The discursive construction of the concepts organisational communication and organisational culture in a merged South African company

Van Der Merwe, Joanie (2014-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigates the manner in which the concept of communication is discursively constructed in a South African insurance company. The company recently underwent a merger which, according to the literature, should increase its awareness of communicative practices. The thesis builds on recent theoretical developments in organisational studies, more specifically, the linguistic turn. The focus falls on the way in which organisational communication is constructed by implementing the analytical tools of thematic analysis and discourse analysis. All of the participants in this study were involved with the merger that the company underwent. The sample of twenty-three participants included eighteen employees who took part in an electronic survey questionnaire and five employees who were individually interviewed. Additionally, documents concerning the merger were analysed to reveal the way in which the company’s organisational communication is constructed by managers. During the data collection, participants were questioned about their perspectives of organisational communication and organisational culture with regard to the merger. The data strongly shows that communication is generally not considered an important aspect in an organisation during the merging process. Interestingly, when participants’ attention is, however, drawn to specifically the concept of communication, a mechanistic view of communication is presented with only selected communicative practices considered as ‘communication’. The analysis further indicates changing communicative practices in the newly merged company. In conclusion, this study argues that organisations, especially in a merging context, can benefit from a greater awareness regarding the importance of organisational communication. Further linguistic research in the form of organisational studies in this regard is suggested.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die wyse waarop die konsep van kommunikasie deur diskoers gekonstrueer word in ʼn Suid-Afrikaanse versekeringsmaatskappy. Hierdie organisasie het onlangs ʼn amalgameringsproses ondergaan wat volgens die literatuur behoort te lei tot ʼn toename in bewustheid van kommunikatiewe praktyke en veroorsaak dat die konteks ʼn kardinale element in die navorsing is. Hierdie tesis bou op onlangse teoretiese ontwikkelings in organisatoriese studies, met ‘n spesifieke fokus op diskoers en taal (die ‘linguistic turn’). Die fokus val op die manier waarop organisatoriese kommunikasie gekonstrueer word deur die analitiese metodes van tematiese analise en diskoersanalise te implementeer. Al die deelnemers in hierdie studie was betrokke by die amalgamering van die maatskappy. Die steekproef van drie-en-twintig deelnemers sluit agtien werknemers in wat aan die elektroniese opname deelgeneem het en vyf werknemers waarmee individuele onderhoude gevoer is. Dokumente aangaande die amalgamering is addisioneel geanaliseer om sodoende die wyse waarop die maatskappy se organisatoriese kommunikasie gekonstrueer word deur bestuurders, aan die lig te bring. Gedurende die data-insameling is deelnemers ondervra aangaande hulle perspektiewe op organisatoriese kommunikasie en organisatoriese kultuur ten opsigte van die amalgamering. Die data dui daarop dat kommunikasie oor die algemeen nie beskou word as ʼn belangrike aspek van ʼn organisasie tydens die amalgameringsproses nie. Tog, wanneer die deelnemers se aandag daarop gevestig word en hul gevra word om spesifiek te fokus op die konsep van kommunikasie, word ʼn meganiese uitkyk van kommunikasie voorgestel met slegs geselekteerde kommunikatiewe praktyke wat as ‘kommunikasie’ beskou word. Die analise lig verder die idee van veranderlike kommunikatiewe praktyke in die nuwe geamalgameerde maatskappy uit. Ter opsomming voer hierdie studie aan dat organisasies, veral in ʼn amalgameringskonteks, baat kan vind by ʼn groter bewustheid omtrent die belangrikheid van organisatoriese kommunikasie. Verdere linguistiese navorsing in organisatoriese studies in hierdie verband word voorgestel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96138
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