The fundamental nature of the research question for this study was centred on the
functions of internal communication. It was within this context that functionalism as
theoretical approach was selected for the study of internal communication within the
Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in South Africa.
Functionalism’s interest in the structure and function of communication is evident in its
major assumption, namely that the phenomenon of mass communication is a system that
is a whole consisting of several interrelated and interdependent parts. In addition two
related theories, systems theory and classical management theory, were employed as
departure for the study.
Related literature on internal communication bears evidence that the flow of internal
communication differs from one environment to the other. This depends on the type of
information that has been communicated and the type of organisation in which the
internal communication occurs. Managing employees effectively requires communication
and the quality of communication amongst the people that comprise an organisation is a
crucial variable in determining organisational success. This requires a common
understanding of the role and structure of communication and its functions.
Internal communication is the strength of any organisation. Communication scholars such
as Verwey and Du Plooy (2003), Kitchen and Daly (2002), Gibson and Hodgetts (1991),
Murabe (1990) and numerous others already demonstrated the overwhelming importance
of internal communication in today’s business environment. Internal communication
creates a platform for participative decision making, employees’ interaction, information
sharing, creativity and innovation, as well as an environment that fosters productivity and
creates a sense of organisational ownership.A comprehensive internal communication system is required to unambiguously translate
the vision, mission and strategic objectives of any organisation into reality. Furthermore
effective internal communication has a potential to build and sustain social interaction
within the organisation and most importantly to drive a service delivery message to all
employees. Effective communication and service delivery have recently become issue of
exceptional importance in government departments in South Africa, particularly in
Factors such as organisational culture and leadership style have an influence on internal
communication. Organisational culture defines and describes what the organisation
stands for. Leadership is very critical for internal communication as it informs the
organisation’s vision. If the leadership is negatively inclined, there is no way in which the
internal communication will thrive. It is always advisable to strike a balance between
organisational culture, leadership and internal communication.
The findings of this study indicate that management and employees of the GCIS perceive
the function of internal communication differently; that both management and
employees have inadequate general understanding of the communication channels and
communication structure within the GCIS and reveal that though there are numerous
communication channels available, only few are used and preferred within the GCIS.
The selection and the understanding of communication channels within the organisation
are critical elements for internal communication. Therefore, the communication
department or division should ensure broader consultation with all key stakeholders
within the organisation. It is regrettable to have communication channels within the
organisation that are not understood by the majority of employees and to discover that out
of the twenty that are implemented, only five are mainly used and two preferred by most
of the management and the employees.
Dissertation (MPhil)--University of Pretoria, 2013.
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