Title page for ETD etd-07172007-151903

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Watt, Candice L
URN etd-07172007-151903
Document Title Looking back and forth: examining communication processes in a marketing research organisation
Degree MA (Research Psychology)
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr C Wagner
  • general systems theory
  • organisational design
  • teams
  • feedback
  • communication and feedback processes
  • organisational culture
  • performance appraisal
  • 360 degree feedback
  • marketing research
  • organisation
  • communication
Date 2005-12-01
Availability unrestricted
Communication has been identified as an essential part of a successfully perpetuating system. In conjunction with systemic feedback processes, communication, by its very nature, plays an integral role in the way that the system operates and continues to survive. General systems theory sees communication and feedback as being understood within the context in which they appear as well as in the context of the larger system. This dissertation provides an examination of communication process within the system of a marketing research organisation. Particular attention was given to the departments within the organisation that oversee the research process as a whole. Since the organisation relies heavily on processes, systems and communication to effectively and successfully manage a research project, these aspects were examined from a systems theory perspective in order to identify areas of concern and to provide appropriate recommendations for improvement. The research design was qualitative, and data were collected by means of fourteen in-depth interviews conducted with relevant role players representing management and team members from three areas of expertise. Additional depth to the data was provided through triangulation, using conferences and observation of meetings as additional information sources. Through concept mapping and thematic analysis of the transcripts and other data, four main, interrelated themes relating to communication within the organisation emerged. These are (1) lack of vision, referring to a general and specific lack of a sense of a common goal; (2) inefficient communication processes that cause a gap between top management and other employees regarding decision making, and a lack of feedback and follow-through on expectations; (3) lack of team cohesion, creating a sense of isolation between teams, uncertainty about expectations, and a vagueness regarding roles and responsibilities; and lastly (4) skills and resource limitation, indicating a lack of training and supervision, and a lack of adherence to procedures. In order to improve communication and feedback processes, it is recommended that the organisation clearly communicates goals and objectives to employees; formalises project planning procedures; instates regular meetings that include all staff; implements sufficient and effective supervision and training; and applies a multirater evaluation and appraisal programme.
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