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Article
Publication date: 30 July 2021

Gemma Bridge, Johanna Fawkes and Ralph Tench

The purpose of this paper is to explore the pressures to publish facing European public relations (PR) and communication management scholars across career stages.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the pressures to publish facing European public relations (PR) and communication management scholars across career stages.

Design/methodology/approach

The Delphi method was used with PR and communication management scholars at associate professor level or higher across Europe. An online survey was then shared with the wider academic community to gather insights from scholars at different career stages.

Findings

The suitability and status of the journal and the language of the outputs are considered. Academics are caught between the rock of publishing inside the field to support its development and the hard place of being required to publish in high-ranking journals for funding and promotion. Scholars are evaluated regularly, with journal articles being the main unit of assessment. Academics, regardless of career stage, feel under pressure to publish.

Research limitations/implications

The wider survey enabled publishing insights to be gathered from academics across the career spectrum, but it was completed by a small sample. Nevertheless, similar concerns emerged from both methods of data gathering, suggesting a clear agenda for discussion and further research.

Practical implications

PR and communications management is an academic discipline without an accepted list of high-impact journals. This study provides an annotated journal list to aid institutional evaluations, aid scholarly journal publishing decisions and support early career researchers navigating the publishing process.

Originality/value

This adds to the somewhat limited discussion regarding how academics in PR and communication management decide where to publish and provides a resource that can be used by scholars, institutions and funders.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2020

Martina Topić, Gemma Bridge and Ralph Tench

The purpose of this paper is to explore changes in corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies in food, soft drinks and packaging industries to capture changes in CSR…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore changes in corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies in food, soft drinks and packaging industries to capture changes in CSR implementation given increased environmental activism. The paper takes an exploratory approach in reviewing CSR policy changes to explore to what extent companies change CSR policies with increased environmentalism.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative website analysis was used to analyse CSR policies of companies in the food, soft drinks and packaging industries in the UK. The companies were selected for the analysis based on their annual turnover and 23 companies were analysed (seven for the soft drinks industry, eight for the food industry and eight for packaging industry). Five interviews were conducted with packaging and retail professionals, and the findings were analysed by using thematic analysis, which captured trends in responses.

Findings

The findings show that companies are implementing and communicating CSR policies heavily focussed on reducing the environmental impact of their work and matching social debates on human rights, with which traditional CSR policies (corporate governance, supporting local communities and consultation with stakeholders) are fading away. Instead, companies have shifted attention towards the gender pay gap, modern slavery and extensive environmentalism. The interviews with packaging professionals and CSR managers from the retail industry show that the packaging industry designs CSR policies in line with requests from supermarkets, which are, in turn, influenced by consumer activism.

Practical implications

This paper shows the circular relationship between media coverage, consumer activism, which comes as a result, and the impact and changes this brings to the industry. To avoid reputation damage, companies should closely follow media debates to pre-empty consumer criticism and activism.

Social implications

The findings show that companies are “mirroring the zeitgast” and going with trends to meet consumer expectations, which brings into question the sincerity of CSR policies and revives the criticism of capitalism and raises a question whether CSR is used by companies as a smokescreen that on the outset makes a difference to the society but keeps status quo intact.

Originality/value

The paper provides an insight into CSR implementation of three industries that faced heavy criticism from campaigners and the general public for their environmental impact. The paper shows how the CSR policy shifted to match this expectation and thus provides a good ground for studying the evolution of CSR using a case study from three selected industries.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2020

Ansgar Zerfass, Jens Hagelstein and Ralph Tench

Artificial intelligence (AI) might change the communication profession immensely, but the academic discourse is lacking an investigation of the perspective of…

Abstract

Purpose

Artificial intelligence (AI) might change the communication profession immensely, but the academic discourse is lacking an investigation of the perspective of practitioners on this. This article addresses this research gap. It offers a literature overview and reports about an empirical study on AI in communications, presenting first insights on how professionals in the field assess the technology.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative cross-national study among 2,689 European communication practitioners investigated four research questions: RQ1 – How much do professionals know about AI and to what extent are they already using AI technologies in their everyday lives? RQ2 – How do professionals rate the impact of AI on communication management? RQ3 – Which challenges do professionals identify for implementing AI in communication management? RQ4 – Which risks do they perceive?

Findings

Communication professionals revealed a limited understanding of AI and expected the technology to impact the profession as a whole more than the way their organisations or themselves work. Lack of individual competencies and organisations struggling with different levels of competency and unclear responsibilities were identified as key challenges and risks.

Research limitations/implications

The results highlight the need for communication managers to educate themselves and their teams about the technology and to identify the implementation of AI as a leadership issue.

Originality/value

The article offers the first cross-national quantitative study on AI in communication management. It presents valuable empirical insights on a trending topic in the discipline, highly relevant for both academics and practitioners.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2020

Audra Diers-Lawson, Kerry Coope and Ralph Tench

The purpose of this paper is to explain and better understand some of the challenges and even contradictions in relationships between CSR and stakeholder attitudes by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain and better understand some of the challenges and even contradictions in relationships between CSR and stakeholder attitudes by comparing consumer and practitioner perspectives on social responsibility, its role in organisations and its influence on consumer attitudes towards companies. The objective is to understand and evaluate factors influencing the authenticity of social responsibility as a contributor to an organisation’s value proposition.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus groups of consumers and practitioners (N = 39) were asked to explore CSR in a semi-structured discussion. Themes were analysed using a constant comparative method.

Findings

These data suggest that rather than existing on a continuum of authenticity, there are clear paths emerging for CSR efforts to be deemed authentic versus inauthentic that can begin to better explain the often-contradictory findings with regard to consumer attitudes towards CSR and an organisation’s value proposition. Consumer efficacy to influence an organisation and localised CSR emerge as critical determinants for evaluations of CSR as authentic. Further, these data also suggest practitioners may not understand consumer motivations and attitudes about CSR.

Originality/value

These data provide new insights into evaluations of CSR to explain when and why it can fail to meet its objectives. Ultimately, these data produce testable models for authentic (i.e. motivator) and inauthentic (hygiene) consumer judgements about CSR and draw implications for CSR leadership, learning and management.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

Ralph Tench

Competence in written communication has been described as a fundamental underpinning of contemporary undergraduate education by both educational advisors and agencies…

Abstract

Competence in written communication has been described as a fundamental underpinning of contemporary undergraduate education by both educational advisors and agencies. This article focuses on students’ perceptions of their own writing styles and skills. These opinions have been considered in the context of the desires and expectations of practitioners in public relations for high standards of grammar, variety in copywriting style and a high degree of accuracy in writing. Students’ perceptions of the learning environment for this vocational academic discipline also suggest a receptiveness to the integration of alternative pedagogues in the form of information technology.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 43 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 14 November 2012

Ralph Tench is Professor of Communication and Director of Research for the Faculty of Business and Law at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is a former Journalist and…

Abstract

Ralph Tench is Professor of Communication and Director of Research for the Faculty of Business and Law at Leeds Metropolitan University. He is a former Journalist and Communications Consultant. He was head of the UK's largest Public Relations and Communications academic department for 10 years at Leeds Business School until 2008. His research interests are in corporate communications, ethics, social responsibility and education. He is a member of the European Communication Monitor research team and is currently directing a pan European research team for the ECOPSI (European Communication Professionals Skills and Innovation programme), the largest EU-funded public relations research programme. Professor Tench is also managing research projects into communication strategies to tackle childhood obesity as well as communication dimensions of organisation's social and responsibility agendas. His work has been disseminated worldwide and translated in books and journals. He is a regular conference and keynote speaker at academic and practitioner conferences. During the last 12 months this includes keynotes and speaking at communication conferences in Istanbul, Chicago, Athens, Zagreb and Oslo.

Details

Corporate Social Irresponsibility: A Challenging Concept
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-999-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2002

Ralph Tench, Johanna Fawkes and Dayan Palihawadana

This paper describes a research project that involved an in‐depth investigation into freelancing in the public relations industry with data collected from both freelancers…

Abstract

This paper describes a research project that involved an in‐depth investigation into freelancing in the public relations industry with data collected from both freelancers and their employers. The analysis of these data highlighted the complexity of issues for those working in and employing people in this sector of public relations practice. The research project produced data on themes relating to freelance practitioners’ status, skills and experience, but this paper aims to focus specifically on trends and issues for the future. The key findings under this theme are that the freelance sector has grown. A majority of clients claim an increased use of freelancers in the last year and this was linked to a “need for flexibility” and “new business development”. Also the majority of freelancers are happy and do not want to change their employment status and some respondents stated “nothing” would make them return to permanent employment. Freelance public relations appears to be meeting a trend since the early 1990s for companies to “downsize” and “outsource” workers and for employees to seek a work/lifestyle balance. Regarding patterns of work almost half of freelancers claimed to be more productive when freelancing with the key factors being that they have “fewer interruptions” and fewer “unnecessary meetings”. Of relevance to national institutes and debates about professionalisation and reputation, it was interesting that the majority of the sample were not members of a professional body. The research and its findings have implications for human resources managers employing public relations staff, public relations managers and directors who commission freelance practitioners and the freelancers themselves.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Ralph Tench and Brian Jones

This paper aims to posit the central argument that traditional media of old presented a clear, ordered world of communication management for organisations to extol their…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to posit the central argument that traditional media of old presented a clear, ordered world of communication management for organisations to extol their corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials. In contrast to this, new Web 2.0 social media is increasingly being used by activists and hactivists to challenge corporate communication CSR messages and does so by highlighting instances and examples of corporate social irresponsibility (CSI) (Jones et al., 2009; Tench et al., 2012).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on research data from the European Communication Monitor, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (www.communicationmonitor.eu/) and draws on work already published in this area (Tench et al., 2009; Verhoeven et al., 2012; Zerfass et al., 2010, 2011) to illustrate the unruly, unregulated Web 2.0 social media communication landscape in Europe. A range of literature is drawn on to provide the theoretical context for an exploration of issues that surround social media.

Findings

In late modernity (Giddens, 1990), communication comes in many guises. Social media is one guise and it has re-shaped as well as transformed the nature of communications and the relationship between organisations and their stakeholders.

Originality/value

Communicating CSR in the Wild West of social media requires diplomatic and political nous, as well as awareness and knowledge of the dangers and pitfalls of CSI. The data reported on in this paper well illustrate the above points and set out scenarios for future development of corporate communication of CSR through and with social media.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Abstract

Details

Joy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-240-6

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Abstract

Details

Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: Perspectives and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-796-2

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