Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries

By Larissa A. Grunig; James E. Grunig et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Methodology of the Excellence Study

In 1985, the International Association of Business Communicators Research Foundation funded the Excellence study, the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the communication profession. Ten years elapsed between that time and commercial publication of the first results (Dozier with L. Grunig & J. Grunig, 1995). This chapter explains the decade-long methodological approach we adopted.

Only by working as a team could the six investigators—together with graduate assistants, faculty colleagues, and members of the board of the IABC Research Foundation—plan and implement a study extensive enough to approach the answers to the research questions described in chapter 1. Our research design hinged on multiple methods, both qualitative and quantitative.

The study began with a thorough review of previous research, summarized in the first of the Excellence study books (see J. Grunig, 19%). In 1991, data collection began with a quantitative survey, using data generated by mailed questionnaires sent to multiple respondents in each participating organization. In 1994, the mail survey was followed by intensive observation of 25 organizations drawn from the original group of organizations. This ordering of data gathering, with the quantitative phase first, is somewhat atypical when qualitative and quantitative methods are combined in a single study (Broom & Dozier, 1990). However, we favored this because of the large body of research that preceded the Excellence study.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF RESEARCH ON PUBLIC RELATIONS
AND COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT

Research about public relations and communication management has improved significantly in recent decades. The early “case studies” in public rela

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