Barriers to leadership advancement in an age of turbulence: Perspectives from women in PR in the United States

Juan Meng, M.S. Neill, and Solyee Kim (2022, in print). “Barriers to leadership advancement in an age of turbulence: Perspectives from women in PR in the United States,” in Martina Topić (Ed.), Towards a new understanding of masculine habitus and women and leadership in public relations. London: Routledge.

Abstract: This chapter presents the research findings from a national research project on women and leadership in public relations in the United States. Results shared in this chapter offer a comprehensive and updated landscaping of key situational barriers to women’s leadership advancement in public relations. Findings reveal several key factors contributing to the gender underrepresentation of top leadership in the public relations profession. Perhaps more importantly, the chapter also discusses some anticipated improvements in gender underrepresentation in leadership in the near future as projected by female practitioners in public relations.

Measuring the value of public relations: An international investigation of how communication practitioners view the challenge and solutions

Abstract: This research is motivated to advance our understanding of measurement challenges in communication practice and coping strategies from a global perspective. To do so, we relied on data from a global online survey of communication practitioners in more than 20 countries, which result in five country clusters for final analysis and comparisons. Communication practitioners across investigated country clusters shared different strategies used to cope with measurement challenges. Our results also confirmed that certain leadership qualities (i.e., strategic decision-making, possessing communication knowledge) are particularly important in managing measurement challenges. Our findings provide solutions, leadership skills, and prioritization to improve the measurement of communication effectiveness.  Paper at: https://www.athensjournals.gr/media/2022-8-2-3-Cacciatore.pdf

Leadership excellence in corporate communications: A multi-group test of measurement invariance

Abstract: This study aims at advancing leadership research in corporate communications by introducing a more rigorous statistical approach to test whether communication professionals of different hierarchical reporting levels, years of experience, and educational backgrounds would ascribe the same meanings to the construct of leadership excellence in corporate communications via survey research. By using an established measurement model of leadership excellence in corporate communications, the study uses three samples, including senior communication executives/leaders, mid-level communication professionals, and senior college students majoring in communication and/or public relations, to conduct the measurement invariance tests. By imposing constraints to different parameters in a sequence of nested models, findings indicate that the measures of leadership excellence in corporate communications can be equivalent across multiple groups. Measurement invariance was confirmed at multiple levels, including the higher-order measurement model, configural invariance, metric invariance, scalar invariance, and error invariance as explained in Cheung & Rensvold’s (2002) research. This study deepens our understanding of measurement invariance when applying multi-group comparison in testing leadership excellence. Such evidence can also be used as central principles when developing corresponding leadership training and development modules by organizations in supporting multicultural and multi-group sensitivity in leadership development.

Inclusive leadership and women in public relations: Defining the meaning, functions, and relationships.

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to introduce inclusive leadership as a new theoretical framework to understand its meaning and functions in advancing gender equalities and empowerment in public relations leadership. By proposing an inclusive leadership theoretical model, we explored the roles of inclusive leadership in fostering an organization’s diversity climate and facilitating its practice of participative leadership in empowering women in public relations to reach their full potential in leadership advancement. Moreover, our results confirmed both direct and indirect impacts inclusive leadership could have on women’s perceptions of continued career growth opportunities. Our findings provide theoretical implications and practical solutions to address women’s leadership challenges through an inclusive leadership lens.

Applying Leadership Self-Efficacy Theory: Understanding the Innerworkings of Assessments by Creating Our Own

Abstract: This innovative practice paper explores a theoretical framework supporting leadership self-assessments — leadership self-efficacy theory. The paper describes the theory’s application in an exemplar self-assessment instrument and explains our approach to understanding the inner workings of assessments by creating and testing our own. Note: This paper resulted from an academic-industry collaboration with the Cox Institute’s Levin Leaders program, the Fanning Institute, and the Turknett Leadership Group.

Leading by Ear: Podcasting as an Educational Leadership Tool

Charlotte Norsworthy (Grady M.A. student) and Keith Herndon. (Forthcoming). Leading by Ear: Podcasting as an Educational Leadership Tool. Journal of Leadership Education.

Paper accepted for the annual conference of the Association of Leadership Educators, Nashville, TN.

Abstract: This innovative practice paper explains how a student-produced podcast is used as an educational tool to showcase leadership and ethics. It illustrates how podcasting provides a unique pedagogical experience for students to engage with leadership themes in a way that is accessible, practical, and relevant. In this example, the podcast episodes become an innovative teaching resource, while the creation of it provides an experiential learning opportunity for the student hosts. In creating the work, students develop essential critical thinking skills, and the students who engage with the podcast are introduced to valuable leadership concepts.

Teaching Leadership in a Management Course: Using Q Methodology to Engage Students in Theory Building

Abstract: Teaching leadership within the parameters of a management course can be a daunting task. It is imperative for students to have an understanding of the perceived differences in leadership and management, but such instruction requires a delicate balance between teaching theory and illustrating practical applications. This article, prepared as an innovative practice paper, shares how the often under-utilized Q methodology has been used to create a leadership teaching exercise that encourages participants to construct their own sense of leadership theory using the insights of established theories but unrestricted by just one framework.

How Financial Crisis History Informs Ethical Corporate Communication: Insights from Corporate Communication Leaders

Abstract: This study explored how financial crisis history can inform corporate crisis communication practice across industries and over time. Thirty-eight interviews with chief communications officers (CCOs) and their counselors were conducted to explore what lasting lessons these corporate communication leaders learned from their crisis communication practice during the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Key lessons learned include: 1) the importance for corporations to tailor their financial communication strategies according to victim vs. perpetrator perception and ethical response expectations held by stakeholders; 2) the importance of stakeholders, and employees in particular, when creating and implementing the plan; 3) the balance between speed and legal concerns, as well as the need for reducing complexity by making sure stakeholder communications are delivered with clarity and accessibility; and 4) a recipe for success includes honesty, transparency, trust/integrity, taking action to reform questionable practices, and abiding by one’s own personal morals. Insights from this study shed light on how learning contributes to ethical corporate communication practice in times of crisis and crisis spillover.