The purpose of this paper is to explore the management of employment equity (EE) communication at corporate level, against the background of South African societal complexities. It speculates about how the normative ideals of transformational change communication could be applied in order to bridge the apparent divide between government's current development agenda and negative societal sentiments about EE per se on the one side, and corporate transformation efforts on the other.
A multiple qualitative case study design was followed for the collection of empirical evidence. Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection in each of the three case studies.
This paper indicates current trends pertaining to the complexity of communicating EE in South Africa, including the strategic value of communication. It appears that internal communication does not receive as much strategic attention as external communication does. Furthermore, some key organizational leaders (involved in EE strategy implementation) view communication as a tactical tool and not a strategic means, thereby failing to appreciate either their own leadership responsibilities, or the complex nature of transformation change communication per se. These findings confirm the need for a new breed of transformational leaders who can conceptually and practically navigate the societal and corporate complexities surrounding EE communication in the management of change in South Africa.
The paper stresses the complexity of transformational change communication against the background of societal and corporate reactions to EE in South Africa.
This paper is based, in part, on two papers delivered during the 2nd world Public Relations Festival in Trieste, Italy (June 27-30, 2005) and the 12th Annual International Public Relations Research Symposium, Lake Bled, Slovenia (July 1-3, 2005), respectively.