Conflict resolution : the relationship between Air Force public affairs and legal functions /

by Law, James William

Abstract (Summary)
ABSTRACT: The literature regarding the relationship between public relations practitioners and lawyers indicates that a balance between the two is the best way for an organization to survive or prevent a crisis. However, legal counsel is taken more often over public relations counsel, which can be fatal in the court of public opinion. Researchers suggest that interdisciplinary education and better communication and planning between lawyers and communicators will create a better balance between the two functions. This research examines the relationship between Air Force public affairs and legal functions to find out what conflict exists, how often it occurs, how it is resolved, what the results are for the Air Force as a whole, and what can be done to improve the relationship. The study is based on conflict resolution theory and examines the relationship in terms of win-win, win-lose and lose-lose scenarios. An on-line survey was conducted of 790 Air Force public affairs officers, lawyers and commanders using electronic mail and a web-based form. The researcher received approximately 250 responses (31%). The data indicate that, while Air Force lawyers and communicators usually work well together, conflicts between the two do occur for a variety of reasons: differing objectives; the balance between the "right of the people to know" and the government's or an individual's right to privacy and fair legal proceedings; an information-hungry media environment; defense attorneys who use the media to plead their case, government rules which muzzle the Air Force from telling its side of a story; and a lack of education and/or training of public affairs officers and judge advocates.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Florida

School Location:USA - Florida

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:public relations us air force lawyers


Date of Publication:

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