Citation
Relationship Maintenance with Financial Publics: Investor Relations Links of Forbes 200 Best Small Company Web Sites

Material Information

Title:
Relationship Maintenance with Financial Publics: Investor Relations Links of Forbes 200 Best Small Company Web Sites
Creator:
HONG, YOUNGSHIN
Copyright Date:
2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Annual reports ( jstor )
Business structures ( jstor )
Chief executive officers ( jstor )
Corporations ( jstor )
Email ( jstor )
Investor relations ( jstor )
Investors ( jstor )
Nonexistence ( jstor )
Public relations ( jstor )
Shareholders ( jstor )
City of Gainesville ( local )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Youngshin Hong. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
8/31/2008
Resource Identifier:
649814494 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

RELATIONSHIP MAINTENANCE WI TH FINANCIAL PUBLICS: INVESTOR RELATIONS LINKS OF FORBES 200 BEST SMALL COMPANY WEB SITES By YOUNGSHIN HONG A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

PAGE 2

I accomplished my thesis through the blessing of God. My thesis is dedicated to my family. Without my parents’ prayers a nd support, I could not have completed my graduate course including my thesis.

PAGE 3

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Spiro K. Kiousis. He always gave me a warm welcome to discuss and encouraged me to come up with better ideas and demonstrate my best for my thesis. His role was indispensable to completing the whole procedure of my thesis. I deeply appreciate his guidance and thoughtful consideration. I also would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Linda C. Hon and Dr. Youjin Choi. They offered me priceless suggestions, which greatly improved the quality of my thesis. I want to give thanks to my Piccadilly family, Hyeri Choi, Jungyun Park, and Grace Eunhee Kim. Thanks to the sweet memory with them, I truly enjoyed my daily life in the second year of my graduate course in Gainesville. Definitely, the great memories with them are something pleasant to look back on after graduation. My gratitude should go to my friendly members, Hyojin Jeannie Shin, Hyungmin Lee, Hyemin Yeon, and Jimi Park. We shared lots of pleasant experiences in Florida, and talking to them made me so happy. Even though we will be in different places, I will cherish the enjoyable memories with them. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Eyun-Jung Ki for her encouragement, valuable suggestions, and flexible interaction to broaden an outlook in academic research. Without her great help, I could not have accomplished my graduate course. I want to give Korean Communigators in this college many thanks. They provided precious insights to be a good researcher and were always friendly and sincere. I will never forget what we shared in Gainesville. iii

PAGE 4

A great thank you should go to my friends, Hyejo Yeom, Jihyun Kim, and Shinkyu Kang, for their encouragement and friendly counsel for the graduate course. They were always willing to listen whenever I had problems. I extend my appreciation to them. Finally, I would like to thank my family. Without my father’s prayers the every morning and my mother’s encouragement, I could not have accomplished my thesis and graduate course work. I learned sincerity, consideration, a broad outlook on the society from my father, and my mother has been a precious role model to be an independent woman and a good researcher. My parents actively supported me to experience what I would like to do. My three elder sisters and one brother in-law also encouraged me to realize my dream. My lovely two nephews made me happy whenever I was depressed. Thanks to their great support, I completed my master’s course work. iv

PAGE 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................1 2 LITERATURE REVIEW............................................................................................4 The Internet and Public Relations .................................................................................4 Web Site Features and Public Relations ................................................................5 Interested Publics and Web Sites ..........................................................................6 Investor Relations .........................................................................................................8 Definition of Investor Relations ............................................................................8 Investor Relations and Public Relations ................................................................9 Investor Relations and Web sites ........................................................................10 Relationship Management ..........................................................................................11 Conceptualization ................................................................................................11 Types of Relationships ........................................................................................12 Dimensions of Relationship Maintenance ...........................................................15 Research Questions and Hypotheses ..........................................................................22 3 METHODOLOGY....................................................................................................23 Sample and Research Method ....................................................................................23 Coding Items and Operational Definition ...................................................................24 Code Book, Coder Training, and Pilot Study .............................................................29 Data Analysis ..............................................................................................................31 4 RESULTS..................................................................................................................33 Research Question 1 ...................................................................................................33 Research Question 2 ...................................................................................................35 Access ..................................................................................................................36 v

PAGE 6

Positivity ..............................................................................................................38 Openness ..............................................................................................................40 Assurances ...........................................................................................................42 Hypothesis 1 ...............................................................................................................45 Hypothesis 2 ...............................................................................................................46 Hypothesis 3 ...............................................................................................................46 Hypothesis 3-a .....................................................................................................47 Hypothesis 3-b .....................................................................................................48 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION.......................................................................49 Contributions ..............................................................................................................57 Limitations and Future Research ................................................................................58 APPENDIX A CODING SHEET FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS....................................................61 B CODING BOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS......................................................65 C THE WEB SITES OF 2005 FORBES 200 BEST SMALL COMPANY LISTS......72 LIST OF REFERENCES ...................................................................................................79 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................................................................86 vi

PAGE 7

LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Application of investor relations items to relationship maintenance strategies ........24 2 Intercoder reliability ..................................................................................................30 3 Frequencies of investor relations link clearly labeled ...............................................34 4 Frequencies of investor relations link names ............................................................34 5 Descriptive statistics of relationship maintenance strategies ....................................36 6 Descriptive statistics of access items ........................................................................37 7 Descriptive statistics of positivity items ...................................................................39 8 Descriptive statistics of openness items ....................................................................40 9 Format of annual reports ...........................................................................................41 10 Descriptive statistics of assurances items .................................................................43 11 Miscellaneous items in the investor relations link of Web sites ...............................44 12 Cross tabulation and chi-square regarding the separate IR link and corporate ranking ......................................................................................................................45 13 ANOVA for assurances by corporate sales (= revenues) .........................................47 14 ANOVA for access by corporate net income (= profit) ............................................48 vii

PAGE 8

LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 Mean plot of the assurances by corporate sales ........................................................47 2 Mean plot of the access by corporate net income. ....................................................48 viii

PAGE 9

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 RELATIONSHIP MAINTENANCE WITH FINANCIAL PUBLICS: INVESTOR RELATIONS LINKS OF FORBES 200 BEST SMALL COMPANY WEB SITES By Youngshin Hong August 2006 Chair: Spiro K. Kiousis Major Department: Journalism and Communications Most previous studies investigating corporate Web sites concentrated on bigger companies in public relations. As a result, little was known about smaller companies. Despite the great importance, public relations scholars have been slow to explore investor relations through the lens of public relations. For these reasons, this research aims to understand how small companies implement public relations activities, investor relations in particular, on their Web sites. Based on relationship maintenance strategies including access, positivity, openness, assurances, networking, and sharing of tasks, the list of 2005 Forbes 200 Best Small Companies was analyzed. Because this research primarily targeted financial publics, investor relations links of the company Web sites were examined. Due to nonexistence of items of networking and sharing of tasks, the two strategies were excluded in the data analysis. ix

PAGE 10

Lots of corporate Web sites were financial publics-friendly. Because investor relations has become common in small companies, no difference was found between the corporate ranking and the number of corporate Web sites clearly labeling the investor relations link. Openness was the most prevalent, while positivity was the least preferred in the investor relations link of the corporate Web sites. The higher-sales companies actively tapped into assurances, whereas the higher-net income corporations addressed more access items. Despite nonexistence of items of networking and sharing of tasks, the two strategies have potential to maintain relationships in a long term. As investigating investor relations has been truly underestimated in public relations scholarship, this research could be the first bridge to enlarging the research scope to several types of publics in the public relations paradigm. Furthermore, this academic exploration contributes to reducing the research gap between bigger and smaller corporations in the public relations realm. The results of this research help investor relations practitioners develop strategies in the investor relations link of corporate Web sites for the purpose of maintaining relationships with their financial publics. x

PAGE 11

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Organizations increasingly consider home pages to be crucial in terms of their communications with internal and external publics. Corporate Web sites can be utilized to maximize the effects of communication with publics, and divided into separate subcategories, including investor relations. According to Kent and Taylor (1998), the Web enables publics to produce, adapt, and alter their relationships with organizations. Furthermore, Ki (2003) noted that organizations are able to succeed in developing effective and strategic relationships with key publics through Web site communication. For these reasons, for-profit and nonprofit organizations have tapped into their own Web sites to promote relationships with publics. Due to their great potential, Web sites have been analyzed in diverse ways based on theoretical public relations frameworks. Studies have explored corporate Web sites from the perspective of general publics (Esrock & Leichty, 1999, 2000; Ki, 2003) and in terms of corporate social responsibility (Esrock & Leichty, 1998), media relations (Callison, 2003), and issues management (Heath, 1998). Despite various approaches to Web site research, no study has focused on how corporate Web sites serve financial publics in public relations. Contrary to this lack of research on financial publics in the public relations field, complex international capital markets have experienced a rapid growth in investor relations (Marston, 1996). Marston and Straker (2001) found that over 95 percent of European continental companies considered investor relations highly important. 1

PAGE 12

2 Generally, finance or investor relations departments handle investor relations tasks instead of public relations departments, because corporations mainly aim to increase stock prices (Farragher, Kleiman, & Bazaz, 1994; Marston, 1996; Petersen & Martin, 1996). Regarding investor relations, Esrock and Leichty (1999) reported that corporate Web sites play a key role in offering financial publics detailed information. In a follow-up study, Esrock and Leichty (2000) identified investors and financial communities as the most significant publics on company Web sites. Similarly, Chavez (1996) noted that corporate Web pages have become more prevalent with investors. AT&T Web master Andy Myers observed that hundreds of thousands of visitors use the investor relations link on their Web site daily (Chavez, 1996). Since the Enron scandal in 2001, financial communication capabilities have become indispensable (Petrecca, 2002). Plunkett (1999) asserted that companies can accomplish communication with individual investors through investor-dedicated Web pages. According to Miller (1997), successful relationship maintenance with stockholders is a valuable practice in terms of public relations and financial management. Despite the influence of Web sites on investor relations, little research explores investor relations on corporate Web sites from the perspective of public relations. Ledingham (2003) noted that a number of public relations contexts, such as public affairs, community relations, media relations, crisis management, and issue management, have been examined through a relational perspective. As Ki (2003) pointed out, public relations scholars have relatively little devoted to relationship maintenance (Bortree, 2005; Hon & J. Grunig, 1999; J. Grunig & Huang, 2000). Furthermore, no investor

PAGE 13

3 relations studies consider the relational perspective, despite the importance of relationships with financial publics via corporate Web pages. In addition, most studies of corporate Web sites concentrate on larger companies, including those on the Fortune 500 list. Meanwhile, the approaches to investor relations in smaller companies are underdeveloped. For these reasons, this study will explore how the Web sites of smaller corporations are used to conduct investor relations and maintain relationships with financial publics.

PAGE 14

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The Internet and Public Relations Since the advent of the Internet in the late 1990s, communication via the Internet has become a daily practice for many individuals. Web site use has increased rapidly due to various advantages, such as easy access, low cost, 24-hour availability, and unlimited Web space (Ki, 2003). As a result, the number of the Internet users in the United States has increased by 113.2 percent from 2000 to 2005, reaching about 2 billion people as of August 2005 (“Internet usage statistics for the Americas,” n.d.). This rapid growth has fueled online communication studies by public relations scholars. According to Kent, Taylor, and White (2003), for-profit and nonprofit organizations consider the Internet crucial tools for public relations. Scholars have pointed out the powerful effects of the Web as a communications and public relations tool, noting its ability to effectively convey public relations messages (Wright, 2001), offer publics information in a timely manner (Hill & White, 2000; Weber, 1996), and enhance corporate identity (Hill & White, 2000). Similarly, public relations practitioners consider Web sites principal in representing an organization’s potency, improving its image and sense of professionalism, and fostering stronger relationships with publics quickly and cost-effectively (Hill & White, 2000). For these reasons, organizations have begun to establish and tap into their own Web sites to communicate with key stakeholders (Esrock & Leichty, 1998). 4

PAGE 15

5 Web Site Features and Public Relations Of all the advantages to corporate Web sites, interactivity has been closely related to public relations because it corresponds to the two-way symmetrical model. Ki (2003) argued that Web site interactivity, which creates spaces for open communication between organizations and publics, has potential to realize two-way symmetry. In a similar vein, the Internet enables corporate public relations practitioners to communicate with their publics interactively (Weber, 1996). Newhagen and Rafaeli (1996) also corresponded that interactivity is what distinguishes the Internet from traditional media outlets. Through explication of a variety of literatures, Kiousis (2002) noted that interactivity resulted from a hybrid of “technological structure of the media used, characteristics of communication settings, and individual’s perceptions” (p. 379). Scholars have shown interests in analyzing the extent to which interactivity influences organizational Web sites through the lens of relationship building. According to O’Malley and Irani (1998), interactivity can impact relationship building by altering user attitudes and behaviors. Likewise, Jo and Kim (2003) asserted that interactive Web site features contribute to relationship building between organizations and their publics. Kiousis and Dimitrova (in press) also supported the key characteristics of online communication including interactivity and multimedia formats to cultivate favorable perceptions; thus, public relations practitioners should be capable for creating more effective messages based on the two features through Web sites. In addition to the impact of Web site interactivity, Kent and Taylor (1998) identified five guidelines for successful relationship building via Web sites based on dialogic communication: dialogic loop, usefulness of information, the generation of return visits, the intuitiveness/ease of the interface, and the rule of conservation of

PAGE 16

6 visitors. Furthermore, Taylor, Kent, and White (2001) claimed that using dialogic loops, or the generation of return visits, greatly contribute to the establishment of long-term dialogic relationships between organizations and their key publics. However, Web sites for activist organizations reported the lowest mean score of dialogic loops and the generation of return visits (Kent et al., 2003; Taylor et al., 2001). This indicates that activist organizations are poorly committed to relationship building with principal publics (Kent et al., 2003). Interested Publics and Web Sites Beyond relationship building and Web site interactivity, public relations researchers have also examined how organizations take care of interested publics through their Web pages. Kang and Norton (2004) investigated the Web sites belonging to the largest U.S. nonprofit organizations in terms of usability, useful information, interactivity, and relational communication. The leading nonprofit Web sites exhibited strengths in addressing traditional public relations resources, including press releases, organizational history, and mission statements, but weaknesses in facilitating two-way and relational communication functions with key publics (Kang & Norton, 2004). Yeon (2005) also analyzed the Web pages of the same nonprofits in relation to donor, volunteer, and media relations and concluded that the nonprofit Web sites effectively employed their interactive features to build relationships with donors rather than with the media. Overall, the largest U.S. nonprofits seem to disregard more advanced interactive and relational communication methods, relying on traditional communication with their interested publics on Web sites. Fortune 500 Web sites have received diverse analyses in terms of corporate social responsibilities and media relations. According to Esrock and Leichty (1998), Fortune

PAGE 17

7 500 companies that generated more revenues tended to address social responsibility issues more on their Web sites, but devoted little attention to fostering mutual communication with key publics. Moreover, Callison (2003) found that more than half of all Fortune 500 companies did not provide separate links for media relations on their Web pages. Similar to the tendency noted by Esrock and Leighty (1998), higher-ranking corporations were more eager to offer press materials under the media relations link than lower-raking corporations (Callison, 2003). Scholars have also noted how larger corporations serve their publics via Web pages. Research shows that Fortune 500 corporations provide separate, distinct sections on their Web sites for customers, investors, and prospective employees (Esrock & Leichty, 1999, 2000). In addition, these three publics receive their own hyperlinks on the front page of corporate Web sites, indicating that the companies consider each a high priority (Esrock & Leichty, 2000). The corporate Web sites also provided detailed information public (Esrock & Leichty, 1999) and a variety of financial resources (Ettredge & Gerdes, Jr., 2005) to investors. According to Kent et al. (2003), organizational Web pages establish mutually advantageous relationships between organizations and principal publics in terms of the stakeholder theory. Therefore, corporate Web sites seem to hold great potential for building and maintaining relationships with financial publics, yet no study explores how corporations utilize their Web sites for the purpose of relationship management with financial publics in the context of public relations.

PAGE 18

8 Investor Relations Definition of Investor Relations Despite the importance placed on investor relations on corporate Web sites (Esrock & Leichty, 1999, 2000), investor relations has received little attention in terms of public relations. The National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), a specialized association of investor relations professionals in charge of communication between companies, their publics, and financial communities since 1969, defined investor relations as (“NIRI Mission and Goals,” 2003): [A strategic management responsibility that integrates finance, communication, marketing and securities law compliance to enable the most effective two-way communication between a company, the financial community, and other constituencies, which ultimately contributes to a company’s securities achieving fair valuation (Adopted by the NIRI Board of Directors, March 2003).] This definition corresponds to the views of public relations scholars in its emphasis on mutual communication between companies and key publics regarding investor relations. Cutlip, Center, and Broom (1999) defined investor relations as “a specialized part of corporate public relations that builds and maintains mutually beneficial relationships with shareholders and others in the financial community to maximize market value” (p. 21). Miller (1997) designated the following 17 “influential financial groups” for investor relations (pp.163-164): 1. Stock exchange member firms, customers’ brokers, branch office managers 2. Members of the security analyst societies and individual analysts 3. Unlisted or over-the-counter dealers 4. Investment bankers 5. Commercial bankers (trust departments) 6. Registered investment advisory services 7. Insurance companies and pension funds that buy common stocks 8. Mutual funds and investment trusts 9. Investment counselors 10. Trustees of estates and institutions 11. Financial statistical organizations

PAGE 19

9 12. Investment magazines and financial publications (semiweekly, weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, monthly, and quarterly) 13. Large individual shareholders 14. Debt rating agencies (Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s) 15. Portfolio managers 16. Lender banks 17. Foreign markets Investor Relations and Public Relations According to Prout (1997), investor relations is one of the 13 functional responsibilities that belongs to the department of public relations. Public relations scholars acknowledge investor relations as within the realm of public relations, yet investor relations has largely remained under the department of financial affairs (Marston, 1996; Petersen & Martin, 1996). Top executives believe that public relations practitioners are not qualified to supervise investor relations due to their lack of training and experiences related to corporate finance, law, and management (Petersen & Martin, 1996). Specifically, chief executive officers noted that “knowledge of finance and capital markets” ranked the highest among the “importance of qualifications for handling investor relations” (Petersen & Martin, 1996, p. 190). For these reasons, Petersen and Martin (1996) suggested that high-ranking executive officers regard investor relations as belonging within the business arena. These viewpoints illustrate the disparity among perceptions of investor relations between academics and practitioners. Contrary to different perceptions of investor relations, the general trend has been in favor of the convergence of investor relations and public relations. Johnson (1990) insisted that positive corporate images created by public relations efforts promote corporate confidence among shareholders. Furthermore, Silver (2004) highlighted the advantageous results of this convergence, such as improved stock prices and enhanced corporate reputation. This trend toward convergence makes communication capabilities

PAGE 20

10 for investor relations all the more necessary. According to Barmash (2000), if investor relations specialists lack work experiences or training relevant to communication, companies will face a crisis in investor relations. The integration of public relations with investor relations has acquired more support in light of beneficial relationships between public relations and higher corporate values. Investor Relations and Web sites Miller (1997) noted the significance of the Internet as a means of communicating with shareholders. In the nascent era of investor relations, press releases, annual reports, and financial disclosure were regarded as common practices (Davids, 1989; Silver, 2004), while the advent of the Internet could lead to the substitution of corporate Web sites for off-line communication with financial publics. Furthermore, the building of investor relations via corporate Web sites increased the number of visitor hits by 38 percent (“IR Web sites winning popularity contents,” 1999). These results illustrate that Web sites have potential for investor relations. Johnson (1997) claimed that investor relations practitioners can substitute Web pages containing press releases, multimedia-format presentations, and market information provided to financial communities for more traditional communication methods such as targeted mailings to stockholders and security analysts. About 70 percent of investors are more likely to invest in corporations serving financial publics through Web sites in a timely manner, and over 95 percent of individual investors want to read relevant news releases on Web pages rather than through newswire services (“Internet is now leading source of investor information,” 1999). These survey results imply that not only are investors more likely to trust investor relations resources found on corporate Web sites,

PAGE 21

11 but also that Web sites have great potential for building favorable relationships with primary publics. Relationship Management Conceptualization Grunig and Huang (2000) observed that public relations is an effective means for building relationships with key entities because it saves on unnecessary expenses like litigation, and also facilitates good relationships with strategic publics such as consumers and stockholders. Discussions stressing relationship building through public relations began with Ferguson (1984), who strongly insisted that relationships between organizations and their crucial publics should become a central focus of public relations academia. Since then, it has been common to identify public relations through the perspective of relationship management in both academic and practical fields (Bruning & Ledingham 1999, 2000; Ledingham, 2003; Ledingham & Bruning, 1998). Ledingham and Bruning (1998) pointed out that relationship management resulted in conceptual changes from communication to management regarding public relations. Emphasis on relationship is also in accordance with the definition of public relations by Cutlip et al. (1999) that emphasizes the establishment and maintenance of “mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics” (p. 6). The term “relationship,” then, is the center of public relations. In spite of the importance of the relationship, public relations scholars have not reached full agreement regarding what the relationship is and how to measure it, organizational-public relationships (OPRs) in particular (Broom, Casey, & Ritchey, 2000). Broom et al. (2000) tried to explicate the relationship in response to different conceptualizations of the term by measuring the perceptions of publics involved in the

PAGE 22

12 relationship from interpersonal communication, focusing on “ the counselor-client relationship” (p. 10) from psychotherapy, emphasizing organizational behaviors and linkages from interorganizational relationships, and interacting communication in socially structured systems from system theory. Toth (2000) shed light on how the individual influence model could contribute to establishment and maintenance of relationships. Additionally, Hung (2005) added interdependence between organizations and their relevant constituencies to the definition of relationship. Based on this diverse explication, Hung (2005) recently conceptualized that “organizational-public relationships arise when organizations and their strategic publics are interdependent, and this interdependence results in consequences to each other that organizations need to manage constantly” (p. 396). Types of Relationships Most discussions on types of relationships, organizational-public relationships in particular, have focused on communal and exchange relationships. Communal relationships are based on increasing the other party’s pleasure even though return is not expected (Hung, 2005; Mills & Clark, 1994). In this regard, friendships, romantic relationships between couples, and family relationships are considered communal relationships (Mills & Clark, 1994). Mills and Clark (1994) asserted that exchange relationships explain how people are engaged in relationships with non-intimate environments, such as businesses. In public relations, the importance of communal relationships to primary publics has become apparent in terms of corporate social responsibility and community relations, which offer strategic publics benefits yet do not necessarily require return (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1999; Hung, 2005). Additionally, Hung (2005) claimed that exchange

PAGE 23

13 relationships tend to gradually shift into communal relationships. To explore more relationship types specific to the public relations field, Hung (2005) conducted qualitative interviews with practitioners in multinational corporate environments and found other kinds of organizational relationships such as mutual communal, convenantal, contractual, symbiotic, manipulative, and exploitative relationships. None of these relationships were obviously distinguishable from the other, but organizations prefer win-win relationships with key publics as establishing mutual communal, convenantal, or exchange relationships (Hung, 2005, in press). According to Hung (2005), convenantal relationships are realized when both parties pursue the common best through open exchanges and reciprocal standards, which enables organizations to achieve a win-win relationship with publics. Bennett (2001) claimed that students and their teachers should endeavor to establish convenantal relationships through attentive listening and productive criticism for further developments. In a mutual communal relationship, both parties exhibit the extent to which they are concerned with one another (Hung, 2005). If business leaders who have the headquarter office in Florida and community leaders in that state make efforts to reconstruct the social overhead capital destroyed by the hurricane, the relationship between the business and community leaders could be mutual communal. Symbiotic relationships are pursued with more interdependent interests in mind yet do not expect benefit returns (Hung, 2005). For instance, if the department of finance offers the public relations department financial highlights acquired over the past year, public relations practitioners can release newsletters to employees, write press releases, or develop a campaign to keep investors informed and to improve corporate stock prices.

PAGE 24

14 The relationship between practitioners in the department of finance and people in the public relations department seems to be symbiotic in that both share the common goal yet do not provide benefits return. Exploitative relationships occur when one party disregards the norms of exchange relationships (Clark & Mills, 1993), such as poor treatments to workers in sweatshops. Hung (2005) also claimed that contractual relationships do not necessarily guarantee equality of power in relational communication. For example, general practitioners seem to have less power than human resources representatives holding performance records of the practitioners in the salary negotiation; thus, both are more likely to be in contractual relationships. According to Hung (2005), manipulative relationships occur when organizations only look out for their own interests through asymmetrical or pseudosymmetrical communication with interested publics, despite understanding their publics’ needs. Kent et al. (2003) pointed out that over 70 percent of the primary contact practitioners at sampled activist organizations provided no response when contacted via an e-mail. The organizations that ignored e-mail replies exhibited very poor commitments to their key publics, and this may refer to a manipulative relationship and pseudosymmetry in their communications. This practice is more likely to obstruct favorable relationships with publics on organizational Web pages. Most organizations seem to be more interested in building relationships with strategic publics. However, previously established relationships could be impaired in quality without continual maintenance efforts. Studies relevant to relationship maintenance tend to be conducted in terms of interpersonal communication and public

PAGE 25

15 relations (Bortree, 2005; Canary & Stafford, 1994; J. Grunig & Huang, 2000; Hon & J. Grunig, 1999; Ki, 2003; Stafford & Canary, 1991). As Hung (in press) reported, J. Grunig asserted that the term “cultivation” is more appropriate than the term “maintenance” in the personal communication setting on February 26, 2002. Hung (in press) corroborated with J. Grunig’s view because public and organizational behaviors are continually cultivated for better relationships. Several scholars suggested how to measure strategies for relationship maintenance, or cultivation. Dimensions of Relationship Maintenance According to Hon and J. Grunig (1999), measurement of qualitative relationships with key publics have a greater influence on the value of the public relations field. Stafford and Canary (1991) identified the following five dimensions to measure the maintenance of relationships with publics using romantic couples through the lens of interpersonal communication: positivity, openness, assurance, networking, and shared tasks. In a later study, Canary and Stafford (1994) demonstrated that these five dimensions generated four desirable outcomes: mutuality, liking, commitment, and relational satisfaction. J. Grunig and Huang (2000) discussed that these five categories relate considerably to the two-way symmetrical model (e.g., J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1992). In a similar vein, Hon and J. Grunig (1999) explained the following 6 strategies applicable to relationship management with interested parties from interpersonal communication: access, positivity, openness, assurances, networking, and the sharing of tasks. Along with the dimensions that Hon and J. Grunig (1999) recommended for relationship maintenance, Ki (2003) analyzed how Fortune 500 Web sites adopted five features—positivity, openness, sharing of tasks, networking, and access. According to Ki

PAGE 26

16 (2003), the use of openness items ranked the highest, whereas networking items ranked the lowest. First, access refers to the opportunities given to strategic organizational publics to contact public relations practitioners (Hon & J. Grunig, 1999), and “each party giving the other access to significant processes and information within their organization or community” (Bortree, 2005, p. 5). Ki (2003) pointed out that the revolution of the Web enabled diverse publics to affect decision-making at organizations through telephone calls, e-mails targeting staffs, and bulletin boards, which are subcategories on Web sites. In terms of media relations, Callison (2003) argued that journalist-friendly Web sites provide separate press room links where all media contents are centralized. A concentrated place for media contents helps journalists search corporate sites more easily (Esrock & Leichty, 1999, 2000). Applying this method of journalist-friendly Web sites to investor relations, companies offering financial publics separate investor links on their corporate Web pages would favor financial publics and improve their access to investor relations information. With the exception of a clearly distinguished investor relations section, the extent to which financial publics visit corporate Web sites to gain the contact information of primary investor relations practitioners is important. Marston and Straker (2001) noted that answering questions via phone was regarded as the most important investor relations practice. For general and media publics, Fortune 500 company Web sites provide contact information of the primary practitioner, such as full names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, and fax numbers (Callison, 2003; Ki, 2003). Offering

PAGE 27

17 strategic publics a variety of contact information also corresponds to the findings of Hon and J. Grunig (1999). As significant as primary investor relations staffs are, institutional investors considered accessibility to top management highly valuable (Plunkett, 1999). Lees (1994) said that “there is no doubt about who is responsible for investor relations in any public company. It is the chief executive” (p. 5). Further, Plunkett (1999) suggested that the establishment of investor hotlines is helpful for answering investors’ questions in a timely fashion. Chief executive officers identified communication with investor relations professionals highly important and effective to accomplish positive investor relations results (Petersen & Martin, 1996). For this reason, chief executive officers may wield greater power on the final decisions of investor relations tasks. In addition, communication with chief executive officers, such as requests for more financial disclosure, may further enhance investor relations activities. In this regard, higher levels of accessibility to chief executive officers via contact means seem to be valuable. Positivity purpose to have pleasurable relationships between organizations and publics (Canary & Stafford, 1994; Hon & J. Grunig, 1999), and relates to glad interaction with partners (Canary & Stafford, 1992). Positivity grew from the basic assumption, “Be Unconditionally Constructive,” developed by Fisher and Brown (1988) for relationship building, which J. Grunig and L. Grunig (1992) applied to the symmetrical model. According to Canary and Stafford (1992), positivity served as a predictor for control mutuality and liking. In the sense that it aims for greater pleasure, positivity seems to relate to communal relationships.

PAGE 28

18 Previous researchers appropriated positivity into several public relations tactics such as online games, interactive materials, and a downloadable content for child publics (Bortree, 2005). Ease of navigation, search engines, and the existence of sitemaps are examples of positivity that appear on Fortune 500 Web sites (Ki, 2003). While Bortree (2005) seems to focus on the more interactive characteristics of a Web site, Ki’s (2003) analysis is concerned with enhancing the ease and simplicity of interfaces, which Kent and Taylor (1998) introduced as key to build relationships in the cyberspace. In applying positivity factors in previous studies to investor relations, certain features such as simplicity of searches and interactive contents that target investor relations may increase the satisfaction of financial publics via online communication. Some practical publications offer good suggestions regarding the kind of items that should be available in an investor relations link. The latest conference calls and investor relations sitemaps were introduced as critical features of effective investor relations links on Web sites (“Web site nominee—Apache: Taking the next step,” 1999). Additionally, making the contents formatted by multimedia—conference calls available to reply and PowerPoint presentation slides—brought about a higher amount of Web site traffic regardless of company size (“IR Web sites winning popularity contests,” 1999). Hence, items that help financial publics search for needed information, such as FAQs, sitemaps, glossaries for investor relations, and downloadable contents may be categorized as positivity features in this research. J. Grunig and Huang (2000) referred to openness as one of the most traditional subjects in interpersonal communications research. Hon and J. Grunig (1999) defined openness as “of thoughts and feelings among parties involved” (p. 14). Openness is more

PAGE 29

19 likely to reveal what publics desire from relationships (Canary & Stafford, 1992). In short, openness equals disclosure, which is a factor that results in symmetrical relationships (Bok, 1989). Bortree (2005) noted that an advantage to using openness is to establish and to restore trust with doubtful publics through the disclosure of relevant information. From the perspective of investor relations in the post-Enron era, openness allows financial publics to restore their confidence in impaired companies. Former NIRI Chairman Jane McCahon maintained that corporate information described in a clear and understandable manner plays a key role in reducing investors’ risks (“More disclosure means less exposure,” 2002). This viewpoint is consistent with Ki’s definition (2003) of openness, “anything organizations do to make the information process more transparent and notify their publics of any changes pertaining to finances, organizational restructuring, etc. on a Web site” (p. 60). Hence, openness may include any attempt to increase understanding of corporate financial information. J. Grunig and Huang (2000) identified the concept of assurances as assurances of legitimacy in organizational-public relationships. According to Hon and J. Grunig (1999), the definition of assurances is “attempts by parties in the relationship to assure the other parties that they and their concerns are legitimate” (p. 15). L. Grunig (1992) claimed that legitimacy is required for organizations to develop relationships with activist entities. If corporations clearly exhibit greater commitments to their publics, the valued attitude may positively affect relationships with their publics (Bortree, 2005). In this respect, the purpose of assurances seems to meet the information needs of publics.

PAGE 30

20 Assurances and openness appear very similar in terms of investor relations in that both aim to relieve publics’ doubts and questions. However, openness focuses on the disclosure of financial facts, while assurances stress the extent to which key publics feel they are valued and their information needs are met. A survey conducted by McKinsey and Company reported that more than half of investors readily pay extra fees to corporations that address higher levels of governance standards (“Investors target good governance: Institutions are prepared to pay a premium for high standards,” 2002). This implies that investors consider corporate governance highly important; thus, providing corporate governance information may help companies assure financial publics. Similarly, investor relations staffs should provide corporate policy information in detail, including corporate governance which investors greatly emphasize, as well as should defend attacks from financial publics (“Investors target good governance: Institutions are prepared to pay a premium for high standards,” 2002). Hence, providing content that conveys information of concern to financial publics and corporations would be defined as assurances. Networking indicates any attempt to build networks or foster close associations with third parties for the purpose of contributing to communities (Hon & J. Grunig, 1999). Networking is identified as having mutual friends and enjoying activities with common friends through the lens of interpersonal communication (J. Grunig & Huang, 2000). Canary and Stafford (1994) noted that networking is an effective predictor for interpreting liking and control mutuality. According to Hung (2000), networking tends to facilitate relationship building.

PAGE 31

21 Ki (2005) specified environmental, union, and community groups as the entities necessary for networking with Fortune 500 companies. Similarly, Bortree (2005) suggested utilizing third party endorsements like cartoon characters for child publics. In Malaysian companies, 10 percent of sampled Web sites provided links connecting third parties within the investor relations link (Hamid, 2005), yet no information was given as to what kinds of third party links were included in the research. Activist groups that encourage voting for certain financial legislation and any corporate social responsibility activities by environmental, union, and community constituencies may be identified as the application of networking to investor relations. Finally, the sharing of tasks indicates mutual efforts by organizations and publics to find solutions to certain problems (Hon & J. Grunig, 1999). Canary and Stafford (1994) clarified that the sharing of tasks plays an important role in predicting control mutuality and liking in interpersonal communication. Researchers presented several examples of the sharing of tasks, such as domestic chores (Canary & Stafford, 1992), information provided by organizations to foster community involvement (Ki, 2003), and appeals for monetary or time donation for good causes (Bortree, 2005). According to J. Grunig and Huang (2000), the following fall under the category of the sharing of tasks in organizational environments: “reducing pollution, providing employment, making a profit, and staying in business” (p. 37). Beyond networking with third parties, the sharing of tasks places greater efforts on resolving common issues for communities. By showing higher concern, taking responsibility for improving communities, and introducing what they do in terms of investor relations, corporations may impress current and potential financial publics while

PAGE 32

22 creating confidence among key publics. Such aggressive endeavors may increase investor interest and investment in companies, resulting in the rise of corporate stock prices and enhanced corporate reputation ultimately. Research Questions and Hypotheses Investor relations links on smaller for-profit organizational Web sites were analyzed with the operational definitions of investor relations categories in mind. The following research questions and hypotheses were determined from the empirical data gathered. RQ1: How do the Forbes 200 Best Small companies label investor relations links on their Web sites? RQ2: Which of the six relationship maintenance categories is the most prevalent in the investor relations links? H1: Separate links for investor relations are more common on the Web sites of higher-ranking Forbes 200 Best Small companies than those of lower-ranking Forbes 200 Best Small companies. H2: Different corporate rankings of Forbes 200 Best Small companies have different levels of the relationship maintenance categories with regard to investor relations. H3: The financial performance of the Forbes 200 Best Small companies will vary based on their online relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations. H3-a: Corporate sales of the Forbes 200 Best Small companies will vary based on their online relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations. H3-b: Corporate net income of the Forbes 200 Best Small companies will vary based on their online relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations.

PAGE 33

CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Sample and Research Method This study aims to understand how smaller corporations tap into the investor relations links on their own Web pages to maintain relationships with financial publics. Scholars have preferred using Fortune 500 companies for existing research because the list represents leadership in the business industry (Li, McLeod Jr., & Rogers, 1993). However, due to the overemphasis on Fortune 500 Web sites (Callison, 2003; Esrock & Leichty, 1998, 1999, 2000-check; Ki, 2003), little is known about how smaller for-profits employ their Web sites through the lens of public relations. To reduce the research gap, this study focused on small corporate Web sites. Of the three representative U.S. business magazines, including Fortune, Forbes, and Business Week (Herbig, Milewicz, & Golden, 1994), Forbes provides a more extended range of small company lists than Fortune and Business Week. For these reasons, this study selected Web sites noted in the list of 2005 Forbes 200 Best Small companies as a sample. Of all the items featured on corporate Web sites, this study focused on the investor relations link only. Esrock and Leichty (2000) asserted that the existence of links for specific publics on corporate Web pages reflects the extent to which companies regard the publics as significant. In other words, providing links for specific publics like investors or the media on the homepage of a corporate site indicates which publics a company considers primary. Furthermore, Callison (2003) suggested that a media center where all media resources are centralized allows journalists to easily access the 23

PAGE 34

24 information they need on Web sites. Similarly, centralized investor relations links are more likely to meet the information needs of financial publics by enhancing the ease of interface use. Content analysis was used as a main research method. McMillan (2000) shed light on the beneficial aspects of content analysis, such as the availability to analyze a number of contents via the Internet. Because this study analyzed the investor relations links on a number of corporate Web sites, it is appropriate to use content analysis as a primary research method. Coding Items and Operational Definition For measuring relationship maintenance with financial publics, dimensions of Hon and J. Grunig (1999), such as access, positivity, openness, assurances, networking, and sharing of tasks, were mainly used after developing operational definition on the basis of investor relations. Table 1. Application of investor relations items to relationship maintenance strategies Clearly labeling equivalent to the IR link Posting the primary IR contact information E-mail responsiveness of the primary IR staffs Access Availability to contact CEO Interactive contents FAQ limited in the IR section ONLY Sitemap limited in the IR section ONLY Positivity Glossary for IR terms Stock information with price and graphic charts Annual reports List of board of directors’ information Openness Financial news releases updated regularly Corporate Governance CEO’s message in annual reports CEO’s message in IR link Assurances Communication with shareholders Networking Coalitions to build relationship with the company Sharing of tasks Activities of shared tasks

PAGE 35

25 To measure each Web site’s level of relationship maintenance with financial publics, Hon and J. Grunig’s six dimensions (1999)—access, positivity, openness, assurances, networking, and sharing of tasks—were used after developing operational definitions on the basis of investor relations. Specific categories of investor relations items are provided in Table 1. The detailed coding sheet and the coding book are provided in Appendix A and B. Access is operationally defined in this research as “enabling financial publics to easily approach information on investor relations.” To measure access, four items were identified: a) the clearly labeled investor relations link, b) the primary investor relations professional’s contact information including full name, telephone number, e-mail address, mailing address, and fax number provided, c) e-mail responsiveness of the primary investor relations staff, and d) availability to contact chief executive officers through their full name, extension telephone number, email address, mailing address, and fax number. Although corporate Web sites post the e-mail addresses of practitioners, fewer studies examine the effectiveness of e-mail contacts. As Kent et al. (2003) mentioned, only less than 30 percent of studied activist organizations illustrated timely e-mail responsiveness. Providing an e-mail contact without timely response seems to be pseudosymmetry. Thus, e-mail responsiveness was measured. This study operationally defined positivity as “providing an ease of search and interactive contents in the investor relations link.” Four items were used to gauge positivity levels, including a) interactive contents, b) FAQ for investor relations links, c) sitemap for investor relations links, and d) glossary for investor relations terms.

PAGE 36

26 Specifically, the availability of reply for conference calls, downloadable presentation files from chief executive officers or analysts, audio archives except for conference calls, and a financial calculator for stocks were considered interactive contents. Not only do audio and visual contents that have gained popularity allow mass financial publics to have access, but also accessible calls give financial publics an opportunity to inquire in the Q&A section of calls (“Using technology to communicate with investors,” 1999). A financial calculator is helpful financial publics test several assumptions under a variety of possible situations (Dull & Schleifer, 2003). The function of the financial calculator seems to be interactive in that the financial calculator allows financial publics to control scenarios as many as they want. FAQs and sitemaps limited to the investor relations link could help financial publics easily search for needed information. In addition, some financial terms prevent financial publics from fully understanding what the corporation has posted in their investor relations link; thus, lacking explanation of some terms could obstruct searching needed information quickly. For these reasons, the four items were categorized into positivity. The following operational definition was developed for openness in terms of investor relations: “maximizing corporate disclosure regarding financial aspects.” To strengthen the transparency of corporate information, stock information, annual reports, a list of the board of directors, and regular updates of financial news releases were classified as examples of openness. Full stock information includes the current stock price, daily high, daily low, and net changes, as well as a visual graph tracking at least one year of stock information. Rather than noting the presence or absence of annual reports, this research explored how many important elements the corporations contained.

PAGE 37

27 Thus, seven items were identified for measuring openness based on the practical guidelines (“Tips for creating a good annual report,” n.d.): a) an opening letter from the chief executive officer, b) statements of financial highlights/summaries, c) selected financial data in a chart format, d) the results of continuing operations/management discussion and analysis, e) an opinion letter from the public accounting firm, f) a list of the board of directors including the corporate officers’ information, and g) research and development activities on future programs. This research examined whether full information was offered on the board of directors, including full names, specific positions, and affiliations. Additionally, financial news releases are one of the most important and effective strategies for investor relations, as W. C. Wacker, a director of corporate communications in Regeneration Technologies, Inc., answered in a personal communication on April 3, 2006. Thus, the frequency of financial news release updates over the past six months was taken into account. Regarding assurances, this study focused on the extent to which corporations made an effort to prove their commitments to publics’ concerns. Thus, the operational definition of assurances in this study is “attempts to demonstrate the value of financial publics for the purpose of satisfying information needs of financial publics.” Exhibition of ethics-based governance standards, direct messages relating to monetary investments by source-credible people, and a sincere delivery for corporate news could be helpful feel financial publics valued and relieved. With the recent rise in public financial scandals, investors and financial institutions have required companies to meet higher standards for corporate governance. Corporate governance was identified as guidelines/policy, code of conduct/ethics, audit committee charters, compensation committee charters, and

PAGE 38

28 nominating committee charters. Furthermore, Marino, Jr. (1995) recommended the higher appeals of chief executive officers’ messages: “the past year’s sales and earnings, the contributions of any special program, company’s dividend policy and record, and the corporate outlook for the year ahead” (p. 46). Newsletters, email alerts, and requested information were identified as forms of shareholder communication. Specifically, about 70 percent of analysts preferred e-mail alerts for conference calls and updates (“Analysts get vocal about Web content,” 2001). Networking was operationally defined as “building networks or having close association with third parties to contribute to the community.” One item, coalitions to build relationships with the company limited in the investor relations section, was adopted into networking. Similarly, sharing of tasks was defined as “organizational efforts to solve common or separate problems that corporations and financial publics in communities face.” As with networking, only one item, activities of shared tasks, was also included here. This study did not simply count how many items there are in investor relations links. Rather, like Ki’s study (2003), this study measured the extent to which smaller corporations addressed each item of investor relations to maintain relationship with financial publics in the centralized investor relations center. The code book for this study is developed with reference to Ki (2003). For example, of access items, if the investor relations link is plainly labeled and is reached in one-click from the front page, this was coded as having a high level of access. If the link is clearly labeled, but does not appear on the first page and is reached in two to three clicks from the front page, this meant a medium level of access. Additionally, if the link is clearly labeled, but does not appear

PAGE 39

29 on the front page and needs more than three clicks to get to the link from the first page, this indicated a low level of access. If there was no separate investor relations link, it was coded as nonexistence. Hence, each item was coded like this based on the code book with four levels of categories, such as high, medium, low, and nonexistence. Each level went with a number, zero for nonexistence, one for low, two for medium, and three for high. Since this research focused only on investor relations links that were clearly labeled, investor relations items placed on other sections including press rooms or corporate social responsibility were coded as nonexistence. Code Book, Coder Training, and Pilot Study According to Wimmer and Dominick (2003), three steps are recommended for reliable content analysis. The three steps in order consist of establishing a code book, training coders for the purpose of fully understanding what they should code, and doing a pilot study with a small number of probability samples. For the pilot study, ten percent of the entire samples, which are 20 corporate Web sites, were selected in terms of a systematic sampling method. Wimmer and Dominick (2003) explained that systematic sampling is a proper way to select samples from the whole list. With the developed coding sheet and the coding book, two coders, a main researcher, and a graduate student carried out the pretest with every 10 th corporate Web site from the list. After the pretest, intercoder reliability was calculated which, according to Shoemaker (2003), means the coding agreement between coders regarding content variables. For checking the reliability, Holsti’s method (1969) was adopted. Holsti’s method has been preferred because it is easy and convenient to use (Wimmer & Dominick, 2003). When calculating item by item, the overall score was 0.792, but the

PAGE 40

30 reliability of some items such as posting the primary IR contact information, interactive contents, annual reports, a list of the board of directors, financial news releases, and corporate governance was around 0.5, showing some disagreement for coding variables. Thus, after revising the coding book for more clarification, a new reliability check was conducted with another 20 Web sites on the sample list, which were also selected through the systematic sampling. The new reliability score for each item specifically ranged from 0.75 to 1, and 0.895 on average, which is an acceptable level. The specific results of the reliability check are provided in Table 2. Table 2. Intercoder reliability Questionnaire Intercoder reliability (Holsti’s method) 3. Ranking group 1 4. Industrial type 0.8 5. IR-clearly labeled or not 1 5-1. IR name 0.95 6-1. IR-labeled with the number of clicks 0.95 6-2. IR staffs contact 0.75 6-3. E-mail responsiveness of IR staffs NOT tested 6-4. Senior management contact 0.9 7-1. Interactive contents 0.75 7-2. FAQ limited in the IR section 0.85 7-3. Sitemap limited in the IR section 1 7-4. Glossary for IR terms 0.95 8-1. Stock information 0.85 8-2-1. Annual reports 0.75 8-2-2. Form 10-K 0.95 8-3. List of board of directors 0.8 8-4. Financial news releases 0.8 9-1. Corporate governance 0.95 9-2-1. CEO message in annual reports 0.85 9-2-2. CEO message in the IR link 0.95 9-3. Communication with shareholders 0.9 10-1. Networking 1 (Nothing) 11-1. Sharing of tasks 1 (Nothing) Total 0.895

PAGE 41

31 Data Analysis The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 12.0 for Windows) was mainly used for data analysis. Items for networking and sharing of tasks were specifically excluded in the data analysis because there were no investor relations items which were applicable to networking and sharing of tasks both in the pretest and in the final coding procedure. First, a frequency analysis answered the first and second research questions. The number of Web sites having the separate investor relations link and the name of the investor relations link were addressed. When calculating the mean value of the categories, the most preferred category was probed. Furthermore, other types of investor relations items that were not in the coding list yet posted on corporate Web sites were explored to count as absent or present. In response to the first hypothesis, targeting the relationship between the company ranking and the number of Web sites with clearly labeled links for investor relations, the chi-square test was preferred. According to Agresti and Finlay (1997), the larger the chi-square value is, the stronger the evidence is to contradict the null hypothesis. Thus, the chi-square test can appropriately investigate the association of two categorical variables, the corporate rank group consisting of an ordinal scale and the number of Web sites using the separate investor relations link comprising a nominal scale. The One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was adopted for the rest of hypotheses of whether different rankings and financial performances of small companies have different levels of the six categories of relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations. Agresti and Finlay (1997) clarified that the ANOVA addresses the compared mean values of a number of groups. By using the ANOVA, different rankings,

PAGE 42

32 specific rank groups categorized into every 50 th Web site, were compared in terms of the mean values of the relationship maintenance strategies. Similarly, corporate sales were categorized into every 200 million dollars, and net income was classified into every 100 million dollars, to test the third hypothesis through the ANOVA.

PAGE 43

CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This research proposed to answer three research questions and two hypotheses: RQ1, “How do Forbes 200 Best Small companies label investor relations links on their Web sites?” RQ2, “Which of the six relationship maintenance categories is the most prevalent in the investor relations links?” H1, “Separate links for investor relations are more common on the Web sites of higher-ranking Forbes 200 Best Small companies than the Web sites of lower-ranking Forbes 200 Best Small companies.” H2, “Different corporate rankings of Forbes 200 Best Small companies have different levels of the relationship maintenance categories with regard to investor relations.” H3, “Different financial performances of Forbes 200 Best Small companies have different levels of the relationship maintenance categories with regard to investor relations.” H3-a, “Different corporate sales of Forbes 200 Best Small companies have different levels of the relationship maintenance categories with regard to investor relations.” H3-b, “Different corporate net income of Forbes 200 Best Small companies has different levels of the relationship maintenance categories with regard to investor relations.” All Forbes 200 Best Small companies had their own Web sites and were included in the data analysis. While 192 companies clearly labeled their equivalent to the investor relations link, eight Web sites did not have a distinctively labeled link. Research Question 1 How do the Forbes 200 Best Small Companies label investor relations links on their Web sites? 33

PAGE 44

34 The first research question aims to explore the extent to which small corporations take into account investor relations on their Web sites. In response to the first research question, 192 (96%) of the 200 sampled Web sites had a clearly labeled investor relations link. Results are provided in Table 3. Table 3. Frequencies of investor relations link clearly labeled IR link clearly labeled Frequency Percentage (%) of Total Yes 192 96.0 No 8 4.0 N 200 100 In terms of specific names for investor relations links, the frequency of “investor relations” ranked the highest, followed by “investor(s)” and “investor information” in that order. Except for the major names, there were several types of minor titles referring to investor relations such as “investor center,” “financial(s),” “for investor(s),” “investor services,” “investor & media,” “financial information,” “shareholders,” “shareholder & financial,” and “stockholder & corporate information.” Frequencies are in Table 4. Table 4. Frequencies of investor relations link names Label Frequency Percentage (%) of Total Investor relations 100 52.1 Investor(s) 60 31.3 Investor information 18 9.4 Investor center 3 1.6 Financial(s) 3 1.6 For investor(s) 2 1 Investor services 1 0.5 Investor & media 1 0.5 Financial information 1 0.5 Shareholders 1 0.5 Shareholder & financial 1 0.5 Stockholder & corporate information 1 0.5 N 192 100

PAGE 45

35 Research Question 2 Which of the six relationship maintenance categories is the most prevalent in the investor relations links? All items were coded with three levels in terms of the coding protocol, rather than just counted as present or absent. A number was assigned to each level, such as zero for nonexistence, one for low, two for medium, and three for high. If the mean score was between two and three, the item was referred to as being in the high level. Thus, the mean score which was between one and two indicated the medium level, whereas the mean score lying between zero and one meant the low level. Although 192 Web sites clearly labeled the investor relations link, 10 cases had a few missing items in e-mail responsiveness, or the chief executive officer’s message in the annual reports or in the investor relations link. If the corporations did not post the primary investor relations practitioner’s e-mail address in the investor relations link, it was coded as no information, meaning not applicable. Similarly, some of the chief executive officer’s message in the annual reports or in the investor relations link existed, yet did not meet the coding protocol; thus, it was also coded as not applicable. These cases were excluded in calculating the levels of relationship maintenance categories because the missing items might skew the entire results. Hence, except for testing the first research question, the whole number of Web sites included in the data analysis is 182. As appearing in Table 5, openness acquired the highest mean value, followed by access, assurances, and positivity in that order of the four relationship maintenance categories included in the data analysis. Corporations tapped into the strategies that were over the medium level for serving the financial publics on their Web sites. Openness like

PAGE 46

36 stock information with price and graphic charts, annual reports, a list of board of directors’ information, and financial news releases updated regularly was especially aggressively used, leading to a high level ( M =2.32). The rest of the three categories overall reported medium levels, such as access ( M =1.66), assurances ( M =1.49), and positivity ( M =1.03) in that order. Table 5. Descriptive statistics of relationship maintenance strategies Categories Mean Value Level N % High (=3) 19 10.4 Medium (=2) 83 45.6 Access 1.66 Low (=1) 80 44.0 High (=3) 0 0 Medium (=2) 6 3.3 Positivity 1.03 Low (=1) 176 96.7 High (=3) 88 48.4 Medium (=2) 65 35.7 Openness 2.32 Low (=1) 29 15.9 High (=3) 0 0 Medium (=2) 90 49.5 Assurances 1.49 Low (=1) 92 50.5 Note. N=182 (Web sites having the separate investor relations link and valid cases only) Access The access category consisted of four questionnaire items, clearly labeling the investor relations link, posting the primary investor relations contact information, e-mail responsiveness of the primary investor relations staffs, and availability to contact chief executive officers, as shown in Table 6. About 80 percent of the investor relations links were hyperlinked on the front page of their corporate Web sites. The rest of the investor relations links were not found on the main Web page but reached in two or three clicks. Corporations showed the highest level (M=2.80) to get to the investor relations links clearly labeled on Web sites for all access items.

PAGE 47

37 Table 6. Descriptive statistics of access items Dimension Item Mean Level N % High (=3) 145 79.7 Medium (=2) 37 20.3 Low (=0) 0 0 Clearly labeling equivalent to the IR link 2.80 Nonexistence (=0) 0 0 High (=3) 17 9.3 Medium (=2) 64 35.2 Low (=1) 36 19.8 Posting the primary IR contact information 1.18 Nonexistence (=0) 65 35.7 High (=3) 38 20.9 Medium (=2) 10 5.5 Low (=1) 38 20.9 E-mail responsiveness of the primary IR staffs 0.95 Nonexistence (=0) 96 52.7 High (=3) 1 0.5 Medium (=2) 0 0 Low (=1) 88 48.4 Access Availability to contact CEO 0.50 Nonexistence (=0) 93 51.1 Note. N=182 (Web sites having the separate investor relations link and valid cases only) In regards to the primary investor relations contact information, just less than 10 percent of corporations fully posted information such as full name, telephone number, e-mail address, mailing address, and fax number. Sixty-four companies gave Web visitors three or four kinds of contact information, while about 40 corporations offered publics one or two sources for contact information on their Web sites. Furthermore, approximately 65 for-profits did not provide any types of contact information. The mean value of the contact information was 1.18, indicating the medium level. Regarding e-mail responsiveness by the primary investor relations staffs, corporations recorded a low level of access. Surprisingly, over 50 percent of the companies did not post the staffs’ e-mail address on their Web sites even though an e-mail is one of the most fundamental means used to communicate with publics via the Internet. Moreover, four e-mails were not reached due to permanent errors of the practitioners’ e-mail account. Of 89 e-mails transmitted to the primary investor relations

PAGE 48

38 staffs requesting a hard copy of their most recent annual report, 38 members replied in one business day, and 10 practitioners did in two business days. Seven professionals responded one week later, and 31 ignored the request ( M =0.95). Considering the extent to which publics can contact chief executive officers with information that corporate Web sites keep open, almost 50 percent did not include contact information on their sites, such as a full name, extension telephone number, e-mail address, mailing address, and fax number, nor opened one or two kinds of information. Just one corporation provided the full information for contacting chief executive officers. As a result, the mean value of availability to contact chief executive officers was the lowest of all access items, 0.50, which is a low level of access. Positivity Positivity was tested by investigating the level of four items—interactive contents, FAQ limited in the IR section only, sitemap limited in the investor relations section only, and glossary for investor relations terms. Results appear in Table 7. The number of corporations perfectly satisfying interactive content needs, such as conference calls available to listen to and downloadable chief executive officer or analyst presentation files, audio archives except for conference calls, and a financial calculator, was no more than five percent. About 40 percent offered publics two or three types of interactive contents, and over thirty percent posted one kind of content. There were 38 corporate Web sites that did not place interactive contents in the investor relations link. Interactive contents overall reached the medium level ( M =1.29). The rest of the positivity items were at the low level. In terms of FAQ limited to the investor relations section, only four Web sites met the high level, meaning that FAQ is clearly labeled, provides five or more than five questions and answers, and is classified

PAGE 49

39 into several sub-categories; whereas 53 corporations were reported at the low level, meaning that FAQ is clearly labeled, provides questions and answers, but is not classified into several sub-categories. FAQ for investor relations was not found in Web sites for 125 corporations (68.7%), resulting in 0.36 as the mean score. Table 7. Descriptive statistics of positivity items Dimension Item Mean Level N % High (=3) 8 4.4 Medium (=2) 74 40.7 Low (=1) 62 34.1 Interactive contents 1.29 Nonexistence (=0) 38 20.9 High (=3) 4 2.2 Medium (=2) 0 0 Low (=1) 53 29.1 FAQ limited in the IR section ONLY 0.36 Nonexistence (=0) 125 68.7 High (=3) 3 1.6 Medium (=2) 0 0 Low (=1) 0 0 Sitemap limited in the IR section ONLY 0.05 Nonexistence (=0) 179 98.4 High (=3) 6 3.3 Medium (=2) 0 0 Low (=1) 0 0 Positivity Glossary for IR terms 0.10 Nonexistence (=0) 176 96.7 Note. N=182 (Web sites having the separate investor relations link and valid cases only) A sitemap limited to the investor relations section ranked the lowest of all positivity items ( M =0.05). Except for three Web sites that had clearly structured sitemaps for investor relations, as well as hyperlinked specific items, 179 companies did not provide a sitemap exclusively for investor relations. Regarding the glossary for investor relations terms, less than four percent of the for-profits were interested and provided more than 10 terms. About 96 percent of the small companies had no glossary terms for investor relations, and the mean value of the glossary for investor relations terms was calculated as 0.10, which is a low level.

PAGE 50

40 Openness Openness ranked the highest among examined relationship maintenance categories. As shown in Table 8, four things were categorized into openness including stock information with price and graphic charts, annual reports, a list of the board of directors, and financial news releases updated regularly. Table 8. Descriptive statistics of openness items Dimension Item Mean Level N % High (=3) 132 72.5 Medium (=2) 6 3.3 Low (=1) 4 2.2 Stock information with price and graphic charts 2.26 Nonexistence (=0) 40 22.0 High (=3) 63 34.5 Medium (=2) 101 55.5 Low (=1) 11 6.0 Annual reports 2.21 Nonexistence (=0) 7 3.8 High (=3) 77 42.3 Medium (=2) 9 4.9 Low (=1) 9 4.9 List of board of directors 1.42 Nonexistence (=0) 87 47.8 High (=3) 74 40.7 Medium (=2) 45 24.7 Low (=1) 30 16.5 Openness Financial news releases updated regularly 1.88 Nonexistence (=0) 33 18.1 Note. N=182 (Web sites having the separate investor relations link and valid cases only) Stock information with prices and graphic charts was the best of the four openness items. Over 72 percent of the companies were at the high level, implying that the current stock price with the daily high, daily low, and net change was offered with a graph tracking at least one year of the stock price. About three percent showed the current stock price and the daily changes, and two percent of the Web sites showed the current stock price only. Including the number of corporations having no stock information, the mean value was reached at the high level ( M =2.26).

PAGE 51

41 Annual reports explored how many suggested items like an opening letter from the chief executive officer, statements of financial highlights or summaries, selected financial data with a chart format, results of continuing operations/management discussion and analysis, an opinion letter from the public accounting firm, the list of board of directors and corporate officers information, and research and development activities on future programs were addressed ( M =2.21). Other than one investor relations link without an accessible annual report, 63 corporations met six or seven criteria, 101 reported three to five elements, 11 showed one or two items, and seven companies did not post the most recent annual report under the investor relations section of their Web sites. As shown in Table 9, there were three types of annual reports such as the usual annual report with pictures and visual graphic effects, Form 10-K that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires for detailed financial information, and a combination of the usual annual report and Form 10-K. Table 9. Format of annual reports Label Frequency % of Total Usual format 78 42.9 Form 10-K 26 14.3 Combination of usual one and Form 10-K 71 39.0 Nonexistence of both 7 3.8 N 182 100 Note. N=182 (Web sites having the separate investor relations link and valid cases only) Over 42 percent of the for-profits used the usual format with a colorful design, whereas about 15 percent preferred Form 10-K as an annual report. Less than 40 percent of the corporations combined the usual format with Form 10-K. Regarding the combination format, the opening letter of the chief executive officer, financial highlights or summaries, and the list of the board of directors and corporate officers were formatted

PAGE 52

42 with a vividly colorful design, while the rest of the items were filed as the Form 10-K criteria. Most companies posted the recent annual reports in the investor relations link, while about four percent of corporations did not provide the annual reports in the investor relations link. Regarding the list of the board of directors that overall yielded the medium level, about 43 percent of the organizations in the high level offered publics their full name, specific position, and affiliation. However, less than five percent of the companies posted one or two pieces of information respectively. Forty-seven percent of the Web sites had no information on their board of directors ( M =1.42). Financial news releases, one of the most important tactics for investor relations, were updated once a week or twice a month for the past six months on 74 corporate Web sites. Forty-five updated their financial news releases once a month for the last six months, whereas 30 did so less than once a month for the same time period. Thirty-three companies did not provide financial news releases, and the mean score reached 1.88, which falls under the medium level. Assurances Four items such as corporate governance, chief executive officer’s message in the annual reports, chief executive officer’s message in the investor relations link, and communication with shareholders were grouped into assurances. Results are given in Table 10. Corporate governance was tested as probing how many items like corporate governance guideline/policy, code of conduct/ethics, audit committee charters, compensation committee charters, and nominating committee charters were provided. Over 35 percent of the companies met the five items meaning the high level, 22 percent

PAGE 53

43 satisfied three to four contents indicating the medium level, and about 14 percent placed one or two items. In addition, 28 percent of corporate Web sites have no information on corporate governance. As a result, the mean value was 1.65, coming under the medium level. Table 10. Descriptive statistics of assurances items Dimension Item Mean Level N % High (=3) 65 35.7 Medium (=2) 40 22.0 Low (=1) 26 14.3 Corporate governance 1.65 Nonexistence (=0) 51 28.0 High (=3) 12 6.6 Medium (=2) 95 52.2 Low (=1) 38 20.9 CEO’s message in the annual reports 1.45 Nonexistence (=0) 37 20.3 High (=3) 0 0 Medium (=2) 2 1.1 Low (=1) 4 2.2 CEO’s message in the IR link 0.04 Nonexistence (=0) 176 96.7 High (=3) 0 0 Medium (=2) 86 47.3 Low (=1) 53 29.1 Assurances Communication with shareholders 1.24 Nonexistence (=0) 43 23.6 Note. N=182 (Web sites having the separate investor relations link and valid cases only) The chief executive officer’s message acquired different mean values in the annual reports and in the investor relations link. In the annual reports, twelve corporations included all four contents of their chief executive officer’s message—the past year’s sales and earnings in brief numerically, the contribution of any special program (e.g., quality management) that the company used for acquiring the best results, brief future plans that the company prepared for to accomplish the best in the year ahead, and the corporate policy and record for dividends. Except for one Web site posting the chief executive officer’s message in annual reports but not applicable to the coding protocol, 95 companies met two to three items and 38 met only one item. Thirty-seven for-profits

PAGE 54

44 showed no suggested items, and the mean value of the chief executive officer’s message in the annual reports referred to 1.45, the medium level. In the investor relations link, two companies contained two to three items, four contained one item, and no corporation satisfied all four elements regarding the chief executive officer’s message. One hundred seventy-six companies did not post the chief executive officer’s message in the investor relations link; thus, the mean value resulted in 0.04, which is extremely low. Three means of communication, e-mail alerts, newsletters with shareholders, and request information, were categorized to communicate with shareholders through Web sites. No corporations placed all three means, about 48 percent of the corporations had two, almost 29 percent of the Web sites addressed one, and approximately 24 percent of the companies showed no communication means. As a result, the level of communication with shareholders was reached at the medium level ( M =1.24). Table 11. Miscellaneous items in the investor relations link of Web sites Label N of IR link having the item % of presence SEC or Section 16 filings 161 88.5 Event calendar for IR schedules 97 53.3 Analyst coverage 95 52.2 Fundamentals (Financial highlights) 88 48.4 Earnings estimates 33 18.1 Company profile 33 18.1 Dividend/Split history 21 11.5 Fact sheet 15 8.2 Non-GAAP reconciliation 11 6.0 Ownership summary 9 4.9 Stock purchase program 6 3.3 Insider holdings 3 1.6 News clippings 3 1.6 Rating the IR link 3 1.6 Others 42 23.1 Note. N=182 (Web sites having the separate investor relations link and valid cases only)

PAGE 55

45 Other than the suggested items applying to the relationship maintenance strategies respectively, this research investigated what kinds of other items were posted in the investor relations link of corporate Web sites with an open-ended format. After gathering, the items were grouped into the several categories. Presence or absence only was counted rather than the level of relationship maintenance. Results are shown in Table 11. Hypothesis 1 Separate links for investor relations are more common on the Web sites of higher-ranking Forbes 200 Best Small companies than the Web sites of lower-ranking Forbes 200 Best Small companies. In relation to the first hypothesis, the corporations were grouped and each group consisted of 50 corporations based on the ranking order. To answer the first hypothesis, cross tabulation and chi-square were tested as shown in Table 12. Table 12. Cross tabulation and chi-square regarding the separate IR link and corporate ranking Rank group 1-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 N 47 50 47 48 Yes % 23.5 25 23.5 24 N 3 0 3 2 IR clearly labeled No % 1.5 0 1.5 1 N 50 50 50 50 Total % 25 25 25 25 Note. 2 (3, N=200) = 3.125, p = .373 > .05 Regarding the relationship between corporate ranking and the clearly labeled investor relations links, there was no statistically significant result (p > .05), meaning that there was no relationship between the corporate ranking and the number of Web sites clearly labeling the investor relations link. Thus, H1 was not supported.

PAGE 56

46 Hypothesis 2 Different rankings of Forbes 200 Best Small companies have different levels of six relationship maintenance strategies with regard to investor relations. In response to the second hypothesis, ANOVA was adopted according to each type of relationship maintenance category. The ANOVA was given for access (F (3, 182) = .954, p = .416 > .05), implying that no significant relationship was found between the corporate ranking and the three levels of access. The relationship between the corporate ranking and the three levels of positivity was tested through the ANOVA (F (3, 182) =2.168, p=.093 > .05). As a result, the relationship was statistically invalid. In relation to the corporate ranking and three levels of openness, the data analysis showed no statistically significant result as using the ANOVA (F (3, 182) = .539, p = .656 > .05). To answer the relationship between the corporate ranking and the three levels of assurances items, ANOVA was used (F (3, 182) = 1.477, p = .222 > .05); thus, no statistical significance was found. All four categories—access, positivity, openness, and assurances—showed no statistical significance in terms of the company ranking. Hence, H2 was also not supported. Hypothesis 3 The financial performance of the Forbes 200 Best Small companies will vary based on their online relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations. The third hypothesis purposed to test whether there is a difference between the amount of financial performances and the relationship maintenance strategies, and was divided into two sub hypotheses in terms of sales and net income. H3 was partially supported based on the result of H3-a and H3-b.

PAGE 57

47 Hypothesis 3-a Corporate sales of the Forbes 200 Best Small companies will vary based on their online relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations. To answer the hypothesis, ANOVA was used. Corporate sales were categorized into four groups in terms of every 200 million dollars. No statistical significance was found in access (F (3, 182) = .974, p = .406 > .05), positivity (F (3, 182) = .765, p = .515 > .05), and openness (F (3, 182) = 2.071, p = .106 > .05). However, assurances were statistically significant (F (3, 182) = 4.147, p = .007 < .05) as appearing in Table 13. Hence, H3-a was partially supported. Table 13. ANOVA for assurances by corporate sales (= revenues) Sum of Square 2.972 Df 3 F 4.147 Sig. .007 Note. p = .05 Corporate sales (million dollars) N Mean SD 0-200 62 1.34 .477 200.1-400 51 1.59 .497 400.1-600 43 1.49 .506 600.1-800 26 1.69 .471 Total 182 1.49 .501 0-200200.1-400400.1-600600.1-800SalesGroup 1.31.41.51.61.7Mean of ASSURANCES Figure 1. Mean plot of the assurances by corporate sales

PAGE 58

48 Hypothesis 3-b Corporate net income of the Forbes 200 Best Small companies will vary based on their online relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations. In response to this hypothesis, ANOVA was adopted. Corporate net income was classified into four groups in terms of every 100 million dollars, yet no corporations acquired more than 400 million dollars of net income. Positivity (F (2, 182) = .375, p = .688 > .05), openness (F (2, 182) = .076, p = .927 > .05), and assurances (F (2, 182) = 1.032, p = .358 > .05) were not statistically insignificant. In terms of access, statistical significance was found (F (2, 182) = 4.9, p = .008 < .05). The specific result of access was provided in Table 14. Therefore, H3-b was also partially supported. Table 14. ANOVA for access by corporate net income (= profit) Sum of Square 4.077 df 2 F 4.9 Sig. .008 Note. p = .05 Corporate net income (million dollars) N Mean SD 0-100 166 1.71 .661 100.1-200 14 1.21 .426 200.1-300 2 1.00 .000 Total 182 1.66 .659 0-100100.1-200200.1-300NetIncomeGroup 11.21.41.61.8Mean of ACCESS Figure 2. Mean plot of the access by corporate net income.

PAGE 59

CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION This research mainly aimed to understand how corporations, smaller for-profits in particular, serve their financial publics through their Web sites by adopting relationship maintenance strategies. Under the main objective of this research, several sub-tests were conducted to explore whether there is a relationship between the corporate ranking and the three levels of the relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations. In regards to the first research question concerning how many corporations clearly labeled investor relations links, 192 (96%) corporations had a separate link for investor relations. This implies the extent to which corporations consider investor relations important as well as corresponds to Esrock and Leichty’s findings (1999, 2000) in which the financial public was specifically referred to as the most significant publics for for-profits. According to Callison (2003), journalist-friendly Web sites are mainly distinguished from other ones in terms of the existence of separate media relations sections hyperlinked from the Web site’s front page. Applying Callison’s viewpoints (2003) to investor relations, corporations having the investor relations section clearly identified are more likely to reveal the extent to which the company regards investor relations as crucial. Furthermore, 145 (79.7%) corporations put investor relations links on the first page of their Web sites, so it was highly accessible to reach the investor relations link in just one-click. There was also no corporate Web site requiring more than 49

PAGE 60

50 three clicks to get to the investor relations link. Therefore, lots of small companies designed financial publics-friendly Web sites and considered financial publics essential. Greater concerns with financial publics corresponded that over 83 percent of corporations used ‘investor relations’ (52.1%) and ‘investor(s)’ (31.3%) for distinguishing the centralized center for financial publics, and a number of clearly labeled links for investor relations may allow financial publics to more easily find the link and reduce the emotional distance to get to the link. Media relations in for-profit (Callison, 2003) and nonprofit organizations (Yeon, 2005) varied in names, but there was no major name in media relations. The major use of ‘investor relations’ seems to emphasize the importance of relationships with financial publics, while the rest of names for investor relations is more likely to neglect the relationships. Hence, practitioners should include ‘relations’ for indicating separate investor relations links to show the extent to which the corporations consider relationship building and maintenance with financial publics significant. Despite the small corporations’ Web sites favorable to investors, there was no relationship between the corporate ranking and the number of Web sites clearly labeling investor relations links, indicating that H1 is not supported. Furthermore, different corporate rankings did not have different levels of relationship maintenance strategies regarding investor relations, thereby rejecting H2. In comparison to this research, media relations links on Fortune 500 Web sites were more often found in the higher ranking companies because they may have more media coverage (Callison, 2003). This research implies that lower-ranking small companies that may have less financial resources than higher-ranking corporations could actively communicate with financial publics through

PAGE 61

51 Web sites. According to Ki (2003), Web sites are advantageous for easy access, cost-effectiveness, 24-hour availability, and unbounded space. Based on the attractive characteristics of Web sites, lower-ranking small companies could have an opportunity to approach financial publics in effective. Moreover, the statistically insignificant results of H1 and H2 show the extent to which investor relations has become common regardless of the ranking order in small for-profits. In terms of media relations, higher-ranking companies tended to label the separate link (Callison, 2003) and higher-ranking nonprofits placed more items in the centralized media center (Yeon, 2005). However, no statistical difference was found in terms of investor relations. This implies that the perception on investor relations may not be differentiated in smaller corporations. However, the highly common interest in investor relations in smaller companies does not necessarily guarantee that all companies equally perceive importance of investor relations. In response to the second research question regarding the rank of relationship maintenance strategies that small companies preferred, openness gained the highest mean value while positivity had the lowest one, except for networking and sharing of tasks, which were not found in the investor relations links. Openness consisted of stock information, annual reports, the information on the board of directors, and regular updates of financial news releases. Since transparency has become important because of several recent financial scandals, corporations seem to be more interested in disclosing relevant contents for financial publics. According to one survey given to financial publics, almost 70 percent of investors showed higher favorability when a company’s opening contents was updated in a timely fashion, and over 95 percent of individual

PAGE 62

52 investors surveyed preferred reading news releases on corporate Web sites (“Internet is now leading source of investor information,” 1999). The investors’ favorability for openness also corresponds to the higher standard of disclosure that U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulated. A higher level of openness in terms of investor relations is more likely to enhance the financial publics’ confidence in corporations, and can be the most effective way to maintain relationships between for-profits and shareholders. Therefore, corporations that developed high levels of openness items may prove a great breakthrough in the fight of corporate confidence. Additionally, Ki (2003) reported that openness was also the most prevalent feature in the Fortune 500 corporate Web sites. Both small and large companies may think of disclosure of information as the most helpful meet the information needs of publics. Hence, it was openness that corporations primarily tapped into for relationship maintenance for their entire publics and financial publics. For positivity, operationally defined in terms of simplicity and interactivity, small companies showed the medium level of endeavors, which resulted in 1.03 as the mean value. Four contents were grouped into positivity: interactive contents, FAQ for investor relations, sitemap for investor relations, and glossary for investor relations terms. Due to the lack of concerns regarding FAQ, sitemap, and a glossary, positivity was the least prevalent strategy for relationship maintenance. This implies the extent to which small companies disregard simplicity and interactive features for investors’ pleasure. In a related study, only six percent of investigated Malaysian corporations were actively concerned with providing FAQ for investor relations in a related study (Hamid, 2005). Furthermore, a sitemap designed for investor relations enables financial publics to

PAGE 63

53 find information quickly (Web site nominee—Apache: Taking the next step, 1999). The more positivity is enhanced, the more the satisfaction of financial publics visiting in the investor relations links may increase. For example, audio contents to improve usefulness, a sitemap to facilitate ease of navigation, and FAQ to foster return visits leads to relationship building via the Internet (Taylor et al., 2001). According to Cooley (1999), interactive contents contribute to enhancing the corporate image and improving the corporate accountability. Despite the advantageous ground, not only smaller corporations in this research but also nonprofits in Kang and Norton’s study (2004) failed to interactively communicate with their key publics. Although public relations aims to realize interactive communication with interested publics, smaller corporations and nonprofits seem to be short of the main objective. Low levels of those items may not only bring about failure for relationship building, but also preclude relationship maintenance. Hence, corporations should take interests in improving search capability and providing interactive contents for financial publics. In terms of access, 65 (35.7%) corporations paid no attention to offering financial publics the primary investor relations contact information. If shareholders, analysts, or any other financial publics wanted to inquire, propose, or request something relevant to investor relations through their Web pages, it is more likely to be impossible in the 65 for-profits. Although it is fundamental to open the contact information of the professionals in charge of certain tasks in designated sections on corporate homepages, over one-third of the small corporations have run their Web sites in name only and seem to be reluctant to communicate with financial publics. Only 17 (9.3%) Web sites opened

PAGE 64

54 all five kinds of investor relations staffs’ information. Hence, small companies should endeavor more to increase accessibility to investor relations publics. Of all the access items, it was surprising that 96 (52.7%) Web sites had no e-mail address for the primary investor relations professionals, even though the feedback via an e-mail is one of the principal purposes of Web sites (White & Raman, 1999). Most studies investigating practitioners’ e-mail addresses only focused on counting presence or absence of their e-mail address on Web sites (Callison, 2003; Ki, 2003; Yeon, 2005). Over two-thirds of examined activist organizations neglected timely responsiveness when contacting via the practitioners’ e-mails (Kent et al., 2003). Similar to the result, the existence of practitioners’ e-mail address on Web sites does not necessarily guarantee responsiveness. Actually, four practitioners were unreachable due to permanent errors in all posted e-mail addresses of investor relations people in this study. Of 89 requests for a hard copy of the most recent annual report transmitted, 38 practitioners responded in 24 hours and 10 responded in 48 hours; however, seven investor relations staffs replied one week later, 31 ignored the e-mail request, and three cases were excluded in the data analysis due to invalidity in other items. In comparison to this research, every seven practitioner who posted their e-mail address on corporate Web sites and was requested annual reports replied in 24 hours in Malaysian business surroundings (Hamid, 2005). Moreover, a survey disclosed that 86 percent of investors responded higher favorability for e-mail contact to practitioners under the department of investor relations (“Internet is now leading source of investor information,” 1999). The survey result suggested the extent to which corporations should be careful to post contact information on Web sites and show e-mail responsiveness. Immediate communication with financial

PAGE 65

55 publics via e-mails could foster dialogic relationships. According to Ki (2003), instant responses from the practitioners play a key role in enhancing relationship maintenance. Accordingly, investor relations professionals should sufficiently engage in “real” immediate responses to current as well as potential financial publics to improve relationship strategies, not provide “pseudo” two-way communication such as just letting them know only the contact e-mail address. With respect to the third hypothesis, the statistical results suggested that there are significant differences between corporate sales and assurances, as well as between corporate net income and access. The higher corporate sales, also called revenues, are, the more the companies actively use assurances items—corporate governance, the chief executive officer’s letter in annual reports and in the investor relations link, and communication with shareholders. This implies that corporations having higher sales are more likely to show their efforts for transparency in business and for dialogue with strategic publics. Financial publics may hear something that corporations directly convey, rather than looking just at financial information on Web sites. A number of investors are willing to pay extra expenses to companies that provide detailed information about their corporate governance (“Investors target good governance: Institutions are prepared to pay a premium for high standards,” 2002). Furthermore, approximately 70 percent of analysts showed greater preferences for e-mail alerts (“Analysts get vocal about Web content,” 2001). Corporations gaining higher sales seem to make more efforts to satisfy the key publics’ needs and maintain relationships in terms of assurances. With an analysis of corporate net income, also named profits, and maintenance strategies, access—clearly labeling of investor relations links, contact information of the

PAGE 66

56 primary investor relations staffs and chief executive officers, and e-mail responsiveness—only showed statistical significance. Surprisingly, companies earning less net income were more successful to post the contact information, which is a fundamental strategy in online communication. Uses of a variety of communication means seem to be limited in the lower-net income companies due to the lack of financial resources; thus, the lower-net income companies could be urged to actively tap into the cost-effective Web sites for increasing accessibility to financial publics. The active efforts may allow financial publics to feel intimacy with the lower-net income corporations and enhance the corporate image. Posting the contact information could be the first step to build and maintain favorable relationships with key publics; thus, investor relations practitioners should be careful to fulfill basic needs of financial publics. As far as the excluded items go in this data analysis, corporate social responsibility activities could be categorized under networking and sharing of tasks in that the activities aim to better their community with third parties. However, no networking and sharing of tasks items were found in the investor relations section in this research. Contrary to the nonexistence of those items on Web sites, Hockerts and Moir (2004) argued that not only investor relations practitioners have spent more times on social and environmental topics in the last five years, but also socially responsible investors in some companies have played the role of the environmental scanner regarding emerging social and environmental issues. Furthermore, investor relations professionals responded that they want to educate analysts and investors on corporate social responsibility issues that are advantageous for companies (Hockerts & Moir, 2004). This implies that the integration of investor relations with corporate social responsible and environmental activities could

PAGE 67

57 evolve in the upcoming future. Developing relationships with financial publics based on social and environmental activities may be helpful maintain relationships in a long term. Hence, investor relations professionals should be actively interested in ways to develop networking and sharing of tasks strategies. The findings overall indicated that small companies seem to regard financial public as important. In terms of the relationship type, small companies are more likely to have symbiotic relationships with financial publics at present. The corporations and financial publics are interdependent, but seem to lack open exchanges and reciprocal features; thus, both parties should make efforts to advance to the win-win relationships that organizations ultimately pursue. Contributions Investor relations have been truly underestimated in public relations scholarship in terms of the number of academic studies. Despite the greater importance of financial publics (Esrock & Leichty, 1999, 2000) and the potential of the Internet to communicate with shareholders (Miller, 1997), public relations scholars have not been interested in extensively examining the primary use of investor relations on corporate Web sites. Most studies relating to investor relations in cyberspace have tended to be a small part of larger studies in public relations (Callison, 2003; Esrock & Leichty, 1999, 2000; Ki, 2003). While there have been a few studies targeting investor relations content on corporate Web sites (Breenan & Kelly, 2000; Ettredge & Gerdes, 2005; Hamid, 2005), the main theoretical framework has been business. This study, however, integrated investor relations online with relationship maintenance strategies in terms of public relations. Therefore, this research could be the first bridge to enlarging the research scope to several types of publics in the public relations paradigm.

PAGE 68

58 Moreover, this study tried to measure the level of relationship maintenance strategies regarding investor relations. There has been research in terms of Web site uses for investor relations (Breenan & Kelly, 2000; Ettredge & Gerdes, 2005; Hamid, 2005), but those studies just checked for the absence or presence of investor relations items. Counting the presence or absence of certain items does not tell us the extent to which corporations serve their primary publics in cyberspaces. Additionally, there have been fewer studies focusing on relationship maintenance in public relations, as Ki (2003) pointed out (Hon & J. Grunig, 1999; J. Grunig & Huang, 2000; Ki, 2003). The findings and implications of this research allow investor relations practitioners to establish more effective relationship maintenance strategies for financial publics on corporate Web sites. Contrary to previous studies, small companies were the main subject of this study. Little has been learned about smaller corporations through the lens of public relations. Overemphasis only on bigger companies, as is done by Fortune 500 (e.g., Callison, 2003; Esrock & Leichty, 1998, 1999, 2000; Ki, 2003), seems to be a major obstacle to understanding how a variety of for-profits implement their public relations activities through their Web sites. Hence, this academic exploration contributes to reducing the research gap between bigger and smaller corporations in the public relations realm. Limitations and Future Research Despite its contributions, this research has its limitations. Due to the less interest in investor relations research, little has been known about what investor relations practitioners consider important. To develop a strong body of knowledge, empirical data gathering through extensive qualitative research including intensive interviews should be first. Thorough investigation of viewpoints from financial practitioners, such as

PAGE 69

59 corporate investor relations people, analysts, and agency professionals in charge of investor relations, should be conducted prior to more future studies. Because this research integrated each item into a relationship maintenance category, it seems to be insufficient to know whether or not certain items exist on corporate Web sites. For instance, regarding communication with shareholders, this research tells us the number of items posted in the investor relations link, yet does not let us know which item was specifically provided in that link. Counting presence or absence of each item could be a supplement to improve the value of this study. This study neglected other types of publics on the small corporate Web sites, such as the media, employees, and general consumers. To establish total relationship maintenance strategies for Web pages, all publics must be considered. Appropriate adjustments may also be needed to create effective online strategies to enhance relationships with primary publics. Future research should investigate how small corporations should serve other key publics. For instance, the results could be compared with previous studies exploring media relations on Web sites of bigger for-profits (Callison, 2003) and nonprofits (Yeon, 2005). Also, studies could focus on how nonprofits (Kang & Norton, 2004), large companies (Ki, 2003), and activist organizations (Taylor et al., 2001) can make use of their entire Web sites for building and maintaining relationships. This research only targeted U.S. corporations. Marston (1996) insisted that the complexity in the international financial market has resulted in the rapid growth of investor relations. As a result, different types of companies or for-profits in different locations might address different levels of relationship maintenance strategies. For these

PAGE 70

60 reasons, future studies should compare relationship maintenance strategies for investor relations with different kinds of corporate Web sites such as those of bigger companies, multinational for-profits, financial institutions, or foreign corporations. This study tested relationship maintenance strategies in terms of corporations. As a result, openness gained the highest favorability in the investor relations link of corporate Web sites. However, the actual financial publics may consider other categories—access, positivity, assurances, networking, and sharing of tasks—important. Although corporations mainly communicate with financial publics through items concentrating openness, financial publics may regard the corporations using access, positivity, assurances, networking, and sharing of tasks as more favorable. For this reason, future research should investigate what financial publics want to know and give a priority in the investor relations link of corporate Web sites. The priorities of financial publics may help investor relations practitioners effectively develop investor relations items on Web sites. Similar to Ki’s analysis (2003), this study first developed the coding category and protocol for investor relations in terms of relationship maintenance. Due to the lack of previous investor relations studies with relationship maintenance, validity of the coding protocol had not been tested before this study. Hence, this coding protocol could be strengthened as well as appropriately adjusted by conducting future studies for investor relations.

PAGE 71

APPENDIX A CODING SHEET FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS 1. Coder ID (1) (2) 2. What is the ranking of the company? Please specify here. ____________ 3. Where does the corporate ranking belong? (1) 1-25 (2) 26-50 (3) 51-75 (4) 76-100 (5) 101-125 (6) 126-150 (7) 151-175 (8) 176-200 4. What is the industry type of the company? (1) Materials (2) Industrials (3) Telecommunication Services (4) Information Technology (5) Consumer Directory (6) Consumer Staples (7) Energy (8) Financials (9) Health Care (10) Utilities (11) Others 5. Is the investor relations (=IR) equivalent link plainly labeled in the corporate Web site? (1) Yes go to 5-1 (2) No 5-1. If yes, what is the full name of the IR link on the Web site? (1) Investor relations (2) Investor(s) (3) Investor communication (4) For investor(s) (5) Investor information 61

PAGE 72

62 (6) Other, please specify the full name of the equivalent IR link here ____________________ 6. Access 6-1. Clearly labeling equivalent to the IR link (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 6-2. Posting the primary IR contact information (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 6-3. E-mail responsiveness of the primary IR staffs (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 6-4. Availability to contact CEO (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 7. Positivity 7-1. Interactive contents (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 7-2. FAQ limited in the IR section ONLY (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 7-3. Sitemap limited in the IR section ONLY (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3)

PAGE 73

63 7-4. Glossary for IR terms (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 8. Openness 8-1. Stock information with price and graphic charts (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 8-2-1. Annual reports (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 8-2-2. Form 10-K separately (0) Absence (=0) (1) Presence (=1) 8-2-3. Format (1) Annual reports only (2) Form 10-K only (3) Combination of Annual reports & Form 10-K (4) Nonexistence of both 8-3. List of board of directors’ information (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 8-4. Financial news releases updated regularly (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 9. Assurances 9-1. Corporate Governance (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1)

PAGE 74

64 (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 9-2-1. CEO’s message in annual reports (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 9-2-2. CEO’s message in the IR link (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 9-3. Communication with shareholders (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 10. Networking 10-1. Coalitions to build relationship with the company (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 11. Sharing of tasks 11-1. Activities of shared tasks (0) Nonexistence (=0) (1) Low (=1) (2) Medium (=2) (3) High (=3) 12. Please specify other items that are not in this list yet in the IR link.

PAGE 75

APPENDIX B CODING BOOK FOR CONTENT ANALYSIS 1. Coder ID Your ID number is assigned from the main researcher. 2. What is the ranking of the company? Please specify the ranking here. Please specify the corporate ranking numerically. 3. Where does the corporate ranking belong? Please check only one among (1)-(8). 4. What is the industry type of the company? Please check only one among (1)-(11). 1) Materials: chemical, fertilizers, industrial gases, metal and glasses containers, aluminum, and gold mining companies 2) Industrials: aerospace and defense, building products, electronic components and equipments, industrial machinery companies 3) Telecommunication Services: integrated telecommunication services and wireless telecommunication services companies 4) Information Technology: internet software services, data processing, application software, system software companies, and computer hardware companies 5) Consumer Discretionary: auto parts and equipments, automobile manufacturers, apparel, accessories & luxury goods, broadcasting and cable TV, and general merchandise store companies 6) Consumer Staples: drug retails, food distributors, hypermarkets and super centers, and soft drink companies 7) Energy: oil and gas drilling, oil and gas equipment and services, and oil and gas refining, marketing and transportation companies 8) Financials: diversified banks, investment banking and brokerage, consumer banks, and life and health insurance companies 9) Health Care: health care equipment, health care service, biotechnologies, and pharmaceuticals companies 10) Utilities: electric utilities, gas utilities, and water utilities companies 11) Others 65

PAGE 76

66 5. Is the investor relations (=IR) equivalent link plainly labeled in the corporate Web site? If you answered (1) Yes, you should answer 5-1 before going to 6. 5-1. If yes, what is the full name of the IR link on the Web site? If you answered (2) No in number 5, you should skip this questionnaire. The following questionnaires are limited in the IR link ONLY. If you find the suggested items in other links such as press rooms, you should code “nonexistence.” 6. Access Enabling financial publics to easily approach information on investor relations. High The IR link is plainly labeled as well as located in the front page, so user can connect the IR link with one-click from the front page. Medium The IR links is plainly labeled but not found in the front page, so user can connect the IR link with two or three clicks from the front page. Low The IR links is plainly labeled but not found in the front page, so user can connect the IR link with more than three clicks from the front page. 6-1. Clearly labeling equivalent to the IR link Nonexistence Coder cannot find the separate IR link on the corporate Web site. High Five kinds of staff contact information mentioned beside in charge of IR are posted. Medium Three to four kinds of staff contact information mentioned beside in charge of IR are posted. Low One to two kinds of staff contact information mentioned beside in charge of IR is posted. 6-2. Posting the primary IR contact information 1) full name 2) telephone number 3) e-mail address 4) mailing address 5) fax number Nonexistence Coder cannot find any contact information of IR staffs posted in the IR link. High A request was sent, and the coder received an e-mail reply from the IR staffs in 24 hours (business days). Medium A request was sent, and the coder received an e-mail reply from the IR staffs in 48 hours (business days). Low A request was sent, and the coder received nothing in 48 hours (business days). 6-3. E-mail responsiveness of the primary IR staffs Nonexistence There is no e-mail address of IR staffs in

PAGE 77

67 the IR link (NOT in the ‘contact us’). N/A A request was sent, but could not be reached to the primary IR staff. High Five types of senior management contact means mentioned beside are posted. Medium Three to four kinds of senior management contact means mentioned beside are posted. Low One to two kinds of senior management contact means mentioned beside is posted. 6-4. Availability to CEO 1) full name 2) extension telephone number 3) e-mail address 4) mailing address 5) fax number Nonexistence Coder cannot find any means mentioned beside to contact senior management. 7. Positivity Providing an ease of search and interactive contents in the IR link. High There are four contents mentioned beside. Medium There are two to three contents mentioned beside. Low There is one content mentioned beside. 7-1. Interactive contents 1) conference calls available to replay 2) downloadable CEO/analyst presentation files (pdf/ppt) 3) Audio archives except for conference calls 4) A financial calculator Nonexistence Coder cannot find downloadable contents mentioned beside. High FAQ is clearly labeled for IR, is classified into several sub-categories, and provides more than five questions and answers. Medium FAQ is clearly labeled for IR, is classified into several sub-categories, but provides five or less than five questions and answers. Low FAQ is clearly labeled for IR, provides questions and answers, but is not classified into several sub-categories. 7-2. FAQ limited in the IR section ONLY Nonexistence Coder cannot find FAQ section limited in the IR matters. High There is a hierarchical or categorical structure for the IR link. The items are all hyperlinked, so users can directly connect all items from the sitemap page. Medium There is a hierarchical or categorical structure for the IR link. All items are NOT hyperlinked, so users cannot directly connect all items from the sitemap page. 7-3. Sitemap limited in the IR section ONLY * Operational definition 1) hierarchical: categorical lists with lines or boxes showing some navigational relationship between groupings Low There is a sitemap for the IR link, which

PAGE 78

68 has no structure. All items are NOT hyperlinked, so users cannot directly connect all items from the sitemap page. 2) categorical: simple list of topics with categorical titles Nonexistence Coder cannot find sitemap limited in the IR section. High The corporation provides clearly designed glossary for IR terms, with more than 10 terms. Medium The corporation provides clearly designed glossary for IR terms, with 5-10 terms. Low The corporation provides glossary for IR terms, with less than five terms. 7-4. Glossary for IR terms Nonexistence Coder cannot find glossary for IR terms. 8. Openness Maximizing corporate disclosure regarding financial aspects. High Offers current stock price with daily high, daily low, and net change, includes a graph tracking at least one year of the stock price. Medium Offers current stock price, but only includes the stock’s daily price change (NO graphs). Low Offers only the current stock price. 8-1. Stock information with price and graphic charts Nonexistence Coder cannot find stock information. High The recent annual report meets six to seven criteria mentioned beside. Medium The recent annual report meets three to five criteria mentioned beside. Low The recent annual report meets one criterion to two criteria mentioned beside. 8-2-1. Annual reports 1) an opening letter from the CEO 2) statements of financial highlights/summaries 3) selected financial data with a chart format 4) results of continuing operations/management discussion and analysis 5) an opinion letter from the public accounting firm 6) the list of directors’ and corporate officers’ information 7) research and development activities on future programs Nonexistence Coder cannot find the recent annual report in the IR link. 8-2-2. Form 10-K Please check absence or presence. 8-2-3. Format Please check one. Mutually exclusive.

PAGE 79

69 High All kinds of information mentioned beside are posted. Medium Two kinds of information mentioned beside are posted. Low One kind of information mentioned beside is posted. 8-3. List of board of directors’ information 1) full name 2) specific position 3) affiliation of board of directors (separately or in biography) Nonexistence Coder cannot find any information about board of directors. High Financial news releases are updated once a week or twice a month for the last 6 months. Medium Financial news releases are updated once a month for the last 6 months. Low Financial news releases are updated less than once a month for the last 6 months. 8-4. Financial news releases updated regularly Nonexistence Coder cannot find financial news releases. 9. Assurances Attempts to demonstrate the value of financial publics for the purpose of satisfying information needs of financial publics. High The company provides all criteria mentioned beside. Medium The company provides three to four criteria among all mentioned beside. Low The company provides one criterion to two criteria among all mentioned beside. 9-1. Corporate governance 1) corporate governance guidelines/policy 2) code of conduct/ethics 3) audit committee charters 4) compensation committee charters 5) nominating committee charters Nonexistence Coder cannot find any item regarding corporate governance. High The CEO’s message includes all the contents mentioned beside. Medium The CEO’s message includes two or three among the contents mentioned beside. Low The CEO’s message includes one among the contents mentioned beside. 9-2-1. CEO’s message in annual reports 1) the past year’s sales and earnings in brief numerically 2) the contribution of any special program (e.g., quality management) that the company used for acquiring the best result 3) brief future plans that the company prepares for to accomplish the best for the year ahead 4) the corporate policy and record for dividends Nonexistence Coder cannot find a chief executive officer’s message.

PAGE 80

70 High The CEO’s message includes all the contents mentioned beside. Medium The CEO’s message includes two or three among the contents mentioned beside. Low The CEO’s message includes one among the contents mentioned beside. 9-2-2. CEO’s message in annual reports in the IR link * All same items mentioned above (9-2-1) Nonexistence Coder cannot find a chief executive officer’s message. High Communication items mentioned beside are all posted. Medium Two communication items among all mentioned beside are posted. Low Just one communication item among all mentioned beside is posted. 9-3. Communication with shareholders 1) e-mail alerts 2) newsletters with shareholders 3) request information Nonexistence Coder cannot find any means among suggested three items to communicate with shareholders. 10. Networking Building networks or having close association with third parties to contribute to the community. High Posting names of partnership organizations such as environmentalists, unions, and community groups relating to social responsibility activities, or activist groups encouraging shareholders to vote certain legislation for businesses, and their Web sites hyperlinked in the corporate IR link. Medium Posting either names of partnership organizations relating to social responsibility activities, such as environmentalists, unions, and community groups, or activist groups encouraging shareholders to vote certain legislation for businesses, or their Web sites hyperlinked in the corporate IR link. 10-1. Coalitions to build relationship with the company (ONLY limited in the IR section) Low Posting statements only why partnership is necessary relating to social responsibility activities, without information of partnership organizations’ name and Web sites hyperlinked in the corporate IR link. Nonexistence Coder cannot find any networking information mentioned above. 11. Sharing of tasks Organizational efforts to solve common or separate problems that corporations and financial publics in communities face.

PAGE 81

71 High There are all three kinds of information regarding contents mentioned beside. Medium There are two kinds of information regarding contents mentioned beside. Low There is one kind of information regarding contents mentioned beside. 11-1. Activities of shared tasks (ONLY limited in the IR section) 1) the purpose of social or environmental performances, 2) specific types of programs, 3) outcomes regarding activities of partnership organizations, such as environmentalists, unions, and community groups, or activist groups Nonexistence Coder cannot find information regarding activities of shared tasks mentioned beside. 12. Please specify other items that are not in this list yet in the IR link. Please specify the all items that are not in this list yet are in the IR link. This is an open-ended format.

PAGE 82

APPENDIX C THE WEB SITES OF 2005 FORBES 200 BEST SMALL COMPANY LISTS Rank Company Name Industry Type Company Web site Address 1 Hansen Natural Beverages & food www.hansens.com 2 Cognizant Technology Solutions Computer services www.cognizant.com 3 Travelzoo Internet www.travelzoo.com 4 Remington Oil & Gas Oil & gas www.remoil.net 5 Usana Health Sciences Household & personal care products www.usanahealthsciences.com 6 Forward Industries Consumer products & services www.forwardindustries.com 7 Laserscope Medical products www.laserscope.com 8 Ceradyne Aerospace & defense www.ceradyne.com 9 American Healthways Medical services www.americanhealthways.com 10 Middleby Household & personal care products www.middleby.com 11 Quality Systems Computer systems www.qsii.com 12 Amedisys Health care www.amedisys.com 13 OMI Freight forwarding & transportation www.omicorp.com 14 St Mary Land & Exploration Oil & gas www.stmaryland.com 15 Synaptics Computer equipment www.synaptics.com 16 Resource Connection Business services www.resourcesglobal.com 17 Dialysis Corporation of America Medical services www.dialysiscorporation.com 18 Encore Acquisition Oil & gas www.encoreacq.com 19 United Panam Financial Financial services www.upfc.com 20 Shuffle Master Leisure www.shufflemaster.com 21 Biosite Medical products www.biosite.com 22 Websense Internet www.websense.com 23 K-Swiss Apparel www.kswiss.com 24 SurModics Medical products www.surmodics.com 25 Berry Petroleum Oil & gas www.bry.com 26 Diodes Semiconductors www.diodes.com 72

PAGE 83

73 27 Cal Dive International Oil & gas www.caldive.com 28 Panera Bread Restaurants www.panerabread.com 29 Talx Computer software www.talx.com 30 Corporate Executive Board Business services www.executiveboard.com 31 Computer Programs & Systems Computer software www.cpsinet.com 32 Advisory Board Business services www.advisory.com 33 General Maritime Freight forwarding & transportation www.generalmaritimecorp.com 34 Scientific Games Leisure www.scientificgames.com 35 Royal Gold Metals www.royalgold.com 36 Argon ST Aerospace & defense www.argonst.com 37 Comtech Telecommunications Telecommunications www.comtechtel.com 38 Labarge Electronics www.labarge.com 39 FLIR Systems Electronics www.flir.com 40 Cytyc Medical products www.cytyc.com 41 Multi-Color Business services www.multicolorcorp.com 42 ITT Educational Services Education www.ittesi.com 43 Reliv International Household & personal care products www.reliv.com 44 Jos A Bank Clothiers Retail www.josbank.com 45 Unit Oil & gas www.unitcorp.com 46 Natural Gas Services Group Oil & gas www.ngsgi.com 47 Strayer Education Education www.strayereducation.com 48 Brown & Brown Insurance www.bbinsurance.com 49 Southwestern Energy Oil & gas www.swn.com 50 Psychiatric Solutions Medical services www.psysolutions.com 51 ResMed Medical products www.resmed.com 52 Hydril Oil & gas www.hydril.com 53 FactSet Research Systems Computer services www.factset.com 54 Netgear Computer systems www.netgear.com 55 SFBC International Medical services www.sfbci.com 56 Whiting Petroleum Oil & gas www.whiting.com 57 Bluegreen Leisure www.bluegreen-corp.com 58 Mentor Medical products www.mentorcorp.com 59 American Vanguard Chemicals www.amvac-chemical.com 60 Affymetrix Medical products www.affymetrix.com 61 Bio-Reference Medical services www.bioreference.com

PAGE 84

74 Laboratories 62 Safenet Computer software www.safenet-inc.com 63 American Medical Systems Medical products www.visitams.com 64 Carbo Ceramics Oil & gas www.carboceramics.com 65 Ansys Computer software www.ansys.com 66 SS&C Technologies Computer software www.ssctech.com 67 MTC Technologies Computer services www.mtctechnologies.com 68 Meridian Bioscience Medical products www.meridianbioscience.com 69 Monarch Casino & Resort Leisure www.monarchcasino.com 70 Advanced Neuromodulation Systems Medical products www.ans-medical.com 71 Marine Products Leisure www.marineproductscorp.com 72 Balchem Chemicals www.balchem.com 73 Innovative Solutions & Support Aerospace & defense www.innovative-ss.com 74 Hibbett Sporting Goods Retail www.hibbett.com 75 CNS Household & personal care products www.cns.com 76 Bentley Pharmaceuticals Medical products www.bentleypharm.com 77 Packeteer Internet www.packeteer.com 78 Orbit International Electronics www.orbitintl.com 79 Houston Exploration Oil & gas www.houstonexploration.com 80 Deckers Outdoor Apparel www.deckers.com 81 Cooper Cos Medical products www.coopercos.com 82 Knight Transportation Freight forwarding & transportation www.knighttransportation.com 83 Stericycle Medical services www.stericycle.com 84 LoJack Business services www.lojack.com 85 Medicis Pharmaceutical Drugs www.medicis.com 86 United Industrial Aerospace & defense www.unitedindustrial.com 87 Matthews International Consumer products & services www.matthewsinternational.com 88 Techne Medical products www.techne-corp.com 89 LKQ Automotive www.lkqcorp.com 90 Serena Software Computer software www.serena.com 91 Hi-Tech Pharmacal Drugs www.hitechpharm.com

PAGE 85

75 92 Cantel Medical Medical products www.cantelmedical.com 93 Micros Systems Computer equipment www.micros.com 94 Acme United Consumer products & services www.acmeunited.com 95 Sonic Restaurants www.sonicdrivein.com 96 RC2 Leisure www.rc2co.com 97 Coinstar Business services www.coinstar.com 98 Navigant Consulting Business services www.navigantconsulting.com 99 CPI Aerostructures Aerospace & defense www.cpiaero.com 100 Pediatrix Medical Group Medical services www.pediatrix.com 101 Yankee Candle Retail www.yankeecandle.com 102 DJ Orthopedics Medical products www.djortho.com 103 Bright Horizons Family Solutions Business services www.brighthorizons.com 104 Parlux Fragrances Household & personal care products www.parlux.com 105 Verint Systems Computer software www.verintsystems.com 106 Superior Energy Services Oil & gas www.superiorenergy.com 107 HealthTronics Medical products www.healthtronics.com 108 United States Lime & Minerals Construction materials www.uslm.com 109 First Cash Financial Services Retail www.firstcash.com 110 CRA International Business services www.crai.com 111 Rocky Shoes & Boots Retail www.rockyboots.com 112 II-VI Electronics www.ii-vi.com 113 Sun Hydraulics Industrial products www.sunhydraulics.com 114 Metrologic Instruments Computer equipment www.metrologic.com 115 Eagle Materials Construction materials www.eaglematerials.com 116 Integra LifeSciences Medical products www.integra-ls.com 117 Mod-Pac Consumer products & services www.modpac.com 118 Copart Business services www.copart.com 119 Avid Technology Leisure www.avid.com 120 QLogic Electronics www.qlogic.com 121 International Speedway Leisure www.iscmotorsports.com 122 Ambassador Group Leisure www.ambassadorsgroup.com 123 Tetra Technologies Oil & gas www.tetratec.com 124 Graco Machinery www.graco.com 125 Kronos Computer software www.kronos.com 126 Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Retail www.greenmountaincoffee.com

PAGE 86

76 127 Intrado Telecommunications www.intrado.com 128 US Physical Therapy Health care www.usphysicaltherapy.com 129 Kensey Nash Medical products www.kenseynash.com 130 Cherokee Apparel www.cherokeegroup.com 131 Arbitron Media www.arbitron.com 132 Forward Air Freight forwarding & transportation www.forwardair.com 133 Plantronics Telecommunications www.plantronics.com 134 Macrovision Electronics www.macrovision.com 135 Stratasys Machinery www.stratasys.com 136 Amsurg Health care www.amsurg.com 137 Cavco Industries Homebuilding www.cavco.com 138 Amcol International Metals www.amcol.com 139 Inamed Medical products www.inamed.com 140 Schawk Business services www.schawk.com 141 Penn Virginia Oil & gas www.pennvirginia.com 142 Aerosonic Aerospace & defense www.aerosonic.com 143 Conns Retail www.conns.com 144 Idexx Laboratories Medical products www.idexx.com 145 EDO Aerospace & defense www.edocorp.com 146 Gray Television Media www.graycommunications.com 147 Rimage Computer systems www.rimage.com 148 Fargo Electronics Electronics www.fargo.com 149 Medical Action Industries Medical products www.medical-action.com 150 Intermagnetics General Medical products www.igc.com 151 Trimble Navigation Telecommunications www.trimble.com 152 Stone Energy Oil & gas www.stoneenergy.com 153 Lifeline Systems Consumer products & services www.lifelinesystems.com 154 Ace Cash Express Financial services www.acecashexpress.com 155 Landauer Business services www.landauerinc.com 156 Maritrans Freight forwarding & transportation www.maritrans.com 157 Digitas Business services www.digitas.com 158 Dionex Electronics www.dionex.com 159 Heartland Express Freight forwarding & transportation www.heartlandexpress.com 160 Sybron Dental Specialties Medical products www.sybrondental.com 161 Hyperion Solutions Computer software www.hyperion.com 162 Wright Medical Group Medical products www.wmt.com 163 Lufkin Industries Oil & gas www.lufkin.com 164 Jack Henry & Computer services www.jackhenry.com

PAGE 87

77 Associates 165 Catapult Communications Telecommunications www.catapult.com 166 Waste Connections Pollution control www.wcnx.org 167 Horizon Health Medical services www.horz.com 168 Badger Meter Industrial products www.badgermeter.com 169 Mobile Mini Containers www.mobilemini.com 170 Young Innovations Medical products www.yiinc.com 171 Dendrite International Computer software www.dendrite.com 172 Spectralink Telecommunications www.spectralink.com 173 Cash America International Retail www.cashamericaonline.com 174 Genesee & Wyoming Freight forwarding & transportation www.gwrr.com 175 Triad Gu Insurance www.tgic.com 176 Progress Software Computer software www.progress.com 177 Franklin Electric Machinery www.franklin-electric.com 178 ESCO Technologies Pollution control www.escostl.com 179 Marten Transport Freight forwarding & transportation www.marten.com 180 Ennis Consumer products & services www.ennis.com 181 Internet Security Systems Computer software www.iss.net 182 Neogen Drugs www.neogen.com 183 Monro Muffler Brake Retail www.monro.com 184 Interactive Data Business services www.interactivedatacorp.com 185 Buckle Retail www.buckle.com 186 Zebra Technologies Computer equipment www.zebra.com 187 Integral Systems Aerospace & defense www.integ.com 188 American Dental Partners Business services www.amdpi.com 189 J&J Snack Foods Beverages & food www.jjsnack.com 190 Kirby Freight forwarding & transportation www.kmtc.com 191 Molecular Devices Medical products www.moleculardevices.com 192 Speedway Motorsports Leisure www.speedwaymotorsports.com 193 Lee Enterprises Media www.lee.net 194 Arrow International Medical products www.arrowintl.com 195 Entercom Communications Media www.entercom.com 196 Conmed Medical products www.conmed.com

PAGE 88

78 197 Haemonetics Medical products www.haemonetics.com 198 Movado Group Retail www.movadogroupinc.com 199 Hutchinson Technology Computer systems www.htch.com 200 National Presto Industries Household & personal care products www.presto-net.com

PAGE 89

LIST OF REFERENCES Agresti, A. & Finlay, B. (1997). Statistical methods for the social sciences (3 rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Analysts get vocal about Web content. (2001, May 28). Investor Relations Business, 1. Barmash, I. (2000, January 10). Should financial PR pros wear two hats? IR and financial PR pros are supposed to give the same messages to different people-investors and journalists. Should a company’s IR and PR functions be filled by the same person? Isadore Barmash investigates (Market Focus-investor relations). PR Week, 31. Bennett, J. B. (2001). Teaching with hospitality. Teaching and Learning News, 10(3), 88. Bok, S. (1989). Secrets-on the ethics of concealment and revelation. New York: Vintage Books. Bortree, D. (2005, August). Building relationships with child publics: Study of the content of nutrition Websites for children. Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, San Antonio, TX. Breenan, N., & Kelly, S. (2000). Use of the Internet by Irish companies for investor relations purposes. Accountancy Ireland, 32(4), 23-25. Broom, G. M., Casey, S., & Ritchey, J. (2000). Concept and theory of organization-public relationships. In J. A. Ledingham & S. D. Bruning (Eds.), Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations (pp. 3-22). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Bruning, S. D., & Ledingham, J. A. (1999). Relationships between organizations and publics: Development of a multi-dimensional organization-public relationship scale. Public Relations Review, 25(2), 157-170. Bruning, S. D., & Ledingham, J. A. (2000). Perceptions of relationships and evaluations of satisfaction: An exploration of interaction. Public Relations Review, 26(1), 85-95. Callison, C. (2003). Media relations and the Internet: How Fortune 500 company Web sites assist journalists in news gathering. Public Relations Review, 29(1), 29-41. 79

PAGE 90

80 Canary, D. J., & Stafford, L. (1992). Relational maintenance strategies and equity in marriage. Communication Monographs, 59, 239-267. Canary, D. J., & Stafford, L. (1994). Maintaining relationships through strategic and routine interaction. In D. J. Canary & L. Stafford (Eds.), Communication and Relational Maintenance (pp. 3-22). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Chavez, G. (1996, May). IR strategies on the Internet. Corporate Finance, 10(5), 53-56. Clark, M. S., & Mills, J. (1993). The difference between communal and exchange relationships: What it is and is not. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 684. Cooley, T. (1999). Interactive communication—Public relations on the Web. Public Relations Quarterly, 44(2), 41-42. Cutlip, S. M., Center, A. H., & Broom, G. M. (1999), Effective public relations (8 th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Davids, M. (1989). How now IR? Public Relations Journal, 45(4), 14-19. Dull, R. B., & Schleifer, L. L. F. (2003). Online financial calculators. The CPA Journal, 73(7), 30-35. Esrock, S. L., & Leichty, G. B. (1998). Social responsibility and corporate Web pages: Self-presentation or agenda-setting? Public Relations Review, 24(3), 305-319. Esrock, S. L., & Leichty, G. B. (1999). Corporate World Wide Web pages: Serving the news media and other publics. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 76(3), 456-467. Esrock, S. L., & Leichty, G. B. (2000). Organization of corporate Web pages: Publics and functions. Public Relations Review, 26(3), 327-344. Ettredge, M. & Gerdes, Jr., J. (2005). Timeliness of investor relations data at corporate Web sites. Communications of the ACM, 48(1), 95-100. Farragher, E. J., Kleiman, R., & Bazaz, M. S. (1994). Do investor relations make a difference? The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 34(4), 403-412. Ferguson, M. A. (1984). Building theory in public relations: Interorganizational relationships. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Gainesville, Florida. Fisher, R., & Brown, S. (1988). Getting together: Building a relationship that gets to yes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

PAGE 91

81 Grunig, J. E., & Grunig, L. A. (1992). Models of public relations and communication. In J. E. Grunig (Ed.), Excellence in public relations and communication management (pp. 285-326). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Grunig, J. E., & Grunig, L. A. (1999). Does evaluation of PR measure the real value of PR? Jim & Lauri Grunig’s research. PR Reporter, 41(35), 4. Grunig, J. E., & Huang, Y. (2000). From organizational effectiveness to relationship indicators: Antecedents of relationships, public relations strategies, and relationship outcomes. In J. A. Ledingham & S. D. Bruning (Eds.), Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations (pp. 23-53). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Grunig, L. A. (1992). Activism: How it limits the effectiveness of organization and how excellent public relations department respond. In J. E. Grunig (Ed.), Excellence in public relations and communication management (pp. 483-501). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Hamid, F. Z. A. (2005). Malaysian companies’ use of the Internet for investor relations. Corporate Governance, 5(1), 5-14. Heath, R. L. (1998). New communication technologies: An issues management point of view. Public Relations Review, 24(3), 273-288. Herbig, P., Milewiczm J., & Golden, J. E. (1994). Differences in forecasting behavior between industrial product firms and consumer product firms. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 9(1), 60-69. Hill, L. N., & White, C. (2000). Public relations practitioners’ perception of the World Wide Web as a communication tool. Public Relations Review, 26(1), 31-51. Hockerts, K., & Moir, L. (2004). Communicating corporate social responsibility to investors: The changing role of the investor relations function. Journal of Business Ethics, 52(1), 85-98. Holsti, O. (1969). Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Hon, L. C., & Grunig, J. E. (1999). Guidelines for Measuring Relationships in Public Relations. Gainesville, FL: The Institute For Public Relations, University of Florida, PO Box 118400 Gainesville, FL 32611-8400. Hung, C. J. F. (2000). Organization-public relationships, relationship maintenance strategies, and relationship outcomes. Paper presented at the Educator’s Academy, Public Relations Society of America, Miami, FL.

PAGE 92

82 Hung, C. J. F. (2005). Exploring types of organization-public relationships and their implications for relationship management in public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 17(4), 393-425. Hung, C. J. F. (in press). Toward the theory of relationship management in public relations: How to cultivate quality relationships? In E. Toth (Ed.), Excellence in public relations and communication management: Challenges to the next generation. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Internet is now leading source of investor information. (1999, November 29). Investor Relations Business, 1. Internet usage statistics for the Americas: Internet user statistics and population stats for 51 countries and regions North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean -. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2005, from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm Investors target good governance: Institutions are prepared to pay a premium for high standards (2002, July 29). Investor Relations Business, 1. IR Web sites winning popularity contents. (1999, June 1). Public Relations Tactics, 6(6), 6. Jo, S., & Kim, Y. (2003). The effect of Web characteristics on relationship building. Journal of Public Relations Research, 15(3), 199-223. Johnson, J. (1990). Large companies: making cooperation a priority. Public Relations Journal, 46(4), 26-28. Johnson, M. A. (1997). Public relations and technology: Practitioner perspectives. Journal of Public Relations Research, 9(3), 213-236. Kang, S., & Norton, H. E. (2004). Nonprofit organizations’ use of the World Wide Web: Are they sufficiently fulfilling organizational goals? Public Relations Review, 30(3), 279-284. Kent, M. L., & Taylor, M. (1998). Building dialogic relationships through the World Wide Web. Public Relations Review, 24(3), 321-334. Kent, M. L., Taylor, M., & White, W. J. (2003). The relationship between Web site design and organizational responsiveness to stakeholders. Public Relations Review, 29(1), 63-77. Ki, E. (2003). Relationship maintenance strategies on Web sites. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Kiousis, S. (2002). Interactivity: A concept explication. New Media & Society, 4(3), 355-383.

PAGE 93

83 Kiousis, S., & Dimitrova, D. V. (in press). Differential impact of Web site content: Exploring the influence of source (public relations versus news), modality, and participation on college students’ perceptions. Public Relations Review. Ledingham, J. A. (2003). Explicating relationship management as a general theory of public relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 15(2), 181-198. Ledingham, J. A., & Bruning, S. D. (1998). Relationship management in public relations: Dimensions of an organization-public relationship. Public Relations Review, 24(1), 55-65. Lees, D. (1994, March). A strategy that pays dividends. Management Today, 5. Li, E. Y., McLeod Jr., R., & Rogers, J. C. (1993). Marketing information systems in the Fortune 500 companies: Past, present, and future. Journal of Management Information Systems, 10(1), 165-192. Marino, Jr., A. J. (1995). Separating your annual report from the head. Public Relations Quarterly, 40(2), 44-47. Marston, C. (1996). The organization of the investor relations function by large UK quoted companies. Omega-International Journal of Management Science, 24(4), 477-488. Marston, C., & Straker, M. (2001). Investor relations: A European survey. Corporate Communications, 6(2), 82-93. McMillan, S. J. (2000). The microscope and the moving target: The challenge of applying content analysis to the World Wide Web. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 77(1), 80-98. Miller, E. (1997). Investor relations. In P. Lesly (5 th ed.), Lesly’s handbook of public relations and communications (pp. 161-205). Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary books. Mills, J., & Clark, M. S. (1994). Communal and exchange relationships: Controversies and research. In R. Erber & R. Gilmour (Eds.), Theoretical frameworks for personal relationships (pp. 29). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associations, Inc. More disclosure means less exposure. (2002, May 20). Investor Relations Business, 1. Newhagen, J. E., & Rafaeli, S. (1996). Why communication researchers should study the Internet: A dialogue. Journal of Communication, 46(1), 4-13. NIRI Mission and Goals. (2003, March). Retrieved October 26, 2005, from http://www.niri.org/about/mission.cfm

PAGE 94

84 O’Malley, M., & Irani, T. (1998). Public relations and the Web: Measuring the effect of interactivity, information, and the access to information in Web sites. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Baltimore, MD. Petersen, B. K., & Martin, H. J. (1996). CEO perception of investor relations as a public relations function: An exploratory study. Journal of Public Relations Research, 8(3), 173-209. Petrecca, L. (2002, September 30). A need to make sense of financial matters. Advertising Age, 73(39), 17. Plunkett, C. (1999). Anticipating trends in Internet company investing: Targeting institutional investors. Public Relations Tactics, 6(4), 14. Prout, C. H. (1997). Organization and function of the corporate public relations department. In P. Lesly (5 th ed.), Lesly’s handbook of public relations and communications (pp. 685-695). Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary books. Shoemaker, P. J. (2003). Intercoder reliability. Retrieved March 30, 2006, from http://web.syr.edu/~snowshoe/frames/content_analysis/intercoder_reliability.doc Silver, D. (2004). The IR-PR nexus. In B. M. Cole (Ed.), The new investor relations: Expert perspectives on the state of the art (pp. 59-74). Princeton, NJ: Bloomberg Press. Stafford, L., & Canary, D. J. (1991). Maintenance strategies and romantic relationship type, gender, and relational characteristics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 8, 217-242. Taylor, M., Kent, M. L., & White, W. J. (2001). How activist organizations are using the Internet to build relationships. Public Relations Review, 27(3), 263-284. Tips for creating a good annual report. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2006, from http://www.zpub.com/sf/arl/arl-tips.html Toth, E. L. (2000). From personal influence to interpersonal influence: A model for relationship management. In J. A. Ledingham & S. D. Bruning (Eds.), Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations (pp. 205-219). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Using technology to communicate with investors. (1999). Public Relations Tactics, 6(5), 22. Web site nominee—Apache: Taking the next step. (1999, November 29). Investor Relations Business, 1.

PAGE 95

85 Weber, L. (1996). Internet rewrites rules of public relations game. Public Relations Tactics, 3(11), 20. White, C., & Raman, N. (1999). The World Wide Web as a public relations medium: The use of research, planning, and evaluation in Web site development. Public Relations Review, 25(4), 405. Wimmer, R., & Dominick, J. (2003). Mass media research: An introduction (7 th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Wright, D. K. (2001). The magic communication machine: examining the Internet’s impact on public relations, journalism, and the public. Gainesville, FL: The Institute For Public Relations, University of Florida, PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400. Yeon, H. (2005). Interactive communication features on nonprofit organizations’ Web pages for the practice of excellence in public relations. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

PAGE 96

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Youngshin Hong was born in South Korea. She graduated from Sookmyung Women’s University in 2004, earning a B.A. in advertising and public relations, a B.B.A. in business administration, and minoring in telecommunication. After graduation, she studied abroad to continue her graduate study specializing in public relations at University of Florida. Her academic paper was accepted in the International Communication Division at the 2005 AEJMC Midwinter Conference. As completing her Master of Arts in Mass Communication at University of Florida as, she plans to begin her doctoral study in the United States, public relations in particular, in 2006 fall semester. 86