The role and importance of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) has increased with globalisation and the growth of global institutions. Not only do INGOs play a major role in aid delivery in developing countries, they also serve as the voice of the people in the growing global governance system. Thus they have an increasing impact on the social and economic welfare of people around the world. For this reason, the performance and management of INGOs is vital. However, research on their management is lacking. INGOs possess unique characteristics including complex environments, value-based missions and no financial bottom line. Therefore, management practices, like internal communication, that are generally developed for for-profit organisations need to be evaluated for suitability within the INGO context. Strategic internal communication has been identified as driving organisational performance. Internal communication can be defined as strategic when its purpose is to align internal stakeholders with the organisation’s strategic intent. By facilitating strategic alignment, internal communication can play a critical role in organisational performance. Research on strategic internal communication is limited and virtually non-existent when considered within the INGO context. However, by considering communication management theory, strategic management theory and NGO management theory, it is possible to develop theoretical propositions on the strategic functioning of internal communication in INGOs. In particular, the theory suggests that a postmodern approach to strategic management and strategic internal communication can assist INGOs in addressing many of the challenges they face. This study explores the strategic functioning of internal communication in INGOs through exploratory, qualitative case studies. The evidence shows that internal communication in INGOs does not generally function strategically. However, the function is recognised as having potential to improve the performance of these organisations. In particular, there is support for the suitability of a postmodern approach to strategic internal communication in INGOs.
Dissertation (MPhil)--University of Pretoria, 2011.