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Measuring an Organization's Two-Way Symmetrical Communication and Perceived Authenticity and Their Relationship to Emplo...

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045589/00001

Material Information

Title: Measuring an Organization's Two-Way Symmetrical Communication and Perceived Authenticity and Their Relationship to Employee Advocacy
Physical Description: 1 online resource (114 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Polk, Callie L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2013

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: advocacy -- authenticity -- callie -- communication -- employee -- employees -- kim -- measuring -- organization -- organizational -- perceived -- polk -- relationship -- shen -- social -- society -- symmetrical -- two -- way
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Recent studies in public relations encouraged organizations to utilize one of their best resources, employees. The concept of employee advocacy has become an area of interest in the professional field, but has had paucity in theory. The purpose of this study is to strengthen the relationships between two-way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity and understand how they relate to employee advocacy. To measure these relationships, this study surveyed employees about how they perceive their organization’s communication and authenticity to better understand employee advocacy. Results of the study revealed a strong relationship between two-way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity, results that are similar to those of previous studies. This study adds a new dimension by using messaging as indicators of employee advocacy and documents the relationship between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy among paid full-time employees. Findings supported that perceived organizational authenticity also has a strong relationship to employee advocacy. As an additional finding, while trade publications portray publics flocking to social media sites (SMS), results showed that employees use them very little to discuss their organization. This study found that a small proportion of employees use SMS to advocate, most frequently using email and Facebook. This study successfully demonstrates that organizations have an opportunity to foster employee advocacy by practicing two-way symmetrical communication, which increases perceived organizational authenticity. These organizations should empower and educate their employees to advocate, whether through traditional means or emergent communication channels.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Callie L Polk.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local: Adviser: Kelly, Kathleen S.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2015-05-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID: UFE0045589:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045589/00001

Material Information

Title: Measuring an Organization's Two-Way Symmetrical Communication and Perceived Authenticity and Their Relationship to Employee Advocacy
Physical Description: 1 online resource (114 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Polk, Callie L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2013

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: advocacy -- authenticity -- callie -- communication -- employee -- employees -- kim -- measuring -- organization -- organizational -- perceived -- polk -- relationship -- shen -- social -- society -- symmetrical -- two -- way
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Recent studies in public relations encouraged organizations to utilize one of their best resources, employees. The concept of employee advocacy has become an area of interest in the professional field, but has had paucity in theory. The purpose of this study is to strengthen the relationships between two-way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity and understand how they relate to employee advocacy. To measure these relationships, this study surveyed employees about how they perceive their organization’s communication and authenticity to better understand employee advocacy. Results of the study revealed a strong relationship between two-way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity, results that are similar to those of previous studies. This study adds a new dimension by using messaging as indicators of employee advocacy and documents the relationship between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy among paid full-time employees. Findings supported that perceived organizational authenticity also has a strong relationship to employee advocacy. As an additional finding, while trade publications portray publics flocking to social media sites (SMS), results showed that employees use them very little to discuss their organization. This study found that a small proportion of employees use SMS to advocate, most frequently using email and Facebook. This study successfully demonstrates that organizations have an opportunity to foster employee advocacy by practicing two-way symmetrical communication, which increases perceived organizational authenticity. These organizations should empower and educate their employees to advocate, whether through traditional means or emergent communication channels.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Callie L Polk.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local: Adviser: Kelly, Kathleen S.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2015-05-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID: UFE0045589:00001


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1 TWO WAY SYMMETRICAL COMMUNI C ATION AND PERCEIVED AUTHENTICITY AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY By CALLIE LYNNE POLK A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

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2 2013 Callie Lynne Polk

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3 To my d ad, who pushed me to always better myself and never stop learning

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost, I would like to thank my thesis committee chair and advisor, Dr. Kathleen S. Kelly. She spent countless hours helping me improve my thesis materials from survey invitations to my refe rences. I have never met anyone with such tenacity and passion for helping students and furthering the profession of public relations. Her dedication and support knows no bounds. I cannot express how much Dr. Kelly has been a role model and inspiration to me while guiding me to the finish line. I would also like to thank my esteemed committee members, Dr. Juan Carlos Molleda and Dr. Spiro Kiousis. Dr. M were extremely helpful in my journey to complete my thesis. His work studying perceived authenticity provided the foundation for a large portion of my research. Dr. Kiousis especially helped guide my methodology and made vast improvements to my questionnaire. Without their personal contributions, suggestio ns and encouragement my thesis would not be as valuable to the field. Without supp ort from my family and friends I would not have made it through this experience. Encouraging words and phone calls checking in went a long way Thank you espe cially to my f ather, Bill Polk, boyfriend, Cameron Wilkes, my sister and her family, Rachel Horn, Mrs. Iris Robuck, Nora Kilroy, and my Uncle Jim Polk, who helped me get this whole project started. Also, t hank you to my mother -her legacy, spirit and faith still guide me today. Finally, I would like to thank all of my professors and classmates at the University of Florida in the College of Journalism and Communications. All of my experiences at the University during both my undergraduate and graduate education have le d me

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5 through this journey. I look forward to a promising career thanks to such a supportive and helpful faculty and staff.

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 CHAPTER 1 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ................................ ................................ ................... 12 Employee Communication and Authenticity ................................ ............................ 14 Employee Communication and Advocacy ................................ ............................... 16 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 18 2 LITERA TURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 21 Two way Symmetrical Communication ................................ ................................ ... 21 Two way Symmetrical Communication and Ethics ................................ ........... 23 Two way Symmetrical Communication in Corporate Communication .............. 24 Employee/Internal Communication ................................ ................................ ......... 25 Employee Blogging ................................ ................................ .......................... 26 Perceived Organizational Authenticity ................................ .............................. 29 Trust ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 30 Employee Advocacy ................................ ................................ ............................... 31 Social Media Sites ................................ ................................ ............................ 35 Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter ................................ ................................ 36 Hypotheses and Research Questions ................................ ................................ .... 37 3 METHOD ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 40 Survey Research ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 40 Selection of Organization and Population ................................ ............................... 41 Sampling Frames ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 42 Survey Instrument and Measurement ................................ ................................ ..... 43 Two Way Symmetrical Communication ................................ ............................ 44 Perceived Organizational Authenticity ................................ .............................. 44 Employee Advocacy ................................ ................................ ......................... 45 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ......................... 47 Electronic Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 49 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 50

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7 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 53 Response Rates and Participant Classification ................................ ...................... 53 Description of Survey Participants ................................ ................................ .......... 54 Analyses of Key Concepts ................................ ................................ ...................... 56 Two way Symmetrical Communication ................................ ............................ 56 Perceived Organizational Authenticity ................................ .............................. 57 Employee Advocacy ................................ ................................ ......................... 58 Hypotheses Testing and Research Questions ................................ ........................ 59 Open Ended Question Responses ................................ ................................ ......... 63 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 74 Summary of the Findings ................................ ................................ ........................ 75 Impl ications for Public Relations Theory ................................ ................................ 79 Implications for Public Relations Practice ................................ ............................... 81 Limitations and Future Research Recommendations ................................ ............. 85 APPENDIX A QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 89 B UN IVERSITY OF FLORIDA INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL FORM ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 99 C UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD INFORMED CONSENT APPROVAL ................................ ................................ ........................ 100 D EMAIL INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN SURVEY ................................ ........... 102 E FIRST EMAIL SURVEY PARTICIPATION REMINDER ................................ ........ 103 F SECOND EMAIL S URVEY PARTICIPATION REMINDER ................................ ... 104 G THANK YOU EMAIL AND FINAL SURVEY REMINDER ................................ ...... 105 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 106 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 114

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Survey instrument items ................................ ................................ ..................... 52 4 1 Demographics of respondents ................................ ................................ ............ 67 4 2 Means and standard deviations of two way symmetrical communication items and scale ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 68 4 3 Mean s and standard deviations of perceived organizational authenticity items and scale ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 69 4 4 Means and standard deviations of employee advocacy items and scale ........... 70 4 5 Pearson correlation coefficients among two way symmetrical communication, perceived orga nizational authenticity, and employee advocacy ......................... 71 4 6 Results of regression analysis for employee advocacy ................................ ...... 71 4 7 T test results of differences in scores between teachers and administrators ..... 72 4 8 se of social media sites for employee advocacy ........................ 72 4 9 .......... 73

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9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Visual depiction of the model proposed by the Ar thur W. Page Society (2012) to illustrate the future of enterprise communication ................................ ............ 20

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10 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication TWO WAY SYMMETRICAL COMMUNICATION AND PERCEIVED AUTHENTICITY AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO EMPLOYEE ADVOCACY By Callie Lynne Polk May 2013 Chair: Kathleen S. Kelly Major: Mass Communication Recent studies in public relations encouraged organizations to utilize one of their best resources, employees. The concept of employee advocacy has become an area of interest in the professional field but has had paucity in theory. The purpose of this study is to strengthen the relationships between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity and understand how they re late to employee advocacy. To measure these relationships, this study surveyed employees about how communication and authenticity to better understand employee advocacy. Results of the study revealed a strong relationship between two way symmetrical communication and perceive d organizational authenticity, results that are similar to those of previous studies This study adds a new dimension by using messaging as indicators of employee advocacy and documents the relationship between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy among paid full time employees. Findings supported that perceived organizational authenticity also has a strong relationship to employee advocacy.

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11 As an additional finding, w hile trade publications portray publics flock ing to social media sites (SMS) results showed that e mployee s use them very little to disc uss their organization This study found that a small proportion of employees use SMS to advocate, most frequently using email and Facebook. This study successfully demonstrates that organizations have an opportunity to foster employee advocacy by practicing two way symmetrica l communication, which increases perceived organizational authenticity. These organizations should empower and educate their employees to advocate, whether through traditional means or emergent communication channels.

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12 CHAPTER 1 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY Word of mouth can be one of the most powerful communication channels corporations can use advantageously, especially in the digital age ( Arthur W. Page Society, 2007; Arthur W. Page Society, 2012 ; Ketchum, 2009) The referral system has long been a way for organizations to promote products and services, but now it is becoming increasingly more important to harness the advocacy of employees in particular to build trust, retain talent, and recruit new talent in the industry (Burton, 2006a; Burton, 2006b; Burton, 2011a, Burton, 2011b; Walton, 2010). It is essential for organizations to utilize word of mouth from employee to employee or employee to publics to build trust (Burton, 2006 a ). This trust can only be mobiliz ed by tapping into the voices of those very employees and listening to what they are saying and collecting feedback from them. Keith Burton is president of InsideEdge, a worldwide internal communications consultancy affiliated with the well known public r elations firm GolinHarris, and a c claimed expert in employee communications and change communications with 30 years of experience. Burton (2006b) argued that the public relations profession has not done enough to measure employee advocacy or to gauge if emp loyees understand their role in business strategy. Burton (2011b) strongly tied employee communications to the bottom line and business objectives by highlighting the importance of increasing One of the most important and growing trends in the digital age, according to Burton (2006a ; 2011b) and Walton (2010), is authenticity and corporate transparency. This has been echoed in both academic and professional studies.

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13 The Arthur W. Pa ge Society (2012), a professional association composed primarily of the chief communication officers (CCOs) of the largest U.S. corporations, released a new model for CCOs to follow that prescribes steps to encourage advocacy Building on the idea of authenticity the model e ncourage s enterprises to create a s In the 2012 report, Building belief: A new model for activating corporate character and authentic steps to build ing corporate character and promot ing advocacy, the other three steps being belief, action, and confidence (See figure 2 1.) Advocacy at scale is defined and build[ing] constituency with more audiences through the networks of these advocates an us unique: Our The report also in the creation of shared belief: 1. The definition and activation of corporate character. 2. The building of advocacy at scale Shen and Kim (2012) analyzed a concept advocated by th e Arthur W. Page Society (2007): study focused on surveying publics about symmetrical communication, perceived organization public relationships and positive and negative messaging. (2012) results found that perceived authenticity is a mediating variable between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organization p ublic relationships.

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14 Whereas Shen and Kim (2012) focused on organization public relationships, this study chose to study specifically employee publics. By combining the two principles of advocacy at scale and corp orate character from the Arthur W. Page Society (2012) this study aimed to measure the current trends in employee advocacy. However, s ocial media sites (SMS) and publics ubiquitous use of them have rapidly changed the media landscape and, therefore, become important factors in the analysis of t rends in employee advocacy Social media sites have become easier to use and accessible to wider audiences (Wright & Hinson, 2009) These SMS can be valuable tools employers can use to encourag e advocacy for initiatives or SMS can be used to quickly spread negative opinions and perceptions to publics who have a level of trust with the communicator (Zijtveld & Klinckhamers, 2011). While SMS can increase the channels and audience size where employees advocate, studies have shown that employee advocacy can be increased by organizational authenticity and effective use of two way symmetrical communication. Employee Communication and Authenticity An impact of two way symmetrical communication is perceived organizational authenticity ( Molleda & Jain, 2013 ; Molleda, 2010a; Molleda, 2010b ; Shen & Kim, 2012) which in turn impacts employee advocacy and corporate character (Carr, 2012; Church, 2012; Walton, 2010) Employers need to engage their employees in effective two way communication to improve perceived organizati onal authenticity and harness the benefits of advocacy. Creating a uthenticity bridges the connection between corporate character and advocacy at scale. Authenticity was one of the most important growing trends to watch in 2010, according to Susan Balcom Wa lton (2010) in an article in Public Relations

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15 Tactics Walton has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communication and media relations internationally, including top positions in Fortune 500 companies, and is considered an expert in social media practices. She recently was selected as the (2010) article cited transparency as a positive attribute of organizations According to Burton (2006b), a key step in buil ding employee trust is having preached the importance of authenticity especially in the digital age, echoing many of mployees are looking for total values alignment with their employer, and environmental stewardship alone is no longer sufficient. Authenticity which calls for demonstrating integrity, telling employees the truth even if the news is bad, being consistent in what is said and done and acting in an honest, trustworthy way is the new standard. (p. 15) accepting of negative feedback and embracing feedback to become more transparent and trustworthy. From 2006 to 2008, the survey Media myths & r ealities found that word of mouth was considered one of the most credible communication cha nnels, both online and offline, and it helped consumers make decisions about products and services from people they trust, such as family and friends ( Ketchum 2009). The survey ( Ketchum, 2009) also found, Companies that can effectively tap into a word of mouth network in

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16 Employee Communication and Advocacy trust, let alone get them to become advocates for o rganizations, which is a necessary step to build advocacy at scale (Arthur W. Page Society 2012) In 2006 forums were springing up where communities of publics and employees could come together digitally tices, the flow of rumors through the 38 ). The Internet provides a place where people can have open discourse and honest transactions about organizations and employers. The se transactions can be influenced if organizations work to ensure that all employees are aware of and on board with the (Burton, 2006b) According to Geno Church (2012), word of mouth expert contributor to the Public Relations Society of Ameri are empowered to be advocates of an emp and inspire others to become advocates (n.p.). Online forums have become one of the most popular channels for employees to express opinions or advocate for their employers in an environment where the actual employer has no control or way of responding ( ). Potential employees have learned to keep tabs on these online forums and SMS to help decide on the best workplace when looking for employment According to recruiter and trainer Shannon Seery Gude (as cited in the article 2012), employers should :

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17 Make employees your online ambassadors. Your fans are your employees. They are the people who have already made the buy in decisio n about the company. When they share their perspective online about work and the organization, job seekers are more likely to trust this information ( p. 10) Senior vice president and practice director of social media and digital at MSLGroup, Adam Mirabella (2012), shared his opinion in his article ab out social media, conventional geographic and cultural barriers, and tap into the collective power of their n.p.). Two thirds of companies already measure internal communications either qualitatively or quantitatively (Burton, 2011). Surveys are the most common way of measuring employee engagement, effectiveness of communication and communication channels, and q uality of specific one time events. Given the fact that employee surveys have been shown to be the most popular method used by organizations to measure engagement and communication patterns, the proposed study will also use an employee survey to answer the research questions Some companies are making it easier for employees to share information about the company by allowing articles from the ir intranet to be shared externally on social networks (Carr, 2012). According to Carr (2012) epsiCo employees, 65% said that friends and family ask them questions about PepsiCo or its products, and more than half said they would like PepsiCo to provide them with information to share across social media c results, PepsiCo designed a program to educate its employees on sharing information

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18 on social media channels rather than referring employees to a webpage. The program focused on information that employees could share with friends and family on their own te rms and allows the company to gain twice as much attention from articles that are published as news releases and other versions that can be shared. Such a model could gain popularity in other organizations and drive a new level of organization al advocacy. Representatives at PepsiCo have claimed they would like the initiative to be authentic rather than coerced. Employees who do not have access to programs like PepsiCo among others, will often turn to outside sources to air concerns or advocate for employ ers (Mirabella, 2012). Some anonymous rating websites (e.g., Glassdoor and Taleo Up ) have sprung up for the sole purpose of rating and writing information about a work experience such as job satisfaction, salary, CEO rating and workplace rating (http://www.glassdoor.com; http://www.talentexchange.com). Purpose of the Study This study will examine a suburban school district in the Southeast U.S. to gauge employee advocacy, operationalized as positive or negative messaging, and its relationship wit h perceived organizational authenticity (e.g. perceptions of corporate character ). The study focuses on employees because, according to the Arthur W. Page credible represe ntatives. So the most direct and practical strategy for build ing belief, This study will measure the relationships among two way symmetrical communication, perceived o rganizational authenticity and employee advocacy. The study will also examine how often employees share in formation about their employer using social

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19 media sites or anonymous rating websites, and what type of sentiment is used to communicate using these ch annels

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20 Figure 2 1. Visual depiction of the model proposed by the Arthur W. Page Society (2012) Building belief: A new model for activating corporate character and authentic advocacy 15 2012 Arthur W. Page Society. Used with permission.

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21 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Three main concepts guide this study 1) two way symmetrical communication, 2) perceived organizational authenticity, and 3) employee advocacy. The literature pulls in other subcategories within each of these categorie s. The first section of this chapter way symmetrical communication, and includes literature about trust and ethical corporate communications. Subsequent sections examine authenticity and its relation to in ternal/employee communication and organizations. The third and final section analyzes advo cacy. Advocacy ties together previous literature about authenticity and organizational execution of two way symmetrical communication. The chapter concludes by presen hypotheses and research questions. Two way Symmetrical Communication A review of previous literature on two way symmetrical communication was conducted as a way of measuring excellent public relations detailed in Dozier, L. Grunig, and J. Grunig (1995); L. Grunig, J. Grunig, and Dozier (2002); and L. Grunig, J. Grunig and Ehling (1992) The two way symmetrical communication model provides a n appropriate th eoretical framework for this study as it also did for Blum and Tremarco (2008) st udy on employee turnover and retention. The two way symmetrical model The idea of two way symmetrical communication was conceptualized as part of the model for public relations by J. Grunig and Hunt (1984) and has become a model for excellent public relations practices ( cited in Bowen, 2005 a ). Excellent public relations

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22 depend s on symmetrical communication both internally and externally. The model increases employee satisfaction, improves organization effectiveness and allows long term relationship building (Bowen, 2005 b ; Kim & Rhee, 2011). Managers who communicate using the tw o way symmetrical model act as advocates for publics during instances where strategic decision making is necessary (Dozier, L. Grunig, & J. Grunig, 1995). According to wo way communication seeks to manage conflic t and promote mutual understanding with key publics (p.13). This model encourages communicators to help organ izations and their key publics create solutions to problems by negotiating. Symmetrical communication encourages feedback from publics, which may be used by senior management to change how an organization conducts itself and how it defines According to well known textbook authors Scott Cutlip and Allen Center ( as cited in Broom, 2012) relations is the planned effort to infl uence opinion through good character and responsible performance, based upon mutually satisfactory two 16). Extending the Excellence theory, L. Grunig, J. Grunig, and Dozier (2002) said there are characteristics that can enhance exc ellence in public relations. These characteristics are 1) engaging in environmental scanning and planning communications strategically according to those environments, 2) accessing the dominant coalition, 3) adopting e interests of internal and external publics with those of the organization, 4) having pressure from activist groups or turbulence which can help an organization excel, and 5) having o pen

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23 communication internally while encouraging a participative dialogue and decision making process between employees and employers. This open communication and dialogue are essential for the two way symmetrical model to be successful (Bowen, 2005 b ). There are several features that must be satisfied to create dialogue, somet imes labeled as dialogic communication, outl ined by Kent and Taylor (2002). These features include mutuality, propinquity, empathy, risk, commitment, and spontaneous interactions with publics. Honesty, trust and positive regard are other principles cited b y the to being considered the most ethical means of communicating (Kent & Taylor, 2002). Two way symmetrical communication can also flow between employees and other types of publics that are not employed by the organization However, two way symmetrical commun ication within an organization plays a big role in employee retention and trust (Burton, 2006a; Burton, 2006b; Burton, 2011a; Burton, 2011b). Trust and loyalty are direct outcomes of effectiv e two way symmetrical internal communications. Two way Symmetrical Communication and Ethics The idea of genuine dialogue is often considered synonymous with two way symmetrical communication and is a necessary function of effective public relations ( Broom 2012 ; J. Grunig & Hunt 1984). S cholars suggest ed that good communication is (Nagy, 2005, p. 869). Originally, J. Grunig and Hunt (1984) two way symmetrical model did not address ethics but L. Grunig, J. Grunig, and Dozier (2002) mentioned it as an important component of excellent public relations

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24 Scholars agree d that a commit ment to ethics and integrity is crucial t o public relations excellence via two way symmetrical communication (Bowen, 2005 b ; Broom, 2012 ; L. Grunig, J. Grunig, & Ver i 1998 ; Nagy, 2005). J Grunig and L. Grunig (1996) said way symmetrical The two way symmetrical model provides an ethical foundation for communication, as scholars have argued, unlike the one way models present ed in the Excellence Theory press agentry and public information and therefore two way symmetrical is a superior method ( J. Grunig, & Hunt 1984 ; Bowen, 2005 b ; Nagy, 2005). Bowen (2005 b ) described building ethics via two way symmetrical communication as Including the views of publics in organizational decision making is believed to be inherently ethical and provides information that the organizatio n can use in strategic Bowen cites those reasons to support the two way symmetrical model as the most excellent way of conducting public relations Two way Symmetrical Communication in Corpo rate Communication Corporate communication was not only altered by the practice of two way symmetrical communication in the workplace, but since the dawn of the Internet, two way symmetrical communication has played an essential role in corporate communica tion practices including sending e mails, engaging in social networking and managing website s (Laskin, 2009; Wright, 2001). represents a paradigmatic shift in corporate communica tions, opening the door to fully two way communications between a corporation and its publics (p. 2). Wright (1998) suggested that corporate communications officers should develop policies to support

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25 interactive communications internally and externally on any communication channels. He also stressed the importance of hiring new employees who were comfortable in a rapidly changing media environment, making it easier to collaborate with publics inside and outside the company. Bowen (2005 b ) also found that tw o way symmetrical communication allowed for organizations and publics to debate, negotiate and collaborate over issues to determin e the best action steps to take. According to Hallahan (2005) Among external audiences, forward thinking organizations are c reating mechanisms for people to provide feedback on social issues and the organization s issue positi ons, consistent with notions about the importance of dialogue and two way communications. Beyond serving as valuable research findings, public access to c omments allows others to crystallize, change, or reinforce their own opinions ( p. 590) Through a study of senior level public relations practitioners Wright ( 1998) showed that 79% said the Internet improved two way communications between companies and it s publics. The data showed however that senior policy makers at the time were not aware of the power or extent to which the Internet can be used for campaigns, etc. (p. 11). How ever, 75% of the respondents said they were monitoring the Web to discover what others were saying about their companies. Employee/Internal Communication L. Grunig, J. Grunig, and Dozier (2002) cite d effective internal communication as an important step in achieving corporate goals and objectives while also enabling organizations to develop structure and culture. Internal communication associated with the two way symmetrical model has also been linked to positive effects on employees including higher job satisfaction, trust and empowerment (Jo & Shim, 2005).

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26 Qualified public relations professionals can be hard to find, motivate and retain (Blum & Tremarco, 2008). New technology makes it easier to have an open and collaborative communication experience (He arn, Foth & Gray, 2009). Sometimes the cannot say (Wright & Hinson, 2006). From an employee perspective, Kroll (2011) pointed out there have been several laws that d etermined employees are allowed to freely state their thoughts and opinions on social media or other media, even if they are critical of their employers or workplace. Employee B logging Employee blogs were the focus of a multitude of studies in the early to mid 2000s when large corporations, mainly in technological fields, allowed or even encouraged employees to maintain personal blogs (Conlin & Park, 2004; Wright & Hinson, 2006). Company executives saw blogging as a way to humanize their companies and fo ster personal relationships with employees and publics. product innovation. And they create loyal audiences. Once people get hooked, they keep coming back for more (p. 100). Originally employers provided the tools for s likely only a matter of time before some workplace pundit spills a trade secret, unwittingly leaks a clandestine lau nch date, or takes a swipe at a CEO that turns into slander ( Conlin & Park, 2004, p. 101). Today it would be rare for consumers to see an official employee blog outside of the corporate Intranet. Public relations practitioners have been accused of fearin g employee blogs due to a lack of message control (Wright & Hinson, 2006). Employee

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27 blogs have been replaced rather by official corporate blogs, often written by the employee s can create a personal blog either without cost or inexpensively via public sites like Wordpress, Blogger, and Tumblr. Wright and Hinson (2006) studied employee blogging outside of the workplace and the ethical concerns of positive or negative messaging found within those blogs. The study questioned whether or not employers are acting ethically by conducting Zijtveld and Klinckhamers (2011) If comments are made outside w orking hours, a balancing of interests is workplace. What is involved then is primarily good conduct as an employee. After all, a good employee can be expected not to make any deleteriou s comments about their employer, colleagues or anything else that might be damaging to the employer, whether during working hours or at any other time (n.p.) communication s. Wright and Hinson (2006) found from a sample of nearly 300 public relations practitioners in various professional organizations that nearly 90% of respondents believe it is ethical for employers to monitor or research employee blogging activity. Anothe r 59% of employees believe employers should be able to terminate or reprimand a worker for posting confidential or proprietary information on a blog, while 55% believe emba rrassing, negative information about the employer (p. 6). A smaller 23% believe that fellow employees are entitled to post criticism or satire about employers, fellow employees and supervisors, customers or clients without fear of reprimand. Finally, the

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28 study also found that of employees who are blogging, advocacy is more prevalent than negative messaging on the blogs Blogs provided employees with a sense of empowerment and created new means for internal and external audiences to communicate (Wright & H inson, 2006). It was not until the late 2000s when corporations recognized that blogging was more than a passing fad and instead could be a highly valuable tool for engaging publics (Global Perspectives, 200 8 ; J. Grunig, 2009 ; Porter, Sweetser Trammell, Ch ung & Kim, 2007 ; Yang & Lim, 2009). Research by Yang and Lim (200 9) showed that the growing blogging trend needed to have set rules and list acceptable practices also known as blog mediated public relations. Blog mediated public relations relied on critic al features interactivity to be considered effective (p. 341). The study also found that interactivity was enhanced by dialogic principles, which increased relatio nal trust. organization if it has someone to maintain it, someone trained in effective dialogic communication, and someone who has the trust of individuals and publics (p. 39). Persona l blogs can pose the same lack of trust as organizational blogs unless there is a connection between the blogger and the audience that creates some form of trust. This offers one stark difference between opinions on blogs and on other social media platform of friending, following and connecting will be further analyzed in the next section. For all new digital technologies, it is important to understand how key publics are advocati ng,

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29 sharing and gathering information to be able to guide employee advocacy and strategic messages to improve perceived organizational authenticity (Key, 2005). Perceived Organizational A uthenticity The concept of authenticity dates back to ancient Greek literature ye t is still a popular concept in modern studies (Arthur W. Page Society, 2007; Arthur W. Page Society, 2012; Edwards, 2010; Molleda & Jain, 2013 ; Molleda, 2010a; Molleda, 2010b; Shen & Kim, 2012). Shen and Kim (2012) studied perceived authentic ity as a mediator between organization public relationships and symmetrical communication. The authors analyzed previous definitions and research to conceptualize three components of perceived authentic organization behavior: The first component is truthfu lness, the second is transparency and showing publics that the organization is responsible for its actions, and the final component is consistency, when authentic organizations act in congruence with its values, beliefs, and communications. If an individ ual acts true to onesel f and is not perceived as fake, superficial, or fragmented then the perception of authenticity is created (Czarniawska, 2000). In an organizational setting, the org should perceive the and enduring ( Albert & Whetten, 1985; Czarniawska, 2000 ; Shen & Kim, 2012 ). According to Molleda (2010b), authenticity is becoming increasingly important because stakehold 223). He further added Authenticity claims must capture the experiences, aspirations, and expectations of the involved segment of society that organisations aim to engage; otherwise, a c lash of values may occur (p. 223) Digital communications according to Molleda (2010b) can change perceptions from inauthentic to authentic and hence

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30 influence perceived organizational authenticity According to Camilleri (2008), if organizations claim the products, services, and ideas they advocate are authentic, authentic communication is required. Consistency between claims, behavior, and values determine the effectiveness of public relations practices and in turn effective perceived organizational authe nticity Molleda (2010b consistent in claims, promises, and offerings when compared with actual organizational behaviors. The consistency between authentic claims and behavior determines the effec The evenness between the genuine nature of organisational offerings and their communication is Molleda, 2010b, p 2 30 ). If stakeholders view organizations as authentic, gaining stakeholder trust is a more likely outcome (Shen & Kim, 2012). Trust cacophony of messages from a myriad of channels including websites, blogs, wikis and social media sites (Quandt, 2012). With more and more information it becomes difficult to distinguish correct information from that which is untru stworthy and inaccurate (Zhang & Yu 2012). In the 2012 Edelm an Trust Barometer, social media saw a 75% increase in trust from previous ye ars, moving from 8 % as a trusted source to 14% as a trusted source (E delman Trust Barometer, 2012). Other trusted sources of information included traditional news, online multiple sources and corporate news all of which experienced an increase of 10% or more in trust. Trust in corporate information increased by 23% in

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31 2012 However, trust severely declined f or government officials and CEO s, falling by 14% and 12% respectively. Businesses and government are not meeting the expectations of con sumer s in efforts to build trus t; however businesses began to close the gap between consumer expectations and actual practices. Businesses have been e mploying more practices that build trust and therefore gaining more consumer trust than government in recent years. by 16% putting them as the fourth most credible source for information ab out a company and credi bility also increased for by 22% as the third most credible source of information about a company (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2012). The top two sources of credibility in 2012 were an academic or expert followed by a technical expert in a company. This data shows that peers and employees are more trusted than other business representatives this dispersion of authority. They will talk to their e m ployees first, and empower them to (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2012, p. 7). This shift in trust is echoed by in media and public authorities in highly developed, democratic societies, with a common fear that audiences are being manipulated. At the same time, people in these countries increasingly turn to alternative information sources, like social networks, blogs and other Employee Advocacy Trust is believed to be the moderating factor between perceived authenticity and belief in organizational messages (Walz & Celuch, 2010). Jaffe (2010) suggested th at

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32 organizations capitalize on this trust relationship and focus more resources on building and promoting advocacy with trusting consumers rather than spending exorbitant resources on garnering new ones Employees often interact with external publics on a daily basis making them one of the most important stakeholder groups more so than the media, analysts and investors (Holtz, 2002; Kim & Rhee, 2012). Employee advocacy can make or break a public relations c ampaign based on whether the messages an organiza tion is trying to send are being genuinely reinforced to other publics by those constituents (Holtz, 2002). Advocacy is argued to be one of the most important outcomes of engaging those things communication quality on advocacy as well as both mediating and moderating effects of trust on the communication quality advocacy relationship (p. 95). The study use d a sample of more than 1,000 customers of a regional coffee chain. The results supported that trust and quality communications act as mediators between organizations and consumer advocacy (Walz & Celuch, 2010). Online communications have the ability to a llow creation of mutually beneficial relationships that foster positive reputations and interactive organization public relationships (Taylor, Kent, & White, 2001). It is critical for organizations to build relationships with publics via online communicati ons when that is the only connection between the user and the organization. Blum and Tremarco (2008) conducted a study of employee turnover and retention in public rela tions firms and reported

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33 [is] their top cha for senior public relations managers (p. 38) The authors also to five years also ranked recommending the firm to a friend in the top five highest correlations to overall satisfactio ) Furthermore, recommending the firm second [only] to work that was stimulating This group is committed to building their career with ; emphasis in original). Employees have been compared to informal public relations practitioners in their interaction with constituencies outside of the organization (Jo & Shim, 2005; Kim & Rhee, 2011) Some studies have claimed that the opinions of emplo yees are more influential than public relations representatives on factors such as organizational reputation and organization public relationship quality (Kim & Rhee, 2011). Employees can be either advocates or adversaries, which is amplified during times of crisis and affected by ethical behavior (Blum & Tremarco, 2008; Kim & Rhee, 2011; Gallicano, Curtin, & Matthews, 2012). Dellarocas (2003) claimed that online feedback mechanisms increas ed the e when making decisions whereas previously decisions w ere based on advertisements of advice from professionals. Dellarocas (2003) found that feedback mechanisms affect an organization s ability to build trust and foster cooperation online and affect manage ment

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34 Yohn (2010) recommended that companies should educate their employees on how to communicate about a brand and create brand guideli nes so they will be good brand encouraging employees to be respectful and responsible in online communications Social media guidelines should be widely accessible and up dated frequently to reflect the new risks that may arise from emerging technologies and applications ( Yohn, 2010, n.p.). The second suggestion from Yohn (2010) is to teach employees what the corporate brand personality is and how to bring it to life through either writing or images, or both. Finally, Yohn recommends teaching employees how to cultivate relationships with customers that can help the customers understand and enjoy the brand. Yohn (2010) sa id An enthusiastic employee might generate positive feelings about the companies have prohibited employees from mentioning their companies or brands in their personal social media, but th is is not a practical or desirable way to prevent negative comments. Denying employees the ability to express themselves is difficult to manage and may eventually backfire. Plus, when you do so, you miss out on developing powerful word of mouth advertising through some of the most influential people available to you (n.p.) Eysenbach (2008) fo und social media sites can become a place to turn for people who are either afraid to ask questions openly or want quick and easy answers. T he level of anonymity avai lable on certain social media platforms ha s greatly increased participation. The Internet and SMS have essentially created a limitless place where publics can advocate, share, save and retrieve information about organizations, products, brands and service s ( Walz & Celuch, 2010).

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35 Social M edia S ites In 1998, Kent and Taylor stated that organization public relationships cannot be built or destroyed by technology itself, but rather organization public relationships are influenced by how tech nology is used. O ne o f these emergent technologies is social media, which has been growing exponentially within the past decade thanks in most part to social media sites that are connecting more people locally, nationally and globally each day ( J. Grunig, 2009 ; Kent & Taylor 2002 ; Wright & Hinson, 2012 ). Social media sites provide organizations with a space to interact with key publics and to allow users to engage with one another on topics of mutual interest, providing the ideal conditions necessary for stimulating dialogic communication ( J. Grunig, 2009 ). To be successful in the new age of digital communications, practitioners will have to adopt new strategies and approaches to protect their corporate reputations and build word of mouth chatter and visibility (Key, 2005). A ccording to Cramer (2009), in the new age social media tools require practitioners to have a higher level of trust in publics and media strategy, make sure all emplo yees support the idea and are willing to integrate social media functions into their work. Organizational buy in is critical to adopting and sustaining social media for the long term (Cramer, 2009, p. 2). cial media use based on alignment with different issues or opinions (Smith, 2010). Employees who have a financial stake in an organization or community members who are affected by actions of (i.e. more to lose or gain) when advocating online

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36 Social networking within online communities can lower barriers that keep publics from interacting with one another and help build online communities (Cramer, 2009). According to Kelleher and Miller (2006) there are five characteristics of Web based chronological order, 3) inclusion of personal journal material, 4) ability of readers to add comments, and 5) inclusion of hyperli Public relations practitioners have widely adopted social media networking and according to Wright and Hinson (2009), they are speed, low cost options for facilitating more two way communication by opening up direct ). Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter randomly sampled PRSA members indicated that practitioners believe SMS improve accuracy, credibility, honesty, trust and truth. Respondents agreed that SMS improved organizational transparency and ethical behaviors. Results of the study showed that respondents consider Facebook and L inkedIn to be the most important SMS in terms of overall communication ability and public relations efforts for organizations, followed by microblogging sites (e.g., Twitter), search engine marketing (e.g., Google terms), video sharing sites (e.g., YouTube and Vimeo), then blogs. The amount of users on social media sites has mushroomed since gaining popularity. According to Zijtveld and Klinckhamers (2011), each day 250,000 users sign up to use social networks across the world. In mid September, Facebook fo under Mark Zuckerberg (2012) announced the site had reached one billion monthly active users. Simultaneously, Twitter and LinkedIn announced record numbers of users in the

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37 millions. Twitter claims to have 100 million active users wor ldwide after just five years ). Whereas t he LinkedIn Press Center (2012) that two million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages and executives from all Fortune 500 companies in 2011 were members. The 2008 PR Week /Burson Marsteller CEO Survey reported organizations are more likely to use Facebook when communicating with stakehold ers than any other social media (p. 15). LinkedIn, a social networking site founded in 2003 is geared more toward professional relationship building and learning about businesses and work related opportunities (Lindgren, 2011). In 140 characters or less, Twitter is a social organizations, CEOs, celebrities and other influencers. Hypotheses and Research Questions As mentioned in chapter one, two way symmetrical comm unication, perceived organizational authenticity, and employee advocacy will all be analyzed in this study. Based on the literature presented, the following hypotheses and research questions are proposed. The first hypothesis will test the relationship between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity within an organization. Previous research has found a positive relationship between the two variables. H1: The more employee s perceive communication by their organization a s two way symmetrical, the more the employees will perceive the organization as authentic.

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38 The second hypothesis will test the relationship between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. Based on extensive literature on authenticity ( Molleda & Jain, 2013 ; Molleda, 2010a; Molleda, 2010b ), the researcher chose to formulate a hypothesis rather than to ask a research question about the two H2: The more employees perce ive their organization as authentic, the more the employees will advocate on behalf of the organization. The relationship between employee advocacy and social media sites has been ignored in previous research. This study aims to shed light on the use of so cial media in employee advocacy. R1: To what extent do employees use social media sites to advocate on behalf of their organization? A second research question deals with exploring use of anonymous rating websites for advocacy Anonymous rating websites allow employees to advocate or criticize emp loyers without fear of retribution Usage of such sites has not been examined in previous studies of employee advocacy Therefore, the fina l research question is posed as, R2: To what extent do employee s use anonymous rating websites to advocate on behalf of their organization? In conclusion, the proposed study will analyze the variables of two way symmetrical communication, organizational authenticity and employee advocacy and examine the relat ionships between the three key variables Previous research has shown the importance of organizations adopting two way symmetrical communication

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39 and behaving authentically to foster trust and to retain and recruit talent. Practitioners have called for more studies analyzing the changing landscape of employee communication during the digital age. Public relations r esearch has neglected to examine employee advocacy and variables related to it. This study also will take the first step in gauging employee usage of SMS and anonymous rating websites for advocacy.

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40 CHAPTER 3 METHOD The purpose of this study is to explore the relationships among two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity, and employee tal age. Quantitative research employing a survey was used to test the hypotheses and answer the research questions. This chapter describes the chosen methodology, population studied, the survey instrument, measurement, and statistical analysis used Surve y Research The study used an electronically administ ered survey for data collection. According to Wimmer and Dominick (2011), analytical surveys can help explain relationships between two variables and allow the researcher to create explanatory inferences. Surveys also allow large amounts of data to be collected easily for little cost without being constrained by geographic barriers ( Babbie, 2010; Bhattacherjee, 2012; Wimmer & Dominick, 2011 ). This survey used multiple questions asking employees about their opinions and behaviors. involving the use of standardized questionnaires or interviews to collect data about people and their preferences, thoughts, and b ehaviors in a systematic manner According to Burton (2011), most companies already employ qualitative or quantitative studies to measure internal communications. Of these studies, employees are most often sur veyed about engagement, effectiveness and credibility of communications.

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41 research methods, u tilizing a survey methodology was best suited for the study. Selection of Organization and Population The organization chosen for the study is a suburban s chool district in the Southeastern United States The school district agreed to participate on terms of anonymity. The governmental organization was chosen because it is a large employer and the researcher was able to gain access to its employees for this study. Several for profit businesses were considered, but of the orga nizations willing to participate, the school district was more desirable because of its size. The district is the largest employer in its county and has been the largest employer for more than a decade according to official county financial reports. The pa rticipating school district is accredited by AdvancED Council on Accredi tation and School Improvement. The district is comprised of over 50 schools at all leve ls, including charter schools. Accord ing to the State Department of Education, the school di stric t employed more than 5,500 employees for the past two academic years Anonymous State a ). The researcher pursued access through an application process per the district requirements In addition to an official request to conduct research th e researcher was provided by the thesis advisor, Dr. Kathleen S. Kelly. The researcher also was required to provide official I nstitutional Revie w Board (IRB) approval forms, a personal rsum or some form of credentials, a copy of the survey instrument, and informed consent materials (see Appendices) Finally, the researcher

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42 also agreed to provide a report of the findings to school district offici als and leaders upon completion of the thesis. Sampling Frames A stratified sample of 800 employees of the school district was constructed for the study. The school district has more than 5,500 full time employees composed mainly of teachers, administrators and non instructional employees; however, sample parameters provided by the researcher removed non instructional employees such as custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria servers, and groundskeepers. These emp loyees were removed because thos e ty pes of positions do not play a direct role in the mission of the school district, which is to provide students with individual opportunities to excel Because these positions have an indirect role with students, in terms of the key variables measured publ ics would be more likely to consult a teacher or administrative staff member. Therefore, the sample then consisted of two employee categories, or strata administrators and teachers. To build the sample, the school district IT staff provided the research er with a comprehensive spreadsheet of all administrators and teachers which included their names, emails and position titles All administrators (161) were chosen to participate in the study except for the superintendent and the director of evaluation a nd accountability because they had approved testing materials and might provide biased results. Therefore administrators accounted for 159 members of the desired sample size of 800. The decision to use the a dministrator population was made i n order to have appropriate representation from the smaller group of constituents.

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43 Therefore, 641 t eachers were systematically randomly sampled in order to achieve the desired sample size of 800. A custom script was created and executed that genera te d the random sampl e o f teachers using MATLAB, a high level program for numerical computation and data analysis. The researcher chose a random number to begin samplin g (488) and a skip interval of five was used to systematically cycle through the list and choose every fifth teacher until 641 names were generated. Once a name was selected it was removed from the list, therefore sampling was conducted without replacement to avoid repeat selection The fin al sample consisted of 159 administrators and 641 teachers. This study received Institution al Review Board approval (Study #2012 U 1302) on January 17, 2013 (see Appendix B). The next sections will detail the survey instrument and survey distribution metho ds. Survey Instrument and Measurement The survey instrument was composed of five sections. However, before participants could begin answering survey items, they were present ed with an informed consent electronically as the first page of the Qualtrics surve y. By consenting to the study, respondents were directed to the survey questions. If respondents did not consent to the study they were automatically directed to a thank you message at the end of the survey. Respondents were required to choose an answer fo r this question. However, for all other questions throughout the survey, if respondents did not answer one or more questions on a page, they were presented with a popup window indicating that one or more questions had been left unanswered. To proceed, part icipants had to

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44 Two Way Symmetrical C ommunication The first section of the survey presented four items measuring two way symme trical communication that were adopted fr (see Table 3 1) The items measure employees provide inf ormation in a timely manner, and encourage and value their personal opinions Item wording was modifie d to reflect organization employee relationships because the previous study examined relationships between universities and students. For example, an item from Shen and Kim (2012) organization can be said to b e two way communication, communication between employees and the leaders of this organization can be described as two I nstructions within the section explained that the statements that followed may or ma y not describe communications by their employer, the [Name] County School District. Participants were then instructed to select a number on the scales provided to respond to each item. The four items were measured on a 7 point Likert scale ranging from Likert scales are the most commonly used scale in mass media research (Wimmer & Dominick, 2011). Perceived Organizational A uthenticity The second secti on presented 10 perceptions authenticity or perceived organizational authenticity (see Table 3 1) Of the 10 items, the study adopted three selected items from Molleda authenticity scale that measured satisfaction, inspiration, and action. These were combined with all seven items from 2)

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45 perceived authenticity scale which measured truthfulness, genuineness, and transparency, to create an extended meas scales measured consumer perceptions and, therefore, some items had to be slightly reworded to be able to gauge organization employee relationships. Because the previous study was not asking about the organizati as an example, an item from I believe that the leaders of this organization act genuinely Items from Molleda and Jain (2013) asked visitors of a t heme park to rate their visit, t herefore an item organization is The indicators measure actions and attitudes of the leaders of the organization which for this study are re presentative of authenticity. In this section of the survey p articipants were instructed that the statements that followed represent opinions they may or may not have of the leaders of the [Name] County School District. Participants were as ked to select a number from 1 to 7 for each item measured on a 7 point Employee Advocacy The third section of the survey shifted from empl and intended to gauge employee advocacy However, because employee advocacy has never been measured before in public relations research, the re searcher created a scale using dy. Shen and Kim (2012) tested the relationship between perceived authenticity and positive and negative messaging using positive and negative messaging scales from Kim and

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46 positive and negative messaging scales but used them as indicators of employee advocacy. Therefore, the scale measuring employee advocacy is comprised of four items that Shen and Kim (2012) used to measure positive messaging which center on their organization, and five items for negative messaging which center on criticism and willingness to criticize the organization (see Table 3 1) The survey used questions from the negative messaging scale as they were adopted, but the researcher intend s to reverse the scores when analyzing the d ata. The reverse scores will be combined with the original scores from p ositive messaging items, which will allow both sets of scores to reflect a positive direction. Items measuring employee advocacy asked emplo yees about their personal com munication and were slightly modified to align more with employee respondents rded for this study to feel motivated to promote the leader s of this organization. Likewise a negative statement from Shen and Kim (2012) was to friends I have criticized the le aders of this organization. When answering items for employee advocacy, p articipants were instructed that the section was about their personal communications in relation to the [Name] County School District and that the statements that followed may or ma y not describe their own personal communication. Participants were again a sked to select a number from 1 to 7

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47 and were also measured on a 7 point Research Questions The fourth section presented a series of questions and items intended to answer Research question one was first addressed with a qualifying question that asked participants if they have ever communicated about their organization using email or social media such as blogs, Faceb ook, LinkedIn or Twitter If participan ts answered the question no, they were directed to the next subsection. If participants answered yes, they were directed to a set of items measu ring frequency of use of five different channels: blogs, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Instructions directed the participants to rate the channels that followed by frequency th e y had used them to communicate about the [Name] County School D istri ct during the last three months. The five items were measured with a 7 point Likert like which the researcher coded as 0. The researcher included an option allowing respondents to indicate if they do not use this channel (0 = I do not use this channel) separately from Never (1 = Never) so results were not skewed to show that employees never us ed sites to discuss their employer when in fact they do not use the channel at all Participants were then asked to rate the overall sentiment of their communications about the school district during the last three months on the same five channels. The fiv e items were measured with a 7 point Likert like scale ranging from = Very Favorable).

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48 Again, pa 0 = I do not use this channel ) To evaluate the second research question, participants were asked another qualifying question, this time asking if they had ever communicated anonymously about their organization using Internet channels. If participants answered no, they were directed t o the final section of the survey. If participants answered yes, they were directed to a set of items measuring frequency of use of four different anonymous rating websites: Glassdoo pecified. Instructions directed participan ts, based on their anonymous communication, to rate the sa me channels by the frequency they had used them to communicate about the [Name] County School District during the last three months These items were measured on a 7 point Likert like scale ranging = Once a Day at Least). Again, the researcher included an option allowing respondents to indicate if they do not use this channel (0 = I do not use this channel). Participants were then asked about the ov erall sentiment of their communications about the school district during the las t three months on the same three anonymous rating websites items were measured with a 7 point Likert (7= Very Favorable). Respondents were able to indicate if they do not use this channel (0 = I do not use this channel). General demographic questions were asked at the be ginning and end of the survey in order to begin and end the survey with easier questions, a tactic recommended to increase survey responses ( Wimmer & Dominick, 2011). The

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49 demographic information was measured using a combination of nominal, ordinal, and ratio scales. Participants were asked to provide their age, ethnicity, years of employment with the school district current position (teacher, administrator, or other specif ied), and highest level of education. An optional closing question was open ended and instructed respondents to feel free to add any additional comments they may have about their relationship with the school district or employer/employee communications. Wh en respondents completed the questionnaire, they were directed to a thank you message, which concluded the survey. Electronic Survey To administer the electronic survey, email invitations were created and sent to each member of the sample. The researcher c reated an email listserv with the sample members using a free email marketing website, MailChimp. The website enabled email invitations and reminders to be personalized with each sample members first and last name. Invitations to participate were sent ele district email addresses on January 22, 2013. Each email contained hyperlinks to the survey, one inserted in the middle of the message and another repeated at the end (see Appendix D). Each email contained a sen tence stating the survey had been reviewed and approved by the school district evaluation and accountability If employees had questions or concerns they could contact the director of evaluation and accountability through personal information included as a carbon copy at the bottom of each email. Employees who participated filled out the survey anonymously and participation was voluntary. Survey respondents were assured they would not need any longer than 10 minutes to participate in the study which is important for increasing responses to online surveys because it does not require too much time (Babbie, 2010).

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50 Three days after the first invitation was sent the first reminder email containing hyperlinks to the survey was sent which can be s een in Appendix E A second reminder was sent in January ( s ee s Appendix F) and a final email was sent thanking employees for the responses received and reminding employees who had not yet participated to do so ( s ee s Appendix G). Sending follow up emails e ncouraging sample members to complete surveys is a recommended practice (Babbie, 2010; Wimmer & Dominick, 2011). Survey respondents were able to complete the survey until March 12 2013, seven weeks from the original survey invitation. Confirmation of Inst itutional Review Board (IRB) approval and copies of the IRB Informed Consent Form are presented in Appendices B and C. Data Analysis Survey data w ere entered in and analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 21 First the researcher calculated mean scores and s tandard deviations for each variable and items within each variable set. Indices of the key variables, two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy, were re computed for the scales. Using mean scores of the indices, bivariate correlation was conducted to test hypothesis 1 and hypothesis 2. Hypothesis 1 dealt with the relationship between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authen ticity. Hypothesis two dealt with the relationship between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. Multiple regression was used to predict the strength of each variable on employee advocacy. Two tailed independent sample T tests were c onducted to examine potential differences between administrator and teacher respondents.

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51 Descriptive statistics were used to answer research question 1, which dealt with the frequency employees used social media sites and the sentiment conveyed on SMS Descriptive statistics were used to answer research question 2, which dealt with the frequency employees use anonymous rating websites for employee advocacy. Descriptive statistics also were used to answer demographics of the sample respondents. Means an d standard deviations were calculated for each demographic variable.

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52 Table 3 1. Survey instrument items Section name Items Two way symmetrical communication Most communication between employees and the leaders of this organization can be described as two way communication. The leaders of this organization encourage differences of opinion. The leaders of this organization usually inform me about major changes in policy that affect me before they take place. I feel like the leaders of my organization value my opinion when major changes in policy might affect me. Perceived organizational authenticity The leaders of this organization tell the truth. I believe that the leaders of this organization act genuinely. The leadership of this organization is unsatisfactory. I feel like the leaders of my organization are not willing to admit to mistakes when they are made. The leaders of this organization have consistent beliefs and actions. I believe that the leaders of this organization match their I feel that the leaders of this organization accept and learn from mistakes. I do not feel like I am an active part of the decision making process I think the leaders of this organization match their rhetoric with their actions. The leaders of this organization inspire me to value my job. Employee advocacy I feel motivated to promote the leaders of this organization. Recently, I agreed to negative opinions about the leaders of this organization. I try to network with coworkers. I have praised this organization. Recently, I have not agreed to negative opinions about the leaders of this organization. I have not posted some negative messages about this organization. I have not criticized this organization. I do not feel motivated to criticize the leaders of this organization.

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53 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This chapter is divided into five sections. The first section describes the response rate and classification of participants by position. The second section describes the sample and demographics of respondents. The third section reports the results of cepts. The fourth section is devoted to addressing the findings for the two hypothesis and two research questions and the extent to which variables are related to one another. Finally, the fifth section reports on comments collected via an open ended quest ion at the end of the survey. Response Rates and Participant Classification A total of 285 surveys were collected but 26 surveys ( 9.1 %) were discarded due to i ncomplete answers and another 14 surveys (4.9%) were discarded because participants did not con sent to the study. This left a total of 245 valid surveys for data analysis, which yielded a response rate of 30.6% Some respondents did not disclose demographic information (e.g., age, ethnicity, or highest level of education). Demographic question respo nse rates ranged between 239 and 245 responses. According to Wimmer and Dominick (2011), response rates for Internet surveys are typically 5% to 80%. The response rate of this survey falls slightl y short of the midpoint but still within the range and, ther efore, is considered acceptable. Respondents were asked to self classify themselves as teacher, administrator, or other specified. The majority of respondents classified themselves as teachers (64.5%) followed by administrators (23.3%) and other (12.2% ). The 30 respondents who instructional), guidance counselor, and specialist. An article published by the

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54 Anonymous State a ) defines which positions tructional Sta with teachers. T herefore, based on written in titles employees used, respondents were reclassified as teachers and two were reclassified as administrators. Including the reclassified respon dent s, o f 159 survey invitations emailed to administrator s, 59 valid surveys were completed for a response rate of 37.1 % for the administrator stratum The response rate for teachers was slightly lower Of 641 survey invitations emailed, 1 86 valid surveys were com pleted for a response rate of 29.0 % for the teacher stratum Description of Survey Participants M = 47, SD = 11.6 ). As already touched on, about three fourths of the 245 participan ts (75.9%) were teachers and the rest (24.1%) were administrators. The number of years they were employed by the county school district ranged from less than one year to 44 years, with a median of 10 years ( M = 13, SD = 9.8). This aligns with the average n umber of years of experience, 11.4, for full time teachers in the state reported by the Department of Education for t he 2010 11 academic year ( 2012 b ) An item constructed by the researcher to measure gender was inadvertently left out of the survey when transferring questions from a Word document to Qualtrics;

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55 gender breakdown of the original sample of 800 was 641 females (80.1%) and 159 males (19.9%), which is very similar to the gender breakdown of the population of full time teachers and administrators in the county, which is 78.6% female and 21.2% male ( Staff in Anonymous State a ) There is no reason to believe the gender breakdown of county. The majority of respondents (4.1%), (1.2%), and finall proportions are similar to statewide figures. According to a survey by the Department of Education for fall 2011, the majority of full time teachers and administrators in the state were White (82.9%), followed by Black (8.5%), Hispanic (5.6%), Asian or Pacific Islander (0.9%), American Indian (.5%) and Two or More Races (1.4%) (" Staff in An onymous State ," 2012 a ). The highest level of education attained by the plurality of respondents was a ch 80 were teachers and two were administrators. One respondent or more identified each of the remaining categories as their highest level of education: some graduate school (9.5%), some doctoral studies (5.8%), doctoral degree (1.2%), or professional degr ee (1.2%). Table 4 1 presents all demographic data about respondents. The demographics

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56 s can be generalized to all teaching and administrative employees of the school district. Analyses of Key Concepts This study measured three key concepts: two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity, and employee advocacy. Multiple items were used to measure e ach concept, and mean scores and standard deviations were calculated for individual items. Summative scales were constructed from the respective items to provide one index measurement for each concept. Mean scores and s tandard deviations were calculated for the scales, and their reliability and predictability was computed. Two way Symmetrical Communication Four items were used to measure two way symmetrical communication. All items were adopted from Shen and Kim (2012). Mean scores on all four items were above the neutral point on the 7 point measurement scale, ranging from 4.27 to 5.28. In other words, employees of the school district perceive an above average level of two way symmetrical communication from leaders of th eir organization. The item earning the hi ghest mean score was as follows, M = 5.28, SD = 1.47). The item earning the lowest mean score M = 4.27, SD = 1.77), which still indicated agreement with the statement, albeit weak. Table 4 2 presents the results of the analysis. As show n in Table 4 2, the mean score of the two way symmet rical index is 4.67 ( SD = 1.34); meaning that, according to its teachers and administrators, the school

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57 district does practice two way symmetrical communication. The scale has relatively high r eliability minimum alpha set by Carmines and Zeller (1979), 0.80, and substantially higher than Shen and Kim (2012) study, 0.75. The improved reliability may b real employees of one organization rather than general college students studied by Shen and Kim. Perceived Organizational Authenticity anizational authenticity. Seven of the items were adopted from Shen and Kim (2012) and the remaining three were from Molleda and Jain (2013) Mean scores on all 10 items were above the neutral point on the 7 point measurement scale, ranging from 3 68 to 5. 42 All but the lowest mean score were at 4.48 or higher, and half of the items had mean scores above 5.0. Meaning employees of the school district perceive a n above average level of organizational authenticity by school district leaders The item earning the highest mean score simply stated, The leaders of this organization tell the truth M = 5.42 SD = 1.35 ). The item earning the lowest mean score was a reversed item that in its analysis form reads as follows, tive part of the decision M = 3.68, SD = 1.85). Table 4 3 presents the results of the analysis. As shown in Table 4 3 the mean score of the perceived organizational authenticity index is 4. 91 ( SD = 1. 08 ), me aning that teachers and administrators perceive their employer as being authentic. The new perceived organizational authenticity scale which was constructed by combining measurement items from Shen and Kim (2012) and Molleda and Jain (2013), is high ly reliab l e

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58 91 which is s lightly higher than the reliability of perceived organizational authenticity scale 0. 90, and equal to thenticity scale, 0.91. Employee Advocacy Nine items were used to measure employee advocacy. Four items were adopted from their nega tive messaging scale. Mean scores on all f our items in the positive messaging scale were above the neutral point on the 7 point measurement scale, ranging from 4.58 to 5. 76 The item earning the highest mean score was as follows I try to network with coworkers M = 5.76, SD = 1.13). The item earning the lowest mean I feel motivated to promote the leaders of this organization M = 4.58, SD = 1.62), a score still showing a weak agreement with the statement. As shown in Table 4 4, the mean score of the positive me ssaging index is 5 14 ( SD = 1. 04 ), meaning that teachers and administrators engage in an above average level of positive messaging. 0. 72 which is s lightly lower than the reliability of Shen and positive messaging scale 0. 81. Mean scores for each of the five items measuring negative messaging were well below the neutral point on the 7 point measurement scale, ranging from 1.36 to 3.21. The item earning the highest mean score was as f I have criticized this organization M = 3.21, SD = 1.73), a score showing a fairly low disagreement with the I have posted some negative messages about this organization M = 1.36, SD = .9 1), a score showing a strong disagreement with the statement. These findings indicate employees of the school

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59 district have a moderately low engagement in negative messaging. Analysis yielded a 68, which is nearly two points lower tha n the reliability of Sh en 0. 87. The results of these analyses are presented in Table 4 4 as the inverse of the wording and scores just presented, which is explained in the following paragraph Combining these indicators, the four i tems of positive messaging and the fiv e items of negative messaging the researcher developed a new index, employee advocacy To measure employee advoca cy, the negative messaging items and scores were reversed so all scores were in a positive direction and each item truly was which has a positive connotation. The resulting scale w as found to have moderate ly strong reliability (Bowers & Courtright, 1984). Reliability will be further discussed in the future research section in chapter five. Table 4 4 presents the items and scores measuring employee advocacy and reliability of the scale. answering its research questions. Hypotheses Testing and Research Questions H1: The more employees perceive communication by their organization a s two way symmetrical, the more the employees will perceive the organization as authentic. Bivariate correlation was used to analyze the relationship between two way correlation analysis was conducted on the mean scores of the two way symmetrical index and the perceived organiz ational authenticity index. Results showed that two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity are positively and

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60 significantly rel ated with a strong coefficient ( r = 0.75 p < .01) (Cohen, 1998) In other words, the more emplo yees perceive the school district leaders to use two way symmetrical communication, the mo re they perceive the employer authentic ally Hypothesis one is supported. Results of correlation analysis testing both hypotheses are presented in Table 4 5. The stud H2: The more employees perceive their organization as authentic, the more the employees will advocate on behalf of the organization. To test the second hypothesis, bivariate correlation was used to analyze the relations hip between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. perceived organizational authenticity index and the employee advocacy index P erceived organizational authentici ty has a significant and positive correlation with employee advocacy with a strong coefficient ( r = .72, p < .01 ) (Cohen, 1998) Therefore, the more school district employees perceive their organization as authentic, the more they advocate for their employer. Hypothesis two is supported. Further exploring the data, t he strength of the relationships among two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy was tested using multiple regress ion. Two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity were used as independent variables while employee advocacy was the dependent variable. The results of the regr ession are presented in Table 4 6

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61 The analysis found that two w ay symmetrical communication ( = 0.16, t = 2.35, p = <.020) and perceived organizational authenticity ( = 0.61, t = 9.07, p = <.000) both had a significant positive relationship with employee advocacy. Therefore, this regression model predicts that organ izations using two way symmetrical communication are expected to have higher employee advocacy. Likewise, a high perceived organizational authenticity will also predict a higher employee advocacy. Based on a larger beta weight for perceived organizational authenticity than that of two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity has a greater impact on employee advocacy. Two demographic variables, position and years employed by the organization, were added to the regression as ind epe ndent control variables. The control variables were not significant predictors of employee advocacy and with their addition the same patterns were observed, thus indicating that the regression is more robust. The regression model was a good fit for the da ta, explaining 53.0% (adjusted R 2 ) of the variance in employee advocacy ( R 2 = .534, F (2, 242) = 138.77, p = <.000). Multicollinearity among the variables was not an issue because the variance inflation factor (VIF) was less than 10 (VIF = 2.316). However, the variables could not be tested for mediation because of high multicollinearity between the two independent variables when multiplied together. To examine potential differences between teacher and administrator respondents, a series of two taile d, independent sample t tests were conducted. Results of the t tests show tha t there ar e statistically significant differences between administrators and teachers for each of the three key variables of two way symmetrical

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62 commu nication ( t = 4.62, df = 241 p < .01), perceived organizational authenticity ( t = 5.41, df = 241, p < .01) and employee advocacy ( t = 5.02, df = 241, p < .01). In short, these findings indicate administrators perceive more two way symmetrical and organizational authenticity and therefore, they tend to advocate more for the organization, whil e teachers, who perceive lower two way sym metrical communication and organizational authenticity, tend to advocate less As the sample size differs substantially between the two groups, t hese results may violate the assumption of equal sample size. These fin dings are presented in Table 4 7 employee advocacy. The first question is as follows R1: To what extent d o employees use social media sites to advocate on behalf of their organization? To answer the first research question, respondents were asked if they had ever communicated about their organization using email or social media such as blogs, Facebook, Linked In or Twitter. Of 2 45 valid responses, 22 (9.0%) respondents said they had used email or social media to communicate about their organization. Of the channels employees could choose (blogs, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), email and Facebook were the most popular choice of channels to discuss the organization, although the number of employees using SMS for employee advocacy was low. Email was used by 17 respondents ( 6.9 %) and Facebook was used by 11 respondents (4.5%). Of the remaining channels, one respondent used blogs t o discuss his/her employer (0.4%), and LinkedIn and Twitter were not used (n = 0) These findings are presented Table 4 8

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63 The sentiment expressed on each communication channel did depend somewhat on the channel being used. Respondents were more likely t o write favorable opinions about their organization using email ( M = 4.86) or Facebook ( M = 3.59). In addition to be ing more likely to write opinions with positive sentiment on ema il or Facebook, employees wrote opinions with a positive sentiment on email or Facebook more frequently than other SMS Respondents were more likely to express negative opinions about their organization using blogs ( M = 0.31), LinkedIn ( M = 0.05) or Twitter ( M = 0.05) These findings are presented in T able 4 9 The second research questions is as follows R2: To what extent do employees use anonymous rating websites to advocate on behalf of their organization? This research question aimed to investigate the extent to which employees are willing to advocate for their employer anonymo usly. Of 245 respondents, only one indicated he or she had communicated anonymously about the organization using Internet channels. Of the channels the respondent could choose (Glassdoor, Indeed, TaleoUp or Other), the respondent chose none and did not sp ecify another anonymous rating website that was used. To answer RQ2 at this time the school district employees do not use anonymous rating websites to advocate on behalf of their employer. Open Ended Question Responses In a final open ended survey question completed by employees at the school district, 43 responses were recorded ( 17.6 % of respondents). Twelve of the responses focused on communications between the organization and employees. Comments such as borate with my colleagues and I

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64 way symmetrical. Howev er, of the 12 comm unication related comments, nine seemed to convey either neutral or negative perceptions of communication. Some of these comments timely manner, sometimes i t does not. When this occurs many of the faculty and staff part one way, top down Other comments focus ed specifically on leadership. The researcher categorized 10 statements as having a positive sentiment about the leadership, and 10 statements as having a negative sentiment about the leadership. Some of the positive comments were, I am in the best school in [county name] and and [Name] County Schools and our Superintendent, my direct super visor, and our leadership team However, negative comments were typically much longer in length and oft en pinpointed several issues that were of concern to the respondent. Some of the negative I would like when they ask for our opinion that the y alued more by county office personnel when making major decisions concerning his/her classroom, or a partic feel that a weak administrator is moved to the county level instead of being demoted or

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65 respondent saying it T hree comments were made regarding social media sites O ne comment expressed positive sentiment about my organization it is nearly always about my students and how awesome they are...or an upcoming fundraiser. Contrarily, two comments seemed to have a more negative sentiment One of these said, allowed to say anything, in any form of communication that is disparaging about our Finally, some respondents ins erted comments that indicate some limitations to the study while others made suggestions about teaching strategies in particular. Comments about specific education strategies are not included because they d o not relate to the study. Three comments indicate d limitations Two participants said it was hard to distinguish which level of leaders the s urvey was asking questions leaders at the individual school level or leaders at the county district level? One respondent said, opinion because we have 5 administrators at our school and I work closely with County Officer personnel. They are all different and it is questions about SMS tion about whether or not I communicate about my employer using email or social media is confusing. I am unsure whether the question refers to whether I have expressed personal opinions about my employer or if I have used it to convey information to anothe r district, the public, news agency, etc. as part of

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66 By examining employees of a large government organization, the researcher analyzed employee advocacy for the first time in the field of public relations The research findings supp ort hypotheses one and two showing strong positive relationships among all variables tested: two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. Results related to the research questions showed minimal use of SMS and anonymous rating web sites for employee advocacy. These findings provide empirical evidence of the linkage between organizational behavior and employee advocacy, as well as current low usage of digital media for employee advocacy. These and other findings are discussed in dept h and implications for public relations practitioners and sch olars are presented in chapter five

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67 Table 4 1. Demographics of respondents Variable Category Teachers Frequencies (Percentage) Administrators Frequencies (Percentages) Position (n=245) 186 (75.9 %) 5 9 (24.1 %) Race (n=242) Asian/Pacific Islander Black/African American Hispanic/Latino Native American/American Indian White/Caucasian Other 1 (0.5 %) 10 (5.4 %) 9 (4.9 %) 3 (1.6 %) 159 (86.4 %) 2 (1.1 %) 0 1 0 (17.2%) 1 (1.7%) 0 46 (79.3 %) 1 (1.3%) Age (n=239) Less than 30 years old 30 39 40 49 50 59 60 69 70 years and older 17 (9.3 %) 39 (21.4 %) 43 (23.6 %) 56 (30.8 %) 27 (14.8 %) 0 0 6 (10.5 %) 16 (28.1 %) 22 (38.6%) 12 (21.1 %) 1 (0.2%) Years Employed by the Organization (n=243) 0 5 years 6 10 years 11 20 years 21 30 years 31 40 years More than 40 years 50 (27.0 %) 56 (30.3 %) 48 (25.9 %) 20 (10.8 %) 10 (5.4 %) 1 (5.4 %) 6 (10.5 %) 15 (26.3 %) 16 (28.1 %) 17 (29.8 %) 2 (3.5%) 1 (1.8%) Highest Level of Education (n=243) 4 year College Degree (BA,BS) Some Graduate School Some Doctoral Studies Doctoral Degree ( PhD, EdD ) Professional Degree (MD,JD) 80 (43.2 %) 21 (11.2 %) 75 (40.5 %) 8 (4.3 %) 0 1 (0.05%) 2 (3.4 %) 2 (3.4 %) 43 (74.1%) 6 (10.3 %) 3 (5.2%) 2 (3.4%)

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68 Table 4 2 Means and standard deviations of two way symmetrical communication items and scale Items M SD Most communication between employees and the leaders of this organization can be described as two way communication. 4.73 1.58 The leaders of this organization encourage differences of opinion. 4.38 1.63 The leaders of this organization usually inform me about major changes in policy that affect me before they take place. 5.28 1.47 I feel like the leaders of my organization value my opinion when major changes in policy might affect me. 4.27 1.77 Index ( = .85 ) 4.67 1.34

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69 Table 4 3 Means and standard deviations of perceived organizational authenticity items and scale Items M SD The leaders of this organization tell the truth. 5.42 1.35 I believe that the leaders of this organization act genuinely. 5.39 1.31 The leadership of this organization is satisfactory.* 5.36 1.46 I feel like the leaders of my organization are willing to admit to mistakes when they are made.* 4.48 1.62 The leaders of this organization have consistent beliefs and actions 5.07 1.36 I believe that the leaders of this organization match 5.27 1.31 I feel that the leaders of this organization accept and learn from mistakes. 4.93 1.33 I feel like I am an active part of the decision making 3.68 1.85 I think the leaders of this organization match their rhetoric with their actions. 4.89 1.32 The leaders of this organization inspire me to value my job 4.58 1.69 Index ( = .91 ) 4.91 1.08 *Reversed item

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70 Table 4 4 Means and standard deviations of employee advocacy items and scale Positive Messaging ( = .72) M ( 5.14) SD ( 1.04) I feel motivated to promote the leaders of this organization. 4.58 1.62 I try to network with coworkers. 5.76 1.13 I have praised this organization. 5.19 1.39 I cannot help speaking up when I hear ignorant and biased comments about this organization. 5.05 1.48 Reversed Negative Messaging ( = .68) M ( 5.54) SD ( .96) Recently, I have not agreed to negative opinions about the leaders of this organization. 5.02 1.65 I have not posted some negative messages about this organization. 6.64 .91 I have not criticized this organization. 4.79 1.73 I do not feel motivated to criticize the leaders of this organization. 5.50 1.48 I usually do not avoid networking with coworkers. 5.76 1.31 Index ( = .74) 5.34 .82

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71 Table 4 5. Pearson correlation coefficients among two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity, and employee advocacy Two way Symmetrical Communication Perceived organizational authenticity Employee Advocacy Two way Symmetrical Communication ________ Perceived Organizational Authenticity .754** ________ Employee Advocacy .613** .724** ________ ** p < .01 Table 4 6 Results of regression analysis for employee advocacy Independent Variables t p Two way Symmetrical Communication 0.16 2.35 <.020 Perceived Organizational Authenticity 0.61 9.07 <.000 Adjusted R 2 .530 R 2 .534 F 138.77 df 2, 242 p <.000

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72 Table 4 7 T test results of differences in scores between teachers and administrators Variable Teachers n = 18 6 Administrators n = 59 M SD M SD t df p Two way Symmetrical Communication 4.45 1.32 5.35 1.20 4.62 241 .000 Perceived Organizational Authenticity 4.71 1.06 5.55 .92 5.41 241 .000 Employee Advocacy 5.20 .80 5.80 .74 5.02 241 .000 Table 4 8 N = 22 % of total respondents Blogs 1 0.4% Email 17 8.8% Facebook 11 4.5% LinkedIn 0 0 % Twitter 0 0 %

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73 T able 4 9 employer on social media sites M SD Blogs 0.31 1.29 Email 4.86 2.23 Facebook 3.59 2.92 LinkedIn 0 .05 .21 Twitter 0 .05 .21 Note: 1 = very unfavorable and 7 = very favorable

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74 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to strengthen and expand the body of knowledge on the relationships among three variables: two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. By examining employees of a large government organization, the study demonstrated a strong relationship between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity. It also was the first of its kind t hat showed a strong relationship between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. There is also a moderately strong relationship between two way symmetrical communication and employee advocacy. In other words organizations that use more two way symmetrical communication with their employees and engage in authentic behavior can increas e an Previous studies (Shen & Kim, 2012; Molleda & Jain, 2013) found strong relationship s between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authentici ty This study further strengthened those findings. However, no previous studies had applied the concept of advocacy, a desired relationship outcome, to employees. This study shed new light on the relationship between organizations and its employee stakeho lders a nd the missing opportunity for advocacy at scale environment. (2012) most recent model for activating corporate character and authentic advocacy within large enterprises. The first section of this chapter wi he second section will explain practical and theoretical implications for public relations

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75 professionals and scholars. To conclude the paper lim itations and potential ideas for future research. Summary of the Findings This study was the first to measure the concepts of two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity on employee advocacy. By utilizing two way symmetrical communication, this study demonstrates that perceived organizational authenticity will be greater and employee advocacy will also increase. anization. Results from this study also advanced the field of public relations by targeting employee stakeholders, on whom no previous studies have dealt with two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity. Findings indicated t he employe es of the school district believe the organization employs two way symmetrical communication While the employees do not strongly believe their organization uses two way symmetrical communication and have only a slightly higher perception of organizational authenticity, these findings provide the first step in analyzing the relationship between th e two variables which was strong Two way symmetrical communication was used as a framework for this study because it has been shown to be the most ethical means of communicating and plays a role in employee trust and loyalty (Burton, 2006a; Burton, 2006 b; Burton, 2011a; Burton, 2011b; Kent & Taylor, 2002). Employees indicated they would be more likely to perceive the organization as authentic if that organization engaged in two way symmetrical communication. Thus, f indings support that the use of two way symmetrical communication in increas ing perceived organizational authenticity is essential. Based on the survey questionnaire, there are several ways to increase perceive d

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76 organization al authenticity by utilizing the theories of two way symmetrical commun ication and the model of excellence The results also indicated a strong positive relationship between perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy Results suggest support of previous findings in trade publications indicating the relations hip between an perception of authenticity (Carr, 2012; Church, 2012; Walton, 2010). Employees indicated that they perceived the organization to be authentic, which has bee n shown to This study shed new light on the relationship between an organization and its employee stakeholders and hi ghlighted the missing opportunity for advocacy at scale in Findings present the first empirical data to support the 2012 Arthur report recommendations and results indicate that employee a dvocacy can be achieved the m ore employees perceive an organization as authentic. to build advocacy at scale, thus supporting recommendations from the report, which also suggests action steps for leaders of organizations corporate communications and public relations. While findings from this study are not generalizable beyond the school district the researcher believes that the relationship between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity would not differ significantly if tested in other organizations.

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77 This study found that the majority of respondents believed the school district used two way symmetrical communication and perceived the organization to be authent ic. T he school district began using SMS Facebook, Twitter and publishing a Wordpress blog in 2011 factors that may have contributed to these findings Wright and Hinson (2012) found that public relations practitioners believe SMS can improve credibility, accuracy, honesty, and truth. According to the Arthur W. Page Society report s (2007; 2012), organizations that use these SMS should have a higher perceived organizational authenticity. These may be indicators that the SMS utilize d by leaders at the school district enhanced trust in addition to in creasing perceived organizational authenticity. In previous studies by PR Week and Burson Marsteller (2008), Facebook was identified as the most common SMS used by public relations practitioners when communicating with stakeholders. These findings were supported when applied to employee publics at the school district While email was the most frequently used communication channel to discuss something with an employer, Facebook was the second most frequent and the only true SMS used by the employees other than blogs. Blogs were used by only one employee and had a more negative association whereas email and Facebook were used more for advocacy. This study partially supported findings by Wright and Hinson (2012), considering Facebook and LinkedIn to be the most important SMS for communication and public relations efforts by members of the Public Relations So ciety of America (PRSA). The next most important SMS, according to PRSA members, were microblogging sites like Twitter, followed by search engine marketing, video sharing sites and then blogs. When

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78 turning to employees, this study did support Wright and Hi Facebook was the most important SMS for advocacy. However, employees used blogs second most and did not use LinkedIn and Twitter at all to discuss their organization. This shows a discrepancy between public relations practitione rs and employee usage of SMS based on current usage. This may also indicate an area that could use more research comparing activities by public relations practitioners and employees and gauging non c ommunication using SMS. Despite the lack of participation on anonymous Internet channels indicated by respondents, some information was posted on the Internet on anonymous rating websites about the organization. One anonymous rating website, Glassdoor, lis ts six Reviews were posted anonymously by individuals who were able to write in j ob titles for themselves, including current teacher (2), current IT technician, current educator, former teacher and current employee. Reviews by these individuals that explained feelings and Top heavy administration website between November 2011 and February 2013 indicati ng that reviews about the organization have been present on the website for nearly two years. In addition, the information displayed on the website seems to indicate a more negative perception of the organization than indicated in survey results. This find ing indicate s that further

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79 research is needed to understand employees willing ness to post negative information about employers when able to do so anonymously. One survey respondent indicated using anonymous messaging to discuss his or her employer, a numb er similar to the proportion of total district employees versus those who have posted on Glassdoor, both very small. However, whereas few employees have used Glassdoor to post a review about the school district, no information is available as to how many p eople have viewed the reviews. Reviews on Glassdoor are free and open for the public to view The researcher would like to stress that these findings show that anonymous rating websites are used, but the impact on perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy are unknown and could be measured in future studies. Altogether these findings provide a wealth of knowledge about the relationships among two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. In emergent digital channels provide insights that can be used to support future research. Theoretical and practical implications have been extracted from the findings and are presented in the n ext section. Implications for Public Relations Theory This study supported strong relationships among two way symmetrical communication, perceived organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. These findings imply that the more two way symmetrical co mmunication is employed, the more the organization and its leaders are perce ived as authentic and encourages employee advocacy. Findings suggest that the two way symmetrical model posed by J. Grunig &

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80 Hunt (1984), is an even more valuable foundation for st udies in public relations today despite the ever changing environment. This study applied an extended scale of perceived organizational authenticity to a new sector employees, in a government organization. Molleda and Jain (2013) measured perceived organizational authenticity with consumers in the tourism industry and Shen and Kim (2012) studied students, who were consumers of a university. Based on the high reliability of the new extended scale, scholars could uti lize the scale in other areas of which have not measured perceived organizational authenticity such as for profit organizations, Fortune 500 organizations or nonprofits Due to its high reliability, the new extended perceived organizational authenticity s cale created by the researcher should be further tested and improved through other studies. This study also contributed to theory by incorporating the scales for positive and negative messaging as a way of measuring the new construct of advocacy. As recomm ended by practitioner literature ( Arthur W. Page Society, 2007; Arthur W. Page Society, 2012 study was the first to introduce advocacy at scale as a relational outcome of two way symmetr ical communication and perceived organizational authenticity. This adds a valuable foundation for future studies of advocacy to the field of public relations. To build theory, s cholars s hould further develop, modify and test the new employee advocacy sca le to increase its reliability and further advance the constructs of employee advocacy and advocacy at scale. By engaging a larger number of employees conducting advocacy and empowering employees to use tools and materials provided by the organization, the organization could have even higher perceived authenticity and

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81 improved reputational outcomes. This study implies that these steps would lead to with advocacy at scale although scholars would need to research this further in other organizations, especially those with large corporate environments like Fortune 500 companies and other for profit businesses. Implications for Public Relations Practice In order to study employee advocacy, it was first ne cessary to look at two way symmetrical communication because of its strong relationship with perceived organizational authenticity. Based on the literature review and information from practitioner literature, this stu dy provides the first attempt to build upon previous studies of the relationship between advocacy and perceived organizational authenticity by studying employee advocacy specifically. This study found that employees were more likely to advocate for their employer than spread negative messages, but employees were not advocating frequently and few employees were discussing their employer at all. This leaves a high potential for growth in building advocacy and advancing toward advocacy at scale. Employees must be empowered to advocate before they c an inspire others to become advocates (Church, 2012). Based on the items measuring the key variables studied, recommendations are made to the leaders of public relations or communications at organizations to improve two way symmetrical communication The first recommendation is organizations should encourage their employees to have differences of opinion, or rather; organizations should not force employees to have a singular opinion. The second recommendation would be for organizational leaders to inform e mployees about policy changes that will

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82 affect them before any policy change is enacted. A third recommendation would be for organizations to value employee opinions when creating policies that might affect them. According to Bowen (2005b), in order for t he two way symmetrical model to be successful, open communication and dialogue are essential. Study f indings pr ovided evidence that the school d istrict studied effectively utilize d two way com munication with its employees. In addition to quantitative results, the survey asked one open ended question, in which no complaints. We all have open communication. Yet the district s hou ld not re st on its laurels based on the findings. Mean scores on the two way communication index show ed that numerous employees view ed way The communication of information beyo nd the school level is for the most part one way, top down These opinions are not surprising because the mean of two way symmetrical communication was only slightly higher than the midpoint. According to the survey, the school district leaders have room for improvement. They should continue to inform employees of major changes in policy beforehand because this survey item had the highest score. Additionally, employees of the district indicated the leaders of the organization could improve the value place d on employees' opinions when making policy changes. These findings suggest the need for a qualitative or mixed method approach in future studies; an idea discussed more in t he final section of the chapter. Based on the findings of the study, organizationa l leaders should follow certain standards to increase perceived organizational authenticity. These standards, based on

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83 items measured in the survey, would require leaders to be truthful, act genuinely, show consistent beliefs and actions, match behavior to admit, ac cept and learn from mistakes, include employees in the decision making process, match their rhetoric to their actions, and inspire employees to value their organization and jobs. These principles apply just as much when stakeholders, such as employees, are using digital communications, which some have deemed to be more authentic than traditional sources (Molleda, 2010b ; Quandt, 2012). The school district studied did not ban its employees from using SMS, but overall there appears to be a local and even national climate that disapproves of educators utilizing social media to talk about their jobs (Marino, 2011). Communications between teachers and students can have serious consequences and have led to restrictive socia l media policies placed on educators as a whole. Simultaneously, there is a new focus nationwide on bullying, mostly of school aged children, which has created a heightened Some teachers have even been suspended for publishing questionable views associated with bullying (Rodriguez, 2011). Regardless, while these factors may have diminished the level of employee advocacy observed in my study, studying them could further the un derstanding of employee advocacy in education. According to Brito (2012a; 2012b) and Carr (2012) to build advocacy companies need to train their employees to use SMS and train them how to advocate. However, the article recommends that employers start by t choose this small group of employees to train, based on whether or not they are already

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84 fairly proficient at using SMS. After testing this small group of advocates, the organization can employ a social media certification or education program that teaches best practices, conversation skills and ways to engage in two way symmetrical communication. These tactics are just one of many options in which employers could invest to increase employee advocacy. This concept is very similar to the model that has already been adopted by information with friends and family rather t han being referenced to a webpage or an official press release. The organization was able to gain greater attention and increased advocacy by empowering its employees to share information in addition to the sharing me thods. This study supports the need to allow more members of an organization to engage in two way symmetrical communications with publics based on the importance of two way symmetrical relationship with perceived organizational authenticity By making these changes, organizations practicing two way symmetrical communication could increase perceived authenticity and create advocacy at scale from the efforts of public relations practitioners and employees combined. These results could have a greater impact on corporate character and perceived organizational authenticity. Scholars could focus future research efforts on measuring how organizations could design and implement these advocacy training courses or certification options and the best wa y they could be successfully executed by organizations.

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85 Limitations and Future Research Recommendations While this study contributed to the field of public relations by enhanced understanding of advocacy and its relationship to two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity, there were several limitations that provide opportuniti es for future studies. One significant drawback was the lack of data based on The item measuring gende r was inadvertently left out of the survey used to collect data in Qualtrics. This oversight left unanswered questions related to way s in which m ale employees perceptions may have differ ed from female perceptions about organizational authenticity and advocacy behavior. Although the gender breakdown of the sample was representative of the population, the researcher was unable to show an y relationships between gender and other variables within the survey responses. For future research, more demographic variables should be considered. A two part typology of types of employees would not fit well with more complex organizations, so a variab le adding a hierarchy of positions could be added to multiple groups of employees. For example, even though two titles like assistant director and associate director might both be considered to be administrative roles, there may be statistical differences within the results of the two different groups. Thus, future research could focus on a more hierarchical approach when measuring employee positions. The most important recommendation for future research would be to adopt, modify and test the new scales cr eated in this study by the researcher. The high reliability of the perceived organizational authenticity scale provides a valuable opportunity for future researchers who would like to measure this construct. For the new employee advocacy scale, more develo pment and modification is necessary. In future

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86 work, it may be possible to reduce the number of items within the scale to increase its reliability. While the reliability of the current scale was acceptable, a stronger reliability may be achievable. A secon d limitation to the study may have been the timing of when the survey was administered. Because the sample surveyed were administrators and teachers, sending the survey in January may have lowered the response rate because it was the beginning of a new aca demic semester. Teachers and administrators typically are very busy throughout the academic year but sending the survey in the middle of a semester may have produced a higher response rate. This also presents another potential limitation. The researcher o nly studied two employee groups: teachers and administrators. Results may have been richer or presented different results if those categories were further segmented. For example, teachers could have been broken into counselors and classroom instructors or administrators could be segmented by assistant principals and principals. By segmenting the strata into more categories, it might be easier to identify variations based on employees who work more closely with the leadership on a day to day basis versus emp loyees who are more distant from leadership. education. While the organization was chosen because it was the largest employer in the area and accessible recent articles have been published warning teachers to stay away from social media and Facebook while at work (Marino, 2011; Solomon, 2011). These warnings could have affected the volume of employees using SMS. Future studies could choose to replicate the study in other professional fields or groups such as

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87 the healthcare profession, Fortune 500 companies, public relations agencies or any other field that would have a more open and encompassing employee policy toward SMS communication. Also, while this study engaged parti cipants who were all employed by one organization, future studies could collect data from employees from a variety of organizations to test this concept and gather data that expands on the variable relationship s Future research could also turn to differe nt methods to measure employee advocacy that could add a deeper understanding of why employees advocate. Practitioner a rticles suggest ( Burton, 2006a; Burton, 2006b; Burton, 2011a, Burton, 2011b; Walton, 2010 ) if employees are unaware of the benefits of ad vocacy, they are not motivated to engage in discussions outside of the workplace. A qualitative methodology or mixed methodology approach combining survey questions with a content analysis, focus groups or interviews could add tremendous value to the unde rstanding of advocacy and its relationship to two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity. Questions might include you to discuss your employe motivates you to conti media s and other open ended questions. These questions could incite respondents to disclose more detailed information about their feelings, attitudes, and actions toward their employer. Finally, while r esults received from the quantitative survey instrument provided a better picture of frequency and sentiment expressed using SM S. F uture studies could incorporate other qualitative

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88 research methods and ask employees reasons why they use SMS to advocate As an example from the open ended survey question, o ne respondent said email to discuss personal opinions about my employer or actions mad Without knowing why some employees use or avoid social media sites to discuss their organization, it is premature for scholars to make recommend ations whether employees should be encouraged or discouraged from co ntinuing such behavior. In conclusion, this study has further advanced the field of public relations by strengthening evidence of the relationship between two way symmetrical communication and perceived organizational authenticity. This study has also pro vided a new understanding of employee advocacy and its relationship to perceived organizational authenticity. The relationshi ps studied were significant and should continue to be the focus of new research in the future, particularly related to expanding th eory in public relations.

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89 APPENDIX A QUESTIO N NAIRE INFORMED CONSENT Employee Research Study [Name] County School District Dear [Name] County School District Employee: Thank you for taking the time to consider participating in this rese arch study, which is being conducted by Callie Polk, a graduate student in mass communication at the University of Florida. [Name] County School District administrators provided your email address to Ms. Polk to assist in her research. The study consis ts of an online survey that asks questions about your perceptions of your employer, the [Name] County School District, and your communication about your employer. Your participation is important, as you are one of only a small group of school district empl oyees selected for this research. As noted below, your participation is voluntary and answers will be recorded anonymously. Please read this consent document before you decide to participate in the study. If you agree to participate, click "I Consent" and press the arrow button to be directed to an online questionnaire. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of th is study is to examine the relationship between organizational authenticity and employee advocacy. What you will be asked to do in the study: If you consent to this study, you will be directed to a brief questionnaire that should take you about 10 min utes to complete online. The survey asks questions about your perceptions of your employer and your communication about your employer. Your answers will be collected online and will be anonymous. Time required: About 10 minutes Risks and Benefits: There are no anticipated risks or benefits to you as a participant in this survey. Compensation: None. Confidentiality: Your participation in the study will be anonymous. Your identity will not be known and no identifying information will be collected or associated with your responses. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating.

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90 Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Callie Polk, Graduate Student, College of Journalism and Communications, P.O. BOX 118400 Gainesville, FL. US 32611 8400, callielp@ufl.edu; or Kathleen Kelly, Faculty Sup ervisor, College of Journalism and Communications, P.O. BOX 118400 Gainesville, FL. US 32611 8400. Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: IRB02 Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 2250; ph one (352) 392 0433. Agreement: I have read the Informed Consent document. By selecting "I Consent," I voluntarily agree to pa rticipate in the research study. I CONSENT (Please click the arrow button below to continue.) I DO NOT CONSENT Thank you for consenting to participate in this survey. The survey should take you about 10 minutes to complete. Please answer all questions. Your feedback is very important. What is your current position at the [Name] County School District? Teacher Administrator Other (Please Specify) ____________________ How many years have you been employed by your organization? (Example: 14) In Years... __________ The first section is about your employer, the [Name] County School District. Please select a number on the scales provided to respond to each item. The following statements may or may not describe communication by the [Name] County School District. Please select a number from 1 to 7, where 1 means you Strongly Disagree with the statement and 7 means you Strongly Agr ee with the statement.

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91 Strongly Disagree 1 Disagree 2 Somewhat Disagree 3 Neither Agree nor Disagree 4 Somewhat Agree 5 Agree 6 Strongly Agree 7 1. Most communication between employees and the leaders of this organization can be described as two way communication. 2. The leaders of this organization encourage differences of opinion. 3. The leaders of this organization usually inform me about major changes in policy that affect me before they take place. 4. I feel like the leaders of my organization value my opinion when major changes in policy might affect me.

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92 The following statements represent opinions you may or may not have of the leaders of the [Name] County School District. Please select a number from 1 to 7, where 1 means you Strongly Disagree with the statement and 7 means you Strongly Agree with the statement. Strongly Disagree 1 Disagree 2 Somewhat Disagree 3 Neither Agree nor Disagree 4 Somewha t Agree 5 Agree 6 Strongly Agree 7 5.The leaders of this organization tell the truth. 6. I believe that the leaders of this organization act genuinely. 7. The leadership of this organization is unsatisfactory. 8. I feel like the leaders of my organization are not willing to admit to mistakes when they are made. 9. The leaders of this organization have consistent beliefs and actions. 10. I believe that the leaders of this organization match their

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93 behavior to the core values. 11. I feel that the leaders of this organization accept and learn from mistakes. 12. I do not feel like I am an active part of the decision making process with my leaders. 13. I think the leaders of this organization match their rhetoric with their actions. 14. The leaders of this organization inspire me to value my job. The second section of the survey is about your personal communication in relation to the [Name] County School District. The following statements may or may not describe your communication. Please select a number from 1 to 7, where 1 means you Strongly Disagree with the statement and 7 means you Strongly Agree with the statement.

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94 Strongly Disagree 1 Disagree 2 Somewhat Disagree 3 Neither Agree nor Disagree 4 Somewhat Agree 5 Agree 6 Strongly Agree 7 15. I feel motivated to promote the leaders of this organization. 16. Recently, I agreed to negative opinions about the leaders of this organization. 17. I try to network with coworkers. 18. I have posted some negative messages about this organization. 19. I have praised this organization. 20. I cannot help speaking up when I hear ignorant and biased comments about this organization. 21. I have criticized this organization.

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95 22. I feel motivated to criticize the leaders of this organization. 23. I usually avoid networking with coworkers. Have you ever communicated about your organization using email or social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or blogs? Yes No Based on your use of e mail and social media, please rate the following channels by the frequency you have used them to communicate about the [Name] County S chool District during the last three months. Please select a number from 1 to 7, where 1 means you Never used the channel to communicate about your employer during the last three months and 7 means you used the channel at least Once a Day to communicate ab out your employer. Never 1 2 3 4 5 6 Once a Day at Least 7 I do not use this channel. Blogs Email Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

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96 Turning from frequency to content, please rate the same channels by the overall sentiment of your communications about the [Name] County School District during the last three months. Please select a number from 1 to 7, where 1 means your communications abo ut your employer on that channel during the last three months generally were Very Unfavorable and 7 means your communications about your employer on that channel generally were Very Favorable. Very Unfavorable 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Favorable 7 I do not use this channel Blogs Email Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Have you ever communicated anonymously about your organization using Internet channels? Yes No Based on your anonymous communication, please rate the following channels by the frequency you have used them to communicate about the [Name] County School District during the last three months. Please select a number from 1 to 7, where 1 means you Never used the channel to communicate anonymously about your e mployer during the last three months and 7 means you used the channel at least Once a Day to communicate anonymously about your employer. Never 1 2 3 4 5 6 Once a Day at Least 7 I do not use this channel Glassdoor TaleoUp Indeed Other (Please Specify)

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97 Turning from frequency to content, please rate the same channels by the overall sentiment of your anonymous communications about the [Name] County School District during the last three months. Please select a number from 1 to 7, where 1 means your anonymous communications about your employer on that channel during the last three months generally were Very Unfavorable and 7 means your anonymou s communications about your employer on that channel generally were Very Favorable. Very Unfavorable 1 2 3 4 5 6 Very Favorable 7 I do not use this channel Glassdoor TaleoUp Indeed Other (Please Specify) In the final section several demographic questions are asked for statistical analysis only. What is your age in years? (For example 34) Years Old... __________ What is your ethnicity? White or Caucasian Hispanic or Latino Black or African American Native American or American Indian Asian or Pacific Islander Other (Please Specify) ____________________ What is the highest level of education you have completed? (Please use the pull down menu below.) 4 year College Degree (BA/BS) Some Graduate School Degree Some Doctoral Studies Doctoral Degree (PhD/EdD) Professional Degree (MD, JD)

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98 Please feel free to add any additional comments you may have about the [Name] County School District and employer/employee communications. Comments: That completes the questionnaire! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to participate in this survey. Your research contribution is greatly appreciated. Ms. Callie Polk Graduate Student College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida callielp@ufl.edu

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9 9 APPENDIX B UNIVER SI TY OF F L ORIDA I NSTITUTIONAL R EVIEW B OARD APPROVAL FORM

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100 APPENDIX C UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD INFORMED CONSENT APPROVAL

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101

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102 APPENDIX D EMAIL INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN SURVEY January 22, 2013 DEAR <> <>, I am writing to request your help with my graduate research at the University of Florida. This research can benefit the Lake County School District and you. As part of a select group of Lake County School District teachers and administrators, you are invit ed to fill out a 10 minute online survey about the relationship and communication between employers and employees. Your participation in this survey is strictly voluntary. This study has been reviewed and approved by the district through the office of Kat hleen Farner Thomas Ph.D. d irector of Evaluation and Accountability. She is copied on this email as verification of approval. To participate, visit this link: https://uflj our.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQZha5v read the online survey agreement and then follow the online survey instructions to participate. Please try to complete this survey in the next week, by Monday, January 28. I know that your schedule is full and certainly appreciate you taking valuable time to voice your opinions. Your answers will be collected anonymously and no identifying information will be associated with your responses. Thank you in advance for your participation in this important proj ect. If you have any questions about the administration of the survey, please contact Callie Polk, University of Florida graduate student at (352) 409 7564 or callielp@ufl.edu Sincerely, Callie L. Polk Graduate Candidate in Mass Communication College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida Survey link: https://ufljour.qualtrics.co m/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQZha5v cc: Kathleen Farner Thomas Ph.D., director of Evaluation and Accountability Lake County Schools 200 W. Golf Links Avenue Eustis, FL 32726 thomask@lake.k12.fl.us

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103 APPENDIX E FIRST EMAIL SURVEY PARTICIPATION REMINDER January 25, 2013 DEAR <> <>, You were recently invited to participate in an online survey in which your opinion truly matters! In 10 minutes or less you can complete the survey about th e relationship and communications between you and your employer, the Lake County School District. Your participation is very important and will benefit you and the District, which has approved the survey. If you have not yet participated, please visit thi s link: https://ufljour.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQZha5v, read the online survey agreement and then follow the survey instructions. Your input is needed by next FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 Your answers will be collected anonymously and no identifying info rmation will be associated with your responses. This study has been reviewed and approved by the district office of Kathleen Farner Thomas Ph.D., director of Evaluation and Accountability, who is copied on this email for verification. Your participation i s strictly voluntary. Thank you in advance for your participation in this important project that will help me complete my graduate research. If you have any questions about the administration of the survey, please contact Callie Polk, University of Florid a graduate student, at (352) 409 7564 or callielp@ufl.edu. Sincerely, Callie L. Polk Graduate Candidate in Mass Communication College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida Survey link: https://ufljour.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQ Zha5v cc: Kathleen Farner Thomas Ph.D., director of Evaluation and Accountability Lake County Schools 200 W. Golf Links Avenue Eustis, FL 32726 thomask@lake.k12.fl.us

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104 APPENDIX F SECOND EMAIL SURVEY PARTICIPATION REMINDER February 1, 2013 Dear [First name] [Last name]: I am very excited to be collecting data for my graduate thesis that will be able to help you and the Lake County School District. By answering just a short survey (less than 10 minutes!) you can provide insightful information about the relationship and communications between you and your employer, the Lake County School District. Many employees have already completed the survey, thank you! However, a large majority has yet to f ill it out. I appreciate your continued support by completing the survey and encouraging fellow employees who were invited to do the same. If you have not yet participate d please visit this link: https://ufljour.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQZha5v read the online survey agreement and then follo w the survey instructions Your input is needed by MONDAY FEBRUARY 11 Your answers will be collected anonymously and no identifying information will be associated with your responses. This study has been re viewed and approved by the district office of Kathleen Farner Thomas Ph.D d irector o f Evaluation and Accountability, who is copied on this em ail for verification. Your participation is strictly voluntary. Thank you in advance for your participation in t his important project that will help me complete my graduate research If you have any questions about the administration of the survey, please contact Callie Polk, University of Florida graduate student at (352) 409 7564 or callielp@ufl.edu Sincerely, Callie L. Polk College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida Survey link: https://ufljour.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQZha5v cc: Kathleen Farner Thomas Ph.D., director of Evaluation and Accountability Lake County Schools 200 W. Golf Links Avenue Eustis, FL 32726 thomask@lake.k12.fl.us

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105 APPENDIX G THANK YOU EMAIL AND FINAL SURVEY REMINDER February 8, 2013 DEAR << Test First Name >> << Test Last Name >>, Thank you so much to you and your colleagues for providing insightfu l data that will benefit the Lake County School District and yourself. Feedback I receive will also help me complete my graduate thesis at the University of Florida. Without your help and support I would not be able to graduate! This is your last chance t o complete the survey if you have not done so already. By taking less than 10 minutes to complete a brief survey, you can provide insightful information about the relationship and communications between you and your employer, the Lake County School Distric t. If you have not yet participated, please visit this link: https://ufljour.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQZha5v read the online survey agreement and then follow the survey instructions. Your input is needed by MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 Your answers will be collected anonymously and no identifying information will be associated with your responses. This study has been reviewed and approved by the district office of Kathleen Farner Thomas Ph.D., director of Evaluation and Accountability. Your participation is strictly voluntary. Thank you again for those who have already participated or will participate now! If you hav e any questions about the administration of the survey, please contact Callie Polk, University of Florida graduate student, at (352) 409 7564 or callielp@ufl.edu. Sincerely, Callie L. Polk College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida Sur vey link: https://ufljour.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cvDYNLMObQZha5v cc: Kathleen Farner Thomas Ph.D., director of Evaluation and Accountability Lake County Schools 200 W. Golf Links Avenue Eustis, FL 32726 thomask@lake.k12.fl.us

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106 LIST OF REFERENCES Anonymous State Department of Education. (2012 a ). Title of publication and other information removed to comply with the request for confidentiality. Anonymous State Department of Education. (2012 b ). Title of publication and other request for confidentialit y. Arthur W. Page Society. (2007). The authentic enterprise: An Arthur W. Page Society report New York, NY: Author. Arthur W. Page Society. (2012). Building belief: A new model for activating corporate character and authentic advocacy Retr ieved September 19, 2012, from http://www.awpagesociety.com/insights/building belief/ Babbie, E. R. (2010). The practice of social research Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Retrieved February 1 2 2013. Berger, A. A. (2011). Media and communication research methods: An introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social science research: Principles, methods, and practices (2 nd ed ) T ampa, FL: USF Open Access Textbooks. Retrieved February 12 2013, from http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/oa_textbooks/3 Blum, P. K., & Tremarco, V. Q. (2008). High potential public relations professi onals thrive on challenge: A study of employee turnover and retention in the public relations industry Gainesville, FL: Institute for Public Rela tions. Retrieved September 21, 2012, from http://iccopr.com/fckeditor/editor/filemanager/connectors/aspx/fckeditor/userfiles/f ile/highpotentialsthriveonchallenge.pdf Bowen, S. A. (2005 a ). Excellence theory. In R. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of public relations (pp. 3 07 309). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage doi: 10.4135/9781412952545.n149 Bowen, S. A. (2005 b ). Symmetry. In R. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of public relations (pp. 838 840). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage doi: 10.4135/9781412952545.n149 Bowers, J. W., & Courtright, J. A. (1984). Communication r esearch m ethods Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman & Co. Brito, M. (2012 a August 21). [Blog post]. Retrieved February 17 2013, from http://www.edelmandigital.com/2012/08/21/evolve employee advocacy/

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107 Brito, M. (2012 b June 12). Social business enables employee advocacy [Blog post]. Retrieved F ebruary 17 2013, from http://www.edelmandigital.com/2012/06/12/social business employee advocacy/ Broom, G. (2012). Harlow, England: Pearson Education. Burson Marsteller. (2008, November 14). Eighth a nn ual Burson Marsteller/ PRWeek CEO s urvey [Blog post]. Retrieved November 28, 2012 from http://www.burson marsteller.com/Innovation_and_insights/blogs_and_podcasts/BM_Blog/Lists/Pos ts/Post.aspx?ID=79 Burton, S. K. (20 06a, March 1 ). Should I stay or should I go? Chief Executive Officer Retrieved November 6, 2012, from http://www.the chiefexecutive.com/features/feature183 Burton, S. K. (2006b, Spring) Without trust, you have nobody: Effective employee communications for today and tomorrow The Public Relations Strategist 12 (2), 32 36. Burton, S. K. (2011a). The key stakeholders: Your employees. In C. L. Caywood (Ed.), The handbook of strategic public relations and integrated marketing communications (2 nd ed., pp. 131 143). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Burton, S. K. (2011b, Winter). Listen up: Why employees are your key. The Public Relations Strategist Retrieved November 6, 2012, from http://www.mydigitalpublication.com/display_article.php?id=949319 Australian Journal of Communication, 35 (3), 41 67. Carmine s, E. G., & Zeller, R. A. (1979). Reliability and v alidity a ssessment Newbury Park, CA : Sage Carr, D. F. (2012). PepsiCo makes employees social ambassadors [Blog post] R etrieved October 15, 2012, from http://www.informationweek.com/thebrainyard/news/social_networking_consume r/232500250/pepsico makes employees social ambassadors Church, G. (2012 August 17). People powered brands: Empowering a tribe of internal advocates [Blog post] Re trieved November 15, 2012, from http://comprehension.prsa.org/?p=4979 Cohen, J. (1998). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, New Jersey.

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108 Conlin, M., & Park, A. (2004, June 27). [Blog post] Retrieved October 12 2012 from http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2004 06 27/blogging with the bosss blessing Cramer, B. (2009). Using social media to advance your goals. Nonprofit World 27 (1), 20 21. Czarniawska, B. (2000). Identity lost or id entity found? Ce lebration and lamentation over the postmodern view of identity in social science and fiction. In M. Sc hulz, M. Hatch, & M. Larsen (Eds.), The expressive organization: Lin king identity, reputation, and the corporate brand (pp. 27 0 284). Retrieved October 23, 2012, from http://books. google.com/books?id=iPIoFtMbR9wC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=wh etenalbert&source=bl&ots=kmgT9Rauc&sig=kxsz8MdQIvLp5GCdoUYLRYnzMp Y&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bCiGUPGuKIG9qQGR9IFg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAg Dellarocas, C. (2003). The digitization of word of mouth. Management Science, 49 (10 ), 1407 1424. Dozier, D. M., Grunig, L. A., & Grunig, J. E. (1995). Manager's guide to excellence in public relations and communication management Re trieved October 14, 2012, from http://books.google.com/books?id=GtyygZH8LB4C&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=tw owaysymmetricalcommunication&source=bl& ots=SN4R6k61NX&sig=OjA0mauw H6Qap5J3g12We2d7zaQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tEZ6ULDEGYqdrAHsooDQAw&ved =0CDEQ6AEwAA Edelman. (2012). Trust barometer executive summary Retrieved October 21, 2012, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/79026497/2012 Edelman Trust Barometer Executive Summary Edwards, L. (2010). Authenticity in organizational context: Fragmentation, contradiction and loss of control. Journal of Communication Management, 14 (3), 192 205. Ewing, M. E. (2007). Changing with the times: Leve raging the Web to enhance your employee communications program. Public Relations Tactics, 14 (3), 12 13. Eysen bach, G. (2008). Medicine 2.0: S ocial networking, collaboration, participation, a pomediation, and openness. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10 (3). Retrieved October 19, 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2626430/ Gallicano, T. D., Curtin, P., & Matthews, K. (2012). I love management survey of millennial generation publ ic relations agency employees. Journal of Public Relations Research 24 (3), 222 242. Global perspectives: How is your company or client using socia l media for empl oyee communication? (2008). Communication World 25 (5), 17.

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109 Grunig, J. E. (2009). Paradigms of global public relations in an age of digitalization Retrieved October 22, 2012 from http://www.prismjournal.org/fileadmin/Praxis/Files/globalPR/GRUNIG.pdf Grunig, J. E., & Grunig, L. A. (1996, May). Implications of symmetry for a theory of ethics and soc ial responsibility in public relations Paper presented at the International Communication Association, Chicago IL. Grunig, J. E., & Grunig, L. A. (2002). Implications of th e IABC excellence study for PR education. Journal of Communication Management, 7 (1 ), 34 42. Grunig, J. E., & Huang, Y. (2000). From organizational effectiveness to relationship indicators: Antecedents of relationships, public relation s strategies, and relationship outcomes. In J. Ledingham & S. Bruning (Eds.), Public relations as relat ionship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations (pp. 23 53). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Grunig, J. E., & Hunt, T. (1984). Managing public relations New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Grunig, J. E., Grunig, L. A. & Dozier, D. M. (2006). Relationship managemen t: A general theory of public relations. In C. H. Botan & V. Hazleton (Eds.), Pub lic relations t heory II (pp. 21 62). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Grunig, L. A., Grunig, J. E., & Dozier, D. M. (2002). Excellent public relations and effective organizations: A study of communication management in three countries Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Grunig, L. A., Grunig, J. E., & Ehling, W. P. (1992). What is an effective orga nization? In J. E. Grunig (Ed.), Excellence i n public relations and communication management (pp. 65 89). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. excellence principles generic? Comparing Slovenia and the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Journal of Communication Management 2 (4), 335 356. Hallahan, K. (2005). Communication technologies. In R. Heath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of public relations (pp. 165 169). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9781412952545.n82 Hearn, G., Foth, M., & Gray, H. (2009). Applications and i mplementations of new media in corporate communications: An action research approach. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 14 (1), 49 61. doi: 1 0.1108/13563280910931072 Holtz, S. (1999). Public relations on the Net: Winning strategies to inform and influence the media, the investment community, the government, the public, and more! New York, NY: AMACOM.

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114 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Callie Polk was born and raised in Leesburg, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in j ournalism from the University of Florida (UF) in 2011. Upon Journalism and Communications and pursue a Master of Arts in Mass Communication specializing in public r elations. She received her M.A.M.C. from the University of Florida in the spring of 2013. Callie plans to pursue a professional career in public relati ons at a university or corporation.