0000The DoD public affairs professional, regardless of their branch of service, works for commanders who may or may not fully understand the responsibilities of a public affairs officer (see DOD Directive 5122.5). The areas of command information, media relations, and community relations are primary functions that most commanders come in contact with during their tour of duty. Past studies have examined the degree of understanding and appreciation, or value, a commander warrants to his public affairs officer in performing these functions.
0000Cannon (1984) found that commanders had a higher perception of public affairs officers who kept them informed and were part of the team compared to the wider held perception that the rank of PA officers, their time in service and past operational experience were the keys to PA integration. The correlation between public affairs officers' perception of a commander's support of public affairs and the commanders' actual perception of public affairs has also been suggested and researched (Martin, Butler & Porter, 2000). The present study extends previous research by examining both variables, commanders' perception and PA perception. More importantly, previous studies did not look at "why" commanders held the value they do of PA. In addition, the transformation of the armed services is affecting the way organizations communicate and this does impact public affairs, especially leader-member exchange. This study begins to address each of these issues.
0000This Capstone project will determine the correlation between perceptions held by the public affairs officer and that of his or her commander. Secondly, it will also attempt to determine why commanders have a high or low value of public affairs. The variables that researchers can attribute to explain why a commander holds the particular value for integrating public affairs range from personality to leadership traits. For the purpose of this study, the researchers have chosen formal and informal education, direct experience with public affairs personnel and activities, and indirect knowledge and opinions about public affairs personnel and activities.
0000The commander's survey may also determine shared anchor points for attitudes that commanders hold for the value of public affairs. Using the leader-member exchange theory on interpersonal relationships, PAO professionals can determine whether open persuasion, strategic persuasion, or manipulation should be used to perform and carry out public affairs in support of the unit mission.