Challenges in the socio-economic system often demand an original approach for leadership to find new solutions to existing and often recurring problems. Communicative leadership, with its focus on interaction, dialogue, conversation and engagement implies, amongst others, building the integrative communication ability of the organisation in order to contribute to a sustainable organisation. Talaulicar (2010:232) posits that “The concept of the balanced company refers to a company that is in good relationships with its internal and external constituencies”.
It is argued in this study that such a function can play a significant part in achieving organisational sustainability, specifically with regards to stakeholder engagement, resource management, corporate governance and financial management.
The research examines the role that an integrative communication function plays (with the major constructs representing it being messaging, structure, management, core competencies, dynamic capabilities and co-value-creation) in organisational sustainability.
Academic and practical importance
A conceptual model was proposed in this study, which demonstrates the role of an integrative communication unit within the organisational sustainability context. A strong theoretical framework was developed, which acts as a platform for the conceptualisation and operationalisation of the study. The framework encompasses and represents several subject fields, covering financial management, business management, human resource management, communication management and law.
The Systems Theory was used as a meta-theory for the study, while the Integrative Strategic Communication Management Theory, among others, supported the arguments for the significant role communication plays in the organisational processes of stakeholder engagement, corporate governance, financial management and resource management. Methodology
The research design includes a quantitative methodology. Qualtrics was used to develop the survey instrument for the study. The instrument was distributed electronically to a sample of employees working at different levels (CEOs, senior management and practitioners) of organisations involving small, medium and large organisations as well as private organisations, government entities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The following significant findings below were disclosed in the research.
1. Integrative communication plays a significant role in private, government and non-government entities but due to the internal and external dynamics of each group, significant differences occur with regards to its relationship with messaging, structure, management, core competencies, dynamic capabilities and co-value creation.
2. In private, government and non-government entities, the communication structure, the role of the manager, and the strategic role of the communication department were constant and no significant differences occurred and one can argue that this also has a supporting role and influence on the other elements of integrative communication, namely messaging, core competencies, dynamic capabilities and co-value creation.
3. Integrative communication plays a role in small, medium and large entities but no significant differences prevailed when it came to messaging, structure, management, core competencies, dynamic capabilities and co-value creation.
4. CEOs, senior management and practitioners (all departments) of organisations see the role of messaging, leadership and dynamic capabilities (flexibility, swiftness, adaptation to challenges) differently but they do have the same expectations when it comes to strategic positioning, communication management, strategic role, core competencies, dynamic capabilities (age above 30, internal relationship network, external relationship network) and co-value creation.
5. A significant outcome from this research was the structuring of a new construct that was formulated from the statistical analysis through the Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) process that was followed. From the SEM 7, a new construct of ‘strategic inclusion’ was developed that was a result of the combination of the original constructs strategic positioning, integrative manager and integrative strategic (xyz = Strategic Inclusion as in SEM 7). There is not much literature on ‘strategic inclusion’ and this could be a new area to explore in the research domain.