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K-State Today

September 19, 2016



Journalism and mass communications assistant professor presents two papers at International Communication Association conference

By Sarah Hancock

Xiaochen Zhang, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, presented two papers at the 66th annual conference of the International Communication Association in Fukuoka, Japan, earlier this summer.

Zhang's research interest is in public relations; more specifically, she focuses on corporate social responsibility programs and public perceptions of corporate crisis as well as the development of more public-responsive crisis communication messages.

Her first conference paper, "Effects of self-affirmation on publics' perception of crisis," received the 2016 Bob Heath Top Paper Award for the conference public relations division. The work explores whether encouraging individuals to envision themselves more positively causes them to seek information to decrease their exposure to additional risk during disaster or crisis. The research found that although self-affirmation intervention may not benefit corporations involved in crises, it makes members of the public more willing to seek information, a discovery with profound implications for ensuring public safety during times of disaster.

Zhang's second paper, "Linking issue, corporate social responsibility and crisis response strategies: Applying balance theory in crisis and issue management," has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.

Zhang gained valuable feedback from the conference and will continue to develop her research stream based on the success of her papers.

Zhang's travel was supported by the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and a fall 2015 Faculty Development Award from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.