The impact of crucible experiences in developing public relations’ character and competencies as servant leaders

M.S. Neill & Juan Meng. (2022). The impact of crucible experiences in developing public relations’ character and competencies as servant leaders. Journal of Media Ethics, 37(3), 208-222. https://doi.org/10.1080/23736992.2022.2107526

Abstract: Crucible experiences are essential in the development of leaders. Crucibles refer to trials and challenges that test and mold the character, values and behavior of leaders. Through in-depth interviews with 32 public relations leaders, we examined how crucible experiences specifically shaped them to practice servant leadership. Through the narratives they constructed about these experiences, we were able to learn specific details about these experiences, the lessons they gleaned and how they shaped and transformed their character, virtues and leadership style. These insights matter, because public relations leaders have the potential to serve as ethical role models for their employees and colleagues.

Diversifying gender equity in leadership in public relations: The role of mentoring and instrumental support at the organizational level

Meng, J., & Neill, M. S. (accepted, 2022). Diversifying gender equity in leadership in public relations: The role of mentoring and instrumental support at the organizational level. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, forthcoming.

Abstract: The rise of a professional career presents women in today’s public relations profession an intense challenge in balancing professional and family responsibilities. Therefore, this study is motivated to investigate female public relations professionals’ perceptions of work-family conflict in their daily life. Specifically, we focused our research on women working in the professions of communication and public relations in the United States. Our research findings confirmed that female professionals have to constantly make changes to their plans for family activities when there is a conflict due to work-related duties. Such impact is particularly intense for professionals in the age bracket 31-40. They have to use a wide variety of coping strategies to manage the work-family conflict. Findings in our research confirmed the critical role of mentoring in providing extra support and to help junior female professionals find coping solutions. Effective mentor-mentee networks can be established and used as valuable resources to support women in managing work-family conflict.

A discourse analysis of the South Korean Embassy’s Facebook page and communicating its role in strategic relationships

Solyee Kim & Maria Len-Ríos (Forthcoming). A discourse analysis of the South Korean Embassy’s Facebook page and communicating its role in strategic relationships. International Journal of Strategic Communication.

Abstract: This study explores the discourse on the Facebook page of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United States and discusses how the ROK Embassy constructs its public diplomacy by highlighting its international role and its ROK-U.S. relationship. This research conducted a simple content analysis and a discourse analysis to study 182 posts published on the Embassy’s Facebook page in Korean, English, or both between October 25, 2019, and October 25, 2020. Results indicate that different languages can be used strategically to communicate with different audiences, though sometimes such communication was exclusionary. Importantly, the activities of the ambassador showcased the areas where the host country draws its strongest relations. History and global challenges such as COVID-19 play critical roles in understanding the ROK-U.S. relationship and their shared interests as strategic partners. This research indicates that the use of social media, in this case, Facebook, requires various considerations in terms of strategic communication to boost relationships with strategic partners and the global reputation of a country.

Inaugural 2022 Ragan Research Award

Jeonghyun “Janice” Lee (Doctoral candidate) received the Inaugural 2022 Ragan Research Award (faculty advisor: Juan Meng). The award is jointly sponsored by The Institute for Public Relations and Ragan Communications. The purpose of the Ragan Research Award is to offer students an opportunity to conduct secondary research on an important topic in the PR industry. Janice has published a research brief on the topic of ESG. The title of the research brief is Engaging Employees through Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Narratives. Janice Lee will receive the award at the 2022 IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner in New York on December 01, 2022. Award information can be found at:  https://instituteforpr.org/ragan-research-award/  Janice also did an interview with PR Daily about her research interests and the study findings which can be found at: https://www.prdaily.com/findings-from-the-1st-ragan-research-awards-esg-narratives-on-social-media/

2022 Orangefiery Best Master’s Thesis of the Year Award

Karen Robayo Sanchez (M.A., first-year doctoral student) received the 2022 Orangefiery Best Master’s Thesis of the Year Award (faculty advisor: Juan Meng). The award is jointly sponsored by the Orangefiery, a Consulting and Communications Firm, and the Institute for Public Relations. The award recognizes and encourages graduate study and scholarship in public relations through an annual award for an outstanding master’s thesis. The thesis is judged on its contribution to the advancement of research-based knowledge in the field of public relations and the degree to which the research is relevant or has an impact on the profession. Karen’s thesis committee members include Dr. Bryan Reber, Dr. Ana Maria Suarez Monsalve (Universidad de Medellin, Colombia) and Dr. Juan Meng (Chair). Karen Robayo and Dr. Juan Meng will receive the awards at the 2022 IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner in New York on December 01, 2022. Award information is listed here: https://instituteforpr.org/awards/masters-thesis/

Countering Propaganda and Disinformation: How Communications can Help Preserve Democracy

Helmus, T., Shaikh, M., & Ivanka Pjesivac. (September 2022). “Countering Propaganda and Disinformation: How Communications can Help Preserve Democracy.” Panel participant in Propaganda and Democracy panel series organized by The Museum of Public Relations. This event focused on what communicators and other Americans can do to preserve democracy by countering propaganda, disinformation, and the rise of extremism.

B-“ in the Plank Center’s Report Card 2021: Did the pandemic improve leadership in public relations?

B.K Berger, Juan Meng, and J Katz. (June, 2022). Public relations leaders earn a “B-“ in the Plank Center’s Report Card 2021: Did the pandemic improve leadership in public relations?” published by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. http://plankcenter.ua.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/2021_LR_PDF.pdf

Abstract: The Report Card on Public Relations Leaders is a biennial study that began in 2015 to survey leaders and their employees on leadership performance, job satisfaction, organizational trust, organizational culture and job engagement. Following small declines in leader performance in 2017 and 2019, the Report Card 2021 marks some improvements. Leaders in public relations improved their performance during the volatile and challenging world of 2020-2022. For the first time since the biennial Leadership Report Card was launched in 2015, the grade for overall leadership performance rose to B-. The Report Card 2021 marks improvements in overall leadership performance, and gains in employee trust, job satisfaction, job engagement and organizational culture. Most significantly, a previous widening gender gap regarding perceptions of leadership in PR was closed. The profession moved from average to “almost good,” with “great” still in the scope in the distance. Nationwide, 536 PR leaders and professionals evaluated five fundamental areas of leadership linked to outcomes in our field—organizational culture, leadership performance, organizational trust, work engagement and job satisfaction.

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.

he impact of crucible experiences in developing public relations’ character and competencies as servant leaders

M.A. Neill and Juan Meng. “The impact of crucible experiences in developing public relations’ character and competencies as servant leaders.” Journal of Media Ethics, forthcoming, published online July 31, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1080/23736992.2022.2107526.

Abstract: Crucible experiences are essential in the development of leaders. Crucibles refer to trials and challenges that test and mold the character, values and behavior of leaders. Through in-depth interviews with 32 public relations leaders, we examined how crucible experiences specifically shaped them to practice servant leadership. Through the narratives they constructed about these experiences, we were able to learn specific details about these experiences, the lessons they gleaned and how they shaped and transformed their character, virtues and leadership style. These insights matter, because public relations leaders have the potential to serve as ethical role models for their employees and colleagues.