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Finished projects

DFG-Project: Military Media Relations. The relations of German and US Armed Forces to the media: A comparative analyses of the military communication management since 1990

Supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the research project “Military Media Rela-tions. The relations of German and US armed forces to the media: A comparative analyses of the military communication management since 1990” focuses on the analysis of the military side of the relationship between the military and the media. Research objects are the media relations of the German Bundeswehr, the US armed forces and the political institutions in charge of controlling the military organizations (German Ministry of Defense, Pentagon). The comparative longitudinal analysis seeks answering the question how and for what reasons the media relations of the German armed forces have changed from 1990 until present in comparison to the US military. Besides the functions, tasks and structures of the military media relations, the project also focuses on the relations between military and security political media relations. In order to systematically open up the still neglected field of media related organizational communication by the military, the research team – chaired by Professor Martin Löffelholz and including the research assistants Claudia Auer and Kathrin Schleicher – applies a multi-methodological design of documentary research and expert interviews.

Contact:Claudia Auer and Kathrin Schleicher


Research project: Relevance of mobile communication and Internet during domestic crises - using the example of the post-election-crisis in Kenya

Mobile phones, twitter, flickr, blogs, online-campaigns and social communities: Especially in crisis and situations with reduced access to sources of information, mobile communication and functionalities of the Web 2,0 showed up as clearly relevant, not only for the interpersonal, but also for public communication. After the presidential elections in Kenya at the end of December 2007 and the following two months violence, the population was covered with a thitherto unknown flood of hate and intimidation SMS, which finally brought the government and mobile network operator to send away threats of punishment or deescalating reports by SMS as well. Besides a multiplicity of blogs, forums and online-campaigns developed within shortest time - not least because of a live-reporting-ban by the government. An example of it is the platform Usahidi, which mobilized apart from the Diaspora also native media and shaped as reference media also the reporting, particularly in the radio. In an explorative study Matthias Duchscherer explored the relevance of mobile communication and Internet in case of domestic crises using the example of the post-election-crisis in Kenya. A participating observation and qualitative depth interviews amongst others with bloggers, journalists, connoisseurs of the political scene and receivers of hate SMS formed the methodical basis of this study. In May 2009 Matthias Duchscherer presented results of the study during the German-East-African media dialogue in Nairobi. The institut for foreign relations (ifa) organized the conference, journalists and scientists from Germany and East Africa took part.

Contact: Matthias Duchscherer


Dissertation project: "Public Relations and Crisis: A covariation-based approach on causal and responsibility attributions of stakeholders in the context of organizational crisis"

This study deals with the question of how and under which conditions stakeholders attribute causes and responsibility for a crisis to involved organizations. Based on social psychological approaches (attribution theory) Andreas Schwarz investigates the influence of different informational dimensions on attributions and organizational reputation during and after crises. Besides the basic understanding and explanation of organizational attribution and reputation in crisis, the covariation-based model will offer strategic options for a research-based development of applied tools for organizational crisis communicators.

Contact: Andreas Schwarz


Dissertation project: Structures and functions of internal organizational communication. Production and use of corporate media offers in large-scale organizations using the German Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) as case study

On the one hand this project investigates the media of internal communications of the German Armed Forces and the conditions and structures that shape their conception and production. On the other hand the project explores how organizational members use internal media offers. Finally, the study wants to identify the functions and actual performances of media offers of the German Armed Forces for the entire organization and its parts.
Consequently, there are two main objectives.

    • Transfer of the model of integrated business communication (Zerfaß 1996) on a major public organization and further development of the model of integrated organizational communication within a cross-media communication strategy using the example of the German Armed Forces and its internal communication. The focus lies on the performance of
      the media of internal organizational communication, which is produced for the
      entire organization as well as for individual sections of the German Armed Forces and the Federal Ministry of Defence.
    • Further development of a strategic and user-oriented evaluation of the
      corporate media based on theoretical approaches of motivational media use. The developed evaluation instrument will lead to a standardized measurement and evaluation system to benchmark the functions of (internal) corporate media, independently from the type of organization.

Contact: Matthias Duchscherer


Structures of security political communication in Germany

Supervised by Professor Martin Löffelholz, students of the course Applied Media Studies at the Ilmenau University of Technology analyzed the structures and functions of security political communication in Germany. In the first phase (October 2004 to March 2005), the organizational objectives as well as characteristics of internal and external communication of selected players within the German security political network were observed. In the second phase (April to September 2005), a number of additional political institutions were included into the empirical analysis, followed by a description of how certain security political issues – particularly Islamist terrorism and out of area missions of the German Armed Forces – were communicated to the public in general as well as to specific target groups. In the third phase (October 2005 to March 2006), a prototypical evaluation of security political public relations was conducted by analyzing the media coverage of out of area missions of the German Armed Forces. In January 2006, the results of the study were presented at the Academy for Information and Communication of the German Armed Forces at Strausberg (near Berlin).

Contact: Martin Löffelholz


Media constructions of war: A trans-cultural comparison

The basic research question of the project is: Which kinds of war coverage are produced and how? An answer will be given on two levels of analysis: (a) media content and (b) media production. On the level of content the typical structures of journalistic war reporting are focussed. In comparison to that editorial structures of the war journalism and the inter-relationships of the journalistic system with its environment (especially with the political-military public relations) will be analysed on the level of media production. This study is based on the assumption that journalistic media content can only be understood adequately in the context of its production. Therefore, both aspects (content and production) will explicitly be integrated in the research design.

Contact: Martin Löffelholz