Shirley Haas

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Walker, Albert, 1920-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism


Community; Public relations; Community organization


This study was designed to examine and rank the factors which help a community achieve and maintain stability. The research was planned to test two major hypotheses. These cover (a) the degree to which opinions on community stability are shared by residents of the various sections of the community who differ in age, income, education and years of residency; (b) the degree of importance attached to community amenities and problems by respondents, and (c) the degree to which organizational effort has succeeded in a specific stabilization attempt. A questionnaire was sent to 70 community leaders and 403 residents selected at random within five geographic areas of the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park community, located on the southwest side of Chicago. A total of 225, or slightly under 50 percent, completed questionnaires were returned. The independent variables in the study were the various areas of residency (stratified by income and value of homes); positions of leadership; years of residency; age group; education; general outlook (conservative, middle-of-the-road and liberal), and income. In all, there were 19 multiple-part questions. The questions presented more than 50 choices to respondents for selection, rating and ranking. The results showed that respondents ranked factors related to crime, quality education, property values and integration as the most important. Therefore, the Chi Square test was applied primarily to the factors of highest importance to determine the significance of differences in attitude among groups. In addition, two questions related to organizational effort and respondents' feelings of satisfaction with their homes and the community were submitted to Chi Square analysis. Furthermore, cross tabulations were computed for five demographic independent variables to learn more about the respondents and differences in their opinions. The findings of the study appear to support the hypotheses that (a) respondents, in general, share the same opinions on what community amenities are essential to stability, and (b) that organizational effort has an impact on the way a community faces integration. Slightly more than two-thirds of the Chi Square tests indicate no significant differences in opinion among respondents as to what is important in maintaining community stability. Six out of seven of the Chi Square tests related to organizational effort also show no significance in differing opinions. Data with significant differences were analyzed from a public relations point of view. It revealed specific groups in need of extra effort in the public relations program to stabilize the community. These are the individuals most likely to move. Specifically, the "significant" data indicates that (a) crime is perceived differently in various geographic areas; (b) appearance of property is of more importance to certain age groups; (c) that differences in age and education are reflected in the degree of concern over real estate matters; (d) that quality education is more important to those with higher educations and income; (e) that all demographic differences enter into opinions about integration; (f) that more than 75 percent of the respondents view the community's organizational effort as highly to moderately successful, and (g) that more than half rate their own homes and the community as more desirable than similar advantages held by friends elsewhere. While the research indicates no overt opposition to integration, further study should be done to learn the community's "tipping" point. What percentage of black residency will precipitate white flight? Solving the problem of community stabilization in any city of the United States is a public relations challenge of the highest importance requiring repeated utilization of the techniques of research, analysis, planning and action; two-way communication, and evaluation. By addressing itself to this problem, public relations, as a profession, fulfills one of its goals: the improvement of mutual understanding and cooperation among diverse groups of individuals.


Includes bibliographical references.


4, xviii, 268 pages




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