Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Steven Venette

Committee Chair Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Charles Tardy

Committee Member 2 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 3

Dr. John Meyer

Committee Member 3 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 4

Dr. Lawrence Hosman

Committee Member 4 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 5

Dr. Eura Jung

Committee Member 5 Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

The pervasive use of the Internet for social purposes has led to organizational and social change, as well as social movements online throughout the world. Of particular interest in this study is commitment to organizations by patrons and stakeholders showcased via social media outlets. This research includes a review of organizational identification, parasocial relationships and social media research followed by a detailed description of the method, which included the creation and testing of a questionnaire examining the organizational identification and parasocial relationships of external publics, and their social media use. A hypothesis is put forth suggesting that there is a relationship between social media use and external organizational identification, which was confirmed with a Pearson Product-Moment correlation A research question that sought to discover whether parasocial relationships influence that relationship was asked and results of a mediation analysis suggest that parasocial relationships do mediate the relationship between social media use and external organizational identification. Practical implications for communication researchers and organizations, as well as, suggestions for future research and limitations conclude this research.

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