A content analysis of organisation perception management strategies: An Edinburgh BioQuarter case study.
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Theories on how an individual influences the way other people perceive them were expanded and used to evaluate how organisations manage perceptions of their public image. A content analysis was carried out on how a life sciences organisation, Edinburgh BioQuarter, managed public perception through the press. BioQuarter and its partners’ perception management strategies were compared through their press releases using Goffman’s footing theory, while attitudes in BioQuarter press coverage were recorded to evaluate how effective BioQuarter and its partners were in managing perceptions. Using a cross-section of the press data collected a small qualitative analysis was carried out to investigate the effect of framing in perception management. It was found that BioQuarter and its partners used different principals to contribute to the two factors of BioQuarter’s public image. The analysis of BioQuarter’s press coverage found that public image factors (Being Known For and Being Known) were affected by different principals and were also perceived differently. It is put forward that audience members perceive Being Known For related principals more positively because they are easier to relate to; audience members can see the direct impact of the principal being communicated to them. While the use of Goffman’s theories supported the content analysis of BioQuarter’s perception management strategies, future research has to address the complex problem of controlling outside factors, such as how competition between press publications affects how public images are perceived and reported.