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Zayed University Study in Top 10 Most Trendy Social Media Articles

20 Dec 2018

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The public relations field lacks a practice-relevant, theoretically informed model and definition of engagement, which can inform practice and chart future directions of research, argues Dr. Ganga S. Dhanesh.

The Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Associate Professor Dhanesh from the College of Communication and Media Sciences at Zayed University, recently published ‘Putting engagement in its PRoper place: State of the field, definition and model of engagement in public relations’ in the journal Public Relations Review. The solo-authored article was listed in the top 10 articles in the journal that have had the most social media attention in 2017/2018 by Plum Analytics.

In her research, Dhanesh notes the increasing usage of the concept of engagement in practice, driven by the rising popularity of social media and organizations’ scramble to digitally engage organizational publics.

“Public relations is founded on the principle that engagement requires an understanding of and dialogue with stakeholders,” she mentioned.

Engagement is an affective, cognitive, and behavioral state wherein publics and organizations who share mutual interests in salient topics interact along continua that range from passive to active and from control to collaboration, and is aimed at goal attainment, adjustment, and adaptation for both publics and organizations.


Yet, although engagement has been a catchword in public relations practice and theory for over a decade, the term has been applied rather loosely to imply any form of communicative interaction between publics and organizations.

Therefore, she closely studies the concept of engagement within the field of public relations, identifies key points for consideration, proposes a model and definition for engagement, and suggests directions for future research. In the paper Dhanesh has defined engagement as an affective, cognitive, and behavioral state wherein publics and organizations who share mutual interests in salient topics interact along continua that range from passive to active and from control to collaboration, and is aimed at goal attainment, adjustment, and adaptation for both publics and organizations.


“Focusing on engagement solely as communicative interaction threatens to ignore the majority of publics, who are communicatively passive,” she argues.

In the paper she has examined the extant body of work on the concept of engagement within public relations, critiqued the literature, and highlighted points for consideration from the perspective of publics and organizations. She has also built on existing scholarship and its critique to propose a more comprehensive model and definition for the concept of engagement within the field of public relations.


 

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