Public Relations Review 35 (2009) 136–138
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Public Relations Review
Research in brief
The estimation of a corporate crisis communication
Sungwook Hwanga,∗, Glen T. Cameronb,1
aDepartment of Digital Media, Myongji University, 50-3 Namgajwadong, Seodaemungu, Seoul 120-728, Republic of Korea bUniversity of Missouri – Columbia, 214A Walter Williams, Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
a r t i c l e i n f o Article history:
Received 9 September 2008
Received in revised form 1 December 2008 Accepted 6 January 2009 Keywords: Contingency theory Crisis communication Leadership Threats
Opposing public’s size Latent public
a b s t r a c t
This experimental study found a main effect of perceived leadership and an interaction effect of perceived leadership and perceived severity of threats on the public’s estima-tion of organizaestima-tional crisis responses. The results indicate that the contingent theoretical argument explaining the dynamics of organizational factors and situational factors that determine stance taken by public relations practices can also be applied when explaining the outside latent public’s thought patterns predicting an organizational stance and mes-sage strategy. Contingency theory offers predictive power, not just for the practitioner, but for the public passing judgment on the stance taken by an organization.
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Extending the studies ofHwang and Cameron (2008a, 2008b)based on the contingency theory, this present study aims to test whether the contingent theoretical argument can be applied to the outside latent public’s thought pattern when predicting a corporation’s stance as well as further message strategies in a crisis. The theoretical argument is that predisposing factors set the initial organizational stance, while situational factors moderate the initial stance if situational factors are powerful enough (Cancel, Mitrook, & Cameron, 1999). Thus, the central research questions are (1) whether individuals can estimate a corporate stance and strategy based on perceived leadership as a likely important predisposing factor and (2) whether a perceived severity of threats and perceived opposing public’s size as likely powerful situational factors can moderate the stance and strategy estimation based on perceived leadership. Several hypotheses were developed based on the central research questions.
2.1. Study design
This study conducted an experiment using online instruments. The study was a mixed-subject 2× 2 × 2 factorial design in which leadership (transformational leadership vs. transactional leadership), severity of threat (strong vs. weak), external public’s size (large vs. small) were manipulated to produce eight different treatments. Between-subject design was applied to the external public’s size variable, while within-subject design was applied to the leadership and severity of the threat
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +82 2 300 0712.
E-mail addresses:firstname.lastname@example.org(S. Hwang),email@example.com(G.T. Cameron).
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the main experiment.
The dependent variables, public estimation about a corporation’s stance and message strategy in crisis communication, were measured with 10 stance measurement items (seeJin & Cameron, 2006) and ﬁve image restoration strategy typologies (seeBenoit, 2004). By using exploratory factor analysis, this study found one factor solution in the stance measurement items and two factor solutions in the strategy items. ANOVA was used as a main statistical analysis method with the index scores of stance (˛ = .93), advocative strategy (denial, evading responsibility, and reducing offensiveness: ˛ = .67) and accommodative strategy (corrective action and mortiﬁcation:˛ = .70).
Regarding the stimulus messages of leadership styles and threats, this study referred to the stimuli in the study ofHwang and Cameron (2008b). The manipulation of transformational leadership followed the guidelines ofYukl (2002): suggest clear vision, explain the way vision is accomplished, show conﬁdent and positive behavior and expression, and encourage followers toward the vision. On the other hand, transactional leadership shows “contingent reward, active management by exception, and passive management by exception” (Yukl, 2002, p. 254). The manipulation of strong threat assumed that the corporation has offered illegal political bribes to congressmen or government ofﬁcials for the last decades. The manipulations of weak threat stories dealt with recent CEO’s sex scandal rumors with his employee. Finally, the size of opposing public was manipulated as sporadic demonstrations by a handful of pressure group members and ongoing mass demonstrations by a pressure group.
All manipulations worked as intended. H1 predicted that participants would estimate a more accommodative stance when exposed to transformational leadership than transactional leadership. As predicted, participants showed a more accommoda-tive stance estimation after reading transformational leadership stories (M = 4.08, S.E. = .07) than transactional leadership stories (M = 3.63, S.E. = .07). The means were statistically different at p < .001 level (F [1, 504] = 20.21,2
p= .04). The results supported H1.
H1-1 assumed that participants would estimate more accommodative strategies when exposed to transformational lead-ership than transactional leadlead-ership. Unlike the expectation, participants did not show statistically different accommodative strategy estimation after reading transformational leadership stories (M = 4.51, S.E. = .09) and transactional leadership stories (M = 4.31, S.E. = .09), F [1, 504] = 2.71, p = ns. H1-1 was not supported.
H1-2 expected that participants would estimate more advocative strategies when exposed to transactional leadership than transformational leadership. Participants estimated the companies managed by transactional leadership (M = 4.82, S.E. = .07) would use more advocative strategies than the companies by transformational leadership (M = 4.60, S.E. = .07). The mean difference was statistically signiﬁcant at p < .05 level (F [1, 504] = 3.88,2
p= .01). Therefore, H1-2 was supported. Although ANOVA analysis did not ﬁnd the three-way interaction effect, the results of this study showed the two-way interaction effect between perceived leadership and perceived severity of threats on the participants’ estimation of the corporate stance. Mean values of stance estimation in the four different conditions are as follows: strong threat and trans-formational leadership (M = 4.01, S.E. = .09), strong threat and transactional leadership (M = 3.81, S.E. = .09), weak threat and transformational leadership (M = 4.15, S.E. = .09), and weak threat and transactional leadership (M = 3.46, S.E. = .09). As H4 predicted, participants estimated a more accommodative stance when they were exposed to the condition of transforma-tional leadership and a strong threat than the condition of transactransforma-tional leadership and a weak threat. The mean differences were signiﬁcant at p < .017 level (F [1, 504] = 5.96,2
p= .012) and therefore H4 was supported. Interestingly, the participants showed the most accommodative stance estimation when they were exposed to the condition of a weak threat and trans-formational leadership among the four different conditions. That is, the participants estimated that companies managed by transformational leadership would sensitively respond even in the relatively less severe threat, CEO’s scandal.
As predicted in H4-1, participants also estimated more accommodative strategies when they perceived transformational leadership and a strong threat (M = 4.47, S.E. = .12) than when they perceived transactional leadership and a weak threat (M = 4.07, S.E. = .12). The difference was signiﬁcant at p < .025 (F [1, 504] = 5.20,2
p= .01). Thus, H4-1 was supported. Unlike expectations, there was no two-way interaction effect between perceived leadership and perceived severity of threats on the advocative strategy estimation (F [1, 504] = .29, p = ns). Therefore, the result did not support H4-2 that partici-pants would estimate more advocative strategies when they perceive transactional leadership and a weak threat than when they perceive transformational leadership and a strong threat.
Finally, the two-way interaction effect between perceived leadership and perceived the external public’s size on the participants’ estimation of stance (H5), accommodative strategies (H5-1), and advocative strategies (H5-2) was not found.
Most importantly, the results of this study indicate that the contingency theory can explain the outside latent public’s thought patterns predicting a corporation’s crisis responses as well as practitioners’ real practices. That is, individuals’
138 S. Hwang, G.T. Cameron / Public Relations Review 35 (2009) 136–138
perception of the dominant coalition’s leadership produces certain estimations of an organization’s crisis responses, but the perceived nature of the issue (threat) moderates individuals’ estimation of organizational crisis responses. People seem to be concerned with “who” is in charge of an issue and “what” the issue is when predicting organizational responses.
Although the hypotheses regarding strategy estimation were only partly supported, the results indicate that, similar to
Pang’s (2006)argument, perceived important contingent factors, to some extent, are associated with the outside latent public’s estimation of organizational overall stances and further concrete message strategies.
If a corporate leader’s image is reﬂected as a transactional leader in the mass media, people can selectively perceive that the company would not be accommodative. Therefore, practitioners need to assert that when they choose accommodation, their decisions should be thoughtful and measured responses (Hwang & Cameron, 2008b).
If corporate decision makers choose advocative stances and strategies due to their strategic management plans or resource constraints, people who strongly perceive the corporation’s transformational leadership image might be surprised and dis-appointed with the overall unexpected actions. In that case, practitioners at least need to advise the dominant coalitions of the necessity of a more accommodative action to prevent a further conﬂict with the latent public.
If corporations strategically have to execute advocative actions in spite of the perception of a lenient transformational leadership and a serious situation, practitioners need to internally prepare for an additional crisis management plan due to the potential of a conﬂict resulting from the gap of expectations and practices.
The strong perception by people that transactional leadership would not be accommodative in the weak threat could be an obstacle against the successful soft landing of accommodative public relations strategies. Thus, practitioners should be more assertive when launching the accommodation strategies.
Finally, simply ignoring the “weak” threat that transformational leaders are involved in will be very risky. More careful accommodative strategy execution can be requested when a company managed by transformational leadership is engaged in a short-term internal threat.
Benoit, W. L. (2004). Image restoration discourse and crisis communication. In D. P. Millar & R. H. Health (Eds.), Responding to crisis: A rhetorical approach to
crisis communication (pp. 263–280). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Cancel, A. E., Mitrook, M. A., & Cameron, G. T. (1999). Testing the contingency theory of accommodation in public relations. Public Relations Review, 23(2), 171–197.
Hwang, S., & Cameron, G. T. (2008a). The elephant in the room is awake and takes things personally: The North Korean nuclear threat & the general public’s estimation of American diplomacy. Public Relations Review, 34, 41–48.
Hwang, S., & Cameron, G. T. (2008b). Public’s expectation about an organization’s stance in crisis communication based on perceived leadership and perceived severity of threats. Public Relations Review, 34, 70–73.
Jin, Y., & Cameron, G. T. (2006). Scale development for measuring stance as degree of accommodation. Public Relations Review, 32, 423–425.
Pang, A. (2006). Conﬂict positioning in crisis communication: Integrating contingency stance with image repair strategies. Doctoral Dissertation. Columbia: University of Missouri.
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The Estimation of the South Korean
Government's Diplomacy for Its Opposing
Public North Korea
Sungwook Hwang a
Department of Communication, Pusan National University Version of record first published: 08 Aug 2012
To cite this article: Sungwook Hwang (2012): The Estimation of the South Korean Government's Diplomacy for Its Opposing Public North Korea, Journal of Public Relations Research, 24:4, 338-352 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1062726X.2012.689900
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The Estimation of the South Korean Government’s
Diplomacy for Its Opposing Public North Korea
Department of Communication, Pusan National University
Based on the influence of the contingency factors of inner organizational and external situational factors, contingency theory of accommodation provides a good explanation for the real public relations practices. A recent series of experimental studies supports the idea that the theory is also applicable in the public’s estimation pattern regarding an organization’s public relations practices. This survey study is theoretically important when examining and sorting out significant factors in the real population of a notable public diplomacy domain. That is, this research examines how the South Korean people perceive the contingency factors and how people estimate the South Korean government’s stance toward its opposing public, North Korea. The regression model of perceived contingency factors and stance estimation was generalizable in the population of this study (R2¼ .279). The most influential perceptual predictors in the model include: the North Korean leader’s preference for the South Korean president, the relative power of South Korea, the level of commitment of North Korea, the South Korean president’s preference for the North Korean leader, the US government’s support for the South Korean policy toward North Korea, the South Korean government’s certainty to deal with the North Korean military threat, situational difficulties, the South Korean government’s knowledge and skill to deal with the threat, the situational duration of threat, and the South Korean president’s relation-oriented leadership. Finally, this study discussed practical implications for the government practitioners.
Most contingency scholars in public relations (e.g., Cancel, Cameron, Sallot, & Mitrook, 1997; Cancel, Mitrook, & Cameron, 1999; Jin & Cameron, 2006; Pang, Cropp, & Cameron, 2006; Reber, Cropp, & Cameron, 2001; Shin, Cameron, & Cropp, 2002, 2006; Shin, Cheng, Chin, & Cameron, 2005) have studied the influence of contingency factors with regards to the stances and strategies of an organization and=or its opposing public. Exploring the influence of contin-gency factors on the strategic communications has been an important research agenda in the field. Although the studies have examined both organizations as well as their opposing public’s perspec-tives in various organization–public relations, the studies have not spotlighted how contingency factors affect the thinking of the general public. Contemporary communication environment has become much more complicated. Due to advanced new media techniques, simply knowing an opposing public’s thoughts and decisions is not enough for an organization’s successful long-term public relations campaign. People’s opinions could affect the organizational decisions
Correspondence should be sent to Sungwook Hwang, Department of Communication, Pusan National University, San 30 Jangjeondong Geumjeong-gu, Busan 609-735, Republic of Korea. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Journal of Public Relations Research, 24: 338–352, 2012 Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1062-726X print/1532-754X online DOI: 10.1080/1062726X.2012.689900
through interactive new media channels or offline demonstrations. Therefore, examining how con-tingency factors influence the thoughts of general people regarding organizational public relations is an interesting and required task.
Moving the scholarly focus onto the public outside organizations, a recent series of studies (Hwang & Cameron, 2008a, 2008b, 2009) examined how individuals perceive contingency fac-tors and further estimated an organization’s stance toward its opposing public. The experimental studies found the applicability of the contingency estimation model. That is, perceived predis-posing factors influence the individuals’ estimation of an organization’s stances toward its opposing publics and also perceived situational factors could moderate the initial estimated stances and=or strategies. However, the experimental studies had a methodological limitation regarding the generalization in a population.
This study aims to examine whether the theoretical model of contingency factors and stance estimation accounts for the public’s mind in a real world setting. In other words, this study tests the generalizabilty of the model. Because it is not possible to test the model in all cases, this survey research examined the international conflict between the South Korean and North Korean governments. The model in this study consists of five main components: the South Korean government as an organization, North Korea as an opposing public, the South Korean people as the influential outside public, perceived contingency factors as independent variables, and the South Korean people’s estimation of the South Korean government’s stance toward North Korea as a dependent variable. This study examines which factor perception is more influential in the South Korean people’s prediction regarding the South Korean government’s stance toward North Korea.
This study lists the strongest contingency factors in the international conflict domain and further practically suggests that to produce the public’s estimation in a way that the organization wants, practitioners should execute a more cost-effective campaign by intensively communicat-ing the attributes of the significant factors.
Public relations deal with the conflict or crisis management between an organization and its publics. Cameron and his colleagues have conducted many studies of diverse organizational con-flicts or crisis cases using the Contingency theory of accommodation (Ham & Hwang, 2009). Originally, the theory was developed for the corporate PR field. However, the setting of an organization and its publics can be applied to governments or nonprofit organizations as well as corporations. In fact, many contingency studies (Jin, Pang, & Cameron, 2006, 2007; Pang, Jin, & Cameron, 2004; Qiu & Cameron, 2005; Zhang, Qiu, & Cameron, 2004) have examined the political and diplomatic domains and have supported the idea that the theory explains real governmental and diplomatic movements.
Therefore, this study, which spotlights an international conflict case, also employs the contingency theory, particularly when it comes to the general South Korean people’s thought regarding the South and North Korean conflict. First, this section explains what the contingency theory is, what contingency factors are powerful in explaining the real PR practices by organiza-tions, and summarizes a new contingency research trend by examining the outside public’s estimation of an organization’s public relations.
Contingency Theory of Accommodation
Cancel et al. (1997) explained that PR activities are organizations’ or practitioners’ stances in the continuum from pure advocacy to pure accommodation. Here, advocacy refers to the degree to which organizations maintain standpoints favorable for organizations, rather than the opposing public. Accommodation refers to the degree to which organizations accept the opposing public’s standpoint or argument. That is, organizations and their practitioners choose their stances toward a public in a given time and situation (Cancel et al., 1997). These stances can move quickly or slowly as situations change. The theory also suggests internal organizational or external environ-mental factors, which influence an organization’s stance, decision and movement.
By interviewing 18 practitioners, Cancel et al. (1999) elaborated their contingency theory. They classified 87 factors in the factor matrix into two dimensions: predisposing and situational factors. Predisposing factors influence initial organization stances by setting the predisposition of organizations before entering a situation with a certain public, but situational factors could shift the organization’s stances in relation to a public (Cancel et al., 1999). The study revealed strongly supported predisposing and situational factors. The strongly supported predisposing factors were ‘‘corporation business exposure; public relations access to dominant coalition; dominant coali-tion’s decision power and enlightenment; corporation size; and individual characteristics of involved persons’’ (Cancel et al., 1999, p. 189). Interviewees also emphasized the ‘‘urgency of situation, characteristics of external publics’ claims or requests, characteristics of the external public, potential or obvious threats, and potential cost or benefit for a corporation from choosing various stances’’ as strongly supported situational factors (Cancel et al., 1999, p. 189).
Shin et al. (2005) applied the theory in analyzing high profile conflicts (e.g., the US Depart-ment of Agriculture, American Airlines). The content analysis study found that the stances and strategies of an organization and its publics change over time in response to the influence of factors such as internal threats, external threats, external public, organization’s characteristic, general political=economic=cultural environment and industry environment. The most influen-tial factors in the study were internal and external threats. The study by Shin et al. (2005) indi-cated that the theory of factors and stances explains real public relations cases.
Some scholars (Reber & Cameron, 2003; Shin et al., 2002, 2006) supported the idea that the contingency factors are generally identified through surveys with practitioners. Reber and Cameron (2003) identified five theoretical constructs through a survey with 91 top public relations practitioners: ‘‘external threats, external public characteristics, organizational characteristics, public relations department characteristics, and dominant coalition characteristics’’ (p. 431). Although Reber and Cameron (2003) partially analyzed the factors in the initial matrix, Shin et al. (2002, 2006) investigated the influence of all the factors on practitioners’ stances by using an exploratory factor analysis. Shin and her colleagues (2006) found that internal threats and relationship characteristics did not belong to internal or external dimensions, but most factors were classified as one of the two main dimensions. That is, the studies offered parsimony to the initial factor matrix.
As the result of an extensive literature review regarding crisis management PR, Pang (2006) posited that five factors are the most influential: involvement of dominant coalition, influence and autonomy of public relations practitioners in the crisis, influence and role of legal practi-tioners in the crisis, importance of the primary publics to the organization in a crisis, and an organization’s perception of threat in a crisis.
Based on the aforementioned results, scholars commonly claimed that dominant coalition characteristics, perception of threat, opposing public’s characteristics, and influence of public relations practitioners are the most influential factors in deciding an organization’s stance in a crisis.
The Outside Public’s Estimation of an Organization’s Public Relations Practices Assuming that the strong influential factors are reflected through mass media, Hwang and Cameron (2008a, 2008b, 2009), using the contingency estimation model, suggested that the perception of the influential contingency factors produces the individuals’ prediction of an orga-nization’s stance toward an opposing public.
After considering the theoretical argument about the interplay of predisposing factors and situational factors in an organizational stance decision and movement (Cancel et al., 1999), Hwang and Cameron (2008a, 2008b, 2009) tested whether perceived predisposing factors influence the individuals’ estimation of an organization’s stance toward an opposing public. They also looked at whether perceived situational factors moderate the stance estimation.
Hwang and Cameron (2008b) initially examined the dominant coalition’s characteristics and the severity of threat as likely to be important contingent factors in the outside public’s estimation of the organization’s stance. Their study conceptualized and operationalized the dominant coali-tion’s characteristics using four leadership styles from the management field: transformational leadership, transactional leadership, democratic leadership, and autocratic leadership. Transfor-mational leadership style asserts that followers trust their leaders and motivate followers to work more than expected (Yukl, 2002). Transactional leadership, which many management scholars (Bass, 1985, 1996; Northouse, 1997; Yukl, 2002) have noted as the opposite concept of transfor-mational leadership, emphasizes ‘‘an exchange process that may result in follower compliance with leader requests but is not likely to generate enthusiasm and commitment to task objectives’’ (Yukl, 2002, p. 253). Democratic=egalitarian leadership versus autocratic=authoritarian leader-ship is multidimensional and includes other types of leaderleader-ship. The two different leaderleader-ship styles mainly consist of three dimensions: how leaders distribute their power; whose needs are satisfied; and how leaders make a decision (Bass, 1990). Unlike democratic leaders, authoritarian leaders use their power to coerce followers (Bass, 1990).
Applying these leadership styles, Hwang and Cameron (2008b) found the main effect of per-ceived leadership, but not the interaction effect of perper-ceived leadership and perper-ceived severity of threat on the stance estimation. That is, when the experimental participants were exposed to the transformational leadership message and the democratic=egalitarian leadership message, they expected the corporation would be the most accommodating. On the other hand, exposure to the autocratic=authoritarian leadership message produced the most advocating stance estimation. Exposure to the transactional leadership message showed a relatively neutral stance estimation. A follow-up study of Hwang and Cameron (2009) again examined the outside public’s esti-mation of corporate crisis communication based on perceived leadership, perceived severity of threats, and perceived size of the opposing public. In their recent study, they found the main effect of perceived leadership (transformational leadership vs. transactional leadership) and also found the interaction effect of perceived leadership and the perceived severity of threats (strong threat vs. weak threat) on the estimation of the corporate stance. The result indicated that perceived
predisposing factors produce an initial stance estimation and perceived situational factors can moderate the estimated stance. In their study, Hwang and Cameron (2009) insisted that the outside public’s thinking, as well as the thinking of the practitioners, can be explained by the contingency theory of accommodation.
Changing the domain of conflict, Hwang and Cameron (2008a) also investigated which factors are stronger predictors concerning people’s estimation about the US government’s stance toward North Korea’s nuclear threat. The experimental study also noted some important factors in undergraduate student participants’ thinking including: perception of leadership styles, perception of threat, and perception of opposing public’s characteristics.
The regression model, including three major factors, accounted for approximately 62% of the total variance of the participants’ stance estimation (R2¼ .616). Specifically, the study revealed that perceptions of situational factors, threat appraisal items and characteristics of the opposing public are more strongly associated with the participants’ stance estimation than perceptions of leadership styles, both before and after the exposure to a worst-case hypothetical situational change, such as a nuclear bomb attack. In other words, the participants at a given time and situ-ation strongly associated the attributes of the matter itself and the characteristics of the opposing public with the prediction of the American diplomatic movement.
In spite of the supported applicability of the theoretical multivariant relationship, it is not possible to generalize the results into a group population due to the limitation of the method. As mentioned before, this research tests the theoretical model in a population i.e., South Korean people’s estimation of their government’s stance toward the opposing public, North Korea.
The South–North Korean relationship is an appropriate and interesting international conflict case for testing the model. First, the conflict is ongoing. Since the Korean War in the 1950s, the two countries have had a politically contentious relationship. The conflict between capitalism (South Korea) and communism (North Korea) was weakened during the regimes (1998–2007) of the former South Korean presidents Kim Daejung and Roh Moohyun. They pursued a foreign policy toward North Korea called thesunshine policy. However, the relationship at the time of this study does not look as stable. In 2008, the South Korean ruling party changed from the liberal Demo-cratic Party to the conservative Grand National Party. After the election, the US special envoy assigned to deal with the human rights issues in North Korea asserted that ‘‘a (South Korean) president who is not afraid of oppressing North Korea for the issue was elected’’ (Lee, 2009). Another important cause of the increased tension is that North Korea is involved in developing nuclear weapons and missiles. Even though there has been an effort to conduct international nego-tiations during the six party’s talks among South Korea, North Korea, United States, Russia, China, and Japan, the US defense minister has expressed concern about whether North Korea will actually stop developing nuclear weapons (MBN, 2009). These issues have raised the level of the regional conflict significantly.
The second reason why this conflict is appropriate to test the model is because almost 10 mil-lion South Korean people are directly or indirectly related to people in North Korea because their family or relatives still live there. Moreover, the foreign policy toward North Korea has a signifi-cant impact on the election agenda (Cho & Nam, 2007). Thus, investigating the South Korean
people’s opinion about the South–North Korean relationship is a necessary task for softening the landing of the foreign policy toward North Korea.
Finally, the last reason for using the South Korea–North Korea conflict is because it is a case that involves important contingency factors such as: perceived presidential leadership, perceived threat appraisals and perceived characteristics of the opposing public, and the perceived general political environment around South Korea. This study included the first three independent vari-ables based on previous studies (Hwang & Cameron, 2008a, 2009). Also, this study was able to take into account the general political environment in the South Korean public diplomacy domain because the United States, Russia, China, and Japan are members of six party talks that have focused on the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. A notable incident that could influence the image of North Korea and the North Korean military threat was North Korea’s refusal to attend the six-party talks in December of 2008 (Jeong, 2009).
Regarding the first independent variable, the president’s leadership as the former CEO of Hyundai was evaluated as leadership commanding ‘‘charge’’ (Ohn, 2008). At the beginning of the new regime, the president failed to explain to the people why the South Korean government fully imported American beef. Due to the lack of dialogue with people, the government faced a crisis and a series of large demonstrations in which people expressed their concern about the possibility of mad cow disease (Ohn, 2008).
Acknowledging the background information, this study proposes the following research questions for the purpose of testing the model of the contingency factor and stance estimation:
RQ1: How do the South Korean people perceive each factor?
RQ2: How do the South Korean people estimate South Korean government’s stance toward the opposing public North Korea?
RQ3: To what extent does the contingency estimation model account for the South Korean people’s thinking on this issue?
RQ4: Which factors are strongly influential with regards to the South Korean people’s estimation of government relations between South Korea and North Korea?
This study examined South Korean’s thinking about the South Korean government’s relations with North Korea. The capital city of Seoul has a population of 10.2 million, more than a fifth of the national population (SBS News, 2007). Also, the city is the center of the nation’s political, economic, and cultural system (Park, 2008). Considering the size and significance of Seoul in representing South Korea, this study selected Seoul citizens as the population of the survey. Because a 500 person sample is useful for investigating the opinions of a population of 15 million (Creative Research Systems, 2009), this study attempted to collect 500 samples. A professional research institution helped collect the data. For a more systematic sampling, this study used a stratified sampling. Eleven investigators collected 20 respondents’ answers at each of 25 different districts in the city. Investigators were requested to collect a balanced sample in terms of gender and to briefly explain the purpose of the study regarding the relationship between South and
North Korea. Investigators contacted a total of 1,435 Seoul citizens at three random spots in each district and, in the second half of January 2009, 500 respondents participated in the face-to-face survey. Respondents spent approximately 10 min completing the survey. The response rate was acceptable (34.8%).
The dependent variable, stance estimation was measured with 10 stance measurement items developed by Jin and Cameron (2006). Stance estimation was defined as individuals’ prediction about the government’s stance. The items (see Table 1) were measured using a 7-point scale (1¼ completely unwilling to 7 ¼ completely willing).
Leadership attributes were measured using 10 items: transformational leadership (suggesting a clear vision, explaining the way the vision is accomplished, showing a confident and positive behavior and expression, and encouraging followers towards the vision), transactional leadership (contingent reward, active management by exception, and passive management by exception), and democratic versus autocratic leadership (how leaders distribute their power, whose needs are satisfied, and how leaders make a decision; Bass, 1990; Hwang & Cameron, 2008a, 2008b, 2009; Yukl, 2002, see Table 2 in the Results).
Threat attributes referred to nine threat appraisal items: situational demands (situational difficulty, situational duration of the threat, severity of the threat, the organization’s uncertainty, and the organization’s unfamiliarity) and resources (knowledge and skill, time, finance, and support from the dominant coalition; Hwang & Cameron, 2008a; Pang et al., 2006, see Table 3 in the Results).
North Korea characteristics were measured with 13 items listed in the contingent factor matrix: size and=or number of members, degree of source credibility, past successes or failures of groups to evoke change, amount of advocacy practiced by the organization, level of commit-ment of members, whether the group has public relations counselors, public’s perception of group-reasonable or radical, level of media coverage the public has received in past, whether representatives of the public know or like representatives of the organization, whether represen-tatives of the organization know or like represenrepresen-tatives from the public, the public’s willingness
Stance Estimation Measurement Items The South Korean government will .
1. Yield to North Korean demands
2. Agree to follow what North Korea proposes 3. Accept North Korean propositions
4. Agree with North Korea on future action or procedure 5. Agree to try the solutions suggested by North Korea 6. Express regret or apologize to North Korea
7. Collaborate with North Korea in order to solve the problem at hand 8. Change its own position toward that of North Korea
9. Make concessions with North Korea 10. Admit wrongdoing
to dilute its cause=request=claim, moves and countermoves, and the relative power of the organization (Cancel et al., 1999; Hwang & Cameron, 2008a, see Table 4 in the Results).
Also, the general political environment was operationalized with four measurement items: The United States politically supports the South Korean government’s foreign policy toward North Korea; Russia politically supports the South Korean government’s foreign policy toward North Korea; China politically supports the South Korean government’s foreign policy toward North Korea; Japan politically supports the South Korean government’s foreign policy
TABLE 3 Perception of Threat Threat
Appraisal Measurement Item M SD
The North Korean military threat is not difficult to deal with. 3.16 1.49 The North Korean military threat is a short-term threat rather than a long-term threat. 3.39 1.56
The North Korean military threat is not severe. 3.20 1.53
The current South Korean government has certainty to deal with the North Korean military threat.
The current South Korean government has situational familiarity to deal with the North Korean military threat.
Resources The current South Korean government has enough knowledge and skill to deal with the North Korean military threat.
The current South Korean government has enough time to respond the North Korean military threat.
The current South Korean government has enough financial resources to deal with the North Korean military threat.
The current South Korean government has enough support from the leader to deal with the North Korean military threat.
TABLE 2 Perception of Leadership
Leadership Measurement Item M SD
Current president suggests a clear vision. 3.2 1.48
Current president explains the way the vision is accomplished. 3.18 1.44 Current president shows confident and positive behavior and expression. 3.33 1.54
Current president encourages people toward the vision. 3.38 1.51
Current president uses political or physical pressure when a work is not satisfactorily completed.
Current president clearly explains what work should be done to get rewards and what rewards will be given.
Current president finds government officials’ errors and strengthens political rules to prevent the errors.
Current president does not use his coercive power often. 3.26 1.38
Current president encourages the other people to participate actively in discussions, problem solving, and decision making.
Current president prioritizes friendly and supportive relations rather than works. 4.16 1.43 Note. Related corporate contingency studies used CEO instead of president.
toward North Korea. That is, the items measured how the respondents perceive the countries’ atti-tude toward the South Korean government’s foreign policy for North Korea. Referring to the pre-vious studies, all the variable items were measured using a 7-point Likert scale (1¼ strongly disagree to 7¼ strongly agree). Compared with a 5-point scale, the two additional points make it possible to measure more variation. So, using the 7-point scale can be more helpful for detecting and analyzing small differences in the perception of the variables.
Respondents averaged 41 years of age. The range of age was 20 to 76 years. Fifty% of the respondents were men. Their average monthly salary was approximately $ 2,500. Respondents’ school career was as follows: middle school graduation (6%), high school graduation (42.8%), current undergraduate students (8.4%), bachelors degree (38.6%), masters degree (3.6%), and others (.6%). 31% and 20.6% of the respondents supported the ruling party and the opposition parties, respectively. 48.4% of the respondents did not support any party.
In RQ1, mean values of each variable perception were noted. Then, an index score of the depen-dent variable, stance estimation, was calculated (RQ2). The summated value of 10 measurement items was divided by 10 (Cronbach’s alpha¼ .93). The multiple regression, particularly the stepwise regression statistical method, was utilized to answer RQ3 and RQ4.
RQ1 asks how Seoul citizens perceive each of the main contingency variables. Regarding leadership, respondents did not strongly perceive transformational leadership and transactional
Perception of North Korean Characteristics
Measurement Item M SD
North Korea is a big country. 2.36 1.21
North Korea is a credible country. 2.15 1.26
North Korea showed past successes to evoke change. 2.41 1.25
South Korean government traditionally showed a more accommodating attitude toward North Korea than advocating.
North Korea is not involved with military threats such as developing nuclear weapons. 2.39 1.35
North Korea seems to have (international) public relations counselors. 3.19 1.46
North Korea is reasonable rather than radical. 2.63 1.41
North Korean leader Kim Jung-Il likes the current South Korean president. 2.26 1.17
Current South Korean president likes North Korean leader Kim Jung-Il. 2.42 1.19
North Korea willingly dilutes its requests or claims. 2.67 1.38
South Korea is relatively less powerful than North Korea. 3.13 1.31
North Korea has received significant media coverage in the past. 4.10 1.63
North Korea will show a countermovement if South Korea shows a movement. 4.04 1.52
leadership for the current South Korean president. Mean values of each item are lower than or around four, the neutral point (see Table 2). This also indicates the respondents’ weak perception of presidential democratic leadership and paradoxically strong perception of autocratic leadership.
Respondents overall regarded their president as an autocratic leader, and they also perceived North Korean military troops and weapons as serious threats. They did not agree with the idea that the South Korean government faces ignorable situational demands nor with the idea that their government has enough resources to overcome the threats (see Table 3).
Regarding North Korean characteristics, respondents mostly evaluated the opposing country in a negative way. As shown in Table 4, Seoul citizens did not agree with the favorable attributes of North Korea.
Another likely important contingent factor, political support from countries concerned about South and North Korean relations, was also examined. Respondents did not strongly perceive that four countries, the United States (M¼ 3.71, SD ¼ 1.42), Japan (M ¼ 3.36, SD ¼ 1.29), China (M¼ 3.08, SD ¼ 1.23), and Russia (M ¼ 3.04, SD ¼ 1.14), support the current South Korean policy toward North Korea. However, notably, respondents perceived that the United States politically supports the South Korean policy toward North Korea more than the other three countries. A series of paired samples of t-tests supported the result (United States & Japan: t¼ 6.38, df ¼ 499, p < .001; United States & China: t ¼ 9.13, df ¼ 499, p < .001; United States & Russia:t¼ 9.44, df ¼ 499, p < .001).
RQ2 examines how respondents estimate the South Korean government’s stance toward North Korea. Respondents predicted an advocating stance by the South Korean government (M¼ 3.23, SD ¼ 1.04). For instance, respondents estimated that the South Korean government would not be willing to yield to North Korea’s demands, to accept North Korea’s propositions, and to change its own position toward North Korea.
RQ3 investigates whether the contingency regression model of contingent factors and stance estimation had any impact on the respondents’ thinking. The regression model is summarized as follows: Y¼ b þ ß1X1þ ß2X2þ ß3X3þ ß4X4. Here, Y is the respondents’ estimation of the
South Korean government’s stance toward North Korea. X1is the perceived South Korean
presi-dential leadership factors, X2is the perceived North Korean military threat appraisal items, X3is
the perceived North Korean characteristics, and X4is the perceived support from the political
environment. ß (standardized beta) means the degree of influence of each independent variable X on Y. All the predictors in the regression model accounted for 27.9% of the total variance of the dependent variable, stance estimation,R2¼ .279, F(36, 463) ¼ 4.981, p < .001. It indicated that the model was statistically significant.
Further, RQ4 sorts out those variables that are particularly influential in the stance estimation by using the stepwise regression technique. Ten predictors in the refined regression model accounted for 24.2% of the total variance of the dependent variable, stance estimation, R2¼ .242, F(10, 489) ¼ 15.65, p < .001. The most significant predictor was the North Korean leader’s preference for the South Korean president (ß¼ .200, t ¼ 3.954, p < .001). Respondents who thought that North Korean leader disliked the South Korean president were likely to estimate the South Korean government’s advocating stance and vice versa. Three predictors in North Korea’s characteristic variables were also influential: the relative power of South Korea (or North Korea; ß¼ .127, t ¼ 2.976, p < .01), the commitment of North Korea (ß ¼ .107, t ¼ 2.388, p¼ .017), and the preference of South Korea’s president for North Korea’s leader (ß ¼ .103,
t¼ 2.098, p < .05). This means that respondents were likely to predict the South Korean government’s advocating stance when they chose the larger power of South Korea, North Korean government’s involvement for military threats such as developing nuclear weapons, and the South Korean president’s dislike for the North Korean leader.
Statistically, the second most influential predictor was the US government’s support for the South Korean policy toward North Korea (ß¼ .161, t ¼ 3.796, p < .001). That is, respondents who did not strongly agree that the United States supports the South Korean policy toward North Korea were likely to estimate an advocating stance and vice versa.
In the nine threat appraisal items, four variables were noted as influential predictors: South Korean government’s certainty (ß¼ .159, t ¼ 3.476, p ¼ .001), situational difficulty (ß¼ .153, t ¼ 3.342, p ¼ .001), knowledge and skill (ß ¼ .148, t ¼ 3.151, p < .01), and situational duration of threat (ß¼ .100, t ¼ 2.222, p < .05). Respondents who strongly agreed that the South Korean government deals with the North Korean military threat with certainty were likely to estimate the South Korean government’s advocating stance and vice versa. Also, respondents who strongly perceived that the North Korean military threat is difficult to deal with tended to estimate an advocating stance and vice versa. Respondents who strongly believed that the South Korean government did not have enough knowledge and skill to deal with the North Korean military threat were likely to answer an advocating stance estimation and vice versa. Those who strongly agreed that the North Korean military threat is a short-term threat, rather than a long-term, threat were likely to estimate an advocating stance by the South Korean government and vice versa. Finally, the only influential predictor out of the leadership variables was perception about whether the South Korean president prioritizes friendly and supportive relations, rather than works (ß¼ .108, t ¼ 2.635, p < .01). That is, respondents who strongly perceived that the presi-dent is work-oriented, rather than relation-oriented, were likely to estimate an advocating stance and vice versa.
This study tested whether the contingency estimation model is compatible with the thinking of the citizens of Seoul, South Korean. According to the results of RQ3, the regression model is applied to the population of this study, as well as to the undergraduate experimental participants in the study of Hwang and Cameron (2008a, 2008b, 2009). Perceived factors accounted for approximately 28% of the total variance of the individuals’ prediction of the South Korean government’s stance toward North Korea. Based on the empirical data of the survey, this study insists that the model is also generalizable in the real-world outside experimental settings, and it has an explanatory power to influence the stance estimation by the public.
Compared with the result of the study by Hwang and Cameron (2008a), the explanatory power in this study is rather limited (R2¼ .616 vs. R2¼ .279). Although the young student
participants might have paid more attention to answering the given questions in the limited experimental space, the explanatory power itself in this study is still meaningful because it reflects comprehensive thinking concerning more realistic demographic segments. Seoul citizens make up a fifth of South Korean people.
In RQ1 and RQ2, this study examined the respondents’ perception of factors and stance estimation. Respondents did not strongly perceive South Korean president’s transformational,
transactional, and democratic leadership. Instead, they perceived autocratic leadership. The image of direct CEO leadership commanding ‘‘charge’’ (Ohn, 2008) and the lack of communi-cation with people about importing American beef at the beginning of the regime seemed to influence the strong perception of the presidential autocratic leadership. Meanwhile, this study notes the weak perception of transformational and democratic leadership. The experimental studies of Hwang and Cameron (2008b, 2009) indicate that the perception of transformational leadership and democratic leadership produced the accommodating stance estimation by indivi-duals. In a certain public relations case, if government practitioners pursue an accommodating stance toward an opposing public, practitioners need to consider building their leader’s transfor-mational and democratic image for the soft-landing of the stance.
Respondents evaluated the North Korean military threats as mostly serious threats and North Korea itself as a negative opposing public. As mentioned earlier, South Korea and North Korea have been mired in conflict since the Korean War. The insincere diplomatic movement by North Korea concerning the six-party talks also seemed to negatively influence the South Korean people’s evaluation about the military threat and North Korea itself because the weapons mostly targeted South Korea.
Regarding the political environment prevalent in the Korean peninsula, it was noteworthy that the respondents perceived that the United States supports South Korea in terms of diplomacy with North Korea more than Japan, China, and Russia. The respondents seemed to show a rela-tive trust for the United States as a strategic colleague country, which has cooperated with South Korea together against North Korea since the 1950s. On the other hand, generally speaking, the study indicates that more diplomatic efforts are required to enhance the relationship between South Korea and the other three countries.
The respondents also predicted that the South Korean government would show an advocating stance toward North Korea. Here, the South Korean government practitioners need to assess whether they want to inform people in the future about the predicted stance. Informing the stra-tegic movement of an organization through mass media is a basic but important task in public relations. If the government wants to be evaluated as more advocating, then practitioners may believe the government is doing a good job. On the other hand, if the government aims to be shown as more accommodating, then trimming the images of the ten variables that are strongly associated with stance estimation (RQ4) in the governmental news releases, will be cost-effective and desirable.
To produce an accommodative stance prediction, the news releases will explicitly or implicitly emphasize the following statements. First, the South Korean president is relation-oriented, rather than work-oriented. Relation-oriented leadership reminds people of an accommodating action such as dialogue and negotiation, whereas work-oriented leadership can be easily associated with a strict image pursuing only organizational purposes. Second, the South Korean government does not have certainty when it comes to dealing with the North Korean military threats. The word certainty indicates a fixed plan. A more flexible image in dealing with the threats will be required for building an accommodating stance estimation. Third, the North Korean military threat is not difficult to deal with. The idea that the South Korean government can solve the problem seems to encourage people to think that the government may, to some extent, strategically accommodate North Korea. Fourth, the South Korean government has enough knowledge and skill to deal with the North Korean military threat. Likewise, people tend to think that their government can accommodate the opponent, if necessary, based on accumulated knowledge and skills. Fifth,
the North Korean military threat is a long-term threat. Although people can easily ignore a short-term threat, they will be much more concerned about a long-term threat. Perception of a long-term threat will remind people of a spectrum of stances between pure advocacy and pure accommodation, but not a simple advocacy. Also, the messages can emphasize that the North Korean leader is favorable to South Korean president or vice versa. Naturally, messages of mutual preference will inspire people to think of a phase of meetings and dialogues, but not a strict com-petition. Next, North Korea is as powerful as South Korea. When reading this message, people predict that South Korean government will not easily ignore the powerful opponent and therefore may not adhere to the advocating stance. Ninth, North Korea is not involved with serious military threats. If North Korea shows peaceful actions, sincerely attending the six-party talks or stopping missile testing, then South Korean people will expect a compromise, rather than conflict, resulting from the advocacy. Finally, the liberal Obama administration supports the South Korean policy toward North Korea. South Korean people seem to think that the new US government is compara-tively more liberal and negotiable than the former conservative Bush administration. Therefore, the political support from the US government tends to cause the South Korean people to predict that South Korean government will take up coherent accommodating actions toward North Korea. Conversely, emphasizing the opposite attributes of the previous statements will be conducive to strengthening the outside public’s estimation of the South Korean government’s advocating stance toward North Korea.
This survey study examined how South Korean Seoul citizens perceive the main contingency factors and estimated the South Korean government’s stance toward North Korea. With the generalization of the model in the examined population, 10 strongly influential variables were also sorted out. The results of this study suggest that the government practitioners need to think about how to trim the aforementioned ten attributes through proactive public relations.
More survey research utilizing the contingency estimation model is required to know the relationship between the stance estimation and other affective and behavioral variables such as attitude toward an organization and various behavioral intentions. Also, spotlighting more diverse organizations such as profit organizations and nonprofit organizations will be helpful in understanding the relative influence of the main variables in the public’s mind. Finally, future studies need to include psychographic questions such as the respondents’ reading habits and media consumption because those variables could affect the perception of the contingency variables. By doing so, the outside public can be categorized into subcategories such as active public, inactive public, or latent public.
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Scale development for measuring stance as
degree of accommodation
, Glen T. Cameronb
aSchool of Mass Communications, Virginia Commonwealth University, 901 West Main Street, Temple 2208A, Richmond, VA 23284-2034, USA
bSchool of Journalism, University of Missouri, MO, USA
Received 17 January 2006; received in revised form 24 August 2006; accepted 1 September 2006
This study develops a multiple-item scale for measuring public relations stance, as the starting point for making strategies and tactics. Following the conceptualization and operationalization of stance as degree of accommodation, one judge panel and two PRSA member survey data sets are employed for scale development and testing. The scale’s reliability, factorial structure and validity are further assessed. This systematic procedure provides a valid and reliable scale with two clusters of enactments of stance: action-based accommodation and qualified-rhetoric-mixed accommodation. This scale can be used by practitioners to measure the organization and its publics’ willingness to take accommodation in a given situation, as well as how these stances evolve and/or persist longitudinally.
© 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Public relations stance; Contingency theory; Accommodation; Scale development; Measurement
Stance, as a key concept in understanding public relations practice, has been of great interests to researchers. According to Cameron and his colleagues, stance moves along the continuum of accommodation. Organizations practice a variety of stances with its publics at any given point, and these stances change, depending on the circumstances. The continuum has two ends as advocacy and accommodation, which represents the willingness to make concessions or give or offer trade-offs: at one end the organization pleads its case and at the other makes overtures toward a trade-off or toward concessions. One key argument of contingency theory is the disentanglement of stance from the cluster of strategies and tactics. Unlike strategies and tactics, stance is operationalized as the position an organization takes in decision-making, which is supposed to determine which strategy or tactic to employ. As a construct distinct from strategy, public relations stance is also to be measured, as the starting point for making strategies and tactics. However, there is a lack of any multiple-item scale or inventory being developed and tested in terms of evaluative qualities. For researchers and practitioners, a scale specifically measuring stance is needed for better understanding of public relations practice.
Therefore, the purpose of this study is to develop a multiple-item scale for measuring public relations stance, which would meet reliability and validity standards and can be applied in public relations practice. This paper first
∗Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 804 827 3764; fax: +1 804 828 9175.
E-mail addresses:email@example.com(Y. Jin),Camerong@missouri.edu(G.T. Cameron). 0363-8111/$ – see front matter © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
424 Y. Jin, G.T. Cameron / Public Relations Review 32 (2006) 423–425
conceptualizes stance into the poles of advocacy and accommodation, with the concept of accommodation as the focus of this scale development. Specifically, stance is operationalized as the degree of accommodation or the willingness of taking accommodations toward publics in varied situations. One judge panel and two survey data sets (103 and 144 PRSA members, respectively) are employed to develop a reliable and valid scale to measure stance as degree of accommodation, and then its quality via systematic psychometric evaluation is assessed.
In order to generate the initial pool of items for the stance scale, relevant literature on crisis communication, conflict management and public relations was reviewed and an initial pool of 54 scale items were compiled. Those items were mostly drawn from Shin’s (2003) study on conflict management stances and strategies and Huang’s (2004) study on measuring public relations strategies. A group of five public relations faculty and Ph.D. students at a large Midwestern university judged the content validity of the items. Each judge was presented with a written definition of stance with the 54 candidate scale items. Judges were then asked to rate each statement as being “clearly representative,” “somewhat representative,” or “not representative” of the construct definition. Items evaluated as clearly representative by three judges and no worse than somewhat representative by a fourth judge were retained. This process resulted in a set of 12 items for further analysis. In addition, the face validity of each item was also judged by each panel member.
This following study involved scale purification and reliability testing for the 12 items. Data were collected via a Web survey of a random sample drawn from Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) member’s directory (2002). The practitioners were asked to think of a public relations situation and one primary public they dealt with, and then their willingness of taking the twelve listed stance items. After testing the email links included in the sample, an initial mailing of deliverable 800 surveys was followed by a reminder email sent 1 week later. Usable responses were received from 103 public relations professionals resulting in an overall response rate of 13%. All items were scored using a seven-point Likert format with higher scores representing greater degree of accommodation (1, completely unwilling; 7, completely willing). After examining the distribution of each item and their initial factor loadings, two items were eliminated. For the remaining ten items, exploratory factor analyses indicated two factors: Action-based
accommodations and Qualiﬁed-rhetoric-mixed accommodations, as two clusters of enactments of stance that were
operationalized as degree of accommodation and willingness to take accommodations in this study. The resulting subscales demonstrated internal consistency coefficients (alphas) of .89 (5 items for factor 1) and .80 (5 items for factor 2). In addition, the inter-item correlations were moderate in magnitude within factor. The results indicate that the 10-item instrument measuring stance reflected satisfying internal consistency within each factor and the subscales for each cluster of stance enactments seemed reasonable and parsimonious.
A second Web survey was conducted to generate data for confirmatory factor analysis. Once again, a Web survey was mailed to a random sample of PRSA members (2004) excluding names sampled in the previous survey. As in the first survey, the practitioners were asked to think of a public relations situation and one primary public they dealt with, and then their willingness of taking the twelve listed stance items. After testing the email links included in the sample, an initial mailing of deliverable 1340 surveys was followed by a reminder email sent 1 week later. Usable responses were received from 144 public relations professionals resulting in an overall response rate of 11%. Confirmatory factor analysis of this two-factor 10-item model was examined using AMOS to evaluate the adequacy of the hypothesized factor structure, which demonstrated satisfactory fit of the data. Maximum likelihood estimation was employed. The extent to which an estimated model fits the observed data (item variance and covariance) was indicated by a variety of goodness-of-fit indices: Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = .91; Non-normed Fit Index (NNFI) = .88; Normed Fit Index (NFI) = .90. To compare the proposed model with its rival models, a two-factor oblique model was compared against two alternative models, a two-factor orthogonal model and a single-factor model, to determine the number of latent variables underlying response to items on a test. For model comparison, the Akaike Information Criteron (AIC) was used to select the best fitting model. The null model served as a basis of reference for computing goodness-of-fit indices for the three competing models. The null model assumes no common variance among the 10 indicator items. The two-factor oblique model appeared to fit the data best (CFI = .91, compared to .76 for the two-factor orthogonal model and .88 for the one-factor model). For model comparison, the two-factor oblique model, among its competing models, provided the smallest AIC value and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (REMSA) (AIC = 390.77, RMSEA = .12, compared to the orthogonal model: AIC = 868.18, RMSEA = .20, and the one-factor model: AIC = 474.40, RMSEA = .14).