Title

Communication Strategies of Crisis and Conflict Management In the Public and Private Sectors In the State of Kuwait

Author

Heba Musallam

Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Mazharul Haque

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

Studying the use of communication in crisis and conflict management is a major area in the public relations and organizational communication literature, in the United States. However, There are few studies found on this topic, in the Arab world. This is the first study dealing with communication strategies for crisis and conflict management in Kuwait and can be considered a new area in public relations. Since practicing and using public relations is a fairly new field in Kuwait the need for conducting research has become important during times of crises or conflicts. The theoretical framework of this study will add to the body of literature in Kuwait, as well as, to the public relations field in general; specifically in using the Contingency Theory and the Attribution Theory. The findings of this study concluded that communication was one of the major factors affecting organizations. In fact, it was the main cause for some of the external crises and internal conflicts within both the public sector and private sector organizations, but the former seems to have more of this problems. The use of mass media was very limited in both sectors. Also, the use of media was affected by the organization's culture. This study revealed that one limited numbers of organizations that have pre-crisis plans. Additionally, it found that there were no well defined or well-designed communication strategies for either sector in terms of managing and dealing with crises or conflicts. Although, public relations practitioners' role were valued by the upper management to some extent, this study concluded that the use of communication for solving crises and conflicts should be improved in organizations of both sectors. By elevating the status of public relations departments within organizations, crises and conflicts can be handled more effectively. This study contributes to the body of knowledge of crisis and conflict management by organizations in the context of public relations in Kuwait.