Integrated intercultural employee communication for line management in transformed universities in South Africa
Mmope, Phumzile Pheladi
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The transformation of the higher education system in South Africa has led to the emergence of a visibly multilingual and multicultural work environment. Historically, the role and value of line managers in facilitating and executing strategic alignment at transformed universities has not been regarded as a top priority by senior management. This study stems from the need to better understand how transformed universities apply employee and management communication assumptions to facilitate strategic alignment through face-to-face communication between line managers and culturally diverse subordinates. The crucial role that line managers play when communicating both interpersonally and interculturally emphasises the inherent and strategic value of effective employee and management communication in managing institutions of higher learning more efficiently. The main objective of the study was to identify and describe assumptions that can serve as a foundation of a conceptual framework for Integrated Intercultural Employee Communication for line management in transformed universities in South Africa. The proposed framework enriches the extensive research on D’Aprix’s (1996) manager’s communication model by advancing the notion of Integrated Intercultural Employee Communication. This model enhances the reliability and validity of the manager’s communication model when applied within a multilingual and multicultural work environment. This objective was achieved by performing a literature review and an empirical study. This thesis is divided into three parts. In Part I, the conceptualisation of the study is addressed with a literature review with the aim of extracting theoretical perspectives pertinent to the objectives of the study. The theoretical perspectives are underpinned by three theories, namely: (1) the manager’s communication model; (2) the Leader-Member Exchange Theory of effective communication; and (3) the Anxiety Uncertainty Management Theory of effective communication. The Leader-Member Exchange and the Anxiety Uncertainty Management theories provide a hypothetical grounding to analyse the manager’s communication model. These theories apply theoretically sound perspectives to the interpersonal and intercultural dimensions of effective line management communication. Based on theoretically sound perspectives on interpersonal and intercultural dimensions of effective line management communication, the novel concept of a framework for Integrated Intercultural Employee Communication is advanced and motivated. The Integrated Intercultural Employee Communication concept advances the value of integrating interpersonal communication competence and intercultural communication competence at line management level to enable strategic alignment among a culturally diverse workforce, rather than approaching the competencies separately. In Part II, an empirical investigation follows using a mixed-methods research approach. This section explores ways to understand and interpret the perspectives of support and academic line managers who fulfil the specific responsibility of strategic alignment. Their views on communication practices and challenges for line management and the extent of their effect on the communication role of line managers in executing strategic alignment among culturally diverse subordinates are examined. In Part III, the assumptions motivating the proposed conceptual framework for Integrated Intercultural Employee Communication are identified and described based on the overall theoretical and empirical findings and conclusions. Fundamentally, the proposed framework recognises that interpersonal and intercultural communication competencies are key prerequisites to fulfilling the communication role of a line manager aimed at executing strategic alignment among culturally diverse subordinates. The focus on developing a conceptual framework for Integrated Intercultural Employee Communication for line management is a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge. Overall, the study indicates that a shared understanding of the prerequisites and assumptions motivating the notion of Integrated Intercultural Employee Communication can contribute towards effective and consistent practices within the communication role of line managers as they bring about strategic alignment in transformed universities in South Africa
- Humanities 
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