We have changed the way we relate to each other, collaboration is easier than ever and groups form and mobilize faster than corporations can react. It is therefore important to understand the behaviour of Online Groups and Publics.
Among all the factors that affect Individuals and Groups, Values stand out as being deeply rooted in Human Nature guiding our choices and behaviour. Thus, our values and value system are an important variable in both group forming and the choice of groups to which we belong. The use of technology to communicate does not change what has been at the core of Human Behaviour, it simply serves as a facilitator of different acts of communication and collaboration.
The Values System model is a framework for Public Relations, where by means of the identification of values that are shared to a greater or lesser extent we are able to identify and map Online Publics. This allows us to assess and monitor corporate communication in real time at both the strategic and tactical levels.
The Theoretical basis of this model comes from different areas and authors, among them Hofstede, Rokeach, David Phillips, Camarinha-Matos and Macedo and it attempts to respond to The Authentic Enterprise Report by the Arthur W. Page Society.
Using the British Olympic Association as a case study and by looking at how we show Values online it was possible to identify a Values System coincident with the existence of online Publics and Groups. At the same time, it was possible to get a snapshot on how the communication of the British Olympic Association is perceived and responded to.
As a result of these findings we are forced to question what is corporate identity, how it is built and how it should be maintained. For Public Relations research and practice, we are opening the door to a new perspective on the dynamics of Publics.