“Advancing Internal Public Relations Scholarship: Exploring Contextual Engagement and Communication Strategies in Diverse Work Environments

“Advancing Internal Public Relations Scholarship: Exploring Contextual Engagement and Communication Strategies in Diverse Work Environments

In recent years, the realm of public relations has witnessed significant progress in internal communications and its impact on employee engagement. Scholars have delved into various factors such as corporate social responsibility, leadership dynamics, employee voice, and internal communication methods, all of which profoundly influence the workplace environment (Duthler & Dhanesh, 2018; Meng & Berger, 2019; Ruck, Welch, & Menara, 2017; Verčič & Vokič, 2017). However, as we contemplate the future trajectory of internal public relations research, it becomes imperative to chart new territories and delve deeper into specific contexts and industries.

One notable observation in the analysis conducted by Lee and Yue (2020) is the limited focus on industry-specific studies within the realm of internal communication. Contextual factors play a pivotal role in shaping employees’ experiences and engagement levels in different organizational settings (Lemon & Macklin, 2021). Therefore, it is essential to explore how engagement manifests within distinct industries and organizational structures. For instance, how do employees in science organizations perceive engagement and utilize internal communication channels? Similarly, what are the dynamics of engagement within small businesses, where communication practices might be more informal yet equally impactful?

Moreover, non-traditional organizational settings such as churches, non-profits, and educational institutions present intriguing avenues for research. These environments often feature complex internal audiences, including volunteers who straddle the line between internal and external stakeholders. Understanding the motivations and communication preferences of such diverse audiences can provide valuable insights into fostering engagement and nurturing organizational culture.

Furthermore, the accessibility of internal communication channels is a crucial consideration, particularly for employees who are not desk-bound. Exploring strategies to reach and engage field workers, craft persons, and service staff who have limited access to traditional communication mediums poses a unique yet essential research challenge. This endeavor may require innovative approaches beyond conventional survey methods, such as in-person interviews or mobile-friendly communication platforms.

Beyond mere exploration, there is a pressing need to emphasize the implementation of research findings. Merely identifying areas of improvement in internal communication or employee engagement is insufficient; concerted efforts must be made to enact meaningful change within organizations. For instance, if deficiencies are identified in employee recognition programs, it is imperative to involve employees in the redesign process to ensure their needs and perspectives are adequately addressed.

In conclusion, the future of internal public relations research lies in its ability to delve into specific contexts, industries, and audience segments. By narrowing the scope of inquiry and focusing on practical implementation strategies, scholars can contribute meaningfully to enhancing workplace communication and fostering employee engagement. The ideas presented here serve as a starting point for future research endeavors, and I eagerly anticipate the innovative insights that will shape the field in the years to come.

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