0000The dynamics involved in creating an effective working relationship between Unit Commander and Public Affairs Officer are complex and dependent on numerous variables. Recognizing factors contributing to a dysfunctional working relationship and planning effective measures to rectify problems, misconceptions or personal constructs impacting functionality is imperative to mission accomplishment for both PAO and Commanding Officer.
Primary in this effort must be the establishment of a baseline regarding actual and perceived status of relationships between PAO and CO. A correlative analysis of public affairs officer and commanding officer survey results provides the information needed to establish this baseline. Qualitative data provided by Commanding Officers illustrates possible cause / motive rational for particular behavior patterns exhibited by CO's when dealing with public affairs elements.
It is expected the data will show a correlation between perceived value levels and perceived degrees of integration of PAO assets and programs from both the PAO and CO perspectives (see Fig 1). More importantly, it is expected that qualitative data collected from CO surveys will provide categorical information which will lead to greater understanding of the interpersonal or organizational phenomena.

Figure 1

Value (Education, Experience, Example) = Integration

0000The 3-E model provides the framework from which this data will be displayed (see Fig. 2). The basic information provided from this method of research affords a PAO a foundation from which to plan communications strategies aimed at enhancing PAO / CO relationships and maximizing functionality within the command.

Figure 2

3-E Table

EDF - Education (Formal) EXP - Experience (PA Personnel) EMP - Examples (PA Personnel)
EDI - Education (Informal) EXA - Experience (PA Activities) EMA - Examples (PA Personnel)


0000Utilizing the theoretical perspectives provided in this study a PAO can approach interpersonal and organizational communication problems with the tools necessary to explain, predict and control circumstances associated with PA and commander interaction as explained in the VI Spiral Model (see Fig. 3).

Figure 3

0000An understanding of the basic principles of co-orientation theory helps the public affairs officer assess the factors involved in creating a climate of trust between himself or herself and the commander. Keeping the goal in mind of attaining second level CO-orientation and monitoring the BRP dyadic relationship, the PAO can increase the level of trust through a formal or informal training or educational program.
0000Predicted outcome value theory guides the PAO in understanding the motivations behind specific behavior patterns exhibited regarding the level of communication between the PAO and commander. Actively seeking out contact, or avoiding and restricting contact are actions based on the assessment made pertaining to the predicted outcome of the relationship. Manipulating the information influencing the commander's formation of outcome maximization goals will assist the PAO in producing a climate conducive to mutual cooperation.
0000Utilizing the persuasive techniques outlined in social judgment theory, a PAO increases the likelihood of widening a commander's latitude of acceptance on a given subject through advocating a position strategically placed in the outer limits of the commander's latitude of non commitment. The commander's level of ego-involvement if also a factor in planning communication strategies designed to alter a commander's social judgment of a PAO.
Leader member exchange theory assists the PAO in understanding various levels of trust accorded to different subordinates serving the commander. Cultivating the PA and commander relationship with in-group or out-group criteria in mind the PAO increases the likelihood of greater work related responsiveness and increased communication and administrative activities.
0000The demographic information collected in each survey provides opportunities for further analytical scrutiny regarding correlations across a broad spectrum of comparisons as well as specific applications of the theoretical principles proposed in the main study. Each branch of military service is comprised of multiple layers of command and control assets, each posing different communication and organizational problems to PAOs regarding their respective commanders. A breakdown of the data by type command or other categorical separation would provide applied communication possibilities tailored for specific situations and circumstances.
0000This study can serve as a catalyst for further research into the psychological and sociological aspects of military command and their ramifications on organizational communication regarding public affairs and unit effectiveness toward mission accomplishment. Although this study looks at a narrow field of causal and sociocognitive reasoning for certain behavior patterns exhibited among commanding officers, there are numerous other factors unique to military command that contribute to overall interaction with subordinate elements which could be examined more closely.
0000Additionally, the perspective of the public affairs practitioner can be further scrutinized. Numerous variables exist within the subordinate role similar to those of the commanding officer regarding relationship and trust building as well as sociological interaction factors affecting progress toward a common goal.
0000Existing studies may also serve to enhance the findings of this study. Many works in different disciplines are relevant to the basic precept of this study including sociocognitive learning structure studies as well as the volumes of existing work on interpersonal and organizational communication. The application of existing studies must be modified to apply to the specific gravity of military command, but the basic concepts of communication studies offer a wealth of prospective research stimulus.


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