Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies


Interdisciplinary Studies

Major Advisor

David Russell Willerton, Ph.D.


Julie Lane, Ph.D.


John C. Freemuth, Ph.D.


This paper presents a multi-disciplinary examination of literature from the fields of public policy and participation, media and public relations, and technical communication as it relates to two-way symmetric communication and how it applies to public utilities and the public. Differences between two-way symmetric communication and other communication/public relations methods are examined, as well as the specific merits of two-way symmetric communication, including its ethical benefits, and criticisms and constraints. Current forms of communication between public utilities and the public are examined, including whether these forms are two-way symmetric. Planning events and those that involve public participation are highlighted as ideal opportunities for two-way symmetric communication. Last, plain language is detailed as an approach for achieving effective two-way communication that not only reduces gaps in knowledge but addresses the ethical impacts and necessity of two-way symmetric communication.

Included in

Communication Commons