Personal and familial crisis communication before and during

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Most crisis communication research to date has focused on organizational contexts and the need for organizations to plan for crises. This discussion, however, focuses on personal and familial preparedness practices in three countries. Suggestions for future preparations, such as family preparedness planning, 72 hour kits, and community involvement, are discussed. Also analyzed are motivations for preparation, including civic suggestions and religious community encouragement.

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  • Read Abstract
  • As mentioned earlier, this study is based on a larger research project which included fieldwork in several communities in Guyana, the Phuket Province in Thailand, and New Orleans, Louisiana. The research seeks to better prepare people as they face natural disasters and calamities.A key line of inquiry was on how disasters and preparation are socially constructed based on standpoints and cultural beliefs.
  • The following Three factors motivated us to conduct this study:Governmental agencies seem both unable to adequately anticipate immediate and long-term needs of those afflicted by disasters.We observed different interpretations of disaster and crisis events, based on culture. We recognized a need to learn lessons from groups who prepared their members.
  • This research is based on phenomenological inquiry. It takes a qualitative approach to both data collection and exploration. This allows individuals from the regions we explore to share their experiences with us and we, in turn, chronicle the theme which emerge from out of our exploration.
  • This approach is discovery orientedIt seeks to study phenomenon in an open, non restrictive manner.It focuses on the study of persons and their experiencesThe focus is on actual conscious experiences instead of hypotetical situations or incidents.
  • The literature on crisis and risk communication focuses on organizations and public relations practitioners can effectively use communication to manage crisis.
  • Crisis communication theories are relatively new. Crisis communication studies were first implemented after the 1962 U.S. - Cuban missile conflict prompted researchers to look at groupthink outcomes, game theory in decision making, and scenario planning. 
  • Study addressingpersonal preparedness for crises or calamities or theories which explain or predict how organizations can help their individual members prepare for the same events are now emerging.
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  • To ensure rigor, we triangulated findings from interviews, focus group, and media accounts Discussed our findings with our co-researcher to ensure that we highlighted concepts deemed most important and intended.
  • First, source credibility affects perceptions of crisis communication and perceptions of source credibility appear to be culturally based. In Guyana and New Orleans individuals appear less likely to consider government sources credible. Second, many believe that the government caused (or could have prevented) the disaster.Third, the disaster was mismanaged and aid was not allocated appropriately. Informants believed that great disparity existed between reports of donation from the international community and resources available in their communities.Fourth, working in social networks helps but is a poor model for non governmental organizations.Fifth, people think that they should prepare but don't.The experience varies for everyone. While disasters affect women and men differently it's difficult to assess which group was affected more or less. Women often emerged as community leaders, seeking creative solutions to solve problems resulting from the disaster.Finally, the type of disaster and its location may affect the type of aid and media coverage it receives.
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  • Personal and familial crisis communication before and during

    1. 1. Personal and familial crisis communication before and during disasters<br />Crisis Communication in Cultural Contexts: <br />Preparedness for Disasters in Guyana, the United States, and Thailand<br />
    2. 2. Abstract<br />Most crisis communication research to date has focused on organizational contexts and the need for organizations to plan for crises. This discussion, however, focuses on personal and familial preparedness practices in three countries. Suggestions for future preparations, such as family preparedness planning, 72 hour kits, and community involvement, are discussed. Also analyzed are motivations for preparation, including civic suggestions and religious community encouragement. <br />
    3. 3. Background<br />Based on fieldwork in Georgetown, Guyana, Phuket Province, Thailand, and New Orleans, Louisiana<br />Seeks to better prepare people as they face natural disasters and calamities.  <br />Discusses how disasters and preparation are socially constructed based on standpoints and cultural beliefs.  <br />
    4. 4. Statement of the problem<br />Governmental and other agencies and entities seem both unable to adequately anticipate immediate and long-term needs of those afflicted by disasters.<br />Different interpretations of disaster and crisis events, based on culture, influence perceptions of who should provide aid.<br />Need to learn lessons from groups who prepared their members.<br />
    5. 5. Theoretical Framework<br />This phenomenological inquiry (Lanigan, 1979) describes lived experiences, reduce the capta (conscious experiences or data) into essential themes<br />Researchers provide reflective, explanatory interpretations of themes which arise from the descriptions.  <br />Orbe(1990) explains key assumptions of phenomenological inquiry: that it rejects the suggestion of “objective research” and positivistic epistemology<br />Phenomenological inquiry “seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and meaning of everyday experiences” (Orbe, p. 37).<br />
    6. 6. Theoretical Framework (continued)<br />This methodology is discovery-oriented<br />it seeks to study phenomenon in an open, non-restrictive manner;<br />it focuses on the study of persons and their experiences; <br />the focus is on actual conscious experience instead of hypothetical situations or incidents.  <br />
    7. 7. Theoretical Framework (continued)<br />Phenomenological inquiry research has long been a respected method of capta collection in the field of anthropology and continues to gain respect and increasing use in more disciplines since the legitimizing of the narrative paradigm. <br />
    8. 8. Literature Review<br />Models of crisis and risk communication (Sellnow, Ulmer, & Snider, 1998; Birkland, 1997; Benoit, 1995; Benson, 1988; Fink, 1986) are important to contingency planning and preparation for future events specific to organizations and government entities.  <br />The models are specific to organizations as management and public relations officials have sponsored or endorsed the research as a protection against interferences to their businesses’ bottom line.  <br />
    9. 9. Literature Review (continued)<br />Crisis communication theories are also rather new and “…have remained insular and isolated, and there has been an ‘opportunity cost’ to the lack of integration of these ideas” (Fishman, 1999, p. 370).  <br />Crisis communication studies were first implemented after the 1962 U.S. - Cuban missile conflict prompted researchers to look at groupthink outcomes, game theory in decision making, and scenario planning.  <br />
    10. 10. Literature Review (continued)<br />International development and persuasion theories such as diffusion of innovation (Rogers, 1995) are helpful to understanding how to best inform cultural audiences of foreign practices and behaviors.  <br />However, there is not a body of theory which addresses personal preparedness for crises or calamities or theories which explain or predict how organizations can help their individual members prepare for the same events.<br />
    11. 11. Literature Review (continued)<br />This research seeks to establish a theory of personal preparedness for emergency and crisis situations.  <br />This theory will bridge a gap in communication studies.  <br />This study of personal and familial preparedness is timely as disasters will continue to displace people and force evacuations.  <br />
    12. 12. Methodology<br />Qualitative <br />interviews <br />focus groups<br />Interview Guide<br />What preparations individuals made when faced by disasters<br />Who, if anyone, assisted them in preparation efforts<br />What preparations they wish they had made<br />how they socially construct the events of the calamity<br />Interactions videotaped when permitted<br />
    13. 13. Methodology (continued)<br />To ensure the studies are rigorous<br />findings triangulated by using a combination of interviews, focus groups, and textual analysis of media coverage of the events. <br />asked our co-researchers to check our results to ensure we highlight the concepts and strategies they deemed most important and intended.<br />Data was reviewed by phenomenological inquiry (Van Manen, 1990; Lanigan, 1979) and grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1994), which allows for themes to arise from the collected information.<br />
    14. 14. Emerging Themes<br />Source credibility affects perceptions of crisis communication and preparation<br />Government(s) caused (or could have prevented) the disaster(s) <br />(Governmental) Mismanagement prior to, during, and after the disaster<br />Collaborating in established social networks, such as religious organizations, helps citizens cope in disasters, but these organizations are problematic partners for aid and relief NGOs<br />People believe disaster preparedness is important and necessary, but they do not prepare <br />The experience and effects of disasters vary for each affected person<br />
    15. 15. Emerging Themes<br />Cultural differences affect individual perceptions of their roles and responsibilities when preparing for natural disasters. <br />Perceptions of individual responsibility <br />The perception of individual responsibility exist on a continuum from low to high<br /> Mediating factors are socio economic, related to group affiliation, and religious beliefs<br />Within group variance exists<br />Perception of Individual Responsibility<br />…high<br />low…<br />
    16. 16. Recommendations<br />Empowering individuals and families through education<br />Developing culturally based 72 hour kits to address needs before governments can act<br />Rotating food stored to ensure safe food when needed<br />
    17. 17. Red Thread, Georgetown Guyana<br />Special thanks to the Tokyo Foundation and all of our co-researchers.<br />

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