In an extension of the situational theory of publics, we tested a situational engagement model to answer how situational factors affect public engagement via both communication behaviors and the use of social media and organizational media. As part of the evaluation of a collaborative stormwater outreach and education campaign, a campus-wide survey, assisted by a large public university's public affairs office, was conducted to identify key predictors of public engagement in a watershed protection program. A path analysis for the proposed situation engagement model revealed that problem recognition was the key to predicting both information seeking and sharing. The path analysis also yielded a significant association between communication behaviors and public engagement, mediated by the use of organizational media in seeking information on the issue. Further, the analysis showed a significant direct effect of involvement on engagement. The current study provided a preliminary framework that explains individuals' environmental behaviors in today's participatory and user-generating media environment. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Administration
- Political Science and International Relations