Crucial Communication

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045048/00001

Material Information

Title: Crucial Communication Assessing barriers to effective communication experienced by community resource organizations during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Physical Description: 1 online resource (166 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Lindsey, Angela B
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2013


Subjects / Keywords: barriers -- casestudy -- communication -- oilspill -- qualitative
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Community resource organizations serve several purposes inthe communities they serve. They serve the community in many differentcapacities including financial assistance, job training, and medical assistance. and they often provide services with limited resources including staff and funds. In times of crisis and disaster, such as the DWH Oil Spill, CROsare often the first call for many community members. Trust and experience withthese organizations often puts them on the front line in times of disaster. Community resource organizations in the Florida Panhandleworked to meet the environmental, economic, and social needs of the communitiesthey serve caused by the impacts of the DWH Oil Spill. Therefore, the purposeof this study was to determine how CROs in the Florida Panhandle identifiedbarriers to communication during the DWH oil spill. More specifically, thestudy examined the tactics used to overcome these barriers, to effectivelycommunicate with target audiences. The research used the case study strategy with documents frommeetings, internal and external documents from the organizations, and ninein-depth interviews with community leaders. Analysis was conducted using theconstant comparative method to determine major and sub categories. Results showed the following barriers to communication for CROsduring the DWH oil spill: news media, lack of accurate information, ineffectivecommunication efforts, lack of control over information, and the uniqueness ofthe situation. Data revealed that organizations recognized these barriers andworked with limited resources to overcome barriers by utilizing effortscentered on collaboration, crisis/issues management, and public relations. Theseefforts led to effective communication with their publics. This study serves as a next step to moving beyond studyingcrisis and issues management from a singular perspective. The role of CROs incommunicating about a crisis is still new to crisis communication literature.Future research should continue to look at the role of CROs during a crisis andas an extension of communicating to publics. In addition, research shouldcontinue to assess the role of CROs in crisis communication best practices andmodels.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Angela B Lindsey.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local: Adviser: Irani, Tracy Anne.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID: UFE0045048:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045048/00001

Material Information

Title: Crucial Communication Assessing barriers to effective communication experienced by community resource organizations during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Physical Description: 1 online resource (166 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Lindsey, Angela B
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2013


Subjects / Keywords: barriers -- casestudy -- communication -- oilspill -- qualitative
Agricultural Education and Communication -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Community resource organizations serve several purposes inthe communities they serve. They serve the community in many differentcapacities including financial assistance, job training, and medical assistance. and they often provide services with limited resources including staff and funds. In times of crisis and disaster, such as the DWH Oil Spill, CROsare often the first call for many community members. Trust and experience withthese organizations often puts them on the front line in times of disaster. Community resource organizations in the Florida Panhandleworked to meet the environmental, economic, and social needs of the communitiesthey serve caused by the impacts of the DWH Oil Spill. Therefore, the purposeof this study was to determine how CROs in the Florida Panhandle identifiedbarriers to communication during the DWH oil spill. More specifically, thestudy examined the tactics used to overcome these barriers, to effectivelycommunicate with target audiences. The research used the case study strategy with documents frommeetings, internal and external documents from the organizations, and ninein-depth interviews with community leaders. Analysis was conducted using theconstant comparative method to determine major and sub categories. Results showed the following barriers to communication for CROsduring the DWH oil spill: news media, lack of accurate information, ineffectivecommunication efforts, lack of control over information, and the uniqueness ofthe situation. Data revealed that organizations recognized these barriers andworked with limited resources to overcome barriers by utilizing effortscentered on collaboration, crisis/issues management, and public relations. Theseefforts led to effective communication with their publics. This study serves as a next step to moving beyond studyingcrisis and issues management from a singular perspective. The role of CROs incommunicating about a crisis is still new to crisis communication literature.Future research should continue to look at the role of CROs during a crisis andas an extension of communicating to publics. In addition, research shouldcontinue to assess the role of CROs in crisis communication best practices andmodels.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Angela B Lindsey.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local: Adviser: Irani, Tracy Anne.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID: UFE0045048:00001

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2 2013 Angela Bonnette Lindsey


3 To my husband Wade and my three sons, Co oper, Greyson, and Thad Thank you for your patience, support and love. I love you.


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Achieving this goal would not have been possible without the support and guidance of many peo ple. A simple thank you seems inadequate to express my gra titude to each person that helped me achieve this milestone. To begin, I would like to thank the Florida Panhandle organizations that were willing to take part in my study. I thank them for the giving of their time and their resources. Many of them spent several hours answering questions and providing information. I am grateful to all of them and thank them for their contributions. I would also like to thank the Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities team for their support, guidance, and suggestions. This incl udes Dr. Sam Mathews, who assisted in helping to develop my research questions and instrument. No great accomplishment comes without the encouragement and guidance of others. Given this, I would like to thank my advisor and friend, Dr. Tracy Irani who has guided me, supported me, and encouraged me throughout this process. Dr, Irani has tirelessly worked and shown great patience in helping me to develop my research interests and molding my research goals. She has been instrumental in helping me remember to put on my academic hat when my practitioner hat was more comfortable. Dr. Irani is a gifted innovative researcher and communicator. I have been blessed to work with her in developing several successful programs and projects and am thankful to be included Her dedication to the field of science communication is something that I have admired and have greatly learned from over the past four plus years. I have, and continue to, learn so much from Dr. Irani and am honored to have the opportunity to continue my work with her. She has been my rock and I am eternally grateful. I thank her for her faith in me and only hope that I can one day return the favor.


5 I would also like to thank my supervisory committee: Dr. Linda Hon, Dr. Ricky Telg, and Dr. Hannah Carter. Their patience and encour agement to complete this study w as instrumental. The wisdom gained from each of them in and out of the classroom will be with me for the rest of my life. I would like to thank Dr. Linda Hon for her willingness to serve as my outs ide committee member. Dr. Hon is internationally known for her contributions to the field of public relations and I was both honored and humbled to have her serve as a committee and I a m grateful for he r efforts in not only helping to shape my research questions, but for steering my results into a contr ibution to the field. The coursework provided by Dr. Hon originally sparked my research interest and eventually led to my research plan. I thank her for teaching with passion and for instilling that same passion into me. In addition to serving on my committee, I was a teaching assistant to Dr. Ricky Telg for several years. I would like to thank him for serving as a committee member and fo r helping me develop my research by constantly his teaching assistant for many years, I quickly learned the gold standard for professor s and for advisors. His teaching strengths and talents are ones that I aspire to reach one day and I thank him for giving me the opportunity to learn from him. From Dr. Hannah Carter, I have learned to be a better student, researcher, friend, teacher, and leader. I thank her for her service as a committee member and for her open door policy, which I probably abused. Consistently through his process, Dr. Carter has provided me with support, encouragement, friendship and often a pillow! She


6 patiently and actively listened to concerns and problems and always took the time to provide words of advice. world. I have marveled at her ability to turn research into practice by empowering people. She has impacted lives and communities by her work, which has been an inspiration in my own work. It has been both an honor and a privilege to work with her, and I greatly thank her for her support and friendship. In addition to my committee, I would like to than k my family and friends for pushing me to fulfill my life long dream and then serving as my cheerleaders every step of the way. Completing this journey would not have been possible without them. I am very lucky to have the love and support of many friends Amy and Chris Walker, Beth and Jay Neale, Kim Delp, Renee McCaslin, Samatha and Brian Snyder, Susan Danhauser, Giselle Auger, Jennifer Cox, Joy Rogers, Alexa Lamm, Lauren Aull, Heather Branum, Windy Griffin, Christy Chiarelli, Lauri Baker, Quisto Settle, Deidra Slough, Sebastian Galindo, April Blazejewski Gene Rodrick, Alison Watson, and many others always managed to keep my spirits and motivation up. I thank them for their constant support and encouragement. I would also like to thank my parents, Jan a nd Gerry Bonnette, for always believing in me and teaching me the value of an education. They have served as cheerleaders, therapists, editors, and babysitters during this process. I am blessed to have wonderful parents and thank them for always reminding me that failure was not an option. Although my children Cooper, Greyson, and Thad did not fully grasp what I was doing in Gainesville for the past four years, I thank them for their patience, support, love, and understanding. It is my sincere hope that by reaching this goal, I teach them


7 the importance of an education and instill in them that they can do anything with will, determination, and hard work. Finally, I would like to thank my husband Wade, who may be more happy than anyone that this chapter is finally coming to a close. Without Wade, reaching this moment would not have been possible. I thank him for h is patience, support, sacrifice guidance, and love. Wade sacrificed his personal work and goals to take care of our family. The words thank you wi ll never seem enough to show my gratitude. My hope is that one day, I can provide the same support to him.


8 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 11 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 12 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 13 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 14 CHAPTER 1 I NTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 16 Communication within Organizations ................................ ................................ ...... 17 Communicating during a Crisis ................................ ................................ ............... 18 Effective Communication ................................ ................................ ........................ 20 Barriers to Effective Communication ................................ ................................ ....... 21 DWH Oil Spill ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 22 Why Study the DWH Oil Spill? ................................ ................................ ......... 24 Communication and the Deepwater Horizon O il Spill ................................ ....... 25 Economic and Environmental Impacts ................................ ............................. 27 Psychological Impacts ................................ ................................ ...................... 28 Complexity of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill ................................ ................. 29 Community Resource Organizations ................................ ................................ ...... 32 Organizations Involved in the DW H Oil Spill ................................ ........................... 34 Florida Extension ................................ ................................ .............................. 35 Additional Organizations ................................ ................................ ................... 36 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 39 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 40 2 L ITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 42 Effective Communication ................................ ................................ ........................ 42 Barriers to Effective Communication ................................ ................................ ....... 44 Science Communication ................................ ................................ ......................... 46 Two Way Symmetrical Model of Public Relations ................................ ................... 47 Excellence Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 48 Crisis Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 51 Crisis Management ................................ ................................ .......................... 53 Situational Crisis Communication Theory ................................ ......................... 54 Disa ster Communication ................................ ................................ .................. 56 Defining Issues Management ................................ ................................ ................. 57 Issues Management during a Crisis ................................ ................................ ........ 58


9 ................................ ....... 59 Planning Processes ................................ ................................ .......................... 61 Systems and Manuals ................................ ................................ ...................... 61 Training and Simulations ................................ ................................ .................. 61 Early Warning Scanning ................................ ................................ ................... 62 Issue and Ri sk Management ................................ ................................ ............ 62 Emergency Response ................................ ................................ ...................... 62 Crisis Recognition ................................ ................................ ............................ 62 Sys tem Activation/Response ................................ ................................ ............ 63 Crisis Management ................................ ................................ .......................... 63 Recover, Business Resumption ................................ ................................ ....... 63 Post Crisis Issue Impacts ................................ ................................ ................. 64 Evaluation Modification ................................ ................................ .................... 64 Issues Management and the DWH Oil Spill ................................ ...................... 64 Systems Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 66 Collaboration Theory ................................ ................................ ............................... 67 3 METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 73 Qualitative Research ................................ ................................ ............................... 73 Case Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 75 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 78 Primary and Secondary Data ................................ ................................ ........... 79 Building on Case Study Research ................................ ................................ .... 80 Case Material ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 81 In Depth Interviews ................................ ................................ .......................... 81 Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities Regional Forum ................................ ....... 83 Supporting Documents ................................ ................................ ..................... 84 Instrument ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 85 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 5 Subjectiv ity Statement ................................ ................................ ............................ 87 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 89 The DWH Oil Spill as a Case Study ................................ ................................ ........ 89 In Depth Interview Participants ................................ ................................ ............... 90 Barriers to Communication ................................ ................................ ..................... 91 News Media ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 91 Lack of Accurate Information ................................ ................................ ............ 94 Ineffective Communication Efforts ................................ ................................ .... 96 Hard to Reach Audiences ................................ ................................ .......... 99 Unique Audiences ................................ ................................ ...................... 99 Lack of Control over Information ................................ ................................ .... 100 Uniqueness of the Situ ation ................................ ................................ ............ 101 Lack of Resources ................................ ................................ ................... 103 No Immediate Need ................................ ................................ ................. 104 Overcoming Barriers to Communication ................................ ............................... 105


10 Collaboration ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 105 Information Sharing ................................ ................................ .................. 108 Utilization of Existing Networks ................................ ................................ 109 Crisis/Issues Management ................................ ................................ ............. 110 Public Relations ................................ ................................ .............................. 114 Two Way Symmetrical Communication ................................ ................... 116 Working in the Community ................................ ................................ ....... 118 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 119 Barriers to Communication ................................ ................................ ............. 120 Overcoming Barriers Categories ................................ ................................ .... 121 5 C ONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 125 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 125 Barriers to Effective Communication ................................ .............................. 125 Overcoming Barriers ................................ ................................ ...................... 128 Key Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 131 Implications and Recommendations for Practice ................................ .................. 133 CROs ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 133 Crisis and Issues Management ................................ ................................ ...... 136 Florida Extension ................................ ................................ ............................ 136 For Profit Companies ................................ ................................ ..................... 137 Technology & Social Media ................................ ................................ ............ 137 Science Communicators ................................ ................................ ................. 138 Contribution to Theory ................................ ................................ .......................... 139 CROs ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 139 Crisis and Issues Management ................................ ................................ ...... 139 Collaboration ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 140 Recommendations for Future Research ................................ ............................... 140 CROs ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 140 Crisis and Issues Management ................................ ................................ ...... 142 Collaboration ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 144 Florida Extension ................................ ................................ ............................ 144 Limitations of Research ................................ ................................ ........................ 145 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 145 APPENDIX A INVITATION FLYE R ................................ ................................ ............................. 148 B INFORMED CONSENT FORM ................................ ................................ ............. 149 C I NT ERVIEW GUIDE ................................ ................................ .............................. 151 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 154 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 166


11 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Data collected and sources ................................ ................................ ................ 88


12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 Image of oil gushing from uncapped well ................................ ........................... 41 2 1 Shannon Weaver Communication Model, 1949 ................................ ................. 72 2 2 Issues and Crisis Management Relational Model, Jaques, 2007 ....................... 72 4 1 Major Categories and Subcategories for Barriers to Effective Communication 123 4 2 Major Categories and Subcategories for Communication Tactics used to Overc ome Barriers ................................ ................................ ........................... 124 5 1 CROs Issue and Crisis Management Model for Effective Communication, Lindsey (2012) ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 147


13 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S COD Community outreach and dissemination c ore CRO Community resource o rganization DWH Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill EOC Emergency operations c enter SCCT Situational crisis commun ication t heory


14 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy CRUCIAL COMMUNICATION: ASSESSING BARRIERS TO COMMU NICATION EXPERIENCED BY COMMUNITY RESOURCE ORGANIZATIONS (CROs) DURING THE DEEPWATER HORIZON (DWH) OIL SPILL A CASE STUDY By Angela Bonnette Lindsey May 2013 Chair: Tracy Irani Major: Agricultural Education and Communication Community resource organiz ations serve several purposes in the communities they serve. They serve the community in many different capacities including financial assistance, job training, and medical assistance. and they often provide services with limited resources including staff and funds. In times of crisis and disaster, such as the DWH Oil Spill, CROs are often the first call for many community members. Trust and experience with these organizations often puts them on the front line in times of disaster. Community resource organ ization s in the Florida Panhandle worked to meet the environmental, economic, and social needs of the communities they serve caused by the impacts of the DWH Oil Spill Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine how CROs in the Florida Panhandle identified barriers to communication during the DWH oil spill. More specifically, the study examined the tactics used to overcome these barriers to effectively communicate with target audiences. The research used the case study strategy with documents f rom meetings, internal and external documents from the organizations and nine in depth interviews with


15 community leaders. Analysis was conducted using the constant comparative method to determine major and sub categories. Results showed the following bar riers to communication for CROs during the DWH oil spill : news media, lack of accurate information, ineffective communication efforts, lack of control over information and the uniqueness of the situation. Data revealed that organizations recognized these barriers and worked with limited resources to overcome barriers by utilizing efforts centered on collaboration, crisis/issues management and public relations. These efforts led to effective communication with their publics. This study serves as a next st ep to moving beyond studying crisis and issues management from a singular perspective. The role of CROs in communicating about a crisis is still new to crisis communication literature. Future research should continue to look at the role of CROs during a cr isis and as an extension of communicating to publics. In addition, research should continue to assess the role of CROs in crisis communication best practices and models


16 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The DWH oil spill lends itself to research in several dif ferent areas including environmental impact, oil spills, communication, new media, ecosystems, Gulf of Mexico, toxicity, community impacts, economic impacts and psychological impacts Because of the vast impact of the DWH oil spill, f und ing agencies such as NOAA and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative have funded grants ranging from ecosystem impact to community resiliency. In 2011, a large southeastern university was awarded a by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The purpose of the Consortium wa conduct community based and laboratory research in the affec ted region over a five para. 3). Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities (HGHC): Health Impact of Deepwater Horizon Spill in researchers from five large universities and focuses on eastern Gulf Coast communities The project includ es three distinct research areas, including individual and family resiliency, community resiliency and seafood safety. In addition to these research areas, the grant includes a Community Outreach and Dissemination Core (COD) that aims to develop a dialog with communities to learn from their past experiences, learn how best to communicate with them and provide education and tools that may assist with future disasters. The role of the COD c ore is to work with community leaders and CROs and to partner with th e m to effectively disseminate research results to communities and develop work plans based on results Work within these communities and with


17 partnering organizations has qu ickly uncovered the vital role CROs played before, during and after th e DWH oil sp ill. The presence in these communities was vital in providing services for recovery efforts In addition, the CROs were sought out by community members to provide information to a community facing an un familiar crisis. Although not new to communicati ng with the communities in which they serve, CROs were suddenly tasked with providing information on a crisis that in which they were not directly involved Given the importanc e of the role of communication during a crisis and the vital role CROs played b efore, during and after the DWH oil spill, t he purpose of this research wa s to build on theoretical knowledge of the role of effective communication and CROs in environmental disasters To do this, this study went beyond traditional crisis/disaster studie s and focus on organizations not directly but indirectly involved with the crisis, because of the services they provide d to the affected communities. S pecifically, t his study aimed to understand barriers to effective communication encountered by CROs duri ng the DWH oil s pill and the tactics used to overcome these barriers By examining research question s using a single case study approach, emergent themes could be compared from various data including in depth interviews, documents, meeting n otes and trans cripts. Themes from combined data were recorded and analyzed to determine the major themes of the case study. These themes were used to develop a model for CROs to identify and overcome effective comm unication barriers during environmental disasters Co mmunication within Organizations Communication with both internal and external publics is crucial to the life of any organization ( Yates & Orlikowski 1992). Communication is integral to all types of


18 organizations and is considered part of strategic manage ment. communication professional s b p. 72). Maintaining communication with target publics helps to both develop and strengthen relationship s ort of stakeholders and Banks, 2001). A s the role of communication is important within all organizations, it is an essential element for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations rely on com munication tactics to carry out the mission of the organization fundraise, and recruit volunteers. media relations not as stand alone activities but rather as an integration of critical organizational (Bonk, 2010 p. 329 ). Integ rated communication tactics in the daily work of nonprofit organizations is crucial to their survival. Communicating d uring a Crisis During a crisis situation, the role of communications ta kes an accelerated position. ( Reynolds 2012, p. 28). However, because of receive interpret, and act on information differently du ring an emergency than during a communication messages. In addition, r ecent communication technology developments make it necessary for organizations to keep in constant conta ct with their publics during a crisis situation. This has become the norm as publics have come to expect constant contact fro m all organizations. Failure of organizations to keep in contact could result in publics perceiving organizations as untrustworthy ( Ulmer, Sellnow, & Seeger, 2011 ) Crisis communication researchers say a crisis communication plan should include a


19 system for communicating w ith target publics (Coombs, 2012 ). Fearn Banks (2001) adds visual and written It is agreed that communication is an essential part of any crisis situation. In fact, t he first two eight Crisis Management Guidelines outlined by Seeger, Sellnow and Ul mer (2001) start with the word communicate maintain openness with stakeholders. Communicate quickly to maintain a proactive Among crisis situations, Kapucu (2006 e nvironmental crise s are unique in their im pact on the public sphere (Cox, 2010). Impacts of such crises can be felt both directly and indirectly ; therefore the importance of communication during an environmental crisis situation is crucial. Communication with publics during an environmental crisi s can also be complex. In addition to communicating about a particular crisis, tactics also may need to be develope d to explain the science behind the inciden t In addition, as an environmental crisis can affect a large portion of the general public, messa ges may need to be communicated differently in order to reach different publics. A report in TIME Magazine Cruz (2010 ), identified the top five environmental disasters before the DHW oil spill: Chernobyl, Bhopal, Kuwaiti Oil Fires, Love Canal and the Ex xon Valdez Each of these disasters heightened public awareness of th e


20 potential dangers of radiation, chemicals and nature ( Cox, 2010 ; Heath & Palenchar, 2009 ). The B ritish P etroleum DWH oil spill surpassed the Exxon Valdez in gallons of oil released int o the ocean However, the impact of the Exxon Valdez accident on Prince William Sound was devastating. 344). fishermen, especially Native Americans, lo st their Hutchinson, 2005, p. 235). The Exxon Valdez disaster were the object of research surrounding image restoration and lack of public relations in response EO, Lawrence Rawl, did not become an active part of the public & Hutchinson, 2005, p. 236). In addition, Exxon was criticized for establishing a media center in Valdez, which was not equipped to handle the heightened news media attention. disaster would go down in crisis management history as a textbook case of how not to & Palenchar, 2009, p. 276). Discussions of the lack of p ublic relations in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill lack of interest in communicating with the news media and continued shifting of responsibility (Pauly & Hutchinson, 2005). research comparing the Exxo n Valdez and the DWH oil spill they remarked that although Exxon consulted the environmental community after the spill, the role of Effective Communication Effective communication is de fined as communication that was inter preted by the receiver the way the sender intended (Fielding, 2006). However, communication is a


21 complex process and meanings are not simply handed down to others. Instead, people must work together to ensure the same m eaning for all (p.11). This is especially true during a crisis when organiz ations must provide effective communication immediately. To begin, developing a strong communication relationship with stakeholders is essential for effective communication. Ulmer, et al. (2011) argue that developing a strong communication relationship with stakeholders involves communicating with them often, openly and honestly following a crisis In addition, they stress that effective communication during a crisis includes design ating regular intervals during response and recovery to listen to stakeholders and address questions and concerns (p. 49). Ulmer, et al. (2011) discuss that crisis events can often lead to opportunities for organizations and argue that following a crisis Barriers to Effective Communication Effective communication involves overcoming barriers to communication in order to convey a clear and concise message ( Barriers to Effective Communication, 2012, para. 2). During times of crisis, effective communication can become increasingly difficult because of various barriers (Ulmer, et al. 2011). C risis situations require those assisting with recovery efforts to com municate effectively with those affected (Pressman & Schneider, 2009). Because this initial communication is so important a lack of communication and/ or barriers to communication, can lead to an increase in fear, anxiety and frustrations by those affecte d by the crisis (Pressman & Schneider, 2009).


22 Barriers to effective communication often result in a lack of understanding of the messag e or elicit a wrong or negative response from the receiver therefore making communication ineffective. Hence, overcoming these barriers to communication is essential in developing effective, crucial, communication during a crisis. Barriers are defined as any obstacle (internal or external) that hinders effective communication Barriers are often defined in categories ( including noise, language, culture, environmental, trust, individua l, organizational, attitudinal, or channel ) (Jain, 2008). Communication d uring a crisis also requires a delicate balancing act. During a crisis there is an increased demand for information from publics; however, the information needs to be managed in order to not increase anxiety ( Reynolds 2012). U nderstanding and overcoming barriers to communication during a cris is can help achieve this balance of information. DWH Oil Spill Adding to the list of the top ten environmental disaster s was the DWH oil s pill. On 20 April 2010 the DWH oil platform exploded off the coast of Louisia na, eventually spilling 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil reached more than 950 miles of Gulf C oast shoreline in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17 others. This even t has been c alled the worst environmental disaster to date and has surpassed the amount of oil spilled in U.S. wate rs by the Exxon Valdez in 1989. Two days after the explosion the platform sank to the bottom of the ocean leaving a leaking well that pou red oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. From the moment of the explosion, more than 47,000 responders ( including the Coast Guard, BP officials and government agencies) went into reaction mode in an effort to stop the oil


23 (Austin & Laferrier, 2011). M eanwhile, surrounding Gulf communities watched nervously in hopes the oil would not affect individual communities and economies. In the aftermath of the oil spill more than 20,000 individuals were involved in the cleanup (Levy & Gopalakrishnan, 2010). Di fferent techniques were used to remove the oil I nc lement weather further hindered cleanup efforts. However, the complexity of the i ssue reached beyond what was happening in the water alone. Many Gulf state communities were affected before oil showed up on the coastlines. The DWH oil spill released (Johnson, Clakins, & Fisk, 2012, para. 4). Fishing and harvesting from the sea were restricted, even in areas that did not have oil on shore. Communities impacted by the DWH oil spill were strongly tied to the Gulf for the ir livelihood. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus developed a report oast: A Long Term Recovery Plan after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill ( 2010). In that plan he discuss ed the importance of the Gulf to the nation. harvested in the continental United States, as well as 30% of oil production and 1 3% of our natural gas productions com e s intro. ). He also discussed the importance of the Gulf to the affected communities. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, what has become clear is that the economy of the Gulf Coast and the health of its citizens are waters and shoreline. A significant portion of the jobs in the region are connected to companies and small businesses involved in tourism; commercial and recreati onal fishing; and related services. Because of the spill, these industries have lost income as confidence in the (p. 1)


24 Why Study the DWH Oil Spill? On 15 June 2010, President Obama declared t he DWH oil spill as the worst environmental disaster in America ( Remarks by the President 2010). As with the Exxon Valdez disaster, this was also defined as a man made or human generated disaster. A man made disaster often refers to disasters stemmed from techno logical problems and differs identifiable human actions, deliberate generated n which the civilian population suffers casualties and loss of property, basic services and a means of In discussion focused on man made disasters and particularly the DWH oil spill and Exxon Valdez the costs of livelihood or resources lost (social costs) become an integral point between natural and man made disasters. In his report titled A Taxonomy of Oil Spill Costs Mark Cohen (2010) discussed that the total estimated social costs only of the DWH oil spill ranges from $60 billion to over $100 billion (p.3). Exxon Valdez, paid over $6 billion in social costs. However, Cohen noted in his report that although the Valdez spill was extremely costly to Exxon, it did not bear the full cost of social In addition to costs, the lo ng term effects of man made disasters can be detrimental to an impacted community. Goldsteen and Schorr (1982) study on the effects of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor disaster on a small community found that man made disasters may have more l ong term effects than natural disasters because of community distress, distrust and perception. Picou, Marsh all, and Gill ( 2004 ) continued this research by noting that communities tend to come together for natural


25 disasters and collaborate efforts, but ten d to focus on litigation and a responsible party after man made disasters. Going deeper into communities, Norris, Byrne, Diaz and Kaniasty (2001) also found a difference in the effects of disaster types on individuals and concluded that man made disaster s were often more psychologically stressful than natural disasters for individuals. Communication and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill The DWH oil spill lends itself to study by communications researchers for several reasons including the availability of in formation via traditional and new media channels, and the large impact the disaster ha d on commun ities in five states ( the environmental impact, the large eco nomic impact and psychological distress and personal coping impacts ) The news media coverage in cluded both traditional and new media channels social networks, blogs, mobile text messages, and RSS feeds have emerged from a novelty five years ago to an important and so phisticated set of contemporary 227). The advent of social media, not a factor in earlier major environmental disasters, made the controlling of information from this disaster very difficul t. This advent of new media and technology makes this disaster different from the Exxon Valdez spill 20 years earlier C aptain Meredith L. Austin and Captain Roger R. Laferrier of the United States Coast Guard co authored a paper presented at the 2011 Inte rnational Oil Spill Conference One of their There has been an explosion of on line magazines, blogs and news websites. It is impossible to monitor all of them. Therefore, if something inaccurate is posted, it may never be corrected because of


26 News media c overage In addition, th e news media continued to provide up to the minute coverage of the disaster. The Project for Excellence in Journalism (2010) conducted a study focused on the news media coverage of the DWH oil spill Their research evaluated over 2,800 stories about the oil spill that ran between 20 April 2010 ( the day that the DWH oil rig exploded ) u ntil 28 July 2010 ( the day after then B ritish P etroleum CEO Tony Hayward resignation was announced ) The study noted as fast, the spill was a slow motion disaster that demanded co nstant vigilance and One Hundred Days of Gushing Oil 2010, para. 2). Eight key points from their research demonstrates the heightened news media awareness of this story. Three p oints regarding coverage of the DWH oil spill included that the story almost double the next biggest story. In the 14 full weeks included in this study, the disaster finished among the top three weekly stories 14 times. A nd it registered as the number one story in nine of One Hundred Days of Gushing Oil 2010, para. 11). Interestingly the story was than MSNBC or Fox News. The oil spill accounted for 29% of the coverage on netw ork news as the three big commercial broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) spent virtually the same amount of time on Their research showed that actual news of the spill was not prominent on popular social media sites, but personal reac tions and comments were prominent. The significant news media coverage was in response to the public interest. Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center for the


27 People and the Press found that between 50 and story ve Interactive coverage was also prominent in news media coverage N ews media provided real time video of the oil leak along the ocean floor, (Figure 1 1), which was one of the most popular links on CBSNe ws.com (Guthrie, 2010, p. 20). Providing this image stream around the clock contributed to public interest in the story, which continued to fuel news media coverage. Broadcasting & Cable (June, 2010) reported that Rick Kaplan, executive producer of the CB S Evening New s with Katie Couric stated, moments when a network news division proves it s criticism from President Obama regarding the news oil spill coverage, many reporters and producers thought their coverage was more of a true responsibility (Guthrie, 2010, p. 20). Producers argued that the eventual fatigue of covering the oil spill was very unlikely to happen as the situation continued to evolve. In news T s feet to the fire and hold the president accountable. Enough with the great rhetoric. We need to shut the hole and clean the oil out of the water. (p. 20) Comments such as this from a major news station executive producer demonstrate the emotional impact that this disaster had on those that were indirectly impacted. Economic and Environmental Impacts Economically, the Gulf of Mexico fishing and recreational industries were greatly scale government efforts were in place to reduce the risk of seafood tainted with oil from getting to market, Gulf Coast


28 seafood processors were adversely affected by the spill; they reportedly cancelled orders and restaurants then informed patrons that they do not use Gulf seafo ylv es & Comfort, 2012, p. 85). The tourism industry was affected by tourists cancel ing their plans to the Gulf and making plans for vacations in other areas. News media coverage of tar balls on the beaches and a scarred coastline greatly impacted a once thriving tourism industry (Mabus Report, 2010). Environmentally, wildlife, surrounding wetlands and bird populations were all affected by the DWH oil spill. Wildlife deaths were relatively small (Sylves & Comfort, 2012). However, birds were particul arly at risk, as the spill coincided with their breeding 86). Psychological Impact s The economic and environmental impacts of the DWH oil spill were assumed and expected; however, the psychological impacts on the people o f the Gulf Coast communities were perhaps not quite as anticipated. Grattan, Roberts, Mahan, McLaughlin, Otwell and Morris, 2011 studied the early psychological impacts of the DWH oil spill on residents in fishing communities in Florida and Alabama. T heir 2011 elevated levels of anxiety a nd depression similar to those of people living in who tension/anxiety, depression, ange r, fatigue, c onfusion, and over all mood disturbance than their income


29 Complexity of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill From the initial explosion, this DWH disaster had multiple facets Austin and nique perspective from the Incident Commander view on the critical importance of stakeholder outreach and risk communications to keep government officials, local public and responders informed of Captain s Austin and Laferrier both serve in the Coast Guard and served as Incident Commanders during the DWH oil spill. The article stands out from other articles that focused more specifically on communication rticle provi ded inside information into how government officials managed a vast amount of information for a vast number of stakeholders. Their article discussed communicati on with several different stakeholders, including federal, state and local governme nt, internal communication, communication with BP officials and communication with the general public. They discussed challenges, including meeting the demands for communication, understanding sources of information, frustrations over having information pr esented as reported and controlling all the sources of information that are currently available. In their article, they also discussed risk perception and communication, as well as many of the controversial issues surrounding the DWH oil spill and ended t heir article with recommendations for communication effectiveness in such large scale disasters. Interestingly, at the beginning of the article, they stated that communication was challenging for several reasons, including the magnitude of the incident, th e complexity and duration of the incident and other factors including recession, political strif e and upcoming elections (p.2).


30 One example of the complexity of the disaster is the issue of oil on the Florida coastline. Several Florida Gulf communities were directly impacted by oil on their shores. However, many communities were not directly impacted ( i.e. no actual oil on the coast), but suffered indirect ly including economic impacts. Mabus (2010) discussed the impact on these communities that already struggle d because of previous natural disasters. The spill has exacerbated the effects of a multitude of storms and years of environmental decline. Building on these earlier problems, the oil spill created economic uncertainty for hundreds of thousands o f Americans, and its social consequences and behavioral health effects have stretched the capacity of nonprofit organizations and local governments. Moreover, local, state, and tribal governments face the prospect of diminished resources to deal with these issues because of lower tax revenues from lost economic activity and diminished property values. (p.1) On 4 June 2010, oil reached the Florida coast in Pensacola, a beach community in the western tip of the Florida Panhandle. The area was already crippled from a collapsing real estate market and increasing unemployment rates. A decline in both tourism and the commercial seafood industry from the spill added to already mounting is 7). In addition, Florida, with the largest coastline of the five states bordering the Gulf, was the most susceptible to severe ecosystem damage caused by the oil. In addressing the duration of the incident, the well was finally capped on 15 July 15 2010, but cl eanup continued and publications referring to the continuing effects that will be felt by the Gulf communities These include economic decline, ecological damage and perhaps impacts that remain


31 unknown. Long term is also used in discussions regarding the cleanup, which continues in all Gulf communities. Although volunteers no longer comb the beaches for tar balls and bits of oil, many organizations are taking part in a different cleanup effort. More than two years later, effects felt by the communities remain evident. Th ese effects include psychological, sociological and economic impacts on the individual communities. Current news stories focus on BP payouts and litigation over the spill. British Petroleum has paid close to $15 billion to Gulf coast residents and busines ses (Fowler, 2012, p. A3) Billboards and advertisements in local papers continue to encourage residents to act on receiving rightf ul compensation for the stresses the y suffered because of the oil spill. In addition to monetary boosts, various research gra nts are currently being conducted i n communities impacted by the oil spill. Much of the research is focuse d on the environment and the effects of the oil and dispersants on the Gulf and surrounding coastline. The BP S ponsored Gulf of Mexico Research Initia tive (GOMRI) approved funding for 19 grants to study the effects of the DWH oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico ( BP Sponsored Gulf of Mexico Research 2012 p.1). An estimated $20 million will go to the research projects over the next three years. In additi on to environmental impacts, other research is focused on individuals and communi ties impacted. For instance, the GuLF Study sponsored by the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health looks at the health and psychologi cal impact of workers and volunteers involved with the oil spill. A call for volunteers to partic ipate in these studies runs through 31 December 2012. Health


32 r esearch focus spans from the economic and environmental consequences to the resilience of these communities to handle future disasters. Community Resource Organizations Community resource organizations are often defined for the services they provide for local communities Berkowits and Wadud (2012) discuss that these organizations will work to fill a need and/or gap within a community. They state that all communities have needs and gaps that need to be filled. Given their definition, the role of these organization s within communities is crucial as these organizations provide services that para. 4). Miller (2009) also spoke to the reliability of these organizations w ithin a he consistent, reliable productivity of meaningful results indeed, almost Berkowits and Wadud (2012) state that a community resource can be defined as a person, physical structure, community service or busines s. However, f or the purpose of this study, special attention will be paid to organizations that provide a much needed service to an impacted community. The term CRO is very common in medical literature when referring to organizations that provide service s for patients outside of medical facilities. In January 1999 the HMO Workgroup on Care Management developed a report titled Establishing Relations with Community Resource Organizations: An imperative for Managed Care Organizations Serving Medicare Benefi ciaries In t heir report, they defined community (HMO Workgroup on Care Management, 1999, p. 4). The term social service is often used when discussing CROs as medical literature such as this report, point to these


33 organizations to meet the social needs of their patients. The report emphasized the need of the medical community to become aware, and collaborate with, CROs to provide patients with the utmost care by addressing both medical an d social needs (HMO Workgroup on Care Management, 1999). In support of their recommendation, the work of HMO workgroup was referenced that resulted in a reduction in doctor visits, decreased depression in patients and s atisfaction with health plans when patients were working with a chapter) in collaboration with their healthcare provider (Clark, Bass, Looman, McCarthy & Eckert, 2004). C ollaboration with a local association chapter is one exa mple of a CRO The workgroup gave other examples including county/city, social service organizations, United Way, religious organizations, associations and local chapters of larger organizations, YMCA/YWCA, Cooperative Extension Service and community centers. Co mmunity resource organizations during a c risis The HMO Workgroup report showed the value of community resource organizations during a personal difficult time and/or crisis. Given their value during a personal cri sis, their value during a community crisis is equally as valuable in offering much needed social and economic services. These CROs are instrumental in helping communities in times of crisis and are often called upon by community members for assistance. Mi ller (2009) discussed CROs as in hard times, dealing with CROs hat people expect to stay strong and be there for them in times of turmoil.


34 An organization viewed as a community resource is one that sees beyond the nearest wall, boundary, or border. It encompasses a long run vision, an appreciation for individuals and entities connected to its enterprise and steps forward from the ranks to accept a particularly troubling assignment. (p. 74). Organizations Involved in the DWH Oil Spill Austin and Laferriere (2011) discussed that one of the communication challenges during the initial response to the DWH oil spill was the many different information continued, the role of nonprofits became mor e evide nt as nonprofits stepped up to assist their communities to recover from the impacts of the disaster. Handy, Seto, Wakaruk, Mersey, Mejia and Copeland (2010) found in their s or is higher, it is fair to assume that during an environmental crisis, community members may be more apt to go to local, trusted nonprofit sources for their informat ion. In addition to a higher level of trust several studies (Kapucu, 2006; Simo & Bies, 2007) have discussed the importance of partnership and collaboration among nonprofit organizations, for profit organization s and governmental agencies during a crisi s. partnership and trust between government agencies at all levels and between the public 217). The article went on to discuss that respondi ng to a crisis involves all stakeholders in a community and cannot be left to government al agencies alone (Kapucu, 2006 ). Therefore, the role of nonprofits in a crisis situation is crucial in all aspects including first response, dissemination of informati on and cleanup.


35 Many organizations were heavily involved in the different aspects of the DWH oil spill Within the Florida Panhandle, community organizations were working to address immediate problems, but also working to lessen future financial burdens o f community members. Examples of community organizations included Florida Extension offices, state g overnmental agencies, fait h based nonprofit organizations, local affiliates of nationwide nonprofit organizations, umbrella disaster prepa redness/response o rganizations and local environmental groups. Florida Extension The Florida Extension S ervice is defined as a federal, state and county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences and to making that knowledge accessible to sustain and en ( para 4 ). They offer programs such as agriculture, marine sciences, family and consumer services, horticulture, natural resources and water quality. The role of E xtension in a communi ty affected by a disaster is historically one of assisting the community during large and small scale crisis situations (Cart wright Case, Gallagher, & Hathaway, 2002) Telg, Irani, Muegge, Kistler, and Place (2007 ) fou nd in their research of the role of extension in response to natural di sasters that E xtension personnel are often the first to arrive and provide vital aid, assistance, and information. Extension members played a vital role in the DWH oil spill as they ser ved as members of the Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), answered questions from community regarding the DWH oil spill and its impacts, and communicated with their stakeholders through established communication channels including newsletters, social media and news media.


36 Additional Organizations State governmental agencies ( such as Department of Health, Department of Children and Families, Department of Elder Affairs, Department of Financial Affairs, and Department of Education ) often serve four to five counties in an y particular area. Their mission is centered on serving the public by providing programs that address an unmet need in that area During the DWH oil spill several state agencies were represented on the EOC and served their communities throug h financial assistance. Faith based organizations often provide services across several county lines. Although faith based, these organization work to serve the community regardless of race, religion or nationality. D uring the DWH oil spill these organiz ations served as member s of the EOC and impacted their communities through already established programs. Affiliate offices of larger, nationwide nonprofit organizations often serve one to three counties in an area They work to strengthen the communities that they serve through the mission of the larger organization. Often these organizations tailor programs and services to best meet the needs in their communities. Umbrella disaster preparedness and recovery organizations are a collaboration of organizati ons working together to improve the lives of those within their communities. One way they do this is to help their community prepare for and recover from disasters. These organization s evolved following the hurricanes Ivan and Dennis in 2004 and 2005 as a means to assist with the long term recovery of the residents within their county Local environmental groups work on a local level to protect the environment. They do this by working to influence policy, holding fundraising events, providing information


37 t o the community, and working to better the environment. During the DWH oil spill members of these organizations volunt eered to help clean the beaches and provide information. Each of the organizations had a role during and after the DWH oil spill Senior members of each of the o rganizations were (and continue to be ) involved in recovery efforts surrounding the spill. These organizations serve as resources to their communities to assist in all different levels ( including economic, social, environmental, an d psychological ) The Case Study Approach A single case study was chosen as a research method in order to provide a more in depth description of the role CROs had in disseminating information during the DWH oil spill. The method was chosen in order to con tribute to knowledge of the impact the DWH oil spill had on communication efforts of community resource organizations within holistic and meaningful characteristics of real 4). In addition, he states that case study may be an appropriate method when focusing on decisions and processes made by individuals, organizations, and programs when behavior cannot be controlled and when the investigator has access to participants in a contemporary event. The case study method defined as studying behaviors rather than controlling is a common theme among qualitative literature. Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh, and Sorensen (2006) describe d case studies as the researchers


38 457). The authors continue to discuss the advantages of the case study as the depth it provides and how often 457). The DWH oil spill makes for an ideal case study because of the magnitude, complexi ty and duration of the incident The involvement of ma ny different organizations at various levels provided an in depth understandin g of the crisis communication efforts during the DWH oil spill This understanding will contribute to crisis communication theory by focusing on the minor players and their commu nication efforts in a crisis. Theory developed from case study research is likely to have important strengths like novelty, testability, and empirical validity, which arise from the inti mate linkage with empirical evi dence H draws attention to itself in the form of major disaster and accidents, environmental problems by and large depend for their public visibility on complex processes of claims making forward). This dependence on public visibility makes this a study that can be carried over to other ongoing environmental issues and environmental crisis situations As Cox (2010) discussed how environmental issues are perceived is larg ely influenced by what we see, hear, and how we talk about it. Stamm, Clark and Eblacas (2000) also discussed in their study of ma ss communication and global warm ing that 219). Therefore it is important to


39 understand how communicating about these complex issues is critical in effectively communicating to key publics about environmental disasters Significance of the Study For m any years, crisis communication has been studied simply from a single organizational, managerial perspective. However, recent crisis events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 hav e refocused some researcher s to look more broadly. Adkins (2012) discussed in h is book chapter regarding governmental networks during H e suggests that discrediting threats to the organizational networks can leave the single organization open to further problems. Adkins (2012) said holistic perspective that encompasses entire networks or organizations, we will continue to overlook p otentially important insights that cannot be explained by analysis of the He went on to encourage 113). Waymer and Heath (2007) agree and discuss in their essay that the managerial perspective often dominates crisis communication research and literature They state d here is little or no attenti on to the voices of the affected publics, those whose interests are part or most of the reason why the subject organization is suffering a crisis and in The authors argue that by broadening research to affected publics and stakeholders, it provides researchers with a better understanding of crisis situations. Although their essay focused specifically on the rhetoric of government officials, it can be arg ued that by involving community resource


40 organi zat ions in the broadened research the researcher can determine a deeper understanding of communication with affected pu blics. Based upon the recommendations of crisis/disaster researchers, the results of this study will make a theoretical contribution c risis communication and its relationship to CROs and barriers to effective communication in environmental disasters More specifically, this study aimed to understand the effective communication tactics utilized by CRO s to overcome barriers and better comm unicate with their publics during the DWH oil spill environmental disaster Research Questions Given the significance and focus of the study, t he following research questions were used as a guide to develop, analyze, and finally, draw conclusions from thi s case study The questions for this study included RQ1: How would community resource organizations describe the barriers to effective communication that they encountered during and after the DWH oil spill ? RQ2: How did community resource organizations ov erco me communication barriers in order to communicate with their audiences effectively ?


41 Figure 1 1 Image of oil gushing from uncapped w ell


42 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW In this chapter, effective communication and barriers to ef fective communication are discussed. Specifically, these areas are addressed using a broad definition, but then evaluated more closely in relation to crisis theory and crisis communication. Furthermore, excellence theory, systems theory and collaboration theory are discussed in relationship to effective communication. Finally, issues management was further elaborated on in relation to crisis theory, excellence theory and collaboration theory. Effective Communication Fig ure 2 1 shows the basic Shannon Wea ver model of communication. This model identifies communication as a process involving a sender, receiver, message, channel and feedback; effective communication can essentially be defined as when the transaction is succ essful. Fielding (2006) stressed th e importance of people in the set of rules. People have to ensure that they share the same meanings when they use there is ample opportunity for problems. worth it: increased effectiveness and efficiency, higher morale, an honest exchange of thoughts and opinions, and a more harmonious work en p. 98). Effectively communicating during a crisis becomes more complex. Ulmer et al. (2011) define d ten lessons for effective communication during a crisis. Although these lessons are geared toward organizations at the cente r of the crisis, they can be applied to CROs that are responding the crisis with their stakeholders as these organizations


43 provide services to the communities impacted by the crisis. Several l essons that apply include determine goals, develop partnerships identify stakeholders, strengthen stakeholder relationships, listen to stakeholders, and provide useful, practical information. Forging partnerships as well as identifying and strengthening stakeholder relationships are all steps that can be done prior to a crisis situation and may take some time to develop. However, listening to stakeholders and providing useful and practical information can be done relatively quickly and is an integral part of developing a crisis communication plan. Ulmer, et al. (2011 ) define d 42). The authors also emphasize d the importance of collaborating with other organizations and groups that are important to the organization. They stat e e believe that they [organizations] should collaborate with other groups, work out potential goal conflicts, and establish discussion on collaboration theory. Ide ntifying and strengthening stakeholder relationships is a key first step in message development. Ulmer, et al. (2011) discussed that organizations need to begin this process before s, they are often communicating with groups they do not know very well. This lack of familiarity exists because the organization has not established any prior relationships and has no 46). They caution ed that not having a prior relationship can lead to ineffective communication. Lesson 5 indicates that organizations should listen to their stakeholder s and that organizations should consider th key


44 49). Finally, Ulmer et al. state the importance of providing accurate and practical information for stakeholders. Many of the other lessons play into this particular lesson. Understanding stakeholders and the info rmation they need, will assist an organization with providing those stakeholders with accurate and relevant information. Barriers to Effective Communication Shrivastava (2012) defined barriers as any block in the communication process. f information is a very challenging process, as it passes from one 7). Further, Fielding (2006) discussed some of the major barriers as not understanding the audience or the receiver, the message may not be tailored to the audience, more information is needed, channels are used ineffectively, communica tion strategy was not utilized, and not enough information Barriers can change based upon situation and/ or environm ent, sender, receiver, message, and channel. Given this information barriers exist at each step of the communication process. In the communication process model (Figure 2 1 ) barriers to communication can also be identified as the noise designated within the model. Noise can co semantic noise, and demographic noise (Smith, 2009, p. 166). However, in Shrivastava (2012) conceptual framework of communication barriers, noise and barriers were separated in from the past experience or background of the sender or receiver and are defined as something that halts the process at any stage. Similarly, noise is defined as occurring


45 (p. 15). Noises are typically defined as unexpected and happen rather quickly in the process. In Shrivastava (2012) conce ptual models, barriers are defined as physical, perceptual, emotional, cultural, technological, language, gender, interpersonal, and noise (p.11). Noise barriers are defined as environmental noise, physiological noise, psychological noise, cultural noise, organizational noise, syntactical noise, and semantic noise (p. 15). Overall, literature is scarce in looking specifically at communication barriers encountered by community resource organizations called to respond to communities impacted by the crisis. O ne particular Delphi study by Pawlowski, Cu, and Scotter (2010) used expert panels of fire fighters and EOC directors to determine the obstacles to interorganizational communication and coordination in disaster response in addition to other questions in re gards to emergency response during hurricanes and other major disasters. Their findings showed commonalities in several of the top ranked issues. In evaluating the responses to barriers in communication, both panels spoke of communication equipment issues (including the failure of communication technology) poor communication issues among agencies (including lack of point of contact an lack of communication resulting in uncompleted tasks) and inaccurate or unreliable information (including inability to acq uire accurate reports) as barriers/obstacles in their disaster response efforts. Often, overcoming barriers to communication involves prior education and knowledge. In Kaser and Johnson (2011) study regarding educating about barriers in order to remove b arriers to communication, they stated that understanding barriers to


46 communication and how to overcome them was essential to achieve effective (1) knowing the barriers to c ommunication, (2) predicting when those barriers may occur within any given communication situation, (3) identifying those barriers when they do The results of their study showed that by simply providing education and training about barriers to communication, business students were more prepared to remove barriers in future business relationships. As previously mentioned, t he environment surrounding an organization can also be categorized as a b arrier to communication. Robbins (1987) defined environment as actors outside the organization s that those institutions or forces that affect the performance of the organiza information from their environments as well as di sseminating information to them (p. 475). He furth er explained that organizations must adhere to changes in their environment in order to remain relevant. Robbins (1987) also touches on unstable environments and state that this environmental uncertainty can have a significant impact on an organization and cause the organization to make changes. Adapting to these changes, Grunig (1992) argues, requires two way symmetrical communication. Science Communication S cience communication is unique. Topics and messages are often complex and hard to understand. In a ddition, communicators must work closely with scientist s in crafting messages and stressing the importance of relaying their work to the public.


47 Often science communicators must go beyond traditional communication methods and adopt less formal and more gra ssroots approaches to communicating science. Mizumachi, Matsuda, Kano, Kawakam objective of effective public dialogue, scientist and the broader spectrum community have been increasingly engaging in a variety of com another study, Clarke (2003) conducted a qualitative study in which she suggested a contextual model involving two way dialogue between farmers and scientists. She held a farm visit, which was kept very informal and facili tated informal group discussions. The one on one interaction and the move away from the traditional lecture format were very highly rated by the participants. Results showed that ( 2003) contextual model of communication a welcome change to bridgin g the gap between these two audiences. Grassroots efforts and non formal communication efforts enable science communicators to garner a better understanding of their audience and determine ways to effectively convey messages. Two W ay Symmetrical Model of Public Relations As Fielding (2006) discussed that the involvement of people and an understanding among people was an essential element of effective communication, it can be derived that the two way communication could lead to effective communication. Dozi er and management, the symmetrical model is inherently more efficacious because it assumes that the knowledge, attitude, and behavior of both top management and publics are sub ject to c et al. (2011) addressed effective communication in a crisis situation. They said ffective communication is not a one way process. We


48 advocate that, after a crisis, organizations provide information to stakeholders but al so 49). The process they advocate is also known as the two way symmetrical model. The two way symmetrical model is the fourth model of public relations and on that manages conflict and improves understanding with stra 18). The model is uniquely positioned as it involves both gathering and disseminating information. Grunig and White (1992) further define d the two way symmetrica l model as a way for organizations to form partnership s with (p. 39). Excellence Theory Excellent communication has been categorized as symmetrical two way communication This communication preference is part of Excellence Theory. provided a comprehensive paradigm that has integrated and expanded public relations unig, L. & Dozier, 2006, p. 24). The Excellence Theory developed from the Excellence Study conducted in 1984. The International Association of Business Communicators issued a request for proposals ( RFP ) for a study that would t extent does communication affect the achievement of a grand theory of the value of public relations (Grunig, 1992). This would include a theory that looked at eva luating public relations programs and evaluating the overall taken in developing the theory included integrating a number of middle range theories


49 and concepts that exp lained how public relations managed to increase value to the organization (Grunig, 2006). Dat a collection in the Excellence S tudy was two fold. The first phase consisted of quantitative, survey research on 327 organization in the US, Canada and United Ki ngdom. Included were corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and trade associations. The surveys were then followed up with qualitative in depth interviews with CEOs whose organizations had the most excellent public relations functions As it quickly became the comprehensive model of excellence in public relations, it provides a model for public relations departments to evaluate and audit their departments, explain to managers the value of public relations and provide a foundation for te aching public relations (Grunig et al. 2006). The theory argues that for the public must be organized in a way that makes it possible to identify strategic publics a s part of the strategic management process and to build quality long term relationships with them research showed that excellent public relations functions within organizations : P ublic relations should b e in (or represented in ) the dominant coalition and involved in strategic management Public relations should be a management function and not a subheading of another function. If part of a management team, the researchers found that public relations was excellent when public relations collaborated with other functions (Grunig, 2006). Employees are satisfied with job and organization (and have a system for internal communication)


50 women as much as men for the strategic role and developed programs to empower women throughout the Organization should have an attention to diversity of race and ethnicity Organizations should have an ethics component. They also found that excellent public relations programs were most effective when strong relationships were built with key publics and that the program added strategic value to the organization. In addition, excellent programs utilized two way symmetrica l communication to manage conflict and continuously communicate with key publics. In order to determine the value of public relations, the function must be analyzed on at least four different levels including program level, functional level, organizationa l ways that solve the problems and satisfies with goals of stakeholders as well as of esult in stakeholder pressure causing the organization unwanted risks and costs. In addition to the placement of pub l ic relations within the organization, Excellence Theory also discusses that the value of public relations can be found in the relationshi ps between the organization and its stakeholders. These publics are identified through environmental scanning to determine which publics place value in the decisions made by the organization. Once these publics have been identified, the organization should communicate symmetrically with the public to establish long term, quality relationships with them (Grunig, 2001). As this theory has served as the edifice for public relations research, much study has gone into the role of public relations in strategic m anagement and decision making. The Excellence Theory has spurred many research studies focusing on environmental


51 scanning ( Dozier, 1986; Dozier,1990) and identifying publics ( J. Grunig & Hunt, 1984) empowerment of public relations (L. Grunig, 1992) ethic s (Shamir, Reed, & Connell, 1990; Wright, 1985; Newsom, Ramsey, & Carroll,1993) relations hip and relationship management (Wilson, 1996), evaluation of public relations efforts (Cutlip, Center, and Broom, 1985 ) return on investment of public relations act ivities ( Lee & Yoon 2010; Grunig, 2006) cultivation (Kelly, 1998) and crisis and conflict (Fearn Banks, 1996; J. G runig & L. Grunig, 1992; Marra, 1992) Lastly, more research has evolved regarding public relations best practices based upon the guideline s of the Excellence Theory. Crisis Theory Crisis T heory was largely developed from the principles laid out in the Excellence Theory. It basically states that an organization must adopt a crisis management function in order to avoid or be prepared when a cr organization maintains the following practices [in Excellence Theory] on an ongoing pre crisis basis, then either it is in a better position to prevent a crisis or it will suffer less and recover more rapidly from Banks, 2001, p. 480). The inability to develop be effective and benefit organizations, crisis management must seek to protect and to aid stakeholders pl 2012, p. 23). Much of what is know n of crisis management stems from researchers studying of what to do and what 172). However, researchers argue that because much of what is written is based on actual experience, it does have a grounded perspective. Coombs (2006) said


52 sis communication will help to demonstrate the danger In research on crisis situations, such as the DWH oil spill, a good deal of it tends to be case studies where the lessons learned in the crisis situati on are applied to the world Similar studies such as Garnett and Kouzmin (2007) essay on communication efforts during Hurricane Katrina took a multidimensional approach. They studied Hurricane Katrina through four conceptual lenses of crisis communication including crisis communication as an interpersonal influence, crisis communication through media relations, crisis communication through tec hnology showcase, and crisis communication interorganizational network. They concluded that by assessing Hurricane Katrina through the four conceptual lenses of crisis & Kouzmin, 2007, p. 185). However, t he big question remains: how do organizations effectively manage a crisis situation? Overarching research questions tend to focus on particular lessons including management involvement in the pre crisis stage and how it impacted the results and how the organization handled the crisis situation overall. Other research questions studied how an organization far ed during a crisis situation without an established crisis communication plan. By following the lessons developed fo r crisis management, an organization will successfully survive a crisis. If not, the organization will suffer the potential reputation and financial consequences of the crisis situation.


53 Crisis Management In developing a crisis management function within an organization, it is important for organizations to address the three sections including pre cr isis, crisis response, and post crisis. Many of these steps echo the les sons laid out by Ulmer et al., (2011) in the previous discussion regarding effective co mmunication during a cris is. Fern Banks (2001) discussed that if an organization follows the principles of the Excellence Theory, then they should be prepared for a crisis situation. She suggests several practices needed to be taken by organizations to ens ure the organization is prepared for a crisis. As one can see, these are very similar to the principles of the Excellence Theory, but tailored more towards crisis si tuations. The practices include: The public relations head is part of top management Progr ams are designed to build relationships with key stakeholders An on going public relations plan has been developed for each key public Develop a strong relationship with the media Issues management is part of a two way symmetrical program Two way symmetric al crisis plan is developed Practices should be part of strategic management of an organization Organization anticipates types of crisis that it will suffer Organization maintains an open policy with key publics at all times (transparency) (p. 483) Also as part of the pre cr isis stage, Coombs (2007) argued that an organization should have a crisis management plan that is updated and tested. Within this plan, an organization should have a pre developed, trained crisis management team and key messages that are ready to go if and when a crisis hits. In considering crisi s response, Coombs (2006) argued that crisis response research is divided into two parts : form and content. He defined form as the planning,


54 and respons e time that should be done pre, during and after a crisis. Content refers to key messages that are given and the actual content of the response. When developing the form of a response, Coombs provides several lessons including being quick, consistent an d open w ith all information. He stressed the importance of the organization responding to the crisis as soon as possible in order to appear that they have a handle on the situation and that their messages are heard by the mass media and not by conflicting voices (Co ombs, 2006). The second lesson be consistent refers to the actual messages that the organizations delivers during a crisis. Much of the literature advises to speak with one voice, but this may not be possible with large scale crisis si tuation s. Instead, Coombs argued that the crisis management team (which should be developed in the pre crisis stage) should all be on the same page regarding messages to the public. Lastly, the organization should be open and honest throughout the crisis and main tain a level of transparency. In looking at CROs during the DWH oil spill, it is assumed that each organization had adapted crisis management techniques. Because of the frequencies of natural disasters in this area, emergency and crisis management plans wo uld be expected. Situational Crisis Communication Theory Situations, such as natural disaster versus man made disasters can affect management of a crisis. In developing content for a response t o a crisis, Coombs (2006) pointed to the Situational Crisis C ommunication Theory (SCCT) to further reputation during a crisis. The crisis responses, what an organization says and does p. 175).


55 The first part of this theory, situational can be influential in a crisis situation. held belief in communication that the situation influences our selection of that crisis research should be studied contextually by determining what response fits best with each situation. The SCCT attempts to do so with three central elements incl uding a list of response strategies, a framework for categorizing situations, and a method for matching the crisis response to the crisis situation (Coombs, 2006, p. 176). In order to uphold the reputation of the organization, response strategies incorpor ate being open and honest with the audience. Relationships with key publics should be kept top of mind when developing response strategies, and maintaining the high quality of these relationships should be a top goal. Coombs (2006) suggested several crisis response strategies including corporate apology (attribution theory), corporate impression management (managing an established reputation), a nd image restoration theory (re inventing the organization after a crisis situation). Image restoration theory ca n continue into the post crisis phase while the organization is attempting to return to business a s usual. It is during this phase that additional information that was promised during the crisis should be provided (Coombs, 2007). In the recovery period, th e organization should continue with updates regarding the crisis situation. Lastly, the organization should evaluate its crisis communication efforts during the crisis and update their crisis management plan to accommodate any needed changes


56 Although man y of the lessons covered in crisis management are based on that of experience, Coombs (2006) argued that re examining these lessons through research can only enhance the knowledge base of crisis theory and crisis management. Much research has gone into the steps taken and followed during a crisis; however research is lacking in regard s the content of those responses. In addition, researchers are starting to examine crisis beyond post crisis and look more at pre crisis strategies. Ulmer (2001) in his case study of an organization who was praised for their crisis communication efforts, effective and positive d the importance of stakeholder relationships before a crisis situati importance of developing rich, positive communication relationships with stakeholders on an ongoing basis as a form of crisis preparation (p. 609). Benefits can include support during a crisis to providing additio nal channels of communication (Ulmer, 2007). Heath (2007) also argued for the importance of strong stakeholder relationships and the way symmetrical communication) prior to a crisis (p. 290). Lastly, Coo mbs (2006) suggested that researchers should look more specifically at how effective these lessons are in managing a crisis. Doing so will provide practitioners with tried and tested lessons that will serve them well in a crisis situation. Disaster Commun ication The terms crisis communication and disaster communication are often used interchangeably (Coombs, 2012, p. 59). They are similar in that they both have an obligation to communicate public safety to their stakeholders. However, they start to dif fer in discussion of vastness of destruction and agency involvement. Coombs argued


57 that icant human and economic loss and demands a crisis response beyond the scope of local and State resources Disasters are distinguished from emergencies by the greater level e resources beyond the community level. This often includes governmental and federal aid. DWH was considered a crisis of national significance, which allowed for federal funds to aid in the cleanup However, President Obama declared DWH the worst environme ntal disaster in the U.S. in a statement on 15 June 2010 ( Remarks by the President, 2010 ). Because of the high level and sheer number of organizations involved in a disaster, coordination and communication can often hinder progress (Vanderford, Nastoff, T elfer & Bonzo 2007 ). In addition, d isasters can create crisis situations for public and private organizations, forcing them to engage in their own crisis communication (Coombs, 2012). This communication, although rooted from the larger disaster, will be designed to meet the specific needs of the organization and the Defining Issues Management Issues have been defined by Jones and Chase (1979) as questions that arise out of changes in the environment that wait for major decisi ons. Given this definition, n atural disasters as well as man made disasters can all be defined as ongoing issues as their impact on the surrounding communities can be severe and long term. In addition, managing these issues involve s a multitude of stakehold ers. Heath and Palenchar


58 community resources to advance organizational and community interests and rights by e specifically, Heath (2006) earlier define d corporations must make to create harmony with key players in their public policy arena by sensing changing standards of the norms of business practice preferred by key Large scale and long lived issues can often involve government, public and private organizations. With so many different potential players involved, it is crucial for organizations to plan accordingly. Issues management research has included best management practices for managing issues ( including communicating, and involving stakeholders ) The advent of issues management literature has made many organizations be proactiv e in their strategic planning and i ssues management plans have become a norm in many organizations. after a crisis, it can mitigate and perhaps prevent the crisis from becoming an issue by working quickl y and responsibly to establish or reestablish the level of control desired by & Palenchar, 2009, p. 278). Issues Management during a Crisis Issues management often takes a back seat or is combined with crisis communication an d risk management. However, issues management (in some context) has been around for quite some an ancient business and communication practice. For centuries, government leaders as well as business manage rs have responded to, created, and managed issues as part of & Palenchar, 2009, p. 5). Organizations practiced issues management in some capacity, but did not necessarily give it a name.


59 Chase (1984) introduced the issue ma nagem ent process model as having five distinct circles including issue identification, issue analysis, issue change strategy option, issue action programming and evaluation of results. This linear model showed the steps that needed to be taken for the acc omplishment of an issue action program goal. His focus on issues management was those issues that needed to be addressed was done based on the work of the Public Affairs Council (1978), which introduced th e first issues management model as monitoring public policy arena to discover trends, identify issues that may impact an organization, evaluate issues through analysis, prioritizing, creating company response definition of issues management stayed very much in line with the researchers before him. He defined issues management as mature into public policy and regulative or Palenchar (2009) restructured the definition to include the role that stakeholders play in organizational and community resources to adv ance organizational and community 15). Jaques (2007) argued that an attempt to separate issues management and c risis management by definition a dynamics of the 147). He stated that examining them as a process rather than a standard definition provides a better understanding and allows for broader application rather th an just reactive tactics to a crisis situation. In his discussion of crisis management and issues


60 management l ife cycles, Jaques (2007) stated that a linear model depicting the life cycles of many issues and c n reality issue management and Mahon (1993) stated reflect the intensity and diversity of the values and interest s stakeholders bring to an argument against a linear process to address issues management, he proposed an issue and crisis management relational model (Figure 2 2 ) in whic h he places preparedness and prevention as part of the model along with reactive and post crisis tactics. By adopting a relational model, Jaques (2007) said that the two schools of thought regarding the relationship between crisis management and issues man agement are covered Jaques (2007) said and manage issues (p. 152). However, Heath (1 997) said that crisis management is one element of issues management and that issues come with a crisis. Given the c omplexity and the duration of the DWH oil spill, both arguments ring true with this particular case. Safety issues and blowout preventers were not sufficiently checked which led to the explosion in April 2 010 (Barstow, Dodd, Glanz, Saul, & Urbina, 2010). I n addition, the duration of the response, capping the oil and the ongoing cleanup has led to many psychological, sociological, economical and environmental issues that small Gulf communities are still addressing today. The model is centered by the goal of effective crisis management. The steps around the goal are categorized into two broader categories and four smaller sub categories. The two broad categories are pre crisis management and crisis


61 management The four smaller sub categories are crisis prepar edness, crisis prevention, crisis event management and post crisis management. Each of the steps in these categories will be discussed. Planning Processes Planning p rocesses in the relational model is a sub category of the pre crisis management, crisis p reparedness category. This step essentially involves the organization having a crisis communic ation plan. Jaques (2007) stated that this responsibilities establishing proces 154). Systems and Manuals Systems and manuals in the relational model is a sub category of the pre crisis management, crisis preparedness category. This step is insuring that the organization has all the necessary tools, material and reso urces in place to properly manage a crisis. Jaques (2007) discussed the foundation of effective crisis management. Planning is self evidently much more Training and Simula tions Training and simulation in the relational model is a sub category of the pre crisis management, crisis prevention category. As its title suggest s this category includes training staff and those that will be involved in the crisis mana gement. Trainin g and simulation also includes hosting drills within organizations to test the crisis management plan (Jaques, 2007).


62 Early Warning Scanning Early warning scanning in the relational model is a sub category of the pre crisis management, crisis prevention c ategory. Early warning scanning includes environmental scanning as well as organizations and internal scans. Jaques (2007) scanning, social forecasting, environmental s canning, anticipatory management, future Issue and Risk Management Issues and risk management in the relational model is a sub category of the pre crisis management, crisis prevention category. Much like the previous discussion of issue Emergency Response Emergency response in the relational model is a sub category of the pre crisis management, crisis prevention organization should have its own criteria for defining when an emergency might become ntion (p. 155). Crisis Recognition Crisis recognition in the relational model is the first step that moves into the second broad category, crisis management. C risis recognition is in the sub category of crisis event management. This step is for the organi zation to understand when there is a crisis and relies heavily on the previous steps of scanning, monitoring and emergency respons e. However, Jaques (2007) stated that organizations will often miss the signs of


63 a scan or there will not be a single emergenc y to signal a crisis. Therefore, this step is System Activation/Response This step in the relational model is in cluded in the crisis management, crisis incident management category. Once the crisis is recognized in the previous step, the organization should move to this step of activatin g a response. Jaques (2007) used the Federal authorities initially claimed not to understand its full impact even though everyone else could see it on live television. As a Jaques activation process, effective mechanisms for call out, availability of back Crisis Management Crisis management in the relational model is in the crisis management, crisis incident management category. As previously di scussed in the crisis management section this Recover, Business Resumption The last three steps in the relational mod el are included in the crisis management, post crisis management category. Recover and business resumption is the first step in this category. Jaques (2007) defined 157). He specifically defines this step a


64 Post Crisis Issue Impacts crisis issues can persist for years or even decades and may impact whole es, 2007, p. 157). Jaques stated that decisions made in haste during a crisis by an organization can cause future problems for an organization. Evaluation Modification The last step in the non linear model is the evaluation and modification step. This step includes evaluati ng the crisis and response to the crisis from the very beginning. This step would also involving making changes within the organization or to the crisis management plan based upon lessons learned. This step offers a great opportunity for corporate Issues Management and the DWH Oil Spill organizational and community resources to advance organizational and community interests and ri (p. 15). As Austin and Leferrier discussed in their February 2011 paper, the complexity, the magnitude, the various stakeholders involved and the duration of this disaster makes it rathe 148). Analysis of this crisis from beginning to end can provide information on how managing the issue evolved and changed over the course of first response to cleanup over two years later. In addition, i ssues management goes beyond simply managing the issue internally. It also includes stakeholders and other key publics that have an interest in the o rganization and/or the issue.


65 Issues management can be studied with the DWH oil spill for several reasons. To begin with, spill and its aftermath involved several high profile environmental and social issues. Using this definition, oil on the Florida coas tline can be considered an issue that needed to be properly managed to keep from becoming a major crisis for that area. In addition, o strategic management. Jaques (2012) states that the study of issues management has reached a pivotal moment. He argues that four major trends have been identified that greatly impact how issues management is applied within organizations: Migration of th e discipline beyond the corporation t o government agencies and NGOs T he impact of social media and the rise of the new community expectations C ontinuing developments in the relationship between issues management and crisis management T he challenge of how i ssue management is positioned within organizations and among other management activities. (p. 35) Given this modern day take on issues management, the DWH oil spill is the first major disaster in which modern issues management can be studied. The vastness of the disaster can be defined by it encompassing not only organization s that are trying to manage the issue but other stakeholders, including government organizations, news media, practitioners other nonprofit organizations and other community leaders al l of which made it ideal for examining the response. Comfort, Abrams, Camillus and Ricci (1989) discussed the reliance on all organizations including public, private and nonprofit in order to effectively respond to a complex event. The authors discussed th e role of the


66 knowledge needed in response to such a complex event only through combined efforts at during the time of disaster management, the need for up to date and accurate information is crucial. This includes communication efforts among organizations as well as communication to the communities affected. Systems Theory System s theory is essentia lly defined as an organizational system that can be open to en vironmental influences (open system) or closed to outside influences (closed system ) (Witmer, 2006). For the purpose of this research, the open system will be discussed. Dozier and Grunig (1992 systems orientation, in that practitioners collect as well as disseminate information. Information brought into the organization by practitioners is used to make strategic and tactical Heath and Paenchar (2009) discussed that when looking at r gues that in a complex manner, each system seeks In an open system, organizations are constantly reacting and adapting the utilize resources from the environment as input, transform those resources during throughput, and produce an output of some sort (p. 363). Grunig, Grunig and Ehling (1992) further discussed stems theory emphasizes the interfaces between organizations and their environments, as well as between subsystems within the organizational system and between subsy s tems and the This relationship between an organization and its environment can be influential in communication efforts. Kennan and Hazelton (2006)


67 being of any organization because it is the central means by which organizations organize and structure themselve 317). Yuchtman and Seashore (1967) argued that organizations must emphasize the process in order to survive and not focus solely on the end product. Using this definition, Grunig et al., organization must be aware of the environmental publics such as customers, suppliers, governmental agencies, and communities and interact successfull This supp orts the argument that no organization is an island unto itself and must take into consideration the environment around them in order to communicate effectively. Each organization is intertwined and related to one another. However as outside environmental factors are crucial for the success of the organization, they also have the Collaboration Theory The term collaboration can mean different things depending upon organizations involved and situations. Gajda (2004) defined empower and connect fragmented systems for the purposes of addressing multifaceted social concer that the definition can be rather elusive and have different meanings in different situations. She also argues that because of the elusive definition that true collaboration can be difficult to put into practice and evaluate its effectiveness. However, the power of the potential o f collaboration is not disputed. services can be minimized in order to achieve a vision that would not otherwise be possible to obtain as separate actors working indepe ndently (Gajda, 2004, p. 67). Gray


68 (1985) defined collaboration to mean the sharing of information and resources among different organizations, with similar missions in order to reach a specific goal or solve a specific problem, which neither organization could solve independently (p. 912.). In addition, the dictionary definition for networking can mean the exchange of information, services among a set group or individuals or organizations (Webster, 1995, p. 349). Grunig and Grunig (1992) discussed tha t the two way symmetrical model of public Much of their discussion centered on conflict management and dispute s However, they acknowledge the role of collaboration in a successful two way symmetrical exc hange. Similar to definitions defined by other mutually acceptable solution and be ing willing to spend large amounts of time and theme among them all is the ability to come together to achieve a greater vision or goal than a single organization could atta in. Alter (2008) discussed that all nonprofits need to collaborate in order to survive. networks with other organizations to man a ge the external task environment, adapt to fa (p. 435). In the literature that touched on profit/non profit collaborations, it states that this type of partnership is a positive way to survive an economic downturn o r a major disaster or emergency. However, many non profits may be reluctant to form such


69 partnerships for reasons of time and energy involved to make t he relationship work. profits avoid them (non profit partnerships) saying they worry about losi ng their identities or spending inordinate amounts of time and energy to make such make coming together hard. Merging of leadership styles and personalities can spell dis aster for many organizations. Collaboration theorists argue that collaboration efforts are a process because of True collaboration and the relinquishing of something personal for a greater goal is the ultimate le vel of collaboration, but is very hard to obtain. The level of true partnership is determined by goals and structure (Gajd a, 2004). Gajda (2004) discussed that deciding to collaborate is personal as much as it is sitive personal relations and effective emotiona l connections between partners. Trust is developed between partners only when there is time, effort, and energy put into the development of an accessible and ust becomes a key phrase when discussing collaboration theory and the reasons that organizations come together. daily basis will function better in disaster situations. T rust is crucial in the uncertain (2006) suggest that trust is built best when it is done prior to a disaster and suggests that communication is crucial in initial development and sustainability of the collaboration. Kapucu (2006) illustrates his point by discussing the collaborative efforts of organizations during the World Trade Center attack in 2011. In total, 1607 organizations


70 large number of nonprofit organizations, 1196, and private domestic organizations, 149, that were Kapucu (2006) speaks to the work of these organizations was to simply solve immediate problems after such an e xtreme disaster. These collaborations were flexible to the situation and simply worked to solve problems (Kapucu, 2006). with public organizations and stimulating civic participation, played an important role int Following an inter organizational study of collaboration among four neighborhood human service organizations, Galaskiewicz and Shatin (1981) found that relations among such organizations could also be considered through the context of networking. This theory argues that the interpersonal relationships of organizational leadership have a direct impact on the type and level of collaborative ventures undertaken by the organization, particularly during turbulent economic times. As Galaskiewicz and Shatin (1981) noted: Under conditions of turbulence and uncertainty, leaders will target their networking efforts on the basis of who they know personally or who they believe share their loyalties and persona l values. Organizational leaders however, circumstances will force them to pay special attention to the dependability and trustworthiness of their exchange partners. (p. 435) Alter (2008) also argued that collaborations are often formed based on personal relationships. In her description of the different forms of inter organizational r elationships (IOR), she stated that the most basic form, the obligational IOR is the infant state o


71 ? Coming together for environmenta l situations has become a growing trend in the country, citizens, environmentalists, business leaders, and public officials are experimenting with new approaches to public parti (p. 120). Often this means putting opponents across the round table from one another to reach a mutually beneficial consensus for all parties that are involved. Collaboration theorists would consider this the ultimate s tep of the collaboration process. Inter organizational networks can enable diverse organizations and groups to collaborate around a shared vision and purpose to bring about positive impact. (Kapucu, 2006, p. 207). Heath and Palenchar (2009) state d that the work of organizations together have been effective in managing an issue. They state d that the best management of any issue is to make appropriate changes in collaboration with groups and organizations that have aligned interests during the issue discussi


72 Figure 2 1. Shannon Weaver Communication Model, 1949 Figure 2 2. Issues and Crisis Management Relational Model, Jaques, 2007


73 CHAPTER 3 METHODS In this chapter, the methods utilized for the research are discussed. The chosen approach to this research case study (Yin, 1994, p. 13) In addition, this chapter will include data collection and sampling met hods that were utilized Furthermore, a discussion regarding data units and data analysis is included. Finally, the chapter includes a subjectivity statement by the researcher. Qualitative Research The use of qualitative research in the advancement of the knowledge base in communication studies is beneficial as it allows researchers to study current trends and how these trends have changed over the course of time. Flick (2002) said that changes in society forces researchers to look at more inductive (rath er than quantitative worlds are increasingly confronting social researchers with new social contexts and perspectives. Traditional deductive methodologies are failing and thus research is increasingly forced to make use of inductive strategies instead of starting from theories Qualitative and quantitative research varies in different ways. Philosophically, they stem from different philosophical as sumptions. These differences determine the ways researchers approach problems and collect data (Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh & Sorensen, 2006). Quantitative research originated in positivism or a belief that general principles govern the social and physical wor ld. Typically, researchers use these principles to predict human behavior by measuring and gathering data. Qualitative research


74 originated in phenomenology or a belief that social reality is unique and interconnected. Qualitative researchers focus on dete rmining how others think or feel and make an effort to experience what happens to them (Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh & Sorensen, 2006). Rooted in the qualitative research belief that social reality is unique and interconnected, Hatch (2002) defined five research paradigms: positivist, postpositivist, constructivists, critical/feminist, and poststructuralists. Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh and Sorensen (2006) said qualitative and quantitative research both approach studies by stating a purpose, defining a problem or que stion, identifying a population, collecting and analyzing data and report results. However, differences lie in of the researcher and (p. 449). Qualit ative research seeks to understand social and human that human behavior is bound to the context in which it occurs or the social reality and rejects generalizations. The ultimate goal of qualitative researc h is to portray the complex pattern in depth and detail so that someone unrelated can understand. Q uantitative research strives for testable and confirmable theories that explain phenomena by showing how derived from theory. Methodologies between quantit ative and qualitative research are different. Quantitative research includes experimental research, in which an independent variable is manipulated to determine the effect it had on a dependent variable, and nonexperimental research, in which variables are not manipulated, but the researcher examines potential relationships among them. Types of nonexperimental research include correlational research, ex post facto and survey research. Qualitative research


75 methods include ethnography (field research), case study research, content analysis and naturalistic observation, which include phenomenologic studies, grounded theory and historical research. The role of the researcher is a large difference between qualitative and quantitative research. As previously di scussed, in quantitative research, the role of the researcher is detached, impartial and objective. In qualitative research, the researcher e through detailed interviewing and observation. They said that & Lincoln, 2005, p. 12). Case Study The DWH oil spill was the largest man made environmental disaster in U.S. waters to date. The devastation of this disaster impacted Gulf Coast communities both economically and environmentally. Given its magnitude, complexity and durati on, the DWH oil spill provides a unique opportunity to study nonprofit issues management. particular person, social setting, event, or group to permit the researcher to effecti vely Yin (2009) provided study method allows investigators to retain the holistic and meaningful characterist ics of real Hatch (2002) cautioned that the term case study is of t en used when in fact the researcher is using ethnography or participa nt observation. He cautioned that researchers mak e the distinction when doing case study researc h. Yin


76 (2009) said that the difference lies in the fieldwork done by both ethnographies and case studies. Ethnographies rely on an extended amount of field time doing participant observations d solely on ethnographic or participant Case study has its home in qualitative research, but Yin (2009) explained that it goes beyond recognized qualitative methods by often including a mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence Case studies are differentiated from other qualitative studies simply by how the case is defined. tudies are a special kind of qualitative work that investigates a contextualized contemporary (as opposed to historical) phenomenon within specified analysis is the key d Stake (1995) said case studies fit into three different types, including intrinsic, instrumental and collective. For the purpose of this particular study, the focus was on instrumental. Berg (20 01) described in strumental case as simply a means to an end to 2001, p.229). He went on to define th study is made because the investigator believes that his or her understanding about The researcher chose an instrumental case study to better und erstand the communication barriers encountered by CROs during a major environmental di saster. As shown in Chapter 2, literature


77 regarding single, managerial barriers to communication in crisis situations is prevalent but very little regarding the role tha t CROs play in communicating to affected communities. Therefore, using an instrumental case study approach, the researcher was able to understand what CROs encountered during this particular environmental disaster and how those results may further issues m anagement and crisis management theory. Yin (1994) defined three approaches to case study design. These include exploratory, explanatory and descriptive case studies. This particular study works best rn matching where several pieces of 2001, p. 230). This pattern matching was utilized with in the data collected. When conducting case study research, the questions rega rding objectivity and generalizability arise The question of objectivity is often brought up in discussions regarding qualitative research and many researchers have answered questions regarding objectivity with detailed descriptions of data collection, so that the study could articulate s what areas have been investigated and through what means further discussed that given the errors in the research, subs equent research will bring those errors to light. Given this, data collection procedures linked to this particular research have been carefully detailed in the data collection section below. Using case study to build t heory Yin (2009) stated elopment as part of the design phase is essential that case study theory development differs from related methods such as ethnography or grounded theory. These methods


78 do not introduce theories prior to data collection, but instead intr oduce theory after da ta collection. Yin (2009) argued that in order to make contacts for data collection, the or theo ry 35). Theory simply provides a roadmap for the study. Eisenhardt (1989) agreed that case theory from case (p. 25). She said that because case study research comes from current happenings and presents a story Using case studies to develop theory has essentially three strengths including uniqueness of the theory, testability of the emergent theory and an empirically valid theory (Eisenhardt, 1989). The process of constantly checking the data from the case study with the predetermined constructs of th e theory make s this method popular as it will often force the researcher to look beyond preconceived notions (Eisenhardt, 1989). Case study research is a popular strategy utilized for communication and public relations research and more specifically, for crisis management research. An and Cheng (2012) discuss ed rs indeed have employed this research form to examine specific crisis situations, analyze the (2004) noted that case study re search accounted for almost one third of the paper s in public relations research journals. Research Design This study was a single case design focusing on the DWH oil spill and the community response in the Florida Panhandle. Yin (2009) discussed that the rationale for studying a single case often lies i n the uniqueness of the case As with other social


79 scie nce research, Yin (2009) defined construct validity, internal validity, external validity and reliability as important tests that require complete attention when doing case study tudies, an important revelation is that the several tactics to be used in dealing with these tests should be applied throughout the subsequent conduct actually contin Primary and Secondary Data Yin (2009) stated that to meet the test of construct validity, several tactics should be used including multiple sources of data, establishing a chain of evidence and data checks (p. 41). Several sources of primary and secondary data were used for this particular study Primary data included in depth interviews with co mmunity leaders in the Florida P anhandle. Secondary data included documentation provided by community leader s in addition to documentation that was obtained from the Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communitie s Regional Forum in April, 2012. In addition to including multiple sour ces of data, Yin (2009) suggested establishing a chain of evidence, which is very similar to Be collection should be very detailed. Yin (2009) went on to explain chain of evidence as one way to increase the reliability of the case study research. He argues that an tion of any evidence from initial of events should be explained in such a way that the observer can follow from the conclusions back to the research questions. In order to utilize this tactic, the data collection methods will be explained in great detail.


80 Final tactic suggested for construct validity was to have key informants to perform checks of interview data reports. Member checks were done for interviews by having interviewees review key statements and conclusions prepared by the interviewer at the end of each interview. Building on Case Study Research Case study research often provides the researcher with a unique opportunity to Razavieh & Sorensen, 2006, p. 457). This is possible because of the roots of case studies in reality and natural phenomena. By examining one particular instance, case studies can often be viewed as gaining knowledge and/o r developing a hypot hes is that can be tested later (Ary et al 2006). In order to gather knowledge for future study Yin (2009) suggest ed pattern matching, explanation building, rival explanations and rival models as potential tactics. Explanation buil ding can be defined as explaining the case and presenting it in such a way that encourages future study. Yin (2009) said E ventual explanation is likely to be the result of a series of iterations including making an initial theoretical statement or an init ial proposition about policy or social behavior, comparing the findings of an initial case against such as statement or proposition, revising the statement or proposition, comparing other details of the case against revision, comparing the revision to the facts of a second, third, or more cases and repeating this process as many times as needed. (p.143) In addition, Yin (2009) stated that in order to reduce bias or errors in case study research the researcher should ssible and to He went on to relate this step as if an auditor will be looking over research as a later date. In order to ensure reliability for this particular study, the resea rcher kept a notebook of


81 the steps that were taken in data collection. These steps are presented in the data collection section. In addition to keeping a notebook of steps and performing member checks explanation building was utilized by thoroughly prese nting the case, analyzing the data, and presenting the results as a foundation for continuing research. Case Material data sources as possible to systematically investigate ind ividuals, groups, organizations, or events Table 3.1 gives a breakdown of the different data sources and case material that were used for this particular case study. Yin (2009) stated e of multiple sources of evidence in case studies allo ws an investigator to atton (2002) stated that multiple data sources are one type of triangulation in stu dies. Yin (2009) further defined triangulation, information from multi ple sources but aimed at In D epth Interviews & Rossman, 2006, p. 102). Tellis (1997) said that interviews serve as crucial part of case study research for their ability to gain insight on events and decisions that were made during the case. Because of this, qualitative, in depth interviews tend to be more like conversations in which the researcher not only records the answers to the questions, but also makes note of how the interviewee frames the answer. For this study, the interview guide was developed for semi structured interviews. The interview gui de was


82 created with several open ended questions to allow the researcher the freedom to change up the wording and flow of questions in order to fit with the conversation. Interviewees were chosen through a purposeful sample of co mmunity leaders in the Flor ida P anhandle. Community leaders were defined as those individuals that held senior level positions in a local CRO. The researcher contacted 20 community members electronically and asked for his or her participation in th e study. Of the 20 contacted, nine agreed to participate in the in depth interviews. Morse (1994) indicated that a Organizations that were represented by the interviews included umbrella organizations, governmental entities, state associations, environmental groups, service nonprofit organizations and faith based organizations. The researcher worked individually with each participant to secure a convenient and acceptable meeting time and location. Logistics regardin g time and location were communicated electronically about two weeks before the interview. A week before the scheduled interview, the researcher sent out an electronic reminder to each participant. The week of the interview, the researcher called each of t he participants to verify meeting time and location. Each particip ant was sent an informed consent and asked to sign. The signed consent was collected at the interview. Interviews were condu cted 14 August 2012 20 August 2012 Of the interviews conducte d, eight interviews were done in person at the office of the community leader and one interview was done via Skype. The Skype interview was scheduled after the originally scheduled in person interview had to be re scheduled. The length of the interviews v aried from 30 to 90 minutes. At the conclusion of each of the interviews, the


83 researcher briefly went over a summary of the interview and asked if this was a valid representation. All interviewees agreed. Each interview was audio recorded and transcribed. In addition, field notes were taken by the researcher during and after each interview. Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities Regional Forum As part of the Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities: Health Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Eastern Gulf Coast Co mmunities, o ne early goal for the COD Core was to host a Regional Forum in which community leaders from the Florida Gulf Communities were invited to come to a participatory meeting to discuss several different aspects of the DWH oil spill that closely rela The Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities Regional Forum was held on 26 April 2 012 at four different locations: Cantonment, Apalachicola, Santa Rosa Beach and Gainesville, Florida. The purpose of the Regional Forum was to w ork with community leaders in those areas to develop approaches and strategies for managing future disasters, discuss Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities project plans, identify research products that benefit communities and network with other stakeholders throughout the eastern Gu lf C oast. Three discussion topics were introduced at each location. The topics were in alignment with the research projects that are currently being done as part of the Health y Gulf, Healthy Communities Grant. These topics inclu ded 1) individual and family resiliency after environmental disasters, 2) community health and resiliency or 3) seafood safety. During the f orum, participants worked in small groups with other community stakeholders interested in that topic. A moderator at each location was able to wa lk each of the groups through strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats


84 ( SWOT ) needs assessment and a strategic direction segment. In addition, table leaders were present at each table to help facilitate conversation, take notes, and answer questions. At the conclusion of the day, all the sites came together to share their insights and discuss further direction and next steps. About 60 community representatives participated, along with 35 project personnel/Extension/S eaGrant/graduate students. Community representatives included staff and volunteers from local nonprofit organizations, representatives from local non governmental agencies, concerned citizens, and state and local policy makers The day began at 8:30 a.m. and concluded around 3:00 p.m. Field notes, audio recordings and flip charts were used at each of the meetings. Data collec ted included t ranscription of the audio was done for the two of the locations : Apalachicola, and Pensacola, Florida Field notes we re available from each of the three locations and were taken by table leaders and/or volunteers who were in attendance. Lastly, flip charts were analyzed and included as data. Supporting Documents At each interview, the researcher asked for supporting doc uments to share for the purpose of the research. Of the nine participants, eight provided the researcher with documents related to the questions asked during the interview. Compilation of all the documents resulted in 26 supporting documents from eight of the community resource organizations that participated in the study. These materials included both internal and external documents focused on communicating with different audiences about impacts from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. These documents includi ng internal communication plans, brochures explaining services to external audiences, internal documents regarding numbers served since DWH.


85 Instrument An interview guide was developed for a semi structured interview. The interview was developed based upon discussions, comments, and questions at the Healthy Gulf, Healthy Co mmunities Regional F orum. The guide included 17 questions broken in to four sections: learning about the organization, discussing the DWH oil spill in relation to their organization, the ir stakeholders and news media coverage and their organization. Each questions had 4 to 5 probes each. The interview guide was pilot tested by a community leader that was not included in the interview sample. Data Analysis Weiss (1994) suggested that the first step in analyzing case study data is to look at all the data together. Baxter and Jack (2008) remark ed that failing to do this step fails to report the case as a whole. Miles and Huberman (1994) argue d that actual qualitative analysis begins when da ta collection begins. They argue that developing categories, writing notes and making inferences all happen while the data is being collected Data was analyzed using the constant comparative method, which draws categories or themes from the social science data. Glaser and Strauss (1967) proposed a method for This discovery would lead to categories, which would continue to be built upon as the researcher studied t he d ata. Kelle (2007) highlighted two mai n rules from Glaser and The Discovery of Grounded Theory They said also stated a soc iologist should employ theoretical sensitivity, which means the ability to see relevant data and to reflect upon empirical data material with the help of


86 The most common form of category building is coding and the constant com parison of the emergent codes and themes (Kelle, 2007). Coding for grounded theory differs from traditional coding which uses a predetermined set of codes. Glaser and Strauss (1967) said plausibly suggesting many categories, properties and hypothesis about general problems allowing multiple codes to emerge from the data during the analysis (p. 104) analysts constan tly compares the already coded incidents (which usually means the text segments which related to the incidents) with each other and with incidents not yet 194). Glaser and Strauss (1967) said that it is this constant comparative ste categories are determined, Kelle (2007) suggested major categories by carefully comparing the initially found categories (which may later become sub This larger structure becomes the resulting theory. Hood (2007) summarized Glaser and caution ed that theory from this type of analysis is developed inductively and not tested. However, they state d 154). By using the constant comparative method as a guide, t he researcher began data analysis by c ombining all data together before the actual analysis. The CROs will serve as the unit of analysis. Data was combined to ensure triangulation and to minimize the risk of analyzing each data source independently. Once all data was collected and


87 combined, t he researcher continued the analysis by allowing categories to emerge from the data. Data was read through while making notes for categories in the margin and highlighting key quotes and statements that would support categories This step was considered co mplete when data had reached saturation and no new categories had emerged. The n data was read through several times to combine categories and narrow down key data. Once data was reduced, the researcher developed a coding sheet with categories and key quot es and statements that supported categories Once the coding sheet was filled, the researcher then looked at the categories together and began to develop a structure including all the major and sub major categories. This structure was then studied and anal yzed with relevant theories. Subjectivity Statement Interest in the role that CROs play in crisis management and environmental while conducting this research, the research er is working with National Institut e and Environment Health Grant, Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities (HGHC): Health Impact of Deepwater Horizon Spill in Eastern Gulf Coast Communities in which her job is focused on community outreach in those communities impacted by the DWH oil spill. Special attention is paid to how best to communicate with these communities and learn how they communicate with their target audiences. The community resource organizations in these areas have become true partners as they con tinue to work diligently to help their community recover and repair. It is the hope of the researcher to continue to work with the organizations and provide them with research based best management practices that will enable them to help communities now an d prepare them for future disasters.


88 Table 3 1. Data collected and sources


89 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The purpose of this study was to determine the barriers to effective communication encountered by community resource organizations in the Florida Panhandle. In addition, this study was interested in learning the tactics tak en by the organizations to over come these barriers to communicate to the communiti es they serve. As indicated in the previous chapter, given the complexity and duration of the DWH oil spill a case study was utilized to thoroughly study the different aspects of this disaster. The case study was broken into three different sections including information gathered from the Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities Reg ional Forum held in April, 2012; i n depth interviews conducted in August 2012 ; and documents from community resource organizations regarding their communication efforts. Each set of data was analyzed and the constant comparative method was utilized to determine major categories and sub cat egories The categories that emerged are described with supporting material from the data. The DWH Oil Spill as a Case Study Given the complexity of the spill, utilizing the case study method to study the DWH oil spill was very appropr iate. As Sanders (1 981) explained understand processes of events, projects, and programs and to discover context characteristics that will sh By analyzing each of the data within the case study, the researche r was able to provide more in depth answers to the research questions. In addition, this study will serve as a foundation for answering more complex que to communicate about a complex environmental issue.


90 In D epth Interview Participants Senior management in CROs in the Florida Panhandle served as interview participants in the in depth interviews. A total of nine in depth interviews were conducted. Demographics of each of the participants are as follows: Interview 1 male; He serves as director of an educational/service organization in one county. The work of this organization is to work in the community and with other CROs to provide educational trainings and resources. Interview 2 male; He serves as program di rector in a service organization The work of this organization is provide financial assistance and training for low income citizens in a one county area. Interview 3 female; She serves as senior program director of an educational/service organization i n one county. The work of this organization is to provide education training, services, and programs for community members. Interview 4 male; He serves as director of an umbrella organization in one county. The work of this organization is to assist the community with recovery efforts following a disaster. Interview 5 male; He serves as director of a faith based organization The organization covers the Florida Panhandle. The work of the organization provides assistance to the community through educat ion, financial, and targeted programs. Interview 6 male; He serves as director of a chapter of a larger activist organization Their work focuses on education and volunteer programs in the Florida Panhandle. Interview 7 male; He serves as senior prog ram director of an umbrella organization in one county. The work of the organizations focuses on assisting the county with recovery efforts following a disaster. Interview 8 male; He serves as director of a social service organization that provides fina ncial and educational services to low income families in one county. Interview 9 female; She serves as director of a chapter of a larger, national organization The work of the organization is to provide smaller, service organizations with funding, educ ation, and targeted programs. This organization serves one county.


91 Barriers to Communication Communication was consistently named as a weakness by participants in the ir to the DWH oil spill. Statements regarding inability to communicate or not adequately communicating internally and externally were discovered among the data. Several organizations spoke on communication effectiveness at several levels and directio n deploy 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012). Ov erall categories for barriers to effective communication (Figure 4 1) include news media, lack of accurate information, ineffective communication efforts, lack of control over information and uniqueness of the situation Subcategories were identified as l ocal news media and national news media, credibility of sources, hard to reach audiences and unique audiences, social media, lack of res ources and no immediate need. Each of these major categories and subcategories will be discussed below News Media M uch of the data discussed that news media was to blame for the negative Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ). Participants reported that communicating to different audiences was difficult because of the negative perception in the public. They stated that the public was quick to resort to a panic state and were not listening to all reports. In developing communications for their audienc Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012).


92 A Regional Forum participant commented empowered to Regional F orum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ). Other comments regarding news included : alarmed to it. Panic was fueled by the media and t here was unfounded panic through the media and then there was no retraction of the media once ood story always trumps reality. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ) Comments showed that an al ready established negative perception was difficult to control and account for when developing messages for their audiences. media sometimes was more contributed to more worry than was necessary and more false information being spread around iew 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012). The n ews m edia was also discussed in terms of poor working relationship and not having a relationship prior to the DWH oil spill in rural communities. Come talk to us face to face. Government and responding agencies needed to get ahead of the media cycle before they jumped to Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26 2012). In addition to establishing a connection with the news media, comments showed that a lack of news media training forced them to stay away from opportunities to speak to the media. ever because I am scared to death of saying something that is [going] to get [twisted] out there. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012)


93 Several organizations spok e to the presence of the news media and how working off a prepared crisis communication plan was not possible because of the overpowering presence of the news media. We were out on the beaches and literally had [a state newspaper] out there taking picture s, doing interviews, same with some other television news outlets were out there in force with their satellite trucks and the whole nine yards taking vi deo, doing interviews, etc In that particular case, there was no opportunity to ensure that there was o ne voice to the media. We were pretty much on our own. (Interview 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012). National versus local c overage As this disaster was covered extensively at the local and national level, questions were asked regarding the imp act of coverage on communication efforts. Interestingly comments showed the difference between the coverage of local versus national news media. We hade very conflicting messages as we saw what was actually going to happen, and we felt the real impact. T he national medi a seemed to be (Interview 9, personal communication, August 15, 2012). Several in dicated that while local coverage was often trying to ease anxiety and fears, national news media reports were hurting businesses and increasing anxiety. National coverage was hurting us big time. They were announcing how the Gulf of Mexico was cesspool o national news was just playing it up so much bigger than it was instead of trying to say okay here are the impacted areas. Nobody was buying seafood and we never saw a drop of oil. (Interview 1, personal communica tion, August 14, 2012). Many of the people were just so o verwhelmed with [it]. I mean, oh god, anytime, 24 hours a day, you turn on the TV and down on the bottom left of the TV is the picture of the oil and people were just overwhelmed. (Interview 2, pers onal communication, August 17, 2012). There was a lot of sensationalism in the national media that made things sound worse than they were or make it feel like they were worse than they were. I mean things were not great, but that external influence of thi ngs was


94 pretty bad. It stressed people out. We treated a lot of anxiety. (Interview 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012). Lack of Accurate Information Comments consistently showed that the lack of fact based information was a large barrier to commu nication August 17, 2012). Several organizations agreed that there was a need for accurate information to shar e with their stakeholders. They [stakeholders] needed to know the water and the beach were safe or not so they could make decisions. That was so left to guesswork, and it today? How m people. So the very first thing we needed was actual, credible information about where is it? How dangerous is it? (Interview 6, personal communication, August 16, 2012). I would rather put out somebody the health risks than put their health at risk because I was afraid I say government, it could have been BP. It was a joint leader ship. I really feel that was a letdown at that level. (Interview 7, personal communication, August 17, 2012). One Regional Forum participant ccurate information. It was har d to shift between what was real and what was rumor People Regional Forum personal communication, April 26, 2012 ). Other indicted that this lack of accurate information led to a great deal of the stress and anxiety in their communities. e biggest [need of stakeholders during the DWH oil spill] was s going on The biggest frustration and it led probably to a lot of the stress and anxiety and depression is we were told immediately it s [oil] coming no ifs an ds or buts. (Interview 1, personal communication, August 14, 2012).


95 Many blamed news media for reporting false information. F lip chart data from the Regional Forum Other data sources echoe d this statement with concerns about the inability to receive information. There was poor communication throughout the process. It was difficult to know what was happening and also how to respond. How am I going to be affected, when is this going to happe n, too fast, and all those things. There was also limited access to information and opportunities for some groups. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012) forever, that the gonna get cancer. That they were never going to be able to for their kids view 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012). unication, August 16, 2012). As receivers of information, one community member at the Regional Forum correct information I ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). This indicated that target audiences had a difficult time understanding what fact was and what was fiction. To further illustrate this point another Regional Forum participant indicated that, Inf ormation was coming from so many different sources. There was so much fiction associated with fact. And then, in terms of how you learned about it, it is kind of comical but true, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, local people, newspaper and looking back at what you need, you need someone on the ground [you need] experts to be able to offer informed communication about what was taking place. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012).


96 O nce BP began the payout process other problems arose in communication. Co mmunity members were unsure of the process and began to call CROs for assistance with the process. However, CROs were also unsure of the process and were not able to obtain accurate information to relay to community members. They [BP] were beginning their claim process, which was the biggest joke on the plan e t. When it comes to people in economic crisis, particular people low income, low wage, it was so convoluted in terms of how to access that. (Interview 5, personal communication, August 15, 2012). Cred ibility of s ources Trust and credibility were discussed in regards to the lack of accurate information. Data suggested that information coming from government and industry was difficult to understand and believe because of tru sting any information because they kept saying like and paying for this you know. It made everyone not trust them because they thought they Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). When probed further regarding other actions by these organizations that they believed were not transparent, a Regional Forum participant said organizations made it more difficult to get the information. They did not have a response wh Several also questioned whether state and federal government and BP were forthcoming with in formation shou information about the well itself, and the oil that Ineffective Communication Efforts The data showed a strong need for more communication both intern ally and externally. Several pieces of data indicated that although communication efforts were


97 being done, it was not effective or geared toward the correct audience. lack of clear communication from government to concerned communities. Infor mation Field Notes from Regional Forum April 26, 2012 ). Other s argued that some organizations were not communicating information back to t communication, August 16, 2012). Lack of internal communication was a source of frustration for many organizations. up. We were not in the loop a Other s indicated that the sheer amount of news media and information made it t through so many channels that it was hard to distinguish yourself as and listen to us because 20, 2012). In addition, external audiences needed information and were a ccessing internal networking systems in an effort to find information. The counties have a web based system where they post different things to request resources or assistance from the state. What we found is that people were monitoring that since it was publically accessible. Sometimes they were getting say the wrong impression based on some of the requests. (Interview 1, personal communication, August 14, 2012). Ineffective communication caused many of the needs and problems that continue to linger in s ome communities ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ). The data also indicated that


98 those in the community understood that in order to overcome crises in the future that there is a need to improve communication channels both internally and externally. One finding that was particularly interesting is the inability of organizations to work together once they did come together. One Regional Forum participant described this as the inability ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). As far as the cooperative nature of the stakehol ders, many of them were not used to playing with each other like this, and so it took a lot of time to just spend time. [Some organizations] were so dominant. It was so hard for them to hear to sit in the room with the [others] and hear them. It was just tough. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012) Although some organizations expressed frustration in working together, others suggested that more needed to be done to encourage collaboration among and when we do finally sit down at the ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). Statements such as this suggest that the organizations understood the impo rtance of coming together but failed unified process was a painstaking process. There was no consistent message to the media The lack of a consistent message and the magnitude of m essages was also correlated with news media hype. I t s just that these messages were so convoluted and messy, unclear and it fault of the media because they were at first they were really hyping


99 our beaches. It hyped and it got everybody excited. (Interview 9, personal communication, August 15, 2012). Hard t o Reach Audiences Grunig (1992) described hard to reach audiences as those that require specialized commu nication efforts to reach. Hard to reach audiences are a real concern within rural communities as many are not able to receive key messages. With incon sistent messages already identified as barriers to communication, comments also showed that these barr iers were in addition to the ongoing barrier of reaching those audiences that are indeed hard to reach. One Regional Forum participant stated that, There are people who were not getting the information at all and then also trying to define those that are hard to reach with your message like folks that are already convince d or something you know what I mean like the physically hard to reach. ( Regional Forum personal communication, April 26, 2012) It was noted that these hard to reach audiences receiving wrong information or difficult to understand information further complicated this barrier It was important to determine what information different group s in the community need. The challenge was we were going out telling people to go to this place for service and they did not have capacity to provide the service in our community so they could not get an appointment. Some people were being told that they ne eded to go to Tallahassee. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012) persona l communication, August 14, 2012). Unique Audiences In addition to hard to reach audiences, community resource organizations also indicated that this disaster had several sections of the population looking for help, which

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100 normally would not come to them f or services. Therefore, CROs found themselves having to commu nicate with a group of people with which they were unfamiliar. For a lot of people, this was the first time they [needed our services]. You were looking at middle class not. That was something t help, and, truthfully, had no idea where to go. (Interview 8, personal communication, August 15, 2012). way to get to them is thr ough their peers. We were really pushing for a peer counseling or peer outreach kind of a thing. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012). Lack of Control over Information Many of the complaints associated with social media related to the ov erall lack of control. Data consistently showed a frustration of community members not being able to control the information was both frustrating and a hindrance in effectively communicati ng to their audiences. For example, The outside control of the info rmation and resources was a weakness. Something that was discussed here is that sometimes people have learned about the situation and what was happening not from the local residents and local news, but outside from national news and from people that were c ontrolling the info rmation and also the resources. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ) The news cycle was just constantly on us. It was really hard to keep up and give the latest information. You know when we saw things that were wron g we tried to respond to those as quickly as we could either by calling the EOC and having them send out information or responding to individuals who contacted us. (Interview 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012). Several organizations indicated tha t release information was not a guarantee of its correct interpretation.

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101 than what had [originally 2012). Correcting these inaccuracies also took a great deal of time for organizations. [because] there was a lot communication, August 20, 2012). Social m edia One Regional Forum participant gav e an example in which their EOC was working to control the information that went out, b ut was unsuccessful in controlling social media. Our EOC director made it very clear that what was being shared at the table was a mistake because som e stuff was just speculation. OK these things confirmed so we were just thinking of these things as theoretical and as soon a s the meeting was over people were posting it on Facebook and it was airing it out there immediately. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ) Uniqueness of the Situation The Florida Gulf Coast counties are no strangers to natural disaste rs (NOAA, 2012). Hurricanes and severe storms are disaster s for which these counties are prepared. Disaster plans required by the State of Florida are very detailed, tested and implemented at the first alert. In addition, CROs within counties often come t ogether in EOCs to implement plans and handle internal and external communications accordingly. However, the data indicated that this disaster was very different and prepared plans they had in place did not apply. With a hurricane, there is a plan for reco very, leadership, steps, etc. It is all terms of how to respond to manmade disaster. Florida has operations and procedures for natural disasters. Everything was being made up as you m ove along. Nobody had anything. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 )

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102 this, I did just different. Yes, it's a disaster but placing that title of disaster on this event is a little more difficult. (Inte rview 8, personal communication, August 15, 2012). You know, emergency management has a plan for just about anything, chemicals, tornados, hurricanes, you name it, but there was no plan for this. There was no plan for a man made waterborne disaster along the Gulf might have. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012). to get worse or back off or it was [going to] hit land. That was what was different. As unpredictab le as hurricanes can be, their e ffects are just a matter same kin spread are they. It was a psychological impact more than a physical for most people (Interview 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012). The unique circumstances associated with the responsible party incident made a lot of that [emergency management plans] incompatible with a centrally directed response. Complicated things in signifi cant way, added to cost, delayed actions to protect both our coast and our environment, but it was what it was and all we could do was respond to the circumstances, the ha n d that we were dealt. (Interview 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012). Our o rganization is prepared for almost any disaster. What we were not prepared for was the reaction of other organizations. In this case, with the traditional emergency management response and it was problematic (Interview 7, personal communication, August 17, 2012) mergency management knew how to do this and impotent. The who Another said personal communicat ion, August 16, 2012).

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103 Other s also indicated the uniqueness of the situation in the calls receovied and the time it took to feel the effects from DWH oil spill in was a unique disaster. It was long in coming and encouraged peop le to contact us that were looking for volunteer opportunities, not [that] were affected by it. It was a very different She said e had 1,700 call s in one weekend. We normally take in some where around 2,500 to 3,000 calls a month. You can see that was overwhelming. There was nothing to tell them August 15, 2012). Another interviewee shared a similar experience There was a lot of wasted energy and response of people who just needed something to do. They then felt August 20, 2012). CROs continued to express frustration over how to help stakeholders. August 20, 2012)? Other organizations spoke of the difference in the working relationship with state and federal government and how this made this a particular ly difficult situation. what we were doing in the trenches, in the norma communication, August 17, 2012). Lack of Resources Many smaller nonprofit and non governmental organizations struggle to meet the needs of their communities with very limited resources (Salamon, 2010). In times of disast er, the needs of the community tend to increase and CROs are asked to provide

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104 additional services and/or resources Community members noted in their discussions at the Regional Forum that many of their needs were not met because of the lac k of resources. O ne participant said I think what you have to realize in a rural community is the word staff is a volunteers of people who have multiple responsibilities combined into one. a lot of staff. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ) CROs were frustrated because of the lack of funding that is often accompanied for natural disasters However, outside funding was not applicable to this situation. They were told, yo [different] kind of disaster and if we go implementing required to implement all of these normal response processes not going to be paid for because this is the responsible entity. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012). In addition to not meeting the needs because of lack of resources, s everal participants voiced that they were limited in their efforts regarding the DWH oil spill because of their responsibilities. One barrier was our job, like your business, like a way to reach those give up a day of fishing so you can search for information on you know what I mean getting away in the midst of everythi ng. We ar e t rying to keep a business going. ( Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ) No Immediate Need In natural disasters, emergency and disaster plans are implemented immediately following (and often during) the disaster to meet the nee ds of the community. However, many organizations did not implement those plans for this disaster, as there was not an immediate need for the community. Often the needs of the community were not realized until months later.

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105 This was not that kind of disast immediate the impact was not immediate on a lot of folks. It was over time, people lost their jobs, and the business deteriorated. Then they fel t they had to come to us. (Interview 8, personal communication, August 15, 2012). A disaster of that magnitude did not require any response. It was a slow the shore until June. Even then, all it was it was an economic disaster. People just tourist s stopped coming. (Interview 5, personal communication, August 15, 2012). Overcoming Barriers to Communication In response to barriers that were identified by the participants, furt her questioning revealed strategic problem solving efforts utilized by the organization s to overcome many of the barriers. As shown in Figure 4.2, the overall categories regarding communication tactics used by organi z ations to overcome barriers to effectiv e communication include collaboration, crisis/issues management and public relations Each of these categories and sub categories will be discussed. Collaboration Consistently, data showed elements of collaboration used by CRO s to overcome barriers to ef fective communication Working together to meet the goals of the or ganizations and the community was a common thread within the data. One interviewee said (Interview 8, personal com munication, August 15, 2012). Echoing that statement, o ne Regional Forum participant said united to help communities. We sat together as a community to look at addressing the ( Regional Forum, personal communicat ion, April 26, 20102). Strength in unity, including not only nonprofit organizations, but also nonprofit

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1 06 organizations coupled with agencies was used to describe strengths during the DWH oil spill (Field notes, April 2012). Collaboration of different org anizations including other agencies and government officials was discussed in regards to the immediate response to the DWH oil spill. Well the most immediate response was as the contingency planning team that they assembled. That was about 30 people with elected officials and people from different industries and backgrounds to figure out what our most critical environment areas were to make sure we protected them. (Interview 1, personal communication, August 14, 2012). [We] co convened a group of the lead ers of social services [in our area]. All of the major parts of the social service system that sort of hold the system up. We convened pretty soon after [the DWH oil spill]. We co created strategies in all of those areas to deal with service issues and wit h communication. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012). We started having meetings. Then we had the first meeting of what we called [emergency management team]. This was the first meeting that you would see under a traditional disaster re covery effort to say perhaps these partners (Interview 5, personal communication, August 15, 2012) Within many of these groups that banded together for response and recovery, pre determined roles for marketing/communication were defined For instance, one document from a collaborative group stated that the role of the marketing and campaign that provides relevant info rmation, alleviates fears and engenders a sense of control and resilience. Identify a trusted person to be the champion who carries the Of the organizations that came together for immediate response, many had not worked together in past, but their work in response to DWH oil spill was encouraging for future collaborations.

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107 except when there was a particular thing going on. We all knew each other and s there was not kind of the almost like default collaborative process. Now, I improved relationship between and among all of those so I think we could pull things together and collaboratively respond much better than we did at that time with the same communication, August 17, 2012). Several organizations relied on the collaborations with their community partners to communicate about the services they provided to the community. external because We are going to communicate with the EOC. We communicated locally with our EOC and kept up that way. We kept the community partners informed. (Interview 8, personal communication, August 15, 201 2). Probably most importantly, directly down to the impacted individual, whether they were working in the hospitality industry as a maid, or in restaurants, but get through those organizations to those that truly were on the front lines. We were able to b ecause of our role [with emergency collaboration]. (Interview 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012) s to help do those things. Peer support, outreach to underserved population, outreach to diverse August 17, 2012). communication, August 17, 2012). Documents provided by the organizations supported this. A great deal of planning went into determining venues for distributing fact sheets and getting information out to the stakeholders once the oil well was capped (Docume nt 12, 2010). Community leaders spoke of reaching out and collaborating personally with other I am in the community almost every day at some kind of meeting and

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108 ation]. So Collaboration beyond county lines was al so discussed as a great tool for counties and the most remarkable thing is that they are now supporting each other. communication, August 17, 2012). Information Sharing In addition to collaborating to meet the needs of the community and communicating CROs utilized disaster management software to un derstand what each organization was doing, to share resources and information. Each CRO in the region and across counties was encouraged to sign up. regular updates and communication to users with an internal message board, communication resources and mapping technology. One organization stated of the system as frankly never designed for this kind of instance, but it provided a vehicle for sharing of This software 1). Others looked to meetings in other areas and with completely different meeting. I would go to meetings and show up and make sure that they get the Interview 6, personal communication, August 16, 2012).

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109 Utilization of Existing Networks In addition to forming new partnerships, data showed that existing networks were utilized. There were a group of us that met regularly to establish just to keep our f inger on the pulse. Those were the mental health those associated with mental health, those associated with the work force, anything that kind of was peripheral to this, the health department, etc. We all met on a regular basis just to keep our finger on the pulse of things. (Interview 9, personal communication, August 15, 2012). This was also true for groups that had come together to work on natural disasters in the area. Our EOC is very proactive in doing tabletop exe rcises and so the whole emergency together on a number of drills. We also had fairly regular storm events so (Interview 1, personal communication, August 14, 2012) In a ddition, one Regional Forum participant discussed the role of networks in meeting the needs of the community: Emergency Management and the Coast Guard. We developed new partnerships at the state and federal levels Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012 ). Working together and establishing trust with organizations was mentioned as key in meeting goals for the recovery following the DWH oil spil l. In addition, improved relationships and strengthening ties has benefited many of the organizations as interview 1 said, How our office responded during the oil spill went a long ways in building that repertoire and trust with the EOC. Because I think [ they] were a little through the training and stuff I understood the proper chain of command. Yeah, and then especially when they turned around and starred asking me

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110 to provide them with e (August 14, 2012) Many discussed that networks had already been established because of work on previous disasters. These networks made the process of obtaining and sharing information much easier. Communication [on a local level], including the grassroots individuals in the community as well as the organizations in the community, like local Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). However, some argued that although some networks already existed, they often biggest challenge, is a communications network that is effective to all sub committees Regional Forum, personal communication April 26, 2012) Crisis/Issues Management The first step for many of the organizations was to gather information from other areas and other organizations that had been throu gh similar disasters. Their hope was to learn from the experience and to gain insight on next steps. Again, a lot of this was just being an instrument of communication, but I think it s part of the reason why our community was a best practice. We were abl e to learn from [other disasters] best practice examples to bring to our community and leverage for the response and recovery from the oil spill. (Interview 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012) al in an oil spill. It was never a consideration, you know. We started calling people in Alaska to try and figure out what to do because there was an d eventually Texas and things like th at. We would call a that we had any experience in. (Interview 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012).

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111 c omm unication, August 17, 2012). Organizations also sought the counsel of leading researchers in disaster management for assistance in response and recovery to the DWH oil spill. [The researcher] came over to our community and spoke [at a regional meeting] in June of 2010, very shortly after the DWH oil spill impacted our community. Our leadership and our partners were able to hear firsthand from probably, well, among the most noted researchers of oil spills and technological disasters firsthand for psychologi cal, social impacts of a technological disaster like an oil spill. (Interview 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012) Although many spoke that emergency plans that they had in place did not apply to the DWH oil spill, others stated that they were able to apply some of their plans to the situation. emergency management training. We were already [involved] with the EOC folks We already had specified roles, we were immediately asked to be a member of the contingency planning team. They knew we had some expertise. They tapped into our expertise. But yeah, this was a little different. spill. (Interview 1, personal commu nication, August 14, 2012) my ordinance the first few days too. So we had a full staff of people ready to go and take calls and get information to them. They tried to get as much as they could available on short notice, but still coming together as it happened. (Interview 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012) Others commented that they felt their efforts after the DWH oil spill was to make it up as they went along and would be a road map for future similar disasters. The number one gap at the time was [absence] of such a plan [for this type that we put effort into creating. If we were to if it was to happen again, w e

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112 have the expertise of not knowing, of not having a plan, and it would be much easier to use all of t hese various resource and constituencies that least, I like to think that we would. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012). We did things that we knew to do to min imize losses. Then as the event proceeded, then we started taking a look at actions that we could take to respond to and recover from the impacts that were in fact occurring in our community, or had occurred by those points. (Interview 4, personal communic ation, August 17, 2012) Several references to public information officer indicated that organizations had crisis communication plans and were trying to follow them to the best of their ability. We have a public management response training is we all know that we say nothing, everything goes through our public information officer. If we have say press or media asking we direct the m to our PIO, we might be providing the PIO August 14, 2012) communicated pretty broadly to the publi (Interview 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012). Other communication steps included sending out press releases, holding teleconferences and keeping in contact with other organizations (Interview 7, person al communication, August 17, 2012). As part of an effort to communicate with their stakehol ders, several organizations set up hotlines to verify and take e information out there, encouraging personal communication, August 14, 2012). Others took several steps to insure that stakeholders could reach them and provide fee dback.

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113 We were trying to be proactive on our side, and we got some pictures of some of the inland areas that people would take. We had an e mail were people could report stuff. We had a webpage developed strictly for oil issues, so that people could go ri ght there and get the latest and greatest on everything we knew. We did town hall meetings and forums. We did our best to keep the citizens informed. I think we did a pretty darn good job. The ch. (Interview 7, personal communication, August 17, 2012) communication, August 17, 20 12). Message d evelopment Developing messages that resonate with their publics was a strategic effort that several organizations utilized to overcome barriers. feet. We had a lot of messaging about that, a lot of information we displayed at the beach cleanup stations. [Local radio stations] also assisted in helping just to provide some background in information. I know we got some message out through [email delivery system]. (Intervi ew 4, personal communication, August 17, 2012) In order to overcome the barrier to not having accurate information to share with their stakeholders, some organizations worked independently to research information and develop messages. We did the research; organization, and even within the nonprofits and environmental organizations that was posting all of our data. At any rate, one thing that really set our organization apart was the transparency, and eve ry piece of data is there so other researchers, if they need it, they could pull the actual files. (Interview 6, personal communication, August 16, 2012) Others spoke about developing messages in the future. making the message simpler so that everybody can understand the message and also Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). Other

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114 research into practice as in putti Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). Others spoke on how accurate the information just a matter of improving the communication channels and the levels of trust, but also that information we are communicating is clear and Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). Public Relations Many of the organizations spok e of public relations efforts they used to communicate with their stakeholders and overcome communication barriers. Although news media was considered a very large barrier for many, several of the organizations spoke about their strong relationships with l ocal news media as strength in helping to had. They would print what they were communication, August 14, 2012). The media here, they tend to be really cooperative. The local [newspaper] radio stations were likewise v relationship with local [NPR station] for a long time. for them. All of the major media we already were doing different kinds of collaborative projects and things together so it was not hard to g et them to agree to participate. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012) In regards to media relations, discussion of media training and learning how to work more effectively with the news media was a common solution to overcoming barriers. Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). Other

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115 thoughts included s more than just the scientist [learning to work with the media], but also the organizations need to have people and staff who work on social Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). In addition, e xisting communication efforts were increas ed after the DWH oil spill or were improved to focus more on the impacts of the DWH oil spill. We have an electronic newsletter and we typically publish it quarterly. [It was suggested] that we put together a newsletter related to the oil spill. That we d id and everybody wrote about something specific. That was actually one of the best outreach things we did. That went all the way up to it went all over. It was very well received. We got a lot of good feedback from that. (interview 3, personal communicat ion, August 20, 2012) to oil spills, cleanup and response methods, seafood safety, human stress and on recovery efforts, upcoming meeting regarding recovery and ways that the public could become involved (Document 2, 2010) (D ocument 3, 2010, p. 1). Other participants focused on s haring information through the W eb. website and our page on our website, and as our results came in we posted (Interview 6, personal communication, August 16, 2012). As shown, some o rganizations added to their current communic ation efforts during this time; h owever, several indicated that a lot of their communication with stakeholders was done one on

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116 to general quest ions about it. I was to talking to more and more people at [after the Two Way Symmetrical Communication Utilizing two tactics to overcome barriers, several organizations came togethe r and utilized an existing volunteer program to reach out to the community. The volunteers were trained and then were sent out into the community to help clean up the beaches, provide information and essentially just talk to community members. This group also passed out surveys to gauge the community and their needs for these organizations. We did pull in. We wound up with 22 [volunteers] in the community. They did things like surveys out in the community, out at the [worksite] locations, out at play area s, beaches and so forth to determine how people were affected, and what kinds of issues they were experiencing, and did they want assistance. [They were there to] give them our number, that kind of thing. They collected quite a bit of data. (Interview 9, p ersonal communication, August 15, 2012). We had these teams that came in and they would overlap so that they could d they were very helpful in a number of ways. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012). We developed a program where we put some information packets together and had volunteers out on the beach giving information to tourists. It w as we tri ed to cover the gammu t. It wasn't oil only. It was, what kind of shell is this? What kind of fish are out here? (Interview 9, personal communication, August 17, 2012). questions a 2010, p. 1). In improving communication with their audiences, some CROs tried to understand communication. If

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117 Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). Other organizations went a step further and developed informal research surveys that assessed the need s and psychological e random sampling, but it allowed people to voice their fears and their thoughts and what communicati on, August 17, 2012) (Document 4, 2010, p. 1). Using the information gathered from their independent research organizations spo ke of developing programs that allowed their stakeholders to provide them with feedback and information. They were able to tailor their communication efforts based on the feedback they received. We created a system with a phone that they could take a pict ure and plug in a message and it would send it back to us and that could be uploaded into our [geographical tracking system], so we could track were things were happening and have photographic backup of what was being seen. (Interview 7, personal communica tion, August 1, 2012). communications with citizens. They were kinda what we could do 7, personal communication, August 17, 2012). CROs that had a member base of smaller organizations, spoke of the importance of being out in the community and talking to members. to get out and talk to folks, visit them. They will be so appreciative that someone has August 14, 2012). Some developed peer to peer programs to reach unique audiences.

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118 peer. This is not your this is not a having to ask for help. The nature of an environmental damage to the place a different way. To reach people and get them the message about they need to be doing, with the resources available to them, etc. [It is more] of an outreach thing than a traditional media thing. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012) Working in the Community Several of the organizations took initiative and quickly developed programs that put people in their target publics into action. As studying barriers showed community members felt a great need to do something. They were looking to CROs to fulfill this need. have to wear special gear or anything. They can just clean up the beach. (Interview 9, personal communication, August 15, 2012). Some organizations were out in the community personally distributing information and talking with people on the beach. I worked out some card s with the [local agency] website and phone numbers, handed them out, who they needed to call to get the information. Had a smiley face on it, non threatening, but I developed my own system of what I could do [about informing the public]. (Interview 6, personal communication, August 16, 2012) Organizations also reached out to the community through community events and fairs. This allowed them t o talk one on one with community and provide them with information regarding their services. We provided some brochures. We go to a lot of health fairs. We have a guy g on whether it is a health fair or a community in the suburb back to school kind of fair, any of that. He is at all of those events (Interview 8, personal communication, August 15, 2012).

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119 One organization hosted a forum regarding the DWH oil spill. The forum consisted of both scientific a nd health experts and the public was invited. We had about 100 people in the audience, radio there. We had lots of good media. It was a good program. We had some really good people in the panel who gave legitimate answers, researchers. We had health depar tment staff. (Interview 3, personal communication, August 20, 2012). In talking through some of the lessons learned from the DWH oil spill and perhaps what some organizations might have done differently, several discussed more community based events. At t hese events they could provide information to their publics. For instance, one Regional Forum participant suggested estivals would also ( Regional Forum, personal commun ication, April 26, 2012). Others agreed: If I was to do it again today, I think we would do much more community isit a think I would rely as much on the mass media and more on neighborhood and smaller community outreach. (Interview 2, personal communication, August 17, 2012). A mini sympo sium was also suggested as a way to reach out to the public It was discussed that events such as a mini symposium would educate certain members of the a lot more powerfu Regional Forum, personal communication, April 26, 2012). Summary Research questions at the beginning of this study were developed to determine how CROs defined the barriers to communication they experienced in communicating with their target public s during the DWH oil spill. In addition, research was focused to

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120 learn the communication tactics practices by the CROs to overcome these barriers. In identifying the major barriers to communication, five major categories emerged includin g media, lack of accurate information, ineffective communication efforts, lack of control over information and uniqueness of the situation. In identifying the major communication efforts to overcome barriers, collaboration, crisis and issues management a nd public relations emerged from the data. Barriers to Communication CROs defined news media as a barrier because of the amount and often reporting of inaccurate information. Participants also noted that news media often made the situation much worse th an reality. Under news media, the subcategory national versus local news media coverage emerged. This category included comments from participants regarding the difference in report s from national news media versus local news media. Lack of accurate infor mation was a large frustration for CROs. This category encompassed the lack of inf ormation for CROs to communicate to their audiences In addition, the subcategory credibility of sources emerged from this main category. In line with the main category, this subcategory referenced that several organizations that were putting out information were not credible and therefore, the information was discredited. Ineffective communication efforts emerged as the third main category. CROs commented that internal and e xternal communication was poor and that information was not being shared among different organizations. In addition, the subcategories hard to reach audiences and unique audiences accounted for the difficulties CROs had with reaching certain segments of th eir publics.

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121 The major category lack of control over information included CROs frustrations with the multitude of information that was disseminated and their public having to sift through all the messages. They also specifically disc ussed th e problems with controlling information shared with social media. The last category that emerged from the barriers to communication was the uniqueness of the situation. Although CROs in this area were very familiar with natural disasters in their area, they were unab le to apply many of their tried and true efforts to this situation. Lack of resources and no immediate need were subcategories under uniqueness. Participants explained that resources that were typically available during natural disaster s were not available during the DWH oil spill. In addition, the urgency of natural disasters was not a factor in this disaster. Therefore, CROs felt their hands were tied until oil reached their coast. Overcoming Barriers Categories In looking at RQ2 rega rding the communication efforts and tactics utilized by CROs in order to overcome barriers to communication, major barriers identified were collaboration, crisis and issues management and public relations. Collaboration refers to the steps taken by CROs to come together to addres s the needs of their community This includes combining services, communication channels and resources. Subcategories under collaboration included information sharing and utilization of existing networks. The groups developed inn ovative ways to share information among organizations. This system was fast and was able to keep everyone informed. In addition, CRO s turned immediately to already established partnerships, but were quick to partner with new organizations in order to bette r serve their communities.

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122 The c risis and issues management category inc luded efforts practices by CROs that were part of their crisis communication plans for natural disasters. This category also referred to steps utilized by CROs that were in line with crisis management and issues management literature. A subcategory within this category was message development which included the time and thought that CROs invested into crafting exact messages for their publics. The last category identified was public r elations efforts. Included in this category are events, and meetings. utilized by CROs to communicate. Subcategories in this area include d two way symmetrical communications and working in the community. Included within these categories were the grassroots efforts and opportunities CROs used in order to best communicate their messages.

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123 Figure 4 1. Major categories and subcategories for barriers to e ff ective c ommunication

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124 Figure 4 2. Major categories and subcategories for communication tactics us ed to o vercome b arriers

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125 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to determine the barriers to effective communication encountered by community resource organizations in the Florida Panhandle during the DWH oil spill In addition, this study was interested in learning the tactics taken by the organizations to overcome these barriers to communicate to the communities they serve Therefore, the research questions were RQ1: How would community resource organizations describe the barriers to eff ective communication that they encountered during and after the DWH oil spill ? RQ2: How did CROs overcome communication barriers in order to communicate with their audiences effectively? Overview The results of this study can provide insight into crisis a nd issues management, the role CROs play in crisis situations and how CROs communicate with their target publics. The study aimed to interpret the results of this study and apply them to future research in these areas. Barriers to Effective Communication Barriers to effective communication are present every day. Whether they come in the form of noise as indicated in the Shannon Weaver model (1949), not having enough information or a misinterpretation of the message by the receiver, barriers can happen at all levels of communication. In fact, overcoming barriers often becomes a ma jor challenge for communicators This could be especially true with CROs which already operate on limited resources including time and funding. This study revealed that CROs id entified five major barriers to effective communication during the DWH oil spill The categories that emerged were news

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126 media, ineffective communication efforts, lack of control over information, lack of accurate information and the uniqueness of the situ ation. As previously indicated, DWH oil spill remained a top story in the local and national news media for over 10 weeks. CROs were working to develop messages for news media while at the same time attempting to monitor the information that was out there Their frustrations with working with the news media supported elements of crisis management and crisis theory. As indicated in crisis management and crisis theory, n ews m edia can impede a communication process because of the sheer amount of information o r through reporting i naccurate information. Therefore developing a plan to effectively work with news media is a key element of crisis management and crisis theory. Because of the complexity and impact of the DWH oil spill, many CROs found that they had to communicate with publics that they were not familiar. As the DWH oil spill affected the communities in many different ways including economically, environmentally, and psychologically, members of the community who did not typically need services, were seeking services from local CROs CROs found that they had to develop messages and reach publics in which they were unfamiliar. Social media and new media provided opportunities for anyone to share information regarding the DWH oil spill. Therefore the ef fort by CROs to control information or refute false claims was close to impossible. CROs discussed their frustrations with the amount of false information that was made available to the public. Efforts were made to make corrections and verify correct messa ges, but because of the nature of social and new media, they were not able to monitor all information.

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127 As discussed in Chapter 2, barriers to communication can come from the environment and outside of the actual organizations (Robbins, 1987; Grunig, 1992) Robbins (1987) defined that these external forces can affect the organization leaving it at a loss of how to effectively respond. As the DWH oil spill was such a unique situation to this area, CROs were often struggling to determine how best to manage. A s previously mentioned, many tried to adapt plans from natural disaster s but found that this situation was indeed, just different. They expressed frustrations in their inability to manage the DWH oil spill the same way natural disasters had been managed in the past. Evidence of the uniqueness of the DWH oil spill was discussed beyond the difference of this disaster than natural disasters. Data indicated that the slowness of the situation was unique. For instance, m any CROs were familiar with the immediate n eed s following a natural disaster. However, with the DWH oil spill, there was no immediate need within the community. Community members were forced to endure a very stressful waiting period to see if oil would actually come to the coast. In addition, part icipants discussed the uniqueness of the situation in terms of not having access to information. if information does not flow (p. 216 217 ). Lack of i nformation was stated many times as one of the largest frustrations from the DWH oil spill. As natural disasters had a pre determined communication flow in impacted communities, the DWH oil spill did not fit the model and therefore, receiving information p roved very difficult and frustrating for CROs. Further, the uniqueness of the situation and the failure to follow pre determined emergency communication channels caused CROs to struggle to obtain information to

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128 communicate to their stakeholders. As the D WH oil spill was a responsible party disaster, access to factual information was difficult. CROs expressed difficulty in determining if a source of information was trustworthy or not. In addition, in discussing information with stakeholders, many CROs disc ussed that stakeholders did not trust information coming from government and re sponsible parties in the disaster. Therefore, stakeholders were seeking out their own information which was often wrong In examining the major barrier s to effective communica tion, outside environmental forces are at the core of several. T he influence of outside environment is the cornerstone of an open system as indicated in systems theory (Witmer, 2006). Dozier and Grunig (1 992) discussed that open system provide s a mean s fo r an organization to collect and disseminate information to their stakeholders. Results of this study found evidence of systems theory in two ways To begin, s everal CROs conducted informal research of their communities to determine their needs and the psy chological effects of the spill. Therefore, they were collecting data from their external data in order to craft messages that resonated with their stakeholders. Secondly, organizations reacted to the DWH oil spill and the impact it was having on their com munity by producing programs, services and communication that directly addressed these impacts. Essentially, CROs were relying on the open system to provide them with information they needed to fill the needs of the communities they serve Overcoming Bar riers The CROs involved in this study developed several communication efforts to overcome barriers Collaboration and public relations tactics were perhaps the two most significant categories in the data. Collaborative efforts of CROs are in line with Kap (2006) discussion of collaboration efforts during crisis situations. Many of these groups

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129 collaborated because of their past experience and trust in one another. However, some had never collaborated before, but came together because of the uniqueness of the situation. Several organizations suggested that this new collaboration was a positive step for working together in the future. Gajda (2004) discussed that organizations often collaborated to combine resources. The c ollaborative groups formed durin g DWH oil spill worked together to ful fill needs within the community and partnered for communication purposes. In fact, several CROs only communicated through partner organizations to disseminate messages out to the communities. They also utilized these c hannels to correct inaccurate information and to send out correct messages. Similar to the collaborative efforts practiced by these organizations, CROs developed programs that targeted two way symmetrical communication. Grunig (1992) explained that two wa y symmetrical communication strives to understand and communicate to publics. CROs understood the importance of working in the community and communicating messages face to face. Therefore, they empowered volunteers to talk with tourist s and residents on t he beaches, and they provided public forums set up booths at local fairs and festivals and developed outreach materials CROs made it a priority to be out in the communities they serve. Along the same lines, they worked to understand and listen to their stakeholders and learn of their needs and concerns Developing two way communication efforts allowed for them to determine the inaccurate messages and to provide accurate information face to face. This tactic was used to overcome several barriers including unable to control information and the amount of inaccurate information.

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130 Two interesting things about the results of this study were the crisis and issues management tactics utilized by CROs and the independent research done. As previously mentioned, one of the larges t barrier s for organizations was the uniqueness of the situation. When asked if they were able to use pre determined crisis communication and emergency plans, many were quick to say no. Others explained that they were able to use some, but no t all of the plans. However, in discussing communication techniques used by these organizations during the DWH oil spill, many of them referred to tactics such as working with public information officer s sending out press releases, providing ways to obtain feedback from audiences, and town hall meetings. Steps in crisis management and issues management were apparent throughout the results. Each of the CROs did manage the issue using at least one of the steps from In addition, the comm unication efforts used by the CROs were ve ry much in line with the Ulmer et al. (2011) steps to effective communication during a crisis. Specific steps utilized included develop partnerships, listen to stakeholders and strengthen relationships with stakeh olders. The data also indicated that CROs performed independent research in order to learn of the needs of their community Upon learning of the spill, many organizations researched other areas such as California and areas impacted by the Exxon Valdez spil l and other organizations that had been through similar disasters. From these organizations, they learned what to expect as well as best management practices. In addition, several organizations did independent surveys of their communities to determine nee ds and psychological effects. Lastly, a few organizations, frustrated by

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131 the lack of accurate information to communicate to their stakeholders, began conducting in depth research such as samples from the beach, testing on tar balls water, and sand Key F indings Results from my study revealed seven key findings. The first and second finding s were the major categories determined through data analysis. Barriers to communication encountered by CROs were: news media, ineffective communication efforts, lack of control, uniqueness of the situation, and lack of information. CROs overcame these barriers to communication through collaboration, crisis and issues management, and public relations. The third finding showed that even though not directly impacted by the DWH oil spill, CROs were practicing crisis and issues management tactics. They implemented these tactics to keep the community informed of services provided and where the community could go for help. In addition, CROs were disseminating information regardi ng the DWH oil spill in an effort to fill gaps in information. The fourth key finding was the role of CROs becomes accelerated and in more demand during a crisis situation. Even before oil was identified on the shore, CROs identified their role as a resource to the community. They understood and embraced that services would have to increase, new programs would need to be developed and that communication was crucial. Overcoming barriers to communication in order to reach th eir stakeholders was paramount for the mission of CROs The fifth key finding focused on the role of CROs during the DWH oil spill. CROs were sought out by community members for information and services during the DWH

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132 oil spill. In an effort to meet the n eed s of the community, CROs worked diligently to develop a communication relationship with their stakeholders. Because of this relationship, they participated in two way communication with them and therefore, had an understanding of the needs within the co mmunity. Having this information made them a valuable resource during the DWH oil spill. However, as indicated in the barriers to communication, CROs were not utilized as a resource or as a means in which to communicate information with impacted communitie s. CROs discussed the lack of information available to them and the lack of communication from relevant parties. In addition, CROs could have been utilized as a resource for disseminating accurate information and providing insight into the needs of the c ommunities CROs were trying (and were called upon) to fill in the communication gaps for their communities and stakeholders but were not receiving information from relevant parties within the crisis The sixth finding indicates that based upon the resul ts of my study, Jaques (2007) combined non linear model is reflective of several of the tactics practiced by CROs not directly impacted by DHW oil spill. Therefore, this model may be an effective model for studying crisis communication efforts of organizat ions not directly involved in a crisis. The final key finding indicates that because of the crucial role played by CROs during the DWH oil spill, the work of CROs should be incorporated into cri sis and issue management models. By including the work of CRO s crisis communication best practices could utilize this resource as a tactic to effectively communicat e with an impacted community. Crisis communication models and crisis plans should include collaborations and partnership s with CROs during a crisis.

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133 Im plications and Recommendations for Practice Results from this case study provide insight into the role that CROs play in crisis situations. Understanding this role not only impacts CROs in developing strategic communication, but also for profit companies. Results also provide a platform in which to branch out the study of the crisis and issues management. This includes looking more closely at technology, practitioners and collaboration. CROs As previously identified in Chapter One, CROs are identified as those organizations that offer a service that fulfill a community need. Using this definition, understanding the importance of CROs during a crisis situation is crucial. As shown with the results of this study, CROs recognize their heightened role during a crisis. However, meeting the expectations and demands of the CROs may be a bit overwhelming, especially when operating on limited resources. The results of this study indicated three major categories utilized to effectively communicate with their stakeho lders : collaboration, crisis and issues management, and public relations The tactics used by CROs to overcome communication barriers ultimately led to the effective communication during the DWH oil spill. Using the major categories and sub categories that were developed based upon the data for overcoming barriers to communication, a model was developed for CROs during a crisis. Figure 5 1 shows the CROs Issue and Crisis Management Model for Effective Communication Categories that were uncovered while anal yzing the data have been used to develop best practices for CROs during a crisis. The arrows indicate that these practices are often used in combination with one another and/or can lead to one anoth er. For instance, collaborating could potent ially lead to develop ment of crisis and issues

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134 management tactics as the addition of a resource partner may allow the CRO to develop a more comprehensive crisis/issue management plan. In addition, public relation efforts could be an integral part of a crisis and issue m anagement plan. The major practices include collaborative efforts, crisis and issues management efforts and public relations efforts. As shown with this research, these efforts are essential for any CRO during a crisis situation. However, they can also b e greatly beneficial for day to day business. Once these practices are established before a crisis, the greater the capacity for effectiveness. In order to collaborate and partner with other organizations, CROs should identify existing networks with other organizations through associations, previous programs, committees, and task forces. Consideration should be given to expanding the breadth of these established networks to identifying additional ways they could partner for the benefit of the community. If CROs are not currently involved in networks or partnership with other organizations, strong consideration should be given to doing so as it provides CROs with additional resources and information. Lastly, coming together prior to a crisis makes CROs a gre ater force when a crisis does hit. Developing a crisis and issue management plan that includes a crisis procedures manual. Plans should be comprehensive and tailored for many different types of potential crisis/disaster situations. Plans should be detailed and take into account the stakeholders, their potential needs during a crisis and a way for them to contact the CRO and provide feedback. CROs should look to similar organiza tions (and

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135 partnering organizations) for best management practices when managing crisis. CROs could learn from other organizations and apply strategies to a plan that fits the CRO. Public relations efforts during a crisis can also be implemented into a cr isis and issues management plan. However, as with previously mentioned efforts, if pre emptive steps are in place prior to a crisis, it allows for the CRO to be more effective in their communication efforts. As the news media was identified as a barrier to effective communication for CROs, special c onsideration should be placed on developing a relationship with the news media and working with them to establish plans for receiving and disseminating information Many of the CROs indicated that there was a str ong relationship with the local news media. However, there was not a mention of a relationship with national news media. Although it is impossible to develop a relationship with all major news outlets, CROs should consider researching their regional direct ors and contacts at the Associated Press and other major news media stations, newspapers, radio, and television Simply letting those individuals know about the CRO and the work they do may assist in developing an established relationship later. In additi on to developing relationships with the news media, CROs should implement grassroots tactics into their crisis communication plans as a way to incorporate two way symmetrical communication. This allows for the CRO to listen to its stakeholders, while also having the CRO out in the community talking with people and assisting with clean up and recovery. Given that one of the largest barriers to communication identified by CROs was the lack of accurate information, CROs should consider establishing a strategi c program or protocol that would assure them accurate information to communicate to their

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136 stakeholders during a crisis. Such a strategic program or protocol may include a direct link with other businesses or organizations (such as a web based information s haring tool) or the link may be established through a liaison, such as an association or umbrella organization. In addition, umbrella organizations may service as a convenient vehicle as receiving accurate and reliable information from a reputable source a nd pushing this information back out to its organizations. Crisis and Issues Management As indicated in the significance of the study, much of the literature on crisis and issue management is focused on the organizations at the center of the crisis. Howev er, results of this study indicated that steps of crisis and issues management were taken by CROs that were not directly involved in the cause of the crisis, but were strictly trying to manage the impact the crisis had on the community. It was clear that t he stakeholder and community member s were coming to CROs for assistance and information. Therefore, crisis and issues management plans of all organizations should develop a protocol to reach out to CROs during a crisis situation. These CROs should be consi dered a stakeholder, if they have not already been established as so. Florida Extension Florida Extension was an integral part of DWH oil spill recovery efforts. As a member of the EOC, they worked to develop messages and to correct misinformation. In add ition, they communicated with their publics regarding recent developments and information regarding recovery. They developed newsletters and held forums targeted to reach diverse audiences and provide information and answer questions. Because of the broad spectrum of target publics of Florida Extension, they communicate with much of the general population. However, their work with other

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137 community organizations appears to be through other partnerships (i.e. EOC). Given the benefits of collaboration suggeste d by other CROs during the DWH oil spill, it would be a recommendation for Florida Extension to develop a strategic collaboration and partnership plan with other community organizations. In addition to the benefit of additional resources, Florida Extension can serve as a resource for CROs to provide research based solutions to problems that CROs (and the community) face. For instances, several of the CROs discussed difficulty in communicating with new and unique audiences. Florida Extension could assist in communication efforts with these groups as their reach is very broad within the community. For Profit Companies As previously mentioned, the role of CROs during a crisis is one as a service and information resource for communities. With this in mind, busi nesses should incorporate them into their crisis communication plans and establish a means in which to work with them during a crisis. As mentioned with CROs, establishing these partnerships and collaborations before a crisis, increases the chance for effe ctive communication when a crisis happens. Therefore, companies should consider joining establish ed networks, associations, task forces and other areas where CROs are heavily involved. By establishing a relationship and partnership prior to a crisis, thes e CROs can assist the company in assisting key messages to stakeholders. Technology & Social Media Results of this study indicated that the inability to control information was accelerated by social media. This finding supported Austin and Lareerier (2011 ) paper regarding the inability to monitor and control all the information out there regarding the DWH oil spill due the addition of new media and social media platforms. In addition,

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138 CROs discussed, just as Austin and Lareerier (2011) did, that because of the sheer amount of information available on social and new media, it was impossible to correct all inaccurate information. Social media will only continue to grow as a communication medium. Therefore, it is important to understand how to control the nega tive aspects (unable to control) of the social media, but it is also important for CROs to learn how to use social media effectively. Social media could ultimately serve as a powerful communication tool for organizations during a crisis. In developing cris is management plans, CROs should develop detailed and comprehensive social media plans that include how the medium will be used to effectively reach their target publics Science Communicators As with for profit companies, science communicators should und erstand the role that CROs play in a community during a crisis. This is especially true during a crisis involving agriculture or natural resources (as with this case study). As identified earlier, CROs provide a service that fulfills a need within a commun ity. Knowing this, communicators need to do their research before a crisis occurs. Communicators should become familiar with the CROs in their community and thoroughly understand their mission. Communicators should also consider developing a relationship w ith the CRO before a crisis occurs. Lastly, when developing a crisis communication plan, communicators should pre empt the response that CRO organizations may have and be ready for a proactive or counter active response. In addition, communicators should also identify those CROs that would assist in getting their messages out to stakeholders during a crisis. CROs should become an

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139 element of a crisis communication plan and strong consideration should be given to partnering with them prior to a crisis. Con tribution to Theory CROs Each of the leaders within the CROs identified that they utilized at least one element of effective crisis and issues management. This indicated that they, as senior management, were involved and understood the importance of effect ive communication to their stakeholders. Although they did not specifically label it as public relations or crisis management, their tactics and goals were in line with several of the characteristics of excellent public relations functions identified in Ex cellence Theory. Crisis and Issues Management The identification of the uniqueness of the situation as a barrier to effective communication is in line with the first part of the SCCT theory. The situation was very influential in how CROs responded to the DWH oil spill. In addition, understanding the responses. Results from this study argue that to achieve effective crisis management, as indicated in Jaques (2007) model, the partnership and use of CROs as a resource is imperative. The work done by CROs to overcome communication barriers including collaboration, public relations, and issues and crisis management, ultimately led to effective communication during the DWH oil spil l. Therefore, l ooking more closely at that the model be modified to include an addition in each quadrant where community

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140 partnerships and collaboration is emphasized. Collaborative efforts could be used effectively at each level to achieve effective communication during a crisis. Overall, the results of the study showed that effective crisis communication includes collaboration with CROs within impacted communities. Th erefore, crisis management plans and models should incorporate that responsible party organizations develop partnerships and collaborations with CROs pre crisis, during crisis, and crisis recovery. Doing so will increase the reach and effectiveness of mess ages during a crisis and also provide valued resources in order to better understand the impacted communities. Collaboration The role of CROs in the DWH oil spill serves as evidence and support (2006) work in studying collaboration theory in the event of disaster situations. However, this study on barriers to communication efforts More specifically, this study aimed to learn how these collaborations overcame communication barriers to ensure effective comm unication to their impacted communities and expands this theory to addressing how CROs overcame communication barriers through collaborating. Recommendations for Future Research CROs Several of the CRO s that participated in this study were umbrella organizations which are defined as a collaboration of organizations that work together to improve lives of those within a community. As their definition suggests, these organizations collaborate and come tog ether for the community, especially when the community is

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141 struggling to recover from a crisis. Understanding how these organizations came together and how they work together, not only during a crisis would be beneficial in understanding CROs collaboration and partnerships. Also, special attention needs to be played into the public relations efforts of CROs during a crisis situation. Because of limited resources, many CROs do not have designated public relations departments or practitioners. Therefore, CRO s may not have the ability to develop a crisis communication plan or have a designated spokesperson. Yet, in the event of a crisis, as in this situation, they served in a public Based upon this inform ation, it would be beneficial to continue research to further understand the Excellence Theory characteristics adopted by CROs in a crisis situation versus a non crisis situation. Additional research could also include studying CROs definition of a crisi s and an issue. It would be interesting to know if CROs defined these differently from for profit companies and if they based their definition upon the impact it had on the community they serve. Understanding this would enable crisis and issues management plans to be tailored to CROs, if needed. Lastly, when discussing man made versus natural disasters, literature supports the statement that communities come together after a natural disaster, but less so after a man made disaster. Results of this research show that although this was a man made disaster, CROs came together to pull resources and assist with recovery efforts. Given this information, more research needs to be done on how CROs react to man made disasters versus natural disasters. How do their ef forts differ? Do they make efforts to bring community members together?

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142 Crisis and Issues Management A s indicat ed by Coombs (2006), there are several findings that need further research to determine their impact on developing crisis theory. To begin, t his study simply scratched the surface of Waymer and Heath (2007) and Adkins (2012) recommendations to study crisis situations from beyond single managerial perspectives. Results from this study show that CROs practiced crisis management and issues management tactics In fact, results showed that tactic used by the CROs resulted in effective communication. However, these organizations were not direc tly involved with the cause of the disaster These organizations were simply reacting to the impact of this disas ter on the communities they serve. As the results of this research showed the crucial role played by CROs in providing effective communication during the DWH oil spill, future research should continue to explore the incorporation of CROs into management p ractices for crisis theory. More specifically, how do t he organizations that caused a disaster (i.e. BP) work with these organizations? Do they work with these organizations? Did they work with these organizations prior to the disaster? As previously indi cated, CROs utilized tactics that in Jaques (2007) combined non linear model. Several tactics from the model including training, simulations, issue and risk management, system activation/response, and post crisis issue impacts were all utilized by CROs in response to DWH oil spill. These tactics were utilized to overcome communication barriers in order to effectively communicate with their publics during the DWH oil spill. In addition, the tactics were not used linearly as suggested by the non linearity of the model. Given that these tactics were utilized by CROs not directly impacted by the DWH oil spill to effectively communicate during a crisis special

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143 attention and future research should be considered on how aspects of Jaques (2007) model contribute ov erall to crisis theory. In addition, future research should focus on the application of Jaques (2007) model to organizations not directly impacted by a crisis. Other areas of research should focus on the communities and the communication they received dur ing a disaster. Understanding how stakeholders receive and perceive information from CROs would be an essential element in future research. Along the same lines, results from this research indicated that the public did not trust information from certain so urces including government and the responsible party. Many also discussed that members of the community were coming to them for information or to verify information. Given this, conducting further research on trust and the perception of transparency of CRO s during a crisis in comparison with other relevant parties in a disaster would be beneficial to further crisis management literature. Another area of further research is to determine how the element of time impacted communication efforts of CROs during c risis situations. Although time was not an element that was studied in this particular case study, further research into how communication barriers changed over the course of a crisis would be effective in learning how to adequately prepare for a crisis si tuation. In addition, researching how response to changing barriers would provide additional information on crisis management. In addition to time, incorporating the element of location and how it impacted beaches on the entire Florida Panhandle did not have oil on their shores, it would be

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144 interesting to learn how CROs communication efforts between locations that had oil on the shore differed from a location that did not. Lastly, understanding stakeholder perception of communication messages from a CRO during a crisis would provide crisis and issues management literature with a more overall picture of the role of CROs in crisis communication. Collaboration As this study looked at collaborations during a crisis situation, research needs to focus on these collaborations outside of a crisis. More specifically, why do some collaborations work a nd some do not? What makes them originally come together? Also understanding the inner relationships of these collaborative groups could perhaps provide insights into their effectiveness. In addition, learning stakeholder perception of collaborations would be instrumental in learning the effectiveness of collaborative communication efforts as well as program partnerships Another important question is to learn if these collaborative organizations continue to work to gether after a crisis situation. Florida E xtension Given the role of Florida Extension in local communities and with various publics within the community, learning more about their collaborative efforts with CROs would be beneficial. Additional research into the relationships that CROs have with F lorida Extension would provide further insight into the role Florida Extension plays within local communities. In addition, learning the perception of Florida Extension by CROs would assist Florida Extension with outreach assistance and messages. As the re sults of this study showed, collaborations and partnerships within a community increase effective

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145 communication and hence, recovery efforts. Therefore, expanding CRO collaborations and partnership would enable Florida Extension to better serve and meet the ir mission. Limitations of Research S everal limitations were associated with this study. First, this study was done post crisis. Therefore, this research was not looking specifically at previous communication efforts and partnerships that were developed p rior to the DWH oil spill. Secondly, utilizing a case study met hod includes several limitations Fediuk, Coombs and Botero (2012), Ahluwalia, Burnkrant and Unnava (2000) and Coombs (2007) discuss that results from case study research cannot be general iz able to other crisis communication research of situations. They caution that case studies only provide (Fediuk et al. 2012, p. 636). In addition, they point out that ofte n, case studies do not allow for the researcher to understand the impact of crisis communication messages on stakeholders In this particular study, it would have been beneficial to learn from the community how the messages from the CROs met their needs an d assisted with their understanding of the DWH oil spill. Summary Results from this study showed that despite barriers, CROs utilized communication efforts rooted in collaboration, issues and crisis management and public relations to effectively commun icate with their audiences during the DWH oil spill. CROs developed and utilized crisis management tactics even though they were not at the center of the crisis. Their efforts were taken to assist their communities with the recovery process following the D WH oil spill. Steps taken by CROs to provide this crucial communication to their stakeholders provide insight into the valuable role that

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146 CROs play in communicating with target publics during crisis situations. Continuing to study the role that CROs play i n crisis situations and in communicating with stakeholders could extend crisis theories to provide researchers with a comprehensive look at crisis situations and more specifically crisis communication.

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147 Figure 5 1. CROs Issue and Crisis Management Model for Effective Communication, Lindsey (2012)

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148 APPENDIX A INVITATION FLYER Assessing Com munity Resource Organizations Barriers to Communication during an Environmental Crisis Angie B. Lindsey is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida who is interested in learning how community resource organizations and NGOs have managed the on going issues surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She is particularly interested in the barriers to communication encountered by these organizations when attempting to communicate with key publics during and after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Ang ie currently serves as the coordinator for the Community Outreach and Dissemination Core of the NIEHS Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities Grant. As part of her study, she is asking for interviews with leaders and key staff within community organizations an d NGOs. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of the study is to learn how community resource organizations and NGOs communicated with their key publics during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. More specifically, the study will uncover barriers to co mmunication that were encountered by Gulf Coast community resource organizations. What will be asked: The interview will consist of questions regarding planning and implementing proactive and reactive communication strategies related to the Deepwater Hor izon oil spill. In addition, participants will be asked about their frustrations and their barriers to communicating effectively with their publics. Time requirement: approximately one hour Logistics: Interviews will take place over the phone, Skype or personal August 13 th 17 th Researcher is flexible with times and can work around interviewees schedule. The researcher would prefer to meet personally, and can come and meet with interviewees at their convenience during that week. If that week does not w ork, we can arrange a phone or Skype interview. Your participation in this research project is completely voluntary. Your identity will be confidential. There will be no compensation for your participation in this study and there are no anticipated risks or benefits. For more information regarding the study, or to volunteer, please contact Angie Lindsey at ablindsey@ufl.edu or 904 509 3518. Your consideration is greatly appreciated!

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149 APPENDIX B INFORMED CONSENT FORM Participant Informed Consent Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill The Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities NIEH Grant is engaged in research to determine the barriers to communic ation encountered by Community Resource Organizations during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. As part of the project, we would like to ask Florida Gulf Coast Community Resource Organizations about their perceptions, thoughts, and insights with respect t o communicating with their key publics during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. With your permission, we would like to ask you to participate in this study by sharing your opinions, actions and perceptions in a one on one in depth interview. In depth inter views are constructed for the purpose of adding to the body of knowledge regarding a particular topic (Wengraff, 2006). These types of interviews are very conversational between the researcher and the interviewee. Although the questions are planned before, the researcher often has to improvise in order to go more in depth. You do not have to answer any questions that you do not wish to answer. Your responses will be confidential as no names or organizations will be linked to responses. Participation in th is study is voluntary, and you have the right to withdraw consent of your participation at any time without consequence or penalty. There are no risks or immediate benefits to participants; you will receive no compensation for participating. Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Group results of the study are expected to be available November 2012 upon request. If you have any questions about this research project, please feel free to contact us at 352 392 0502. Questions ab out your rights as a research participant may be directed to the UF Institutional Review Board office, University of Florida, PO Bo 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611 2250 (352 392 0433).

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150 I have read the procedure described above. I________________________ __________, voluntarily give my consent to participate in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spil. Parti cipation is expected to take about one hour in a single setting. I have received a copy of this description and voluntarily agree to participate in this study. __________________________________________ Name Date _______________________________ ___________ Principal Investigator Date

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151 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW GUIDE Before we begin, can you tell me a little about yourself and your organization? A few questions about your organization o What is your mission? o What is your role within the organizatio n? o o Discuss other roles you may serve within the community l l in relation to y our organization How prepared do you believe your organization was for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? o How would you describe the effectiveness of your preparations ? o Looking back, how would you have prepared differently? Describe the role of your organization during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? o How did that role d iffer after the oil spill? o How has it continued to change in response to oil disaster? In reacting to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, talk to me about your number one priority? o How did you ensure that this was don e? o Were you able to meet that priority? How? How did you utilize existing disaster management plans in response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill ? o Is your plan geared more f or natural disaste rs ? For environmental disasters? For weather disasters? o D escribe how changes to the plan are made? Will your plan change based upon the events and the response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? o How do you communicate in times of disaster? Internal communication plans External communication plans How did you utilize your communication plan in response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? For the next few questions, I want to discuss your stakeholders For the purpose of our stakeholders as people that you want to engage in the comm unication process. Could you describe your stakeholders for me ?

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152 o Internal stakeholders o External stakeholders o Briefly describe their demographics o How do they communicate? o What are their values? o What were their needs during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spil l? Prior to the Deepwater Horizon Spill, how would you describe your communication efforts with your stakeholders ? o How did this communication change during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? o How do you communicate with them now? o Is this different from a year ago, 6 months ago, etc. How would your rate the effectiveness of the communication with your stakeholders ? o Prior to the Oil Spill? o During the Oil Spill? o Now? o How would you change these efforts if all resources were available? In communicating with your stakeholders during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill describe tactics and methods that you utilized ? o Partner with other organizations ? o Used communication channels through a larger agency ? o Utilized media partnerships ? o Paid advertising? o Grassroots efforts? o Relied on media coverage? relation to your organization Please describe the local media coverage of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. o How did yo ur organization work with the local media? Were your key messages relayed by the media? o Were they effective in reaching your stakeholders ? How did the local coverage differ from the national coverage? o How did your organization work the national media? o Explain which do you think was more influential and why? In thinking about media coverage (both national and local) of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, describe the impact media coverage had for community resource organizations such as yours?

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153 o Along the same lines, describe how you think the media coverage impacted your community as a whole? o In thinking back, how would you work differently? How did your communication effort s surrounding the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill differ from efforts after natural disasters and other crisis situations? o How did you have to c hange your plans to better meet the needs of your key publics? In thinking back to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, discuss the communication tactics that your organization did that you consid er effective o Why were they effective? o Will you incorporate these tactics in a disaster management plan? o What tactics do you think were ineffective? Why were they ineffective? Looking to the future, discuss tactics that you plan to add to a communicatio n plan o Grassroots efforts o Media relations o Advertising o E newsletters o E mail o Public meetings/gatherings Do you have documents that you would be willing to share with me that provide examples of communication efforts practiced by your organization? Is ther e anything else that you would like to add regarding communicating with your stakeholders before, during and after the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill? For my last set of questions, I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the Regional Forum you at tended back in April What were your expectations for attending the Regional Forum? Did the forum meet your expectations? Please explain What was the most valuable experience you had during this forum? What was the least beneficial thing about this forum? Do you have any additional comments on the forum?

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154 LIST OF REFERENCES About Extension. (2008). Retrieved from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences websit e: http://sfyl.ifas .ufl.edu/about/ Adkins, G. L. (2012 ). Organizational networks in disaster response: An examination of Holladay, The handbook of crisis communication (pp. 93 114). Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishing. Ahluwalia, R., Burnkrant, R. E., & Unnava, H. R. (2000). Consumer response to negative publicity: The moderating role of commitment. Journal of Marketing Research 37(2), 203 214. Alter, C. F. (2008). Building community partnership s and networks. In R. J. Patti (Ed.), The Handbook of Human Service Management (pp. 435 454). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. An, S. K. & Cheng, I. H. (2012). Crisis communication research in public relations journals: Tracking research trends over thirty years. In W. T. Coombs & S. J. Holladay, The handbook of crisis communication (pp. 65 90). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Razavieh, A., & Sorensen, C. (2006). Introduction to research in e ducation. 7th edition. Belmont: Thomson. Austin M. L., & Laf errier, R. R. (2011). The importance of stakeholder outreach and risk communications in a major oil spill: A case study of the Deepwater Horizon MC 252 oil spill. Paper presented at the International Oil Spill Conference Portland OR. Barr iers to effective communication. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.skillsyouneed.co.uk/IPS/Barriers_Communication.html Barstow, D., Dodd, L., Glanz, J., Saul, S., & Urbina, I. ( June 20, 2010). Regulators failed to address risks in oil rig fail safe devic e. The New York Times Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?_r=2&pagewated=print Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice researchers. The Qualitative Report 13(4), 544 559. Benson, J. A. (1988). Crisis revisited: An analysis of the strategies used by Tylenol in the second tampering episode Central States Speech Journal 39, 49 66. Berg, B. (2001). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences Boston MA: Allen & Bacon.

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166 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Angie B. Lindsey received her Ph.D. from the Agricultural Education and Com munication Departme nt at the University of Florida in December 2012 Her research emphasis included barriers to effective communication experienced by community resource organizations in the Florida Panhandle during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Prior to returning to UF, Angie served as the executive director with the North Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure from 2003 2008. Before joining Komen North Florida, Angie served as the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Jacksonville Zoo and was responsible for all public relations efforts for the Zoo. Angie is a native of Columbia, South Carolina and received her undergraduate degree in Corporate Communications from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. She obtained her Masters, specializing in crisis communication, from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. She currently lives in Jacksonville with her husband, Wade and their three sons, Cooper, Greyson and Thad