The survey results show a general feeling of usefulness for a majority of the 12 strategies of Hunter, et al. (2000). Analysis of the data indicates that the message, responsiveness, openness and release coordination strategies were most efficacious. While the legal implications: cultural strategy appears to have the least utility. An overview of the rankings by category along with comments on possible limitations, directions for future research, and answers to the research questions that were answered with quantitative data follows.
Frequency of Use
Figure 1 displays the strategies in rank order from most frequently used to least frequently used. This chart answers research question one: Have public affairs practitioners used this strategy in a crisis communication situation?
Strategies Ranked by Frequency of Reported Use
Figure 2 displays the strategies in rank order from greatest perceived effectiveness to least. This data may be specious, as it appears that nine respondents improperly completed the survey by reversing the Likert-scale and rating a strategy they had used and would use in the future as “highly ineffective.” Due to the small sample size, these potentially erroneous responses were retained in the sample. More research is needed to answer research question two thoroughly.
Strategies Ranked by Perceived Effectiveness
This study does not effectively answer research question three: which tactics have military public affairs practitioners used in support of particular strategies? Where respondents provided tactics, they are included in the appropriate appendix for that strategy. However, many of the comments provided were not discrete public affairs tactics but general commentary on the strategy. Further research could potentially pursue this question with an eye to developing an absolute list of tactics for practitioners to employ once they have chosen a crisis communication strategy.
Figure 3 displays the strategies in rank order from greatest to least in terms of the number of respondents who stated they would use it for a future crisis communication situation. No strategy received less than 60 percent favorable response indicating willingness on the part of military public affairs practitioners to employ proactive crisis communication strategies.
Future Use Matrix
Efficacy of Strategies
Figure 4 displays the strategies in rank order from most to least efficacious. Due to the potential error, induced by respondent’s errors in taking the survey, these rankings are probably less reflective of reality than desired. However, the rankings are borne out by the qualitative comments provided by respondents with respect to the individual strategies and the entire crisis communication process. Further research may zero in on this important target more closely to the benefit of military public affairs practitioners.
Strategy Efficacy Matrix
This study validates
the efficacy of the Hunter, et al. (2000) typology for military crisis