|Based on the stated hypotheses,
the researchers expect that four major influences shape commanders' perceptions
of public affairs and subsequent support. These are 1) a commander's
understanding of public affairs' role in accomplishing the mission; 2)
a commander's understanding of public affairs' value to the mission 3)
a commander's past and present experience (both positive and negative)
with public affairs personnel and 4) a commander's attitudes toward the
The researchers expect
to find strong positive correlations between the level of overall support
provided by a commander and the following four factors
1) Commanders' understanding
of the value of PA
2) Commanders' understanding
of the role of PA
3) Commanders' overall
perception of PAOs
4) Commander's attitudes
toward the news media
The researchers expect
to find that PAOs who rate their commanders as supportive and believe their
commanders have positive perceptions of PA will perceive their commanders
as having high levels of understanding of both roles and values of PA;
high perceptions of PAOs themselves; and positive attitudes toward working
with the news media.
Conversely, PAOs who
rate their commanders as non-supportive and believe their commanders have
negative perceptions of public affairs are expected to rate their commanders
as having low understanding of PA roles and values; negative perceptions
of PAOs; and negative attitudes toward working with the news media.
From an applied perspective,
the theories discussed earlier in the paper (uses and gratifications, value
expectancy, and leader-member exchange) are critical in understanding these
results. First, leaders who are rated as supportive and have positive
perceptions of public affairs are likely to be knowledgeable in the uses
and associated rewards of implementing effective public affairs programs.
From the uses and gratifications perspective, supportive commanders will
likely score high in understanding of PA's role in the mission -- that
is what are the most proper and effective uses of public affairs.
The survey will help determine which areas PAOs are already being successful.
This information can be built upon to create other opportunities for commander
gratification in respect to public affairs programs. Becker’s (1979)
research into uses and gratifications supports this philosophy that a person
seeking gratification of a particular type and from a certain medium will
likely do the same for another.
From a value expectancy theory
perspective, supportive commanders will likely score high in their understanding
of PA's value to the overall mission -- that is what positive benefit will
the organization derive from engaging in active public affairs programs.
Supportive commanders will also demonstrate more positive attitudes toward
new media within the value expectancy framework. Using Nebecker &
Mitchell’s (1974) ideas, PAOs can start to predict leadership behavior
through their perceptions of commanders’ expectations and develop strategies
for upward compliance gaining.
Finally, from a leader-member
exchange perspective, supportive commanders are more likely to have higher
perceptions of their PAOs. If commanders work with competent and
trustworthy PAOs who are successful in articulating public affairs needs
and goals, commanders are more likely to have positive perceptions of those
PAOs and the public affairs mission as a whole. This survey will
show if PAOs are considered “in-group” or “out-group” subordinates, which
will also help PAOs develop better use of upward influence tactics, such
as open persuasion, strategic persuasion, and manipulation (Krone, 1991).