An internal communication assessment of the Lilongwe City Assembly
Thesis (MA (Public and Development Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.
Internal communication has the potential of improving the ability of local authorities to deliver effective and efficient basic services. Local authorities are the pillar upon which governments rely to champion the decentralisation process which has been widely hailed as enabling service delivery to the communities. The Lilongwe City Assembly recognises the need to address internal communication issues, but have neither carried out any meaningful analysis of its internal communication nor has it developed an internal communication plan or guidelines. The communication audit methodology is relatively unknown in the public sector in Malawi and it is hoped that this study brings to light the advantages of giving organisational communication its deserved role in activities of the public sector. It is hoped that this study would be replicated in the remaining 38 local assemblies with a view to improving service delivery. This study assessed the internal communication of the Assembly as part of a broader perspective of organisational communication. Specifically, it measured the effectiveness of internal communication at the Lilongwe City Assembly. The methodology involved measuring the perceived current and ideal amounts of information in eight fundamental areas of internal communication, namely receiving information from others, sending information to others, action on information sent, channels of communication, communication relationships, communication and work satisfaction, timeliness of information received from key sources and sources of information. Findings from a sample of 186 respondents of the Assembly indicated a great need to receive information and to interact with Assembly management more frequently than what is happening currently. The communication between subordinates and co-workers seems to be satisfactory. However, the majority of respondents expressed the need to engage with Assembly management on a number of key issues, including staff welfare, salaries and benefits. In addition, a concern about the inability of employees to master the English language was cited as reducing the capacity of the Assembly to fully implement its work activities.