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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: 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…

1116

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: 14 April 2020

Liang Ma

A well-accepted proposition in the literature of corporate strategic communication and public relations is that consumer-brand relationships (CBRs) affect corporate crisis…

Abstract

Purpose

A well-accepted proposition in the literature of corporate strategic communication and public relations is that consumer-brand relationships (CBRs) affect corporate crisis communication. However, it is inconclusive whether CBRs protect or work against brands, because both buffering effects and love-becomes-hate effects have been found. This study attempts to explain and bridge the seemingly inconsistent findings by clarifying the effects of different types of CBRs in different brand transgressions.

Design/methodology/approach

Re-conceptualizing CBRs into non-identifying relationships and identifying relationships, this study examined the possible interaction effects of CBRs and crises on consumers' attitudes and emotions, which then influence their behavioral intentions. A three-step multi-group structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the data collected from an online experiment with nearly 900 consumers of two brands.

Findings

Although non-identifying relationships offer buffering effects, identifying relationships primarily offer love-becomes-hate effects by intensifying negative emotions such as anger and disappointment, which in turn affect consumers' behavioral intentions. Such patterns hold regardless of whether a crisis directly threatens the core meaning of the brand.

Originality/value

This study clarifies the effects of different types of CBRs in crises and shows that deep psychological connections (i.e. identifying relationships) offer love-becomes-hate effects. It suggests that one promising future research direction for crisis communication and public relations scholars is to examine how to mitigate such love-becomes-hate effects so that brands can keep their loyal consumers.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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