Value congruence as an antecedent in the organization-public relationships model

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2021-08
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Abstract

Although a handful of scholars have tested the link between value congruence and organization-public relationships (Seltzer & Lee, 2018), ways to measure value congruence reliably in the public relations context have been underdeveloped. Hence, in Study 1, the first of the two studies comprising this dissertation project, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to develop a valid measurement scale for the value perspective construct. The EFA results imply that value perspective is a 10-item and two-factor construct. The two dimensions of value perspective were labeled as Awareness and Congruity. There are three items that measure awareness, and seven items that measure congruity. Both dimensions showed high measurement reliability; Cronbach alphas were .95 for awareness and .97 for congruity. These estimates enabled the researcher to posit value perspective as an independent variable in the organization-public relationships (OPR) model explicating the quality of relationships between organizations and the public. In Study 2, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were carried out. The specified model involving four latent variables, namely value perspective, communication outcomes, involvement, and relational states, showed good, RMSEA = .060, and acceptable model fits, CFI = .911, TLI = .908. The structural equation modeling presents empirical results of direct, mediated, and moderated mediation effects of involvement and relational states on the association between value perspective and communication outcomes. For instance, individuals are likely to trust (Trust, OPR dimension) and accept the level of shared power (i.e., Control Mutuality, OPR dimension) with the organization if these individuals perceive their values, beliefs, and principles are the same as the organization’s values (i.e., value perspective). Similarly, the public is more satisfied with (Satisfaction, OPR dimension) and committed to (Commitment, OPR dimension) the organization when they think that their personal and organizational values are similar. Furthermore, the link between value perspective and communication outcomes was mediated by OPR perceptions. Findings suggested that the higher the value congruence (also known as value perspective, VP) was between the public and organizations, the better the quality of relationships, which in turn led to positive outcomes, namely reputation, loyalty, and organizational effectiveness. Results also indicated that high personal involvement weakens the value perspective-communication outcomes link. The latent moderated structural equation modeling showed good RMSEA = .04, and acceptable, CFI = 0.85, TLI =0.84, model fits.
This expanded model that was built on the OPR model replicated the findings of previous research involving OPR (Seltzer & Lee, 2018), loyalty (Ledingham & Bruning, 1998) and reputation (Yang & Grunig, 2005). In addition, the current dissertation project extends the OPR model by positing value perspective as an antecedent variable predicting good quality relationships that in turn led to positive reputation, loyalty, and organizational effectiveness.
Public relations specialists are advised to be transparent and share information about the organization they represent with the public. Public relations practitioners are also encouraged to listen to their key publics’ complaints and concerns and change the organization’s behaviors accordingly so that their organizations can enjoy a good reputation and operate successfully. These teachings are based on the OPR literature that tests the link between relational antecedents, cultivation strategy, and communication outcomes. Now, based on the findings of this empirical research, public relations scholars can train future public relations practitioners to be cognizant of organizational values, particularly whether these values resonate with or are shared by the broader public. Fundamental principles and values on which organizations operate are important factors in public relations practices because these, when coupled with effective communication campaigns, are likely to decide whether organizations will fail or succeed.

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Keywords
Value, Congruence, Perspective, Organization-Public Relationship, OPR
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