The review of the thematically relevant materials, with respect to how augmented reality (AR) affects the domain of public relations (PR), did provide us a number of preliminary insights into the concerned subject matter. Probably the most prominent of them is that there are indeed many objective reasons to expect the continual incorporation of AR-technologies, within the context of how companies and organizations go about striving to ensure the systemic integrity of their functioning. The rationale behind this suggestion has to do with the fact that the integration of AR into the very philosophy of PR is fully consistent with the most fundamental principles of the human brain’s functioning (Kaul 2013). Consequently, this implies that the process in question is predetermined by the logic of historical progress.
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As it is seen by Hilken et al. (2017), the most apparent advantage of investing in AR-technologies, on the part of managers, is that their willingness to do it will result in strengthening the organization’s competitive stance. After all, many studies indicate that one’s exposure to AR reduces a decision-making uncertainty in the individual by mean of presenting him or her with the personally relevant and spatially sound context. In turn, this naturally prompts the person to engage with the latter in an emotionally-charged manner – something that has a strongly positive effect on the organization’s ability to reach out to people.
Yet another advantage of incorporating AR in the PR-paradigm of a commercial organization is that one’s positive managerial decision, in this regard, is likely to result in providing consumers with a strong incentive to think of this organization’s products and services as such that represent a high “perceptional value” (Bulearca & Tamarjan, 2013). The explanation behind such a seeming phenomenon has to do with the fact that, for as long as the functioning of a person’s limbic system (in charge of assessing the actuality of the externally induced stimuli) is concerned, there is no difference between the simulated reality and the factual one. What it means is that the deployment of AR technologies in organizational settings will enable the practicing organization to provide its clientele with a powerful incentive to remain loyal.
Therefore, it does not come as a particular surprise that, as Pedro, Stoyanova and Coelho (2018) noted, “Augmented Reality interface produces a higher emotional response” (p. 7493). Evidently enough, by ensuring that their organization keeps up with the ongoing progress in the field of AR-technologies, managers are able to take practical advantage of the fact that, despite people’s ability to indulge in the cause-effect reasoning, their behavior is driven by purely biological motivations. This can be seen as yet another indication that, as time goes on, the “augmentation” of different PR-activities will continue to gain an ever higher momentum.
At the same time, however, some authors suggest that there is still much ambiguity about the concerned practice, in general, and its organizational implications, in particular. Among the foremost contributing factors, in this regard, is commonly mentioned the comparative recentness of PR, as a systemically sound approach to ensuring the operational efficiency of an organization, as well as the paradigm’s paradoxical subtleties that most PR-practitioners tend to overlook (Stoker 2014). After all, as it was revealed by the mentioned author, there is a strongly defined political sounding to the PR-related discourse, in general, and its value-based aspects, in particular. Consequently, this undermines the axiomatic integrity of most contemporary conceptualizations of PR, as such that supposedly represent the value of a “thing-in-itself”. The rationale behind this suggestion is reflective of the fact that the very passage of time has a notable effect on what managers tend to perceive to be the notion’s practical implications.
The strongly phenomenological nature of the would-be undertaken research presupposes the appropriateness of conducting it within the methodological framework of a qualitative inquiry (Gergen, Josselson & Freeman, 2015). Among the main supporting considerations, in this regard, can be mentioned the subject matter’s innovative nature and the fact that, as of today, the practice of incorporating AR as a part of PR-management is still through its initial developmental phase. What this means is that while addressing the task, a researcher will need to take into consideration the transformative essence of the matter that is about to be investigated – the idea that correlates well with the conceptual provisions of a qualitative research, as a whole (Landrum & Garza, 2015).
There will be two phases to the data collection process – empirical and interpretative. The former will involve asking the sampled participants (PR-practitioners) to provide answers to the questionnaire-based questions of relevance, codifying the received responses, and subjecting the codified data to both the correlation and regression analyses. While conducting the correlation analysis a researcher will seek to confirm the presence of the casuistic relationship between the varying aspects of how PR-practitioners go about taking practical advantage of the available AR-technologies (independent variable), on the one hand, and the measurable effectiveness of the enacted PR policies (dependent variable), on the other. The main objective of conducting a regression analysis will be to identify the dialectical aspects of the relationship in question. The research’s interpretative phase will involve discussing the discursive implications of the would-be obtained statistical insights into the analyzed issue in conjunction with the findings of the earlier conducted studies of thematic relevance (Sousa 2014).
Throughout the study’s entirety, a researcher will aim to test the validity of the following hypothetical presuppositions:
- H1: “The incorporation of AR within the operational paradigm of PR is likely to increase the effectiveness of the latter”.
- H2: “The concerned practice correlates well with what contemporary psychologists know about how people tend to perceive the surrounding natural environment and their place in it”.
- H3. “The main effect of AR on PR is that it reduces the factor of uncertainty within the context of how the affected individuals come up with executive decisions – hence, making it much easier for PR-practitioners to address their professional responsibilities.
- H4: “There is a positive correlation between the measure of a particular PR policy’s “saturation” with AR and the extent of the practicing organization’s functional competitiveness”.
- H5: “As time goes on, AR will continue to define the outcomes of PR to an ever larger extent”.
The main limitation of the suggested methodological approach to conducting the proposed study is that while collecting and analyzing the data, a researcher will be tempted to come up with the value-based judgments, concerning the discursive implications of would-be obtained analytical acumens into the issue (Trafimow 2014).
At the same time, however, the suggested methodological format to conducting this research presupposes that, in the aftermath of having gone through the study’s empirical phases, a researcher will be able to acquire a systemic understanding of how AR affects PR (Katz 2015). Moreover, there is also a good reason to assume that the research’s findings should prove to be of a high practical value to PR specialists. Finally, the proposed research should contribute towards helping the latter to realize what is going to account for future challenges in their field of specialization.
Bulearca, M & Tamarjan, D 2013, ‘Augmented reality: a sustainable marketing tool?”, Global Business and Management Research, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 237-252.
Gergen, K, Josselson, R & Freeman, M 2015, ‘The promises of qualitative inquiry’, American Psychologist, vol. 70, no. 1, pp. 1-9.
Hilken, T et al. 2017, ‘Augmenting the eye of the beholder: exploring the strategic potential of augmented reality to enhance online service experiences’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 45, no. 6, pp. 884-905.
Katz, J 2015, ‘A theory of qualitative methodology: the social system of analytic fieldwork’, African Review of Social Sciences Methodology, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 131-146.
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Kaul, V 2013, ‘Plugging in: new PR technologies’, SCMS Journal of Indian Management, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 33-53.
Landrum, B & Garza, G 2015, ‘Mending fences: defining the domains and approaches of quantitative and qualitative research’, Qualitative Psychology, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 199-209.
Pedro, Q, Stoyanova, J & Coelho, A 2018, ‘Augmented reality versus conventional interface: is there any difference in effectiveness?’, Multimedia Tools and Applications, vol. 77, no. 6, pp. 7487-7516.
Sousa, D 2014, ‘Validation in qualitative research: general aspects and specificities of the descriptive phenomenological method’, Qualitative Research in Psychology, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 211-227.
Stoker, K 2014, ‘Paradox in public relations: why managing relating makes more sense than managing relationships’, Journal of Public Relations Research, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 344-358.
Trafimow, D 2014, ‘Considering quantitative and qualitative issues together’, Qualitative Research in Psychology, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 15-24.