Title page for ETD etd-09062005-093031

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Roodt, Joan
URN etd-09062005-093031
Document Title The role of communication in self-employment of university graduates in South Africa
Degree MPhil (Communication Management)
Department Marketing and Communication Management
Advisor Name Title
Prof R S Rensburg Committee Chair
  • skilled and unskilled labour
  • communication in self-employment
  • trustworthiness
  • responsibility
Date 2002-11-17
Availability unrestricted
Amidst economic growth in South Africa, there is increasing job losses. Although a decline in work opportunities is a worldwide trend, in South Africa it is aggravated by the imbalance between skilled and unskilled labour. Recent HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council) research indicated that further job losses (especially for unskilled labour) can be expected over the next five years. Job creation is important to South Africa. Entrepreneurial activity is seen as an essential source of economic growth and the development of small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) can stimulate job creation.

Self-employment is seen as the driving force of economic growth. In South Africa there has been a growth of 15% in self-employment since 1991. Unfortunately, failure is the rule. True entrepreneurship entails value creation for owners, stakeholders, customers, employees and the economy as whole. South Africa with its high unemployment urgently needs to assure that self-employment is truly entrepreneurial rather than only a job substitute to merely survive. It has been indicated that successful SMMEs were generally run by highly educated and experienced entrepreneurs the world over. If these highly educated employers were to be inspired to create more jobs, the constraints they experience, should be addressed.

The development of human capital is the first step towards economic growth. Quality education and not just quantity of education is required. More co-operation between tertiary institutions, government, and the business world with regard to contents of programmes and opportunities for practical experience is required. First, however, the skills required for growth need to be identified and developed. Quality education can contribute to skills development and quality businesses that can increase exports that are of high quality and tailor-made to the needs of the consumer. Skills that need to be improved are leadership skills, technical, managerial, accounting, communication, marketing, and sales skills that are required for successful entrepreneurship in the global village.

The main focus of the study is thus on the required skills that could differentiate between self¬employment and entrepreneurship. The role of especially communication skills is looked into with more depth. Although different roles are required at various stages of development in a business, at each stage communication is crucial. Prior to the start-up phase, networks with a high level of interaction should be developed, as networks link entrepreneurs to resources and provide information exchange opportunities. Once the venture has been initiated and begins to grow, the leader needs to become more concerned with communicating the vision or plan with providing subordinates with the power to accomplish tasks and participate in the process.

The main success factors are discussed. A positive attitude was the first step towards success. Perseverance, hard work, trustworthiness, and responsibility were the main factors that contributed to success. True leaders who use transformational processes to achieve goals and persuade others to accept their vision for the organisation can achieve perseverance, hard work, trustworthiness, and responsibility. Open communication builds trust that leads to more open communication and more trust.

Strong leadership instead of only narrow technical skills were required. For venturing and further growth, enhanced information and communication systems were required. In order to deal with change and turbulent environments, organisations must incorporate communication mechanisms for coordination. The network strategy of organization is appropriate for organisations that have to cope with high levels of uncertainty. In growth organizations, close collaboration of a manager with other people was necessary in resolving differences and in inspiring others towards a common goal.

The main constraints to achieving desired goals were high taxation, market constraints, crime, access to finance, labour legislation, scarce skills, and inadequate opportunities for communication and networking. The perception among some self-employed graduates that labour market laws impact on their businesses, the high unemployment in the country and the fact that most self-employed graduates indicated that they did not wish to increase the staff complement of their companies (even those who had a high turnover), places a question mark on the appropriateness or appropriate communication of the requirements of the present regulations and legislation. Even if many of the legislative requirements were not applicable to most self-employed graduates, the perception was there that it impacted or will impact on their businesses if they increase their staff complement. Even a perception has its consequences. It is crucial to address the legislation and communicate clearly that which is required from very small firms as opposed to that which is required from medium and large firms in more simplified terms. It is crucial that government takes note of the constraints, as many self-employed graduates did not have the will to grow in fear of detrimental consequences for their businesses, may it be high taxation, crime or the impact of legislation.

© 2002 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Roodt, J 2002, The role of communication in self-employment of university graduates in South Africa, MPhil dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09062005-093031/ >


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