An Evaluation of the Organizational and Interpersonal Communication Strategies Used by a Major Forest Products Firm in East Tennessee


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Virginia Tech


Fifty-four community leaders from Anderson, Campbell, Cocke, and Scott Counties, Tennessee, participated in two in-depth interviews and a mail questionnaire over a 17-month period aimed at assessing the communication efforts of Champion International Corporation's East Tennessee Expansion Project. The East Tennessee Expansion Project was centered around CIC's purchasing 85,000 acres of forestland and building a chipmill in east Tennessee. The coorientational variables of accuracy and agreement were measured, and the channels most likely to increase scores on these variables were identified.

The results indicated that CIC failed to accurately measure the coorientational variables prior to the East Tennessee Expansion Project to determine if the campaign was necessary. In fact, the land purchase and chipmill may have been non-issues. Instead, it appeared that the East Tennessee Expansion Project should have focused communication efforts on the Canton, North Carolina, papermill and Pigeon River issues. The channel type most likely to increase accuracy for community leaders was a combination of interpersonal and mass media channels, while agreement was more likely to occur with an interpersonal channel. While a general level of accuracy and agreement was achieved, a more precise measure of these coorientational variables indicated that agreement and accuracy were generally low.



forest products industry, communication