Journal article

Advancing the country image construct from a public relations perspective : from model to measurement

  • Buhmann, Alexander Department of Mass Media and Communication Research, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Ingenhoff, Diana Department of Media and Communication Research, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Published in:
  • Journal of communication management. - Emerald. - 2015, vol. 19, no. 1, p. 62-80
English Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a new model for the measurement of the constitution and effects of the country image as a central target construct in international public relations. Design/methodology/approach – The authors combine concepts from reputation management (Eisenegger and Imhof, 2008; Ingenhoff and Sommer, 2007), national identity theory (Smith, 1987), and attitude theory (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980) to derive a four-dimensional model, conceptualizing country images as stakeholder attitudes toward a nation and its state, comprising specific beliefs and general feelings in a functional, normative, aesthetic, and emotional dimension. Furthermore, the authors develop a path model to analyze the country image’s effect on stakeholder behavior. This model is operationalized and tested in a survey regarding the country image of the USA and its effects on travel behavior. Findings – Results show how functional, normative and aesthetic image dimensions vary in affecting the formation of the affective image component. It is also demonstrated how the affective image dimension acts as a mediator in the image’s effect on stakeholder behavior. Practical implications – For international public relations and public diplomacy practice the developed model supplies a new approach for country image analyses which will serve and improve the development and evaluation of cross-national communication strategies. Originality/value – The paper introduces a new theory-grounded approach to clarify the dimensionality of the country image construct. It is the first to operationalize cognitive and affective dimensions of the country image by combining formative and reflective indicators in a mixed specified construct.
Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales et du management
Département des sciences de la communication et des médias
  • English
Information, communication and media sciences
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