CHAPTER TWO – THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Kothari (2004:24) sees a theory as an instrument for understanding the source of a problem. Since the objective of this study is to establish an integrated communication strategy as an enabling tool for increasing graduate potential, it is contextualized around public relations, integrated communication, media and unemployment. Relevant theories and approaches in this regard are discussed in a fashion depicted by the table below.
Two-way communication model
Overview of the two-way communication model
Two-way communication represents an interactive communication process concerned with establishing a balanced dialogue between the organisation and strategic stakeholders in order to stimulate transparency and sincerity (Lubbe 1994:9). Niemann (2005:4) lays emphasis on the two way communication which put emphasis on the movement towards strategic integrated communication in order to build relationships between these areas and their stakeholders. The two-way communication model consist of a two-way asymmetry and symmetry. While the two-way asymmetry allows an organisation to put out its information and to receive feedback from its publics about that information, the two-way symmetry advocates free and equal information flow between organisation and its publics based on mutual understanding. It is also important for sharing meaning between the organisation and strategic stakeholders.
Relevance of the two-way communication model to the communication strategy
This model is relevant to communication strategy because it highlights that all parties in communication have the opportunity to express themselves. Feedback is very crucial to reach mutual agreement. Communication strategy makes communication relevant in the strategic management process through its focus on communication with strategic stakeholders, aligning communication goals to organisational goals (Niemann 2005:59).
Criticisms of the two-way communication model
Critically, the two-way communication model lacks strength in presenting the outcome or the results of communication. However, the researcher sees such lack of strength being compensated through the constitutive model of communication. In communication there is a need for evaluation. In evaluation, a follow-up is conducted in order to confirm not just the messages communicated between the sender and the receiver but also the end results of the communication. In some cases, this end-result is neglected because the end-result may not be realized immediately: it can even take years. For example, it can take years for one to find employment after graduation or obtaining qualifications.
Situation theory of the publics
Kruger-Ross and Waters (2013:176) maintain that the situational theory of publics is devised for strategic communication situations. The situational theory is built more from an explanation of why people communicate than they are mostly likely to communicate (Grunig 2015:778). It uses the concepts of active and passive communication behaviour to segment the general population into publics likely to communicate about one or more problems that are related to the consequences of organisational behaviours.
Overview of the situation theory of the publics
According to Kruger-Ross & Waters (2013:176), the situational theory of publics states that an individual’s ability to recognize the value of a situation and the desire and ability to remove obstacles in that situation will lead to greater involvement in that situation. The four main dimensions proposed by the situational theory of publics include awareness of an issue, involvement in the issue, constraint recognition and removal, and information seeking (Kruger-Ross & Waters 2013:178). Within the context of this study, these dimensions are explained as follows:
Awareness of an issue—awareness is already created about the graduate unemployment and several study are already done.
Involvement in the issue—this study has attempted involving graduate students to provide inputs for the establishment of a communication strategy that has the potential to address graduate unemployment as the main issue.
Constraint recognition and removal—constraints that are related to graduate unemployment that are also identified. Consider, for example, the socio economic and demographic characteristics that are seen as constraints affecting graduates.
Information seeking—this study maintains that graduates and the publics need to seek information in order to address the matter.
The theory is situational because problems come and go and are relevant only to specific people who experience a specific problematic situation. Publics often want consequences from organizational decisions that organizations might be reluctant to provide—such as lower prices, stable employment, or less pollution (Grunig 2015:778). The situational theory is similar to theories of market segmentation because it provides a method for segmenting the general population into groups that are relevant to public relations practitioners (Grunig 2015:778). Situational theory also helps to explain the nature of public opinion (Grunig 2015:779).
Individuals can be classified into different groupings based on their level of awareness about a particular topic and the extent to which they do something about the topic, whether that be inaction, seeking additional information, or removing obstacles preventing them from becoming more involved (Kruger-Ross & Waters 2013:77). The communication strategy within the context of addressing graduate unemployment is regarded as constitutive of a public opinion. The theory states—and research has confirmed—that high problem recognition and low constraint recognition increase both active information seeking and passive information processing (Grunig 2015:779). Level of involvement increases information seeking, but it has less effect on information processing.
Because people participate more actively in information seeking than in information processing, information seeking and the independent variables that precede it produce communication effects more often than information processing (Grunig 2015:779). In particular, people communicating actively develop more organized cognitions, are more likely to have attitudes about a situation, more often engage in a behaviour to do something about the situation and are more likely to develop a relationship with an organization (Grunig 2015:779).
Relevance of situation theory to communication strategy
Situation theory is the theory aimed at addressing public problems. In South Africa, unemployment is regarded as a public problem, hence this study sees graduate unemployment as a public problem. The fact that (as shown in figures in chapter 3) the level of graduate unemployment is lesser than those people with matric does not assume that the graduates are better. Since unemployment indicates the health of the economy of the country, even those that are not employed should be concerned about the economy as a whole.
Criticisms of situation theory
According to Grunig (2015:779), within the context of situational theory, people seldom seek information about situations that do not involve them, yet they will randomly process information about low-involvement situations, especially if they also recognize the situation as problematic. This theory is criticized for putting emphasis on the less involvement of people in specific situations, especially the situations that do not affect them. For example, graduate unemployment should not affect and interest the graduates more than other beings. Consequently, those that are not affected should not be less interested. For the sake of the country’s economic stability, an issue such as “graduate unemployment” should affect everyone regardless of employment or economic status.
Grunig (1992:6) sees the purpose of public relations as the dissemination of information. Integrated communication appears to have emerged in the public relations/corporate communication literature (Niemann 2005:88). Communication strategy, as it is proposed in this study, puts emphasis on strategic communication and is viewed from the context of public relations models. This study shows how the constitutive model of communication complements the two-way communication model to the, backed by systems theory and the situation theory of publics. Strategic communication is an effort to connect the organisation’s vision, mission and business goals to the forces and opportunities that exist in the market place and that give purpose to the work that people perform (Duffy & Chance 2007:4; Falkheimer, et.al. 2017:92; Torp 2014:44). It is also a unifying framework for coordinating communication functions and their plans, strategies, and tactics to achieve organizational goals (Molleda & Kochhar 2015:561).
The constitutive model of communication
Before delving into the constitutive model of communication, the researcher first looked at other models so that the reader understands why the constitutive model is used as a framework of this study. Whilst communication is defined by different authors and scholars from various perspectives such as models, theories and approaches, it is noteworthy that such perspectives are historical, emergent and changing with times.
Overview of constitutive model of communication
It is apparent that most of the communication models put emphasis on the message being sent by the sender to the receiver, hence they lacked the vision. Propounding a mathematical model of communication, Shannon and Weaver (1968) perceive communication as analogous to a telephone system with
(1) An information source that created a message to be communicated to the receiver;
(2) a transmitter that encoded the message into a signal that is transmitted over a channel;
(3) the channel, or the medium that carried the signal from transmitter to receiver and that may be degraded by noise;
(4) the receiver that decoded the message from the signal; and
(5) the destination, which is the person for whom the message is intended.
This model is criticized for misrepresenting communication because it portrays a one way process in which information flows in a linear sequence from the sender to the receiver (Wood 1997:47). It did not allow interaction of those that are involved in the communication process and it cannot fully grasp the complex process of human communication (Fenech 2013:10).
Schramm’s interactive model was introduced in order to address the weaknesses of Shannon and Weaver’s (1968) mathematical communication model. It highlighted that useful information must allow for differences among the communicators and for changes that relates to changing times (Schramm, 1964: 177). Although Schramm drew on the work of Osgood to highlight the circularity of communication and introduce the process of encoding and decoding, the central issues of communication had the effect on the receiver (Oyieke 2008:24). The researcher argues that whereas the message was intended for the receiver, the interaction between the received and the sender was the focus; however, there has been no attempt to ascertain the change that is intended by the message because the message could have been sent to the receiver but intended elsewhere.
An interesting development is the emergence of Niemann’s conceptual model of integrated communication. It is based on a two-way communication model that recognizes that the organisation must learn from its environment and stakeholders in order to build and nourish profitable relationships with the organisational brand. The model is based on the strategic intent of the organisation and learning organisational principles that continuously reposition the organisation (Niemann 2005:245). In the case of this model, the intention of the use of the systems theory is that the phenomenon of integrated communication implementation is viewed holistically as a set of interacting forces between the organisation, the stakeholders and the changing environment, and in the three dimensional, systems-based graphical depiction of the model (Niemann 2005:272). The model proposes imperative areas of integration as organisational stakeholder and environmental integration (Niemann 2005:245). It is important for these imperative areas to allow the flow of communication.
The constitutive model of communication focuses on the importance of communication to bringing about actual change and action (Holtzhausen & Zerfass 2015:7). According to Cooren (2012:5), the constitutive model of communication recognizes the effects by which people in interaction manage to act and speak for or in the name of specific beings to which they feel (consciously or unconsciously) attached, whether these beings be principles, values, beliefs, attitudes, ideas, ideologies, interests, and organizations.
It represents a dialogical-dialectical disciplinary matrix which focuses on how meanings are shaped through the communication process (Holtzhausen & Zerfass 2015:7). This is seen by the researcher as a strategic role. It conceptualizes communication as a constitutive process that produces and reproduces shared meaning (Craig 1999: 125).
It can be argued that the constitutive model of communication relevant to communication strategy and media includes all forms of internet and electronic communication. The constitutive model is presented as a practical response to contemporary social problems, such as those arising from the erosion of the cultural foundations of traditional ideas and institutions, increasing cultural diversity and interdependence, and widespread demands for democratic participation in the construction of social reality (Craig 1999:126). From the perspective of constitutive model of communication, the role of the communicator is to send information that can act as the point of departure for meaning creation between a communicative entity and its stakeholders with a potential to lead to social change and social action.
It is important for communication practitioners to be aware of how media are and can be used to shape social and cultural realities (Holtzhausen & Zerfass 2015:8). A strategic communication programme must present a fair and balanced assessment of the challenges of transformational change and the design communications that describe those challenges in a positive and accurate way (Duffy & Chance 2007:15). Communication strategy is evitable for change, growth, motivation, and development. This position is in line with Nair and White (1993:89), who state that through human communication, communication strategy prioritizes the transformation of the nation as a whole.
Relevance of constitutive model of communication to the communication strategy
The communication strategy that is proposed in this study is backed by the confirmed media programmes that are aimed at implementing it. For instance, Holtzhausen and Zerfass (2015:7) ascertain that strategic communication as a tool for implementing communication strategy focuses on the process of communication which might take place over long periods of time and stretch over time after the message has been transmitted through a particular media platform. In this study a media platform simply means a “programme” that could be used to drive a communication strategy. Different media may have more than one programmes for driving a communication strategy.
CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.2 The significance or importance of the study
1.3 Relevance of the topic
1.4 Formulation of the research problem
1.5 Research aim and objectives
1.6 Anticipated findings
1.7 Definition of terms
1.8 Structure of the thesis
CHAPTER TWO – THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.2 Public relations
2.3 Integrated communication
2.4 Media theories
CHAPTER THREE – IDENTIFICATION OF FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT
3.2 Defining employment and unemployment
3.3 The humanities
3.4 Consequences of unemployment
3.5 Role players in addressing graduate unemployment with South African context
3.6 South African context of unemployment
CHAPTER FOUR –COMMUNICATION STRATEGY AND MEDIA
4.2 Communication strategies
4.3 Communication strategy plan
CHAPTER FIVE – RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND DESIGN
5.2 Research design
5.3 Research methodology
5.4 Pilot study
5.5 Reliability and validity
5.6 Ethical considerations
CHAPTER SIX – RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DATA ANALYSIS
SECTION A: RESEARCH FINDINGS, DATA ANALYSIS OF THE RESPONDENTS’ DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE
6.2 Demographic profile
SECTION B: RESEARCH FINDINGS AND THE ANALYSIS OF THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
6.3 Identification of unemployment factors
6.4 The role of media
6.5 The types of media
6.6 Unemployment as a challenge facing graduate students
6.7 Confirming a media that is relevant to disseminate information about unemployment factors
SECTION C: RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DATA ANALYSIS THROUGH THE PEARSON CHI-SQURE
6.8 The Pearson chi-square
SECTION D – QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS FOR THE PROPOSED COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
6.9 Establishing a communication strategy
CHAPTER SEVEN – DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
7.2 Demographic profile
7.3 Unemployment factors recognized by the graduates
7.4 The role of communication in addressing unemployment challenges
7.5 Types of media used to disseminate information about unemployment factors
7.6 Unemployment as a challenge facing graduate
7.7 Confirm a media that is relevant for disseminating information about unemployment factors
7.8 The establishment of a communication strategy for recognizing factors contributing to graduate unemployment
CHAPTER EIGHT – THE PROPOSED INTEGRATED COMMUNICATION STRATEGY AND PLAN
8.2 Conceptualisation of a confirmed media and communication strategy
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT