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Study: Effectively Leveraging Organizational Communications Can Help Achieve Organizational Goals in Political Campaigns

A new study suggests that effectively leveraging organizational communications in democracies can support the transfer of object salience, moral attributes and networks to media coverage, public discourse and opponent messaging.

The findings by University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) doctoral students Brittany Shaughnessy and Nader Dagher, Public Relations Professor and Executive Associate Dean Spiro Kiousis, and UFCJC alumni Osama Albishri, Ph.D. 2021 and Phillip Arceneaux, Ph.D. 2019, were featured in “Morality on the Ballot: Strategic Issue Salience and Affective Moral Intuitions in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election” published in the Journal of Communication Management, Volume 27, Issue 3.

The authors analyzed issue agendas and their relationships in the 2020 presidential campaign and assessed their moral strategy. While morality is ever-present in elections, scholars have yet to merge political public relations and Moral Foundations Theory. They thought it was crucial to assess the complex morality present not only in social deduction, but also in political strategic communication.

According to the authors, “Candidates’ issue and moral agendas were correlated with each other and with the media’s agenda. Comparatively, the Biden campaign had stronger correlations when it came to connecting with issues, stakeholders and moral intuitions in the media agenda than the Trump campaign. For issues, the Biden campaign prioritized COVID-19 and the economy, while the Trump campaign prioritized the economy and crime. The candidates also had similar moral strategies.”

They add, “This study used a public relations lens to explore the moralization of campaign rhetoric in the 2020 US presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This allowed for making determinations on how the inclusion of moral intuitions impacted each campaigns’ issue, moral, and stakeholder relationships.”

Posted: October 5, 2023
Category: Alumni News, College News, Student News
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