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Evaluating and Measuring the Effects of Public Relations


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Apresentação do Professor Doutor James Grunig, sobre avaliação e mensuração de resultados em comunicação corporativa, durante a Série Encontros de Comunicação Corporativa da Abracom, no dia 06 de agosto de 2009

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Evaluating and Measuring the Effects of Public Relations

  1. 1. Evaluating and Measuring the Effects of Public Relations James E. Grunig Professor Emeritus Department of Communication University of Maryland
  2. 2. What Kind of Organizational Function is Public Relations?  A messaging, publicity, informational, media-relations function?  Publications, news, communication campaigns, media contacts.  A marketing function?  Support for marketing through media publicity?  A strategic management function?  Active participant in decision making?  Research-based, organizational listening and learning?  Building relationships for other functions, including marketing?
  3. 3.  Public relations participates in strategic decision-making to help manage the behavior of the organization.  Public relations is a bridging activity to build relationships with stakeholders rather than a set of messaging activities designed to buffer the organization from stakeholders.  Emphasis is on two-way and symmetrical communication of many kinds to provide publics a voice in management decisions and to facilitate dialogue between management and publics.  Research and evaluation are critical components of this approach. The Behavioral, Strategic Management, Paradigm
  4. 4. Some Initial Caveats  “Research” is a more appropriate term than “measurement” or “metrics.”  Research includes conceptualization as well as measurement.  The lack of conceptualization in public relations is a greater problem than the lack of measurement.
  5. 5. The Nature of Conceptualization  The process of thinking logically about concepts, definitions, measures, and the relationships among them.  Research is a problem-solving process.  The presence or absence of a dependent variable defines a problem.  Independent variables affect dependent variables; they can be changed to solve a problem.
  6. 6. Levels of Analysis for Measuring the Quality of Public Relations  Planning and evaluation of communication programs.  Auditing the quality of the public relations function.  Showing the value of public relations to the organization.  Auditing the contribution of public relations to society.
  7. 7. Segments of the Public Relations Programming Process  Formative research to identify publics with whom the organization needs a relationship.  Process research to monitor communication/ relationship cultivation strategies.  Evaluation research to measure the effects of communication programs, which eventually affect the quality of relationships and organizational reputation.
  8. 8. Formative Research for Programs  Observations.  Advisory groups.  Interviews.  Focus groups.  Questionnaires and survey research.  Content analysis of media.  Cyber analysis.  Naturally occurring information.  Data bases.
  9. 9. Evaluation Research at the Program Level Individual communication programs such as media relations, community relations, or customer relations are successful when they affect the awareness, cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors of both publics and members of the organization.
  10. 10. Methods of Limited Value  Media analysis (except for monitoring media relations).  Advertising equivalencies.  General surveys of attitudes, images, or reputation.
  11. 11. Process Objectives for Evaluation of Programs  Public relations research has identified cultivation strategies that improve the quality of relationships with publics.  Examples are:  Disclosure by publics of concerns.  Complaints or inquiries by publics.  Disclosure by management to publics.
  12. 12. Outcome Objectives for Evaluation of Programs One-Way  Communication.  Message retention.  Cognition.  Attitude.  Behavior. Two-Way  Disclosure.  Accuracy.  Understanding.  Agreement.  Symbiotic behavior.
  13. 13. Research Methods for Communication Programs  Quantitative Surveys. Experiments.  Qualitative Observations. Interviews. Focus Groups.
  14. 14. Research at the Organizational Level • Over the long-term, successful short-term communication activities and programs contribute to the building of quality, long- term relationships with strategic publics. • Relationships add value by reducing costs, reducing risks, and increasing revenue. • The organizational value of public relations can be determined by measuring the type and quality of relationships.
  15. 15. Formative Research at the Organizational Level: Environmental Scanning  Monitoring of management decisions for implications on stakeholders.  Segmentation of stakeholders and publics.  Qualitative observations of activists, advisory groups, contacts.  Interviews with organizational boundary spanners.  Cyber scanning.  Electronic databases.  Monitoring of media and political processes.
  16. 16. The Long-Term Value of Public Relations Can Be Evaluated by Measuring the Quality of Relationships  Trust. One party’s level of confidence in and willingness to open itself to the other party. (e.g., “Whenever this organization makes an important decision, I know it will be concerned about people like me.”)  Mutuality of control. The degree to which parties agree on who has rightful power to influence one another. (e.g., “The management of this organization gives people like me enough say in the decision-making process.”)
  17. 17. More Qualities of Relationships  Commitment The extent to which each party believes and feels that the relationship is worth spending energy to maintain and promote. (e.g, “I feel that this organization is trying to maintain a long-term commitment to people like me.”)  Satisfaction. The extent to which each party feels favorably toward the other because positive expectations about the relationship are reinforced. (e.g., “Both the organization and people like me benefit from the relationship.”)
  18. 18. Types of Relationships  Exchange One party gives benefits to the other only because the other has provided benefits in the past or is expected to do so in the future. (e.g., “Whenever this organization gives or offers something to people like me, it generally expects something in return.”  Communal Both parties provide benefits to the other because they are concerned for the welfare of the other— even when they get nothing in return. (e.g. “This organization is very concerned about the welfare of people like me.”
  19. 19. Example: Indicators of Control Mutuality 1. This organization and people like me are attentive to what each other say. 2. This organization believes the opinions of people like me are legitimate. 3. In dealing with people like me, this organization has a tendency to throw its weight around. (Reversed) 4. This organization really listens to what people like me have to say. 5. The management of this organization gives people like me enough say in the decision-making process.
  20. 20. Indicators for GE EXCHGECMNALGESATISGECOMMGECMGETRUSTGE Mean 6.0 5.8 5.6 5.4 5.2 5.0 4.8 4.6 4.4
  21. 21. Trust Indicators by Organization TRUSTARCTRUSTNRATRUSTMSTRUSTSSTRUSTGE Mean 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5
  22. 22. Qualitative Research on Relationships  Begin with “grand-tour” questions: 1. “Do you feel that you have a relationship with (organization)(public)? Why or why not? 2. “Please describe your relationship with (organization)(public).  Analyze using the dimensions of relationship or new characteristics that emerge.  Probe for dimensions of relationships.
  23. 23. Trust  Would you describe any things that (organization) (public) has done to treat (organization)(public) fairly and justly, or unfairly and unjustly? (integrity)  Would you describe things that (organization)(public) has done that indicate it can be relied on to keep its promises, or that it does not keep its promises? (dependability)  How confident are you that (organization)(public) has the ability to accomplish what it says it will do? Can you give me examples of why you feel that way? (competence)
  24. 24. Relationships and Reputation  Most thinking about and measurement of reputation assumes that a reputation can be “managed” by managing messages.  Reputation is a byproduct of organizational performance, as evaluated by stakeholders, and of relationships with stakeholders.  The concept of reputation has value when used in conjunction with relationships.
  25. 25. What Is a Reputation?  What is generally said or believed about a person or thing.  Must be said or believed collectively, but a person or thing may have more than one reputation. (D. B. Bromley [1993], Reputation, Image, and Impression Management.)
  26. 26. Open-End Questions Measure Reputations Best  Initially developed by Bromley.  Used in research on risk assessment by Paul Slovic. (Science, 1991, pp. 1603-1607)  “In a sentence or two, please tell me what comes to mind when you think of [organization].”  Code by type of cognitive representation.
  27. 27. Reputation Results  Categories of cognitive representations found among all five organizations:  Positive attributes  Negative attributes  Descriptive attributes  Good behaviors  Bad behaviors
  28. 28. Other Cognitive Representations  Positive and negative evaluations (attitudes).  Evaluations of products.  Objects, such as CEOs, spokespersons, members, recipients of benefits, technology, stock, lawsuits, guns, hunting, war, blood, disasters, tax, social security number, and welfare.
  29. 29. Our Major Conclusion Recall of behaviors had the strongest associations with relationships.
  30. 30. Functional Level The public relations function as a whole can be audited by comparing the structure and processes of the department or departments that implement the function with the best practices of the public relations function in other organizations or with theoretical principles derived from scholarly research. Evaluation at this level can be called theoretical or practical benchmarking.
  31. 31. The IABC Excellence Study Provides A Theoretical Benchmark Excellent public relations is:  Managerial.  Strategic.  Integrated but not sublimated to other management functions.  Symmetrical.  Diverse.  Ethical.  Global.
  32. 32. Societal Level Organizations have an impact beyond their own bottom line. They also affect other individuals, publics, and organizations in society. As a result, the contributions of public relations to society can be audited by observing and measuring the ethics and social responsibility of organizations.
  33. 33. Auditing Ethics  Teleology What consequences do decisions have on publics?  Deontology The moral obligation to communicate with and disclose our behaviors to publics when an organization has consequences on them.