underrepresented applied communication undergraduate students. It's a first of its kind in that regard.

Details

Journal for Multicultural Education, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-535X

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Damion Waymer and Joshua Street

The purpose of this paper is to examine The Chronicle of Higher Education, a leading site for higher education news and politics, and its representation of historically…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine The Chronicle of Higher Education, a leading site for higher education news and politics, and its representation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Design/methodology/approach

Frames are strong discursive tools that can help social actors achieve the following: define and solve problems, shape public opinion, increase the productivity of interpersonal negotiations and “serve as a foundation of public discourse, such as negotiation, on a mass-communication level”. As such, this research is guided by both higher education literature of HBCUs and media framing theories and methods in an attempt to identify potential problems and opportunities for improvement of the presentation of HBCUs nationally in the USA.

Findings

This study reveals that when the frames are viewed in concert-funding challenges at HBCUs, status differential between predominantly white institutions vs HBCUs, questionable leadership practices at HBCUs and achievement success, what one sees is an unflattering picture depicted in the Chronicle of Higher Education of HBCUs, as second-hand universities that are poorly managed, outdated and are a drain on the economy. Any one of these themes, alone, is not problematic, but when taken as a whole, their entirety represents a troubling picture – one that is inaccurate because HBCUs have and continue to serve an important role in society: educating African Americans.

Originality/value

This paper concludes with pragmatic implications of the negative findings about HBCUs as well as discusses tactics proponents HBCUs should use to combat the negative depictions.

Details

Journal for Multicultural Education, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-535X

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2019

Robert L. Heath and Damion Waymer

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the proactive role elite organizations play within-network corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance by determining…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the proactive role elite organizations play within-network corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance by determining whether organizations can be identified that serve as aspirational CSR role models. The assumption is that elite CSR performance inspires and challenges other in-network actors to raise their standards in order to be legitimate, and resource rewardable.

Design/methodology/approach

Three cases are discussed to exemplify elite CSR: historical: recognizing the value of embracing a trend in improved standards of meatpacking, Armour Meatpacking campaigned for sanitary meatpacking and implemented strategic change; global energy: Chevron Corporation conducts “business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, respecting the law and universal human rights to benefit the communities where we work”; and non-profit: “Elite” universities’ CSR standards attract bright faculty and students and build beneficial relationships with industry, government and peers.

Findings

Elite institutions raise CSR standards by using issue trends to guide strategic change that can performatively demonstrate the societal value of proactive leadership that elevates standards and increases the reward value to communities and organizations that is achieved by adopting higher standards.

Research limitations/implications

Through micro-politics that increase CSR social productivity, elite CSR standards earn rewards for exemplary organizations and subsequently raise standards for in-network organizations to, in turn, achieve the license to operate.

Practical implications

Discussions of CSR should consider the influences that establish CSR standards. To that end, this paper offers the explanatory power of a micro-political, societal productivity approach to CSR based on the pragmatic/moral resource dependency paradigm.

Social implications

The paper reasons that higher CSR standards result when NGO stakeholder critics and/or government agencies exert micro-political pressure. In response to such pressure, elite organizations, those that are or can meet those higher CSR standards, proactively demonstrate how higher CSR standards can accrue resources that benefit them and society. Elite CSR performance challenges other in-network actors to raise standards in order to be legitimate, that is resource rewardable.

Originality/value

Because elite organizations understand the reward advantage of higher levels of CSR, they proactively elevate the discuss of standards and advantages for achieving them, and penalties for falling short.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Robert L. Heath and Damion Waymer

The purpose of this paper is to explore the proposition that organizational policies and actions gain more legitimacy when they proactively improve (rather than reactively…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the proposition that organizational policies and actions gain more legitimacy when they proactively improve (rather than reactively defend) their corporate social responsibility (CSR) standing by meeting challenges discursively mounted by competitors, watchdog activists, and governmental officials.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews literature, including social capital, to consider CSR as both a reactionary and proactionary construct that guides how organizations defend and publicize their corporate social performance (CSP). The paper examines four premises relevant to the discursive (contentious and collaborative) approach to formulating and implementing CSR norms. The case of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in the USA provides text for exploring these premises, especially the advantages of a proactionary strategy.

Findings

This paper concludes that CSR expectations of industry performance rest on threshold legitimacy standards that not only withstand but also are improved by discursive challenge.

Research limitations/implications

The case study offers limited support for the findings; more cases need to be examined to determine whether the findings are robust.

Practical implications

This paper, based on theory and research, proposes a strategic management and communication approach to social responsibility based on proaction.

Social implications

CSR communication is most constructive to a fully functioning social that generates social capital by proactive engagement rather than reactive challenges of stakeholder CSR expectations.

Originality/value

Discussion of CSR and CSP as employing profit for the good of society, based on discussions of legitimacy and social capital, strengthens CSR as strategic management and communication options. Such research clarifies how evaluative expectations of CSR are a legitimacy threshold as well as basis for reputational enhancement.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Ursa Golob, Natasa Verk, Anne Ellerup-Nielsen, Christa Thomsen, Wim J.L. Elving and Klement Podnar

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the third special issue on corporate social responsibility communication (CSRCom). In this editorial, the authors take the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the third special issue on corporate social responsibility communication (CSRCom). In this editorial, the authors take the opportunity to share the latest knowledge, research and insights on CSRCom as presented at the third International CSR Communication Conference held in Ljubljana 17-19 September 2015.

Design/methodology/approach

Many efforts have been made to map the research field of CSRCom. Two major ontological streams seem to stand out in CSRCom research: functionalism vs constructivism. In this editorial, the authors describe each of them, address the factors which contributed to their implementation within the CSRCom field and provide a rationale for bridging the two approaches.

Findings

The papers selected for the issue demonstrate that recent studies of CSRCom are anchored both in functionalism and constructivism but that the attention towards using CSRCom in organisational processes of collaboration and networking is growing. This growth is aligned to the changes in the wider social environment. In this editorial, the authors are bridging both approaches and relating them to the most recent developments in CSR and CSRCom.

Originality/value

This paper concludes that a growing body of empirical studies contributes to an increased understanding of how both functionalistic and constitutive perspectives are relevant and provide key insights for communication managers. It also accentuates the idea that the ability to expand the understanding of CSRCom from that of a means to an end to one, according to which communication represents an important end/goal in itself, that can play a crucial role in dealing with the growing complexity of CSR processes.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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