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What criteria and guidelines for optimal risk communication can be identified for the Municipality of Meppel to effectively communicate environmental risks to the citizens of Meppel?

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What criteria and guidelines for optimal risk communication can be identified for the Municipality of Meppel to effectively communicate environmental risks to the citizens of Meppel?

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

This research report ‘a practical insight in guidelines on reaching optimal risk communication’ looks at the international sphere of risk communication and was set up to analyze the most efficient methods to maximize risk communication effects. Desired effects of risk communication vary from increased citizen awareness of environmental risk, to increased preparedness for crisis situations. The report may provide guidance for municipalities or governmental institutions that want to improve existing risk communication strategies. This research report is written for the Municipality of Meppel, from the perspective of an external communication researcher. Meppel has requested initiative for this research as a follow-up of the Veiligheidsmonitor, a province-wide survey that was distributed on the safety-feel of citizens which showed a major unawareness among citizens in the province of possible risks in their environment. Meppel is the first municipality in the province to take responsibility for stimulating risk awareness, the municipality sees this research as a ‘pilot’, so other municipalities in the province can follow the initiative.
The research process was carried out with the use of opinion research, being the major research method. The opinion research was carried out among four different active citizen groups in the Municipality of Meppel and among five risk communication experts in The Netherlands. The different research questions focused on mapping guidelines and principles for effective risk communication, followed by field research on citizen opinions and risk communication expert opinions. The combination of literature study and field research led to refreshing research results for the Municipality of Meppel. The majority of the citizens indicated that they would prefer to receive concise and practical information about risks in their environment that focuses on providing them with perspective on how to act during possible crisis situations. Furthermore, the risk communication professionals that have took part in this research contributed significantly to the formation of an optimal risk communication strategy for the Municipality of Meppel. They provided have instructions that came down to several points: be open in communication with the citizen, initiate dialogues with them and take them seriously all throughout the risk communication campaign. According to the professionals, most unsuccessful risk communication campaigns fall short in initiating transactional communication, and focus too much on transmitting information. Subsequently, advice have been given to the Municipality of Meppel in the form of a possible risk communication campaign, taking into account the guidelines that have been acquired during the research process. The Municipality of Meppel should firstly create a new risk analysis of the factual risks in the environment and primarily communicate about these risks. Also, the Municipality should facilitate how-to-act knowledge and information through existing communication channels. This way, the new risk communication campaign is cost-efficient. Lastly, it is suggested that the Municipality initiates evaluative research as a follow-up to the new risk communication campaign to measure how citizens have perceived the information that was provided and to maintain the dialogue with the citizen.

Toon meer
OrganisatieHanzehogeschool Groningen
OpleidingInternational Communication
AfdelingInstituut voor Communicatie, Media & IT
Jaar2016
TypeBachelorscriptie
TaalEngels

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