Historically, the study of an organization’s publics has been primarily a research tool to profile the different stakeholders with whom organizations regularly come into contact. Using the case of the flawed Intel Pentium chip, this study applied Grunig’s theory of publics to the phenomenon of Internet newsgroups arguing that technology facilitates the rapid movement of publics from the theoretical construct stage to the active stage. This creates an environment in which these publics become communities of individuals who behave in ways that have a tangible effect on companies. Consequently, organizations are urged to maintain a presence on the Internet to monitor potentially damaging rumors as well as to provide a vehicle for feedback during crisis management. Keith Michael Hearit is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Western Michigan University.
Public Relations Review – Elsevier
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