|Institution:||Texas Tech University|
|Keywords:||public relations; dialogue; science communication; social media|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/2346/67082|
Despite its prominence in public relations literature, little research has examined the effects of dialogic communication. This project tested the effects of dialogue within a science context through two experiments. The impact of both observed and active online dialogue was tested in relation to organization-public relationship (OPR) qualities, trust in science, perceived issue importance, and supportive behavioral intentions. In order to examine the influence of political polarization, the effects of dialogue were tested for the polarized issue of climate change and the non-polarized issue of space exploration. Study 1 revealed dialogue significantly and positively affected OPR qualities and supportive behavioral intentions for space exploration, but not climate change. Study 2 found little difference between observing dialogue and actively engaging in it. These findings suggest that engaging in dialogue about non-polarized topics can help organizations build relationships with publics, which in turn help organizations accomplish other strategic goals. Results fill a void within the public relations literature, serve to integrate public relations theory and science communication scholarship, and inform public relations best practices. Specifically, this project has implications for how organizations utilize online platforms to engage with publics and when engagement is most likely to be effective. Advisors/Committee Members: Callison, Coy (committee member), Cummins, Glenn (committee member), Hayhoe, Katharine (committee member), Seltzer, Trent (Committee Chair).