Sustainable development : communicating the message

Welgemoed, M. E. (Margaretha Elizabeth) (2006-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Sustainable development, defined as "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is the focus of the research project. The main objectives of the study were firstly to identify the key issues for business around sustainable development for businesses, and secondly to propose a method for communicating these issues to business leaders based on their personality types. A literature study was conducted of the two relevant fields, namely sustainable development and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type framework. From the first part of the study the findings indicated the recurring themes for sustainable development from a business perspective, which are firstly that businesses have no choice but to take cognisance of sustainable development, secondly that sustainable development makes business sense, thirdly that sustainable development is relevant for all types of business, fourthly that sustainable development requires innovative thinking and lastly that the pressure on business to conduct their operations according to sustainability principles will increase in future. According to the literature study on personality types and communication, MBTI distinguishes between sixteen personality types, based on four dimensions with two extremes each. One of the dimensions defines how people most effectively absorb information. Some people prefer a big picture, conceptual approach. Other people prefer details, facts and figures. The content of the communication should be guided accordingly. The other three dimensions of the MBTI personality definition inform decisions about the setting, communication media and interaction during communication. Relevance of the information and credibility of the sources is important in communication about an important topic, regardless of personality type. Recommendations are firstly that the personality-based approach for presenting the key issues regarding sustainable development to business leaders be used by practitioners in the field and academics, and secondly that the impact should be tested. The testing is a possible topic for another study project.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Volhouhare ontwikkeling, gedefinieer as "Ontwikkeling wat bestaande behoeftes aanspreek sonder om die vermoe van toekomstige geslagte te benadeel om hulle behoeftes aan te spreek", is die fokus van die werkstuk. Die belangrikste doelwitte van die studie was om eerstens die belangrikste kwessies rakende volhouhare ontwikkeling vanuit 'n besigheidsperspektief te identifiseer, en tweedens 'n manier voor te stel om hierdie kwessies aan te bied aan besigheidsleiers gebaseer op persoonlikheidstipes. 'n Literatuurstudie is gedoen van beide relevante velde, naamlik volhoubare ontwikkeling en die Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) raamwerk vir persoonlikheidstipes. Bevindings uit die eerste gedeelte van die studie het aangetoon dat die deurlopende temas rakende volhoubare ontwikkeling vanuit 'n besigheidsperspektief die volgende is: eerstens het besighede geen ander keuse as om kennis te neem van volhoubare ontwikkeling nie, tweedens dat volhoubare ontwikkeling voordelig vir besigheid is, derdens dat volhoubare ontwikkeling relevant is vir alle tipes besighede, vierdens dat volhoubare ontwikkeling innovasie vereis en laastens dat die druk op besighede in die toekoms gaan toeneem om volhoubare besigheid te bedryf. Uit die literatuurstudie oor persoonlikheidstipes en kommunikasie blyk dat MBTI onderskei tussen sestien persoonlikheidstipes, gebaseer op vier dimensies met twee ekstreme elk. Een van die dimensies definieer hoe mense inligting effektief inneem. Sommige mense verkies 'n konsepsuele, algemene benadering. Andere verkies detail, feite en syfers. Die inhoud van die kommunikasie moet dienooreenkomstig aangepas word. Die ander drie dimensies van die MBTI persoonlikheid definisie het 'n invloed op die omgewing, die kommunikasiemedia en die interaksie tydens kommunikasie. Relevansie van die inligting en betroubaarheid van die bronne is belangrik vir kommunikasie oor 'n belangrike onderwerp ongeag die persoonlikheidstipe. Aanbevelings is eerstens dat die persoonlikheidstipe benadering vir die aanbied van belangrike kwessies rakende volhoubare ontwikkeling aan besigheidsleiers gebruik word deur persone wat in die veld werk asook akademici of kursusaanbieders wat gehore toespreek daaroor. 'n Tweede aanbeveling is dat die impak van die benadering getoets word. Die toetsing is 'n moontlike onderwerp vir 'n ander werkstuk.

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