Institute for Public Relations
IPR is featuring some of the many female pioneers to celebrate Women's History Month.

Debra A. Miller, Ed.D. APR, Fellow PRSA, became the first woman of color and the first African-American to lead PRSA in 1997.

Dr. Miller has held positions at Fortune 100 companies, federal agencies, the military, and universities and has served as the managing partner of Global Communication Strategists, Inc. She has held public affairs leadership positions at the Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Agriculture, NASA, Department of the Army, and the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition to administrative, teaching, and PR positions at many universities Dr. Miller has served as an adviser to six university presidents.

In 2006 Dr. Miller was awarded the PRSA Gold Anvil Award, presented to the PR professional whose accomplishments have advanced and improved the profession. Dr. Miller received her Master's in Public Relations and Journalism from The Ohio State University and her Doctorate of Education at Florida National University. Today, Dr. Miller works as the director of communications at Cone Health.

Vivek Astvansh, Ph.D., Indiana University & colleagues
Dr. Vivek Astvansh and colleagues examined the link between geopolitics and innovation by cross-referencing data on 4,625 public U.S. companies over the last 32 years.

Key findings:
  • As geopolitical risk (GPR) rises, innovation declines.
  • A 1% increase in GPR reduces the number of patents a company files the following year by 0.18%.
  • A 1% increase in GPR reduces the financial value of the patents granted to the company by 0.24%.
  • Geopolitical risk greatly affects companies with more foreign customers.
  • A 1% increase in the foreign proportion of a company’s customers corresponds to a 0.63% decrease in the average number of patents filed.
  • When GPR increases, companies invest less into research and development, and turnover rises among inventors and scientists.
  • This turnover also leads to a decrease in innovation as inventors and scientists are the ones responsible for filing the patents.

Bain & Company and Dynata identified five key themes that are reshaping the future of work.

A survey of 20,000 workers across the globe was conducted, along with in-depth interviews of more than 100 workers. The report also draws on data from CEO Forum conversations that Bain has held since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings include:
  • Motivations for work are changing: Gains in living standards over the past 150 years are allowing people to spend less time working, but are raising employee expectations about what a job should provide.
  • Beliefs about what makes a “good job” are diverging: As attitudes toward work fragment, the "average worker" is no longer a useful approximation.
  • This report outlines six employee archetypes which can help employers identify what their employees value most at work.
  • Automation is helping to rehumanize work: Distinctly human advantages—around problem-solving, interpersonal connection, and creativity—are growing in importance as automation eliminates routine work.
  • Technological change is blurring the boundaries of the firm: The rise of work-from-home and the gig economy have loosened the boundaries of the firm, making the ideas of a workplace and worker more fluid.
  • Young workers are increasingly overwhelmed: 61% of workers under 35 shared concerns about finances, job security, and meeting their career goals, compared to 40% of respondents over 35.

Yanni Ma, Ph.D., Oregon State University & Jay Hmielowski, Ph.D., University of Florida
Dr. Yanni Ma and Dr. Jay Hmielowski examined why environmental messages may be ineffective when they challenge the audience's opinions. They specifically looked at the role of identity threat as a trigger of defense mechanisms.

Three experiments were conducted from 2017-2018 with 223, 358, and 389 participants respectively.

Key findings include:
  • Respondents who reported higher levels of environmental identification reported higher levels of identity threat when seeing an anti-environmental message.
  • When respondents' identity was threatened by a message, there was an increase in psychological reactance to the message, counter-arguing, and "boomerang effects"
  • Boomerang effects occur when people's attitude moves in the "opposite direction of the intended effects of the message" (Moyer-Guse & Nabi, 2010).
  • These effects were stronger for those who scored higher on the environmental identity index.

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