Read more coverage of the 2012 International Public Relations Research Conference at "Katie Paine's 13 Favorite Papers From IPRRC 2012."
Katie Paine says that Minjeog Kang's paper on validating a new theory of engagement, Toward a Model of Engaged Publics: Trust, Satisfaction, and the Mediating Role of Public Engagement for Supportive Behaviors was "the most intriguing idea at 2012 IPRRC." Kang ventures into the thorny world of measuring engagement from an unusual perspective: She looks to the fundamentals of relationship theory. Her proposed model for measuring engagement is based on understanding how people really feel, rather than just what they click. (Read Tiffany Derville Gallicano's summary of this research on her blog, The PR Post.)
From the abstract:
The quality of relationships between an organization and its public is a good indicator of the public’s general attitude toward the organization. However, gaps exist between organization-public relationship quality and public’s actual supportive behaviors. To fill a critical missing link between organization-public relationships and publics’ supportive behaviors, this study investigates if public engagement, defined as a motivated affective state of individual members of publics that drives their voluntary extra-role behaviors, connects evaluation of organization-public relationships to actual supportive behavioral outcomes. By focusing on the concept of engagement, the purpose of the current study is to empirically test a theoretical model of public engagement with two key antecedents, (i.e., relational trust and satisfaction) and its mediating role between such antecedents and positive behavioral outcomes.
Here is Kang's definition of her concept of public engagement:
This study proposes the notion of engagement as a critical affective connector linking key relational indicators to supportive behaviors. Defined as a motivated affective state of individual members of publics that drives their voluntary extra-role behaviors, this study suggests public engagement connects trust and satisfaction, cognitive appraisal/evaluation of organization-public relationships, to publics’ actual supportive behavioral outcomes such as membership maintenance (i.e., loyalty) and positive word-of-mouth communication about the organization.
For more information on this paper or Ms. Kang's work, email Minjeong Kang. --WTP