Institute for Public Relations
IPR is featuring some of the many Black American pioneers and modern-day heroes to celebrate Black History Month.

Maggie Lena Walker was born to enslaved parents on July 15, 1864, in Richmond, Virginia. After the Civil War, her mother worked as a laundress and her father as a butler in a popular Richmond hotel. After Walker graduated from a local school in Richmond, she became a teacher.

Walker joined the Independent Order of St. Luke’s, an African American benevolent organization that helped the sick and elderly in Richmond. She began publishing the organization’s newspaper, The St. Luke Herald, in 1902. Through the newspaper, she encouraged African Americans in Richmond to harness their economic power by establishing their own institutions.

In 1903, Walker founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. She was the first woman of any race to charter a bank in the United States. She also held leadership positions in other civic organizations, including the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and the Richmond chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). St. Luke’s Penny Savings Bank survived the Great Depression and eventually consolidated with two other large banks. The bank is still in operation today. Walker died on Dec. 15, 1934.

Liang Liang, Ph.D., Xue Zhang, Ph.D., Guyang Tian, Ph.D., & Yezhuang Tian, Ph.D., Harbin Institute of Technology
This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Center.

Enterprise social media (ESM) refers to web-based platforms that enable employees to post, view information, and interact with everyone in organizations. Researchers examined why and when ESM can foster employee innovation in the workplace.

The researchers argued that communication visibility (the extent to which third parties easily see what content others exchange and with whom they share the content) afforded by ESM would promote employees’ voice behavior (i.e., expressing innovative ideas to improve organizational performance).

The authors conducted a field experiment at a large company in the service industry with over 1,000 employees in Northeast China. The authors sampled 154 employees from departments that employed a new function of Enterprise WeChat which has high communication visibility and 102 employees from departments that were using an old version of WeChat with low communication visibility

Key findings include:
  • Participants in the high communication visibility condition (i.e., the new version of WeChat) tended to voice more ideas than those in the low communication visibility condition.
  • Communication visibility increased employees' voice behavior, which in turn promoted employee innovation behavior, which involves collecting and applying new ideas at work.
  • Communication visibility has a stronger positive effect on employee voice behavior and innovation behavior among employees who are focused on professional growth and development.

Deloitte examined the concerns and actions of business leaders and companies regarding climate change and environmental sustainability.

A survey of 2,000 C-suite executives across 21 countries was conducted from September – October 2021.

Key findings include:
  • 79% of executives think the world is at a tipping point for responding to climate change compared to 59% of executives eight months prior.
  • 88% of executives agree that with immediate action we can limit the worst impacts of climate change compared to 63% of executives eight months prior.
  • 73% of leaders expect climate change to have a "high/very high" impact on their organization's strategies over the next three years and only 4% expect "little to no" impact.
  • The top sustainability actions taken by companies were "using more sustainable materials" (67%) and "increasing the efficiency of energy use" (66%).

The Harris Poll examined Americans' perceptions surrounding healthcare and other challenges during COVID-19.

A survey of 2,089 U.S. adults was conducted from Jan. 14-16, 2022.

Key findings include:
  • 56% of Americans support a health tax for the voluntarily unvaccinated.
  • This statistic is highest among Millennials (60%) and Democrats (67%).
  • 59% of Americans support The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Biden Administration’s employer vaccine mandate – including 45% of Democrats.
  • 81% of Millennials are willing to switch product brands rather than wait for COVID-19 supply chain shortages to subside.
  • That compares to 58% of Gen Z, 69% of Gen X, and 58% of Boomers who said they were willing to switch brands.
  • 48% of workers indicated they would retire earlier if healthcare coverage was not dependent on their employer.
  • Younger generations were more likely to agree than older ones (62% of Gen Z; 58% of Millennials; 45% of Gen X; 36% of Boomers).

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