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Article

The Effectiveness of Communication Channels in Government and Business Communication

Information Polity. 2017. No. 22. P. 251-266.
Sanina A., Balashov A., Rubtcova M., Satinsky D.

This study is based on the observation that the theoretical literature examining how government can improve the efficiency of its communication with business audiences has paid only limited attention to the technical (or formal) organization of the communicative process. The paper presents a quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of the use of different communication channels and of the use of multi-channel communication strategies. In doing so, it introduces the concept of  “communicative result” as the criteria for measuring efficiency. It further compares the technical parameters of different channels in terms of their reliability, speed, and effectiveness. It considers the impact of cultural factors on the efficiency of communication channels. It presents a data-driven framework for evaluating and developing efficient government communication channels within specific national, cultural conditions.

Using the data collected in Russia, the paper presents how the most widely used government communication channels for voluntary, inter-active communication with business audiences actually work in practice. The empirical research draws from 1,065 individual government uses of specific channels to reach small, medium and large-scale business. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics, analysis of variation (ANOVA) and correlation analysis of channel complementarity and effectiveness. The study also explores the patterns of use of channels by businesses characterized as having different levels of innovation status and as operating with different levels of oversight or regulation by government.

Utilizing the overall theoretical framework and the specific information provided from studies in Russia, the paper presents some specific characteristics of the use of communication channels by Russian business, as well as a number of internationally relevant issues. It finds that: (1) Personal contact, either directly or through known intermediary acquaintances is the most efficient means of communicating with Russian business. (2) The smaller the number of steps in the communication chain, the quicker the response achieved. (3) Use of “mediated contact” is more important in reaching most types of businesses in Russia that in other countries. (4) Government organizations need to select the proper composition of various communication channels to achieve the most efficient results. (5) Just as in the study of any other communication, consolidation of the technical characteristics of communication channels and empirical data should be used to review the efficiency of government and business interactive communications.