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Die invloed van mensgerigte tekste op institusionele beeld : 'n ondersoek na die invloed van mensgerigtheid op institusionele beeld in vorms

Hagan, Wilmarie (2009-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Afrikaans and Dutch))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


This study investigates the role of that which the style concept people‐orientation plays with regard to image formation and image projection in documentation, with specific reference to the Stellenbosch University’s registration forms. The goal of this study was firstly to determine how the concept people‐orientation could be operationalized within this specific case study. Regarding image formation and image projection, the researcher aimed to determine (a) what students’ current image of the University Stellenbosch is, (b) if students regard peopleorientation as an important style aspect within communication and (c) if the presence or absence of people‐orientation has an effect on the image of an institution. The Integrated Model for Image Formation and Projection (IFP‐model), whereupon this study is based, suggests that different messages in a document can have an effect on the image of an institution. These messages can however be manipulated in order to determine or adjust the image of an institution. In reference to this, this study investigated the effects of a presence or lack of people‐orientation as an aspect of style in communication. The researcher defines people‐orientation as a concept that bears reference to those aspects which directly or indirectly writes the human role player (including the writer and the reader) into the text. In other words, it refers to communication that puts the role of the person in the foreground of the communication situation. The concept of people‐orientation is however very complex in the sense that it can be created by a number of document design aspects. Thus the best way to test people‐orientation was to identify a number of operationalizeable design aspects. The researcher selected five style aspects which at core has relevance to people‐orientation. These five aspects were forms of address, reference to self, the use of passive or active voice, the use of politeness and empathy markers and the use of graphical illustration, which for the purpose of this study also classifies as a stylistic signal. Thirty‐two respondents from the Humaniora faculties were selected to participate in this study. Although the faculty of Economical and Management Sciences and the Faculty of Law traditionally fall under this division, only the Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education were used. Gender and race were incorporated as independent variables of this study. Respondents’ attitudes were tested using interviews as the primary methodology, aided by informal questionnaires as secondary methodology. Questionnaire results were however not processed by use of the traditional statistical methods, mainly because the sample of the study was too small. These results were only functional as a basis from which tendencies could be identified. Interview results had a very multi‐dimensional quality and the researcher therefore decided that it would be best to discuss these results in a thematic order rather than listing responses in tables. The results clearly demonstrate that students have a preference for forms which contain people‐orientation and that they dislike forms which lack people‐orientation. Their responses indicate that style aspects which promote people‐orientation have a relative to high probability to positively effect an institution’s image . Thus, Afrikaans‐speaking students from the Humanioria‐faculties regard people‐orientation as an important component in the management of effective communication, especially that of a positive image.

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