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Jacinta Mutisya - Masters in Mass Communication, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

Prof. Hellen Mberia - Lecturer, School of Human Resource Development, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya


Student discipline related crisis in which school property is destroyed, lives threatened  and precious teaching  and learning  time  lost has remained  a concern among  stakeholders. Particularly, the massive wave of unrest reported in the 2008 and the record burning of schools in 2016 points at the magnitude of the problem. Communication has been identified as a critical tool in managing crisis in learning organizations. However, communication response in the management of crisis has remained largely unexplored. The study examined the influence of deal response in the management of students discipline in Public secondary schools in Thika West Sub County. The study was informed by Attribution Theory and Situational Crisis Communication Theory. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. Target population was 13 principals, 337 teachers and 7002 students in 13 public secondary schools in Thika West Sub County. Thirteen principals and 13 schools were purposively sampled. Ninety one teachers were selected based on Mugenda and Mugenda and 364 students based on Kriecjie and Morgan Table was selected through simple random sampling. Data was collected using questionnaires and interviews. A pilot study was carried to ascertain reliability and validity of instruments. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically while quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Data was analyzed thematically and verbatim reporting. Quantitative data was presented in tables of frequencies and percentages, charts and bar graph while means were used to analyze the data. The findings would help the school principals, teachers and education administrators to understand the communication management practices during crises for the purposes of improvement. Finally, the study would also benefit other researchers and academicians since it would lay a firm foundation for those who would be interested in carrying out research studies in other related areas. The study found that the public secondary schools are faced with crisis revolving around food and water shortage, power blackout, fire outbreak, sicknesses, break-ins/theft and strikes. The study concludes that deal response influences the management of students discipline in Public secondary schools. The public secondary schools should be able to dedicate resources that can be used in case of crisis, however this may be a challenge as it can be a costly affair. The study recommends that the deal response options can be treated as efforts to restore legitimacy by directly addressing how stakeholders perceive the organization-efforts to reshape its reputation. The school management should take it upon itself to communicate and sensitize its stakeholders on matters related to crisis management.

Full Length Research (PDF Format)