Gender equality in public relations and communication: A comprehensive study bridging the knowledge between North and South America

Abstract: our research endeavors to provide the current reality of gender equality in the profession of public relations in the geographic region of America (i.e., North America and South America). Specifically, we explore the perceptions of gender equality in four regions in America, including North America, Northern South America, Central America and the Caribbean, and Southern South America. By doing so, we aim at exploring the following four issues, including: 1) whether gender equality in communication has improved in the four regions, 2) how communication professionals have perceived the impact of the glass ceiling; 3) what are the potential barriers causing the glass ceiling issue for women in public relations in those regions; and 4) who is most capable of leading the change in gender equality.

Robayo-Sanchez, Karen Andrea (Grady MA student), co-author

The impact of crucibles in developing public relations character and competencies as servant leaders

Abstract: Crucibles 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 31 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.

The role of ethical leadership in building influence

Meng, Juan and Neill, Marlene. (March 15, 2022). The role of ethical leadership in building influence, invited and interviewed by Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA and to be featured in EthicalVoices: Real Ethics Stories from Real PR ProsEthicalVoices is weekly blog and podcast designed to share the real ethical challenges faced by real communication professionals (ethicalvoices.com). 

Child immigrant detention: Spokesperson key messages, engineered frames and cultural rules

Abstract: PR professionals engineer acceptability for policy, such as child immigrant detention, through key messages. Agenda building, engineered frames and rules theories guide study of spokesperson attributions from 221 articles from January 2017 to October 2019. Findings show attributions to U.S. government spokespersons appeared most in stories. Journalist inquiries were declined at times citing legal and privacy arguments. While all spokespersons addressed the vulnerability of detained children, government spokespersons framed adult immigrant criminality as causing children harm. Opinion polls show government efforts to present child detention as a law-and-order issue appears to clash with cultural rules that value child well-being.  

Ethical challenges in an evolving digital communication era: Coping resources and ethical trainings in corporate communications

Abstract: This study investigated the ethical challenges facing public relations professionals in today’s digital communication environment. Our research found nearly 60% of surveyed professionals reported that they faced ethical challenges in their day-to-day work, and there is a wide range of ethical challenges in digital practices. Results also revealed that professionals use various resources to deal with ethical issues. As common as experiencing ethical challenges, over 85% of surveyed professionals reported that they have participated in communication ethics training. However, only 30% of participants indicated that their ethics training took place in the past year. Our research provides solid evidence that the digital communication environment generates more ethical challenges while it creates new ways of delivering content in corporate communications. Professional associations and organizations shall dedicate efforts in providing timely ethics training to PR professionals at all levels of leadership within and beyond corporate communications.  

Measuring the value of public relations: An international investigation at how communication practitioners view the challenges and suggest 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.  

The role of ethical leadership in building influence: Perspectives from female public relations professionals

Abstract: Practices of ethical leadership in public relations can be context-specific and they can influence organizational effectiveness. By conducting a national survey, this study examines female public relations professionals’ perspectives on ethical leadership. The results suggest that female professionals feel ready and confident in providing ethics counseling as needed. Public relations leaders’ ethical conduct help reinforce female professionals’ ethical practice. Female professionals indicate it is necessary to use multiple strategies to build and enact influence as an ethical leader in public relations. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.  

Making sense of DEI: The construction of diversity, equity, and inclusion at public relations agencies in the United States

Abstract: This in-depth interview study captures the perspectives of DEI professionals at public relations (PR) agencies and their evolving understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), focusing on the relationship between the organization and its employees and clients, and discusses factors, environments, and relations that influence DEI efforts. This study is an attempt to shed light on the dynamics that DEI practitioners at PR agencies navigate in their efforts to retain employees with marginalized social identities.