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Risk/Communication Framing Theory Essay

1715 words - 7 pages

1. Describe the essence of the theory:
The future of our environment is in jeopardy and at the rate the world is going it will not be long before we have little or nothing left of it due to human action (Oskamp, 2000a). It is for this reason why it is so important that actions are taken and one possible way to start is to target business organisations. Through risk communication/ framing theory of social psychology messages about our current environmental situation could be communicated to these organisations in order to attempt to appropriately frame messages in a way that will help change their behaviours. Industries and organisations are one of the top consumers of energy and create a ...view middle of the document...

On the other hand if perceived risk is high and the message has a prevention focus then loss frame is better, giving the message a negative outlook. Chapman, Donovan and Hill (1998) studied scare tactics which involve framing messages negatively to try and scare people into a certain behaviour or action and they found that if the message has personal relevance then it is likely to change a behavioural outcome. This is because if people feel it has nothing to do with them or it will not happen to them then they will not take any notice. For this reason it is important to try and make the message personal in some way for it to have an effect. Mandel (2001) looks into both gain and loss framing of messages and tries to distinguish whether focusing on the outcomes as positive or negative and the descriptions of them as appealing or non-appealing are better or worse, he found that there was no significant difference between the two types on an overall basis. McClure, White and Sibley (in press) wrote of message framing effects and found similarly to Chapman, Donovan and Hill (1998) that if people do not think they will be affected they will simply ignore the message. They referred to earthquakes and how if you are not in an area prone to them you will ignore messages about the dangers they could cause. For those that were in prone areas, negative messages were stronger than positive ones for prevention. This gives reason to make sure that the messages being framed to business organizations have some personal outcomes referred to so that it increases the likelihood of an action being taken.

2. Illustrate how this theory applies to behaviours and practises:
At this present time people are not subjected to enough messages about what could potentially happen to our environment if we do not act very soon. Business organisations and the people that work in them are naive to the amount of change they could make and to the amount of energy and waste they are consuming. More messages portraying what will happen and what could be done need to be viewed in and around businesses so that awareness is raised. The first step is this awareness of the issue and then actually communicating what is happening to our environment and how business organisations can help to reduce the harm we are causing. People at this stage feel that it is inconvenient to change their behaviours towards certain actions that are contributing towards climate change and do not realise the extent towards which they are using up the worlds resources. Business organisations waste alarming amounts of resources every day such as leaving all lights on, using paper after paper, not turning off computers and photocopiers and these sorts of related actions. They could also potentially produce far less wasteful matter by monitoring energy-use, recycling and making better use of what they do have on hand (infoplease, 2008). If people together as a hole see that they can make a change in the...

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