O. C. Oberhauser - Librarian, Information Scientist, Researcher

PhD Thesis, University of Vienna, 1976
AU: Oberhauser, O.
OT: Interpersonale Kommunikation im Massenkommunikationsprozess: Kritik des Zweistufenkonzeptes und empirische Überprüfung alternativer Hypothesen.
ET: Interpersonal communication in the mass communication process: A critical assessment of the two-step-flow model and an empirical inverstigation of alternative hypotheses.
SO: University of Vienna, Department of Communication Studies, 1976. 198p.
LA: German
RF: Paupié, K. (First Examiner); Lunzer-Lindhausen, M. (Second Examiner)
AB: In the fifties and sixties, the Lazarsfeld school of mass communication research established the hypothesis of a two-step flow of mass communication effects - from the mass media to the so-called 'opinion leaders' and from them to the less active section of the population. This has become a widely accepted model of the role that interpersonal communication plays in the mass communication process, although a number of modifications of the original hypothesis had to be introduced over the years. However, more recent (and mostly neglected) research results seem to suggest the assumption that - within a given subject area - 'opinion sharing' (both giving and seeking opinions) in a certain segment of the population, and 'inactivity' in a second, rather passive segment, are more likely to be the case than a dichotomy of opinion leaders and their followers. The author's critical analysis shows that the basic empirical evidence for the two-step flow model was exceptionally weak and that the methodology usually being used for measuring opinion leadership and personal influence is lacking reliability and validity. In the empirical part of the thesis a number of hypotheses that reflect the assumptions of interconnected opinion giving and seeking in particular social segments and the existence of rather large inactive segments are developed and subsequently tested by means of an interview survey of a random sample of 1,430 individuals representative of the the adult Austrian population. The topical area used for the investigation was Austrian domestic politics. The results of the survey indicate a rather large group of 'inactives' (72 %) and a strong correlation between opinion giving and seeking. Most of the other hypotheses were also supported by the data. The study concludes that the two-step flow model's assumptions concerning the structure of mass media recipients, the role of the opinion leaders, the one-way orientation of personal influence, and - most significantly - the flow of media influence on less active strata of society via the mediation of opinion leaders, should be rejected thoroughly. (author)
AV: Vienna University Library, Call no.: D 20949
Austrian National Library, Call no.: 1,141.741-C

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