Unpacking Public Sentiment Toward the Government: How Citizens’ Perceptions of Government Communication Strategies Impact Public Engagement, Cynicism, and Communication Behaviors in South Korea

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Strategic Communication, 2018, 12 (3), pp. 215 - 236
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. In this study, we explore the relationship between two types of public sentiment toward the government (i.e., public engagement and cynicism) on publics’ information transmission behaviors, i.e., megaphoning, about the government. In doing so, we unpack how citizens’ perceptions of the communication strategy adopted by the government, as well perceived authenticity of the government’s communication impact their sentiments toward the government. An online survey was conducted in South Korea (N = 1112) to understand these relationships. The results revealed that perceived use of bridging strategy by the government is associated with public engagement, and perceived use of the buffering strategy is related to public cynicism. We also found perceived authenticity to be significantly associated with public engagement and negatively associated with cynicism. Finally, the two types of public sentiment were found to partially mediate between perceived government communication strategies and citizens’ positive and negative megaphoning. Theoretical and empirical implications are discussed.
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