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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…

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. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Christopher Hendrik Ruehl and Diana Ingenhoff

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how and why individuals use corporate pages on Facebook with the aim of developing a usage-specific inventory of incentive…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how and why individuals use corporate pages on Facebook with the aim of developing a usage-specific inventory of incentive factors which describe brand page utilization for consumption, participation and production behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

A combined perspective of uses-and-gratifications (U&G) and social cognitive theory (SCT) was applied to develop three models of brand page behavior. Based on a literature review, an online survey (N=215) was conducted. Exploratory factor analyses identified motivational factors based on SCT incentive dimensions, which were cross-validated using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).

Findings

Results indicate that consumption behavior can best be explained by activity, self-reactive-novel and monetary incentives. Status incentives, practical-novel and self-reactive-idealistic incentives drive participation. Production behavior is best explained by social, self-reactive and status incentives.

Practical implications

The models’ strategic implications for integrated communication management are discussed.

Originality/value

The results suggest interconnections of incentive dimensions unique to brand page usage, which have not yet been explored in any research.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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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…

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2011

Ansgar Thiessen and Diana Ingenhoff

The purpose of this paper is to address the often missing theoretical foundation of crisis communication from an integrated perspective on the micro, meso and macro level…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the often missing theoretical foundation of crisis communication from an integrated perspective on the micro, meso and macro level. Based on the theory of structuration, a systematic, integrative framework is developed for safeguarding organizational legitimization and multidimensional reputation through communication during crisis situations which is applicable both for profit and non‐profit organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Gidden's theory of structuration was chosen as a basis to develop the integrative model of crisis communication that proposes a communicative impact on reputation on a situative level of message strategies (micro level), an organizational level (meso level) and a societal level (macro level). A well‐organized crisis communication management on all of these levels is seen as the key communicative driver to safeguard long‐term organizational reputation.

Findings

The paper shows that successful crisis communication management must be conceptualized and addressed on distinctive levels of complexity. While on a message level (situative crisis communication) it creates meaning, crisis communication must be seen as management task on an organizational level (integrative crisis communication). However, in order to fully safeguard reputation in the long term and trustworthiness in the short term, crisis communication has also a societal component when addressing moral standards and norms (strategic crisis communication).

Research limitations/implications

The paper is a conceptual contribution which build the basis of a follow‐up empirical, experimental study where the proposed model is successfully tested.

Practical implications

For PR managers, this paper gives reasons to conceptualize crisis communication management, not only on a message strategy level, but also to take into consideration the organizational and societal levels.

Originality/value

The paper stands in line with the theoretical discourse of organizational crisis communication. So far, few approaches conceptualize organizational crisis communication thoroughly on an integrated level of different perspectives so that the paper provides an important input, pushing the discussion forward.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2010

Diana Ingenhoff and Tanja Fuhrer

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of mission and vision statements on corporate web sites and to analyze differentiation strategies through the use…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of mission and vision statements on corporate web sites and to analyze differentiation strategies through the use of online brand personality attributes in order to find if and how the attributes are effectively used to build up a unique corporate identity.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis is used to investigate similarities and differences between sectors and industries in Switzerland, based on the brand personality scale of Aaker. Also, the paper focuses on the impact of the communication of brand personality elements, in terms of positioning and differentiation, using correspondence analysis.

Findings

The claim that companies do present brand personality by frequently communicating respective attributes through mission and vision statements published on their web site are supported. However, top management does not seem to be geared towards industry norms when phrasing the statements, as a considerable similarity in statement content is found across industries. The results show that companies position themselves using their competitors as a frame of reference.

Research limitations/implications

The results may lack generalizability to small and medium‐sized businesses and other industries.

Practical implications

As most companies in the study position themselves using the same attributes and specifically emphasize “competence,” the results include practical implications for the need to develop uniqueness and differentiation by other means.

Originality/value

This paper discovers a gap between the claim that organizations seek uniqueness in their personality attributes and the reality of their involvement in mutual coorientation when defining their identity, forcing them to adapt to each other.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2015

Jochen Hoffmann, Ulrike Röttger, Diana Ingenhoff and Anis Hamidati

Despite an impressive body of international research, there is a lack of empirical evidence describing the ways in which organisational environments influence the…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite an impressive body of international research, there is a lack of empirical evidence describing the ways in which organisational environments influence the practices of corporate communications (CC). A cross-cultural survey in five countries contributes to closing this research gap. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

What makes the research design innovative is that the questionnaire incorporates both practitioners’ perceptions of the cultural context and the relevance of CC practices. The sample comprises 418 practitioners from the most senior positions in CC in the biggest companies in Australia, Austria, Germany, Indonesia, and Switzerland. By choosing a systematic access to the field the authors circumvent shortcomings of “snowball” sampling techniques.

Findings

While cultural perceptions and CC priorities vary to a certain degree, there are hardly any significant correlations between the two. Meanwhile, the “nation variable”, and the institutional settings associated with it, are more instructive when explaining differences in CC.

Research limitations/implications

A large cross-cultural survey needs to take a “birds eye view” and, as such, is able to identify only general tendencies when describing relations between perceptions of culture and CC practices. Future case studies and qualitative research could explore more subtle ways in which CC is influenced not only by the cultural context, but also – and probably even more – by institutional environments.

Originality/value

This is the first cross-cultural survey to systematically describe on the level of primary data, the links between CC practices and perceptions of the organisational environment. Since the results indicate only a limited impact of culture, the authors would recommend the rehabilitation of the “nation variable”. Provided it is understood and differentiated as a representation of specific institutional contexts, the nation variable is likely to prove highly instructive when accounting for the diversity of CC observed around the world.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Christopher Hendrik Ruehl and Diana Ingenhoff

Over the last years, many corporations have started to maintain profile pages on social networking sites (SNS), but research on how and why organizational stakeholders use…

Abstract

Purpose

Over the last years, many corporations have started to maintain profile pages on social networking sites (SNS), but research on how and why organizational stakeholders use these profile pages has not kept pace. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The study applies a combined perspective of uses-and-gratifications (U & G) and social cognitive theory (SCT) to investigate the reasons why politicians and digital natives consume and interact with corporations on SNS. In total, 65 semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings

Results suggest that the two stakeholder groups differ in their motivations, as well as behavior to use corporate profile pages. Digital natives seem to prefer Facebook to interact with companies, politicians prefer Twitter. Corporate YouTube pages are almost not important to any of the groups.

Research limitations/implications

The qualitative nature of the study does not allow for generalizations of the findings to larger populations. Suggestions for further research are addressed in the discussion section.

Practical implications

The study results have numerous implications for the practice of communication management. Fans on SNS do not tend to interact with corporations to a large extent, but are loyal followers. Once a connection between an individual and a company is established, it is likely to last. This enables corporations to gain rich information from their networks to be included in customer service, product development, issues management and recruiting.

Originality/value

This is the first study in the field of communication management, which applies a micro-level approach to interviewing users of corporate communication; in order to reveal the reasons why and how they use corporate social networking profile pages.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 30 January 2009

Abstract

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Case study
Publication date: 17 December 2019

Stuart Rosenberg

The following theoretical concepts are applicable to the case and its learning objectives: Stakeholder Power-Interest Matrix and Carroll’s Pyramid of Corporate Social…

Abstract

Theoretical basis

The following theoretical concepts are applicable to the case and its learning objectives: Stakeholder Power-Interest Matrix and Carroll’s Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Research methodology

Information was obtained in three separate interviews with PSEG. In February 2018, an introductory phone conference was conducted with a number of senior managers within PSEG, including the Director of Development and Strategic Issues, Kate Gerlach. In April 2018, an onsite interview was conducted with Gerlach, who connected the author with Scott Jennings. A phone interview was conducted with Scott Jennings in May 2018 and follow-up communication with him was handled via e-mail. The information obtained from these interviews was supplemented by material obtained from secondary sources. None of the information in the case has been disguised.

Case overview/synopsis

Scott Jennings, a Vice President at PSEG, the diversified New Jersey-based energy company, was the project leader for a large commercial wind farm that was to be built off the coast. The project, Garden State Offshore Energy, a joint venture between PSEG and Deepwater Wind, an experienced developer of offshore wind projects, had been announced over six years earlier, in late 2008. In the time that had passed, the Garden State Offshore Energy project team had waited for the New Jersey Bureau of Public Utilities, which had been tasked by Governor Chris Christie to evaluate the project costs before it could authorize the actual construction of the wind turbines. Justifying the project on a cost basis proved to be difficult; despite the growing public sentiment in favor of projects that utilized renewable energy sources such as wind power, the Garden State Offshore Energy team was unable to move the project forward. Scott needed to decide whether it made sense to continue to hold regular meetings with the Garden State Offshore Energy team. Scott’s colleagues suggested that Scott speak with senior management at PSEG to find out if the resources that had been dedicated to the Garden State Offshore Energy project could be shifted to other projects that might be more feasible.

Complexity academic level

This case is suitable for courses in Sustainability. It is appropriate to use the case in undergraduate courses to illustrate decision making in a regulated industry. Sufficient information is presented in the case to debate both sides of the offshore wind authorization issue.

Details

The CASE Journal, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 1544-9106

Keywords

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