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Original scientific paper

https://doi.org/10.22522/cmr20170121

The Consequences of Astroturf Lobbying for Trust and Authenticity. Findings and Implications from an Experiment

Irina Lock orcid id orcid.org/0000-0002-0524-3330 ; Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Peter Seele orcid id orcid.org/0000-0002-6456-4003 ; Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland


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Abstract

In contrast to authentic grassroots activism, in astroturfing, lobbyists sponsor an interest group that pretends to be a grassroots movement. In a vignette-based experiment, we investigate for the first time how astroturfing, compared to grassroots lobbying, reflects on stakeholders' perceptions of organizational trust and authenticity, how perceived frequency of the practices relates to them, and the associations they trigger. Our results indicate that stakeholders perceive an astroturfing organization as barely trustful and authentic, even less so if the practice is perceived as occurring more frequently. Astroturfing triggered negative associations of manipulation. Such perceptions damage organizations’ trustful relationships with their publics.

Keywords

astroturf lobbying, grassroots initiatives, trust, authenticity, public affairs

Hrčak ID:

185281

URI

https://hrcak.srce.hr/185281

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