Vol. 3, No. 1 – Summer 2001


Consumer-preferred Company Responses Following a Crisis... – Lyn McDonald and Charmine E J Hartel
The Tampering Trilogy: Exploring Ethical Considerations in Crisis ... - Robina Xavier
The Quid Pro Quo of Stakeholder Personal Data Disclosure for On-line ... – Richard A Ruidl
A Cross-cultural Analysis of Public Relations in Bulgaria ... – Yungwook Kim and Christopher Karadjov
Conceptualising and Developing Reflective Practice in Public Relations – Steven Kates and Peter Scholem
Online Relationship Management: Is it a Reality for Public Relations Practitioners? – Joy Chia
Carcinogenic Public Relations? Unhealthy Promotion in an Internet Age David McKie and Kelly Robertson
A Case Study Analysis: The Canberra Cannons and the Smoke Free ... – Christina Cawkell
Book Reviews

Consumer-preferred Company Responses Following a Crisis:  The Importance of Taking Responsibility

Lyn McDonald and Charmine E J Hartel

Despite the capacity for a company crisis to cause damage to sales, there are currently few guidelines and little research to indicate optimum company response choice.  In fact, there are surprisingly few empirical examinations investigating consumer response to communicated corporate responses following crises.  Public relations literature has focused on identifying corporate communication strategies following a crisis, rather than on examining impact on consumers.  In order to help practitioners gain a better understanding of response options and likely consumer outcomes, this article reviews the literature on responses and research conducted to date.  A review of empirical studies provides evidence that company responses impact on consumer purchase intentions.  Based on this evidence, it is argued that a consumer-preferred company response hierarchy may exist.  Further, it is argued that this hierarchy is based on the extent to which the response reflects acceptance of corporate responsibility.  Gaps in the literature on company responses and future research directions are identified.


The Tampering Trilogy: Exploring Ethical Considerations in Crisis Planning and Response

Robina Xavier

This paper examines the inter-relationship between crisis planning and management and ethical decision-making processes and practices as an example of building an interdisciplinary approach to crisis planning.  The actions of key organisations involved in two recent Australian pharmaceutical product tampering cases and the earlier Tylenol poisoning case are sued to explore how responses during crisis correspond to both classical and contemporary notions of ethical behaviour.  Finally, the paper offers advice on the steps organisations can take to incorporate ethical considerations in their crisis planning.


The Quid Pro Quo of Stakeholder Personal Data Disclosure for On-line Information: Strategies for Public Relations Professionals Building Databases

Richard A Ruidl

The internet is a siren calling wired navigators. She offers an enticing array of public relations informational goodies.  In exchange for these rewards, public relations professionals are boldly asking stakeholders for personal data that fill valuable databases. 

The questions asked of stakeholders by public relations practitioners force an evaluation of the exchange.  If deemed reasonable, stakeholders disclose personal data.  But disclosures also invoke the spectre of an invasion of privacy.  

Communicators use the ‘self-disclosure’ to characterize the revelation of information in interpersonal settings.  However, scant literature exists with regard to how on-line business relationships can be established and nurtured through disclosure.  This study uses multiple regression analysis and offers practical public relations strategies that better predict what personal data stakeholders will reveal about themselves to get on-line information. 

The sample comprised 400 Hong Kong Chinese residents surveyed on their disclosure of five personal data categories.  Findings suggest that asking family and financial questions of stakeholders serves a beneficial lubrication for the disclosure of the most important and use personal data.  Men and women seem to respond similarly but with different weighted agenda for a number of disclosure behaviours.


A Cross-cultural Analysis of Public Relations in Bulgaria and South Korea

Yungwook Kim and Christopher Karadjov

The study is designed to examine the similarities and differences of public relations practices between South Korea of East Asia and Bulgaria of Eastern Europe.  The study was based on both a survey and interviews among Bulgarian and South Korean public relations practitioners.  The study showcases that both countries heavily focus on media relations.  Public relations practices in South Korea were under the influence of Confucianism.  Scepticism and materialism coming from recent political and economic turmoil affected public relations practices in Bulgaria.  This study identified three possible variables for the cross-cultural public relations study: political system, social culture, and historical events.


Conceptualising and Developing Reflective Practice in Public Relations

Steven Kates and Peter Scholem

This article addresses the issue of public relations professional performance by bringing the issue of reflective practice into the debate.  Although it is widely recognised that evaluation of public relations inputs, outputs and outcomes is important, it has been widely lamented that the discipline and the practice must be developed further in this respect.  Our contribution provides a reflective perspective of public relations practice drawn from organisational studies and management, nursing and education.  Such a reflective perspective is critical because of the generally noted difficulties in determining measurable relationships among inputs, outputs and outcomes of public relations campaigns.  We supplement this perspective with our view that the professional (and the teaching of it) will benefit substantially from establishing reflective processes in everyday practice.  Particularly, the study and implementation of consciously reflective practice have the advantage of being sensitive and attending to the details of specific contexts, many of which cannot be measured adequately.  We view reflective practice as acting as a complementary means of ensuring competent and ethical overall practice that will actually enhance the reputation of the profession and its direction.


Online Relationship Management: is it a Reality for Public Relations Practitioner?

Joy Chia

The changing dynamics of online relationship management with particular reference to email and website communication was the focus of a qualitative pilot study undertaken with 11 senior public relations practitioners.  The study revealed that a go-slow approach to developing online relationships was evident in Website development and that there was a cautious approach to email messaging.  The euphoria of the Internet and immediacy of email communication has been replaced by a responsible and professional approach to developing online and offline relationships.


Carcinogenic Public Relations? Unhealthy Promotion in an Internet Age

David McKie and Kelly Robertson

This case study considers how the promotion of lyprinol as a cancer cure in New Zealand raises issues about credibility, ethics, e-business and public relations.  In terms of immediate bottom line profit in shifting the product from the shelves, the lyprinol launch was an outstanding success.  Subsequent media reports, including prime time television news, cast doubt on the original claims made for the product as a public relations hype, and eventually the distribution company had to pay fines relating to its sales and marketing.  In examining the framing of the case, we suggest what future lessons might be learned for three sets of public relations practitioners; those in nations with small populations; those supporting professional associations; and those involved with the Internet.


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