Title page for ETD etd-10052005-151625

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Jacobs, Diederick Cornelius
Email dc.jacobs@up.ac.za
URN etd-10052005-151625
Document Title The application of informal feedback intervention as a communication management tool in learning organisations
Degree PhD (Communication Management)
Department Marketing and Communication Management
Advisor Name Title
Prof R S Rensburg
  • no key words available
Date 2005-05-08
Availability unrestricted
Feedback is an essential component of the communication process. Feedback reveals how participants assign meanings and how these meanings are negotiated through interaction (Verwey, In: Lubbe and Puth 1994:64). Feedback also ensures the success of the communicated message and determines whether the objectives of the intended communication have been achieved (Seitel 1995:109). Communication feedback also contains information in all its formats. In the current information age, it is often believed that information is power and that those who have information at their fingertips are more powerful than the rest.

In communication management literature, writers and researchers often emphasise the significant role of communication feedback. Feedback plays a vital role in communication management, in particular, as a strategic management function. One example is the two- directional symmetrical model, described by Grunig (1992), where feedback and mutual adaptation play an important role.

In most management theory the collection of communication feedback is mainly seen as an active, intentional and formal research process that is initiated by corporate communication and marketing departments. In this sense much has been written about formal research (for example, surveys and environmental scanning) by means of quantitative and qualitative research methods as well as the solicitation of formal customer feedback. However, informal, unintentional and almost accidental casual communication feedback input (informal feedback) is often neglected and regarded as being unimportant by organisations, and is therefore not measured or captured in a data system.

At the same time stakeholder engagement and dialogue has become quite a contemporary issue in the corporate governance of organisations. This study agitates for the cultivation of informal feedback intervention as a method of obtaining improved stakeholder engagement that ultimately leads to inclusive corporate governance.

This research study investigates informal feedback and defines it as all of communication feedback (into the system - the organisation) that occurs spontaneously via media such as the telephone, e-mail, fax and through internet services, such as internet chat rooms, and even feedback obtained from the organisational grapevine, rumours and gossip.

Stakeholders or interest groups deliver informal feedback without the organisation making a formal effort to collect it.

The empirical research was conducted amongst 55 inspiring South African learning organisations as identified by The Corporate Research Foundation (CRF) in its publication The Best Companies to Work for in 2004. Organisations have to learn to be smarter to survive. Learning organisations are characterised by conscious and intentional learning, openness to inquiry, experimentation and the sharing of knowledge.

The applied research design consists of a dual investigation, with both exploratory and descriptive characteristics, of the management of informal feedback and the possible existence of informal feedback intervention methods in these organisations. In this qualitative investigation, content analysis was firstly used to determine the current degree of “openness” (accessibility) to informal feedback input in these organisations’ corporate web pages. This was supplemented by the results of a questionnaire as completed by the communication managers/ marketing managers of the same organisations.

This research study aims to determine whether informal feedback, the ongoing management of the feedback process and systematic analysis thereof can be regarded as one of the critical communication management tactics of learning organisations. The study also aims to determine how informal feedback intervention can be integrated into corporate communication strategy. It suggests that modern learning organisations should make an effort to provide proper channels and favourable environments to increasingly receive informal feedback input from all stakeholders and thereby facilitate ongoing learning and continuous improvement. This study concludes that communication managers have a vital role to play in explaining feedback inputs to management in terms of its impact on existing corporate communication and business strategies.

This study also defines informal feedback intervention as the communication management process by which all informal feedback input is collected, sorted and grouped, evaluated and described according to applied and relevant impact on strategy. The intervention lies in the impact and outcome envisaged as well as the adaptation of the organisation’s strategy and change of course. A framework that aims to systemise the informal feedback intervention process - The Multi-Layer Informal Feedback Intervention Wheel – is subsequently proposed. This framework aims to provide intervention suggestions (feedback interventions) to management. The framework is also applied in an anonymous case study of a major South African company - Company X.

It is concluded from this case study that theMulti-Layer Informal Feedback Intervention Wheel also acts as a forecasting tool by providing communication managers with feedforward.

The Informal Feedback Intervention Wheel assists the communication manager in assessing everyday feedback issues and identifying emerging suggestions of informal feedback interventions to management. It, therefore, assists communication managers to be proactive, early warning agents for their organisations.

The meta theoretical background of the systems approach, systems thinking and the general systems theory, as well as the management notion of the learning organisation, form foundations for exploring the relevance and application of the concept of informal feedback intervention.

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  00front.pdf 156.81 Kb 00:00:43 00:00:22 00:00:19 00:00:09 < 00:00:01
  01chapter1.pdf 151.43 Kb 00:00:42 00:00:21 00:00:18 00:00:09 < 00:00:01
  02chapter2.pdf 321.76 Kb 00:01:29 00:00:45 00:00:40 00:00:20 00:00:01
  03chapter3.pdf 431.09 Kb 00:01:59 00:01:01 00:00:53 00:00:26 00:00:02
  04chapter4.pdf 815.85 Kb 00:03:46 00:01:56 00:01:41 00:00:50 00:00:04
  05chapter5.pdf 2.15 Mb 00:09:56 00:05:06 00:04:28 00:02:14 00:00:11
  06chapter6.pdf 177.04 Kb 00:00:49 00:00:25 00:00:22 00:00:11 < 00:00:01
  07references.pdf 169.55 Kb 00:00:47 00:00:24 00:00:21 00:00:10 < 00:00:01
  08annexures.pdf 1.73 Mb 00:08:00 00:04:07 00:03:36 00:01:48 00:00:09

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