Doctoral Degrees (Communication Science)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    A leadership communication value chain model
    (University of the Free State, 2017-12) De Lange, Lucrezea; Mulder, D.; De Wet, J. C.
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    An integrated communication model for marketing the UFS
    (University of the Free State, 2008-06) Mulder, Dalmé; De Wet, Johann C.
    English: The higher education environment in South Africa has changed much in the past decade. In transforming the higher education sector, markets were created that lead to the corporatisation of universities. Corporate universities are predominantly characterised as institutions that follow a business model within the educational landscape. The University of the Free State (UFS) has accepted this new identity of corporate university in many ways. It is now also time to embrace it from a marketing communication, and specifically an integrated communication (IC), perspective. The goal of this study was to develop an integrated communication model for marketing the UFS. In realising this goal, the marketing-related structures and processes at the UFS were explored among other matters. The integrated approach to marketing and communication was dealt with as benchmark for the UFS and this approach directed a conceptual IC model for marketing the UFS. The conceptual model was subject to scrutiny by critical role-players at the UFS. Other critical issues explored were the higher education environment and its multi-cultural nature; the nature and scope of IC; and existing models of IC which were described and critically evaluated. A qualitative research approach was followed and the study was divided into four phases. Grounded theory was employed as overarching research strategy for all four phases, while other research strategies to gather and analyse data were implemented during some of the phases. The main contribution of this study was a conceptual IC model formulated for marketing the UFS. Based on the scrutinising of several IMC and IC models, a number of aspects were identified that was kept in mind when the IC model for marketing the UFS was developed. Furthermore, the basic principles of IC identified after an extensive investigation into the relevant literature, were interweaved in the conceptual IC model suggested for use by the UFS. The study confirmed that cultural sensitivity is a necessity if an organisation wants to be successful in the diverse South African environment. The factors that impact on inter-cultural communication effectiveness in organisations were described. It was explained that cultural differences manifest in an organisation in two ways, namely on an individual level, and on an organisational level. The organisational level indicators have specific relevance to this study. Organisational culture is also known as corporate culture. A number of corporate culture components that reflect an organisation with a strong culture were identified and it was noted that the majority of corporate culture components and integrated communication principles show significant resemblance. It is thus argued that the implementation of an IC model in a multi-cultural environment can foster a strong corporate culture. The scrutinising of the conceptual IC model by UFS role-players indicated that the majority of the respondents were positive about the model and were of the opinion that the model would address a number of marketing-related concerns and would provide a solution to some of the problems currently experienced with communication and marketing at the UFS. It was recommended inter alia that a number of structural changes with regard to the position of marketing and communication at the UFS be made. Processes that should be put in place were highlighted, and several conduct changes were advised. The application of the conceptual IC model within the suggested Institutional Communication section was illustrated.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nat Nakasa as existential journalist
    (University of the Free State, 2016-02) Marais, Willemien; De Wet, J. C.
    English: South African journalist Nat Nakasa’s short career in journalism started at Drum magazine in Johannesburg in 1958 and ended in New York City when he died of suicide in 1965. Arguably, Nakasa was not the most prolific or well-known journalist of South Africa’s Drum generation of journalists, which also include, amongst others, Lewis Nkosi, Es’kia Mphahlele and Richard Rive. Nakasa’s body of work consists of about 100 pieces, mostly journalism, and one short story. In terms of professional milestones he was an assistant editor at Drum, the first black columnist for Rand Daily Mail, the founder and editor of The Classic, a literary magazine, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. However, Patel (2005: vii) writes that Nakasa’s “reportage of events and personality profile of a time gone by opens a window for us to look into the past and thereby enrich our understanding of intensely human episodes he witnessed”. Nadine Gordimer (in Roberts 2005) describes Nakasa as a “racial visionary”, while referring to his work as “journalism, yes, but journalism of a highly personal kind” (in Patel 2005). Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu (in Mahala 2014) describes Nakasa as “a rainbow man when the rainbow was not allowed”. Nakasa’s approach to journalism places him in the realm of Merrill’s existential journalism (1977). It also relates directly to what Muhlmann (2008; 2010) describes as decentring journalism, where the journalist takes on the role of the outsider in an effort to disrupt the status quo, or “decentre” it. These orientations to journalism form part of what can be described as unconventional forms of journalism, characterised, amongst others, by the constructivist idea that there is no absolute truth and that journalists inescapably create their own realities (Hanitzsch 2007) that they then share with their audiences. The practice of unconventional forms of journalism represents an ontic act of existentialism, which ascribes to an individualistic, interpretive world-view. From the Western existential perspective, life can only be experienced, described and made sense of from an individual perspective; it is inherently subjective and there is no universal truth “out there”. This study set out to consider how Nakasa’s writing, irrespective of his intention in this regard, serves as an example of applied existentialism, i.e. explaining Western existentialist thought, themes and structure through descriptions of real-life situations (ontic acts) as it manifests in his journalism. The study revolves around the axis of existentialism as conceptual framework, an interpretive research paradigm and a qualitative research methodology. An adapted deductive/inductive hybrid theme analysis was employed as method in order to analyse Nakasa’s writing. The results of the analysis were used to construct an existential storyline based on a combination of general existential themes as well as themes unique to Nakasa’s writing. From the combined results of the deductive and inductive analyses, seven main themes were constructed, based on Sartre’s “restless existence” cycle of facticity, nihilation, projects and transcendence. The themes identified include “mental corrosion”, “living outside of the normal human experience”, “the fringe”, “social experiment”, “tiny subversive acts”, “towards a common experience” and “the duty of the writer”. All seven themes are supported by relevant existential themes and concepts and thus provided the evidence to support this study’s claim that Nat Nakasa can be read as an existential journalist. In terms of contemporary relevance, Nakasa’s approach to journalism suggests how existentialism could provide the journalist with a practical approach to writing, especially for journalists working in developing societies. The relevance of this approach lies in the fact that there will always be an interregnum (Gordimer 1982), or circumstances of being “between two identities, one known and discarded, the other unknown and undetermined”, which might require the journalist to operate outside the boundaries of conventional journalism – thus an existential journalist practicing decentring journalism.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Directives for the application of social media as computer-mediated communication in South African higher education
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Coetzee, Emmerenzia Johanna Susanna; Wilkinson, A. C.; Krige, D.
    English: This study has been conducted from the disciplinary context of Communication Science (CS) and more specifically, the subfield of Computer-mediated communication (CMC). The field of application of the study is higher education and, specifically, the educational context of higher education (teaching and learning) with its specific users (learners and educators). As a result of the continuous developments in CMC technologies, research in the possible application of social media in HE has exploded. Unmanageable amounts of information have become available, making it difficult to keep up with primary research evidence about the way social media may be utilised in an educational context. In addition, available studies in this regard do not show any uniform theoretical basis, nor do they consider communication theory, or connections between communication and educational theories. These problems informed the decision to conduct a systematic review of selected studies on the topic and to summarise existing information about the use of CMC and social media in HE into directives for the utilisation of CMC and social media in South African higher education. The literature review reflects the three angles from which the use of social media in HE had to be considered, referred to as three theoretical ”lenses” in the study. The first lens, the “communication-centred lens”, provides important background and theoretical perspectives (principles) on effective communication, which includes communication by means of social media. The second lens, the “social media-centred lens” provides focus on the social media landscape and recent and predicted developments in technology and social media. The third lens, the “education-centred lens”, highlights the educational context through a discussion of applicable educational theory and principles. The many similarities and congruities between educational principles and the theories and principles derived from CS and CMC theories, provide a strong binding factor in the study. The literature review aided the compilation of a conceptual framework that guided the study and the ultimate compilation of a set of directives for effective teaching and learning using social media in higher education. The empirical investigation took on the format of an extensive systematic analysis on 220 relevant research documents. Using inductive category coding, data were categorised according to themes and then organised into data sets which were used for the analysis. The findings provide perspectives on the effective use of social media in the educational context, and the most effective social media tools to be used in this regard. Key perspectives gained from the analysis and the literature review are presented in an integrated framework from which 12 possible directives for the utilisation of CMC and social media technologies in South African higher education are proposed. The directives focused on: 1) Factors impacting on access to and effective use of social media technologies; 2) The role of the educator in the choice and use of applicable social media technologies; and 3) The effective use of social media technologies to ensure active learning. The significance of the study lies in the contribution the study makes to the theory of CS and CMC, especially in regard to the use of social media in South African higher education. The study furthermore highlights the important link between Communication Science and Education as disciplines. The directives and other findings of the study, if appropriately disseminated, may also foster broad interest and contribute to a more extensive and effective application of social media in higher education worldwide.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The rhetorical imprint of Nelson Mandela as reflected in public speeches 1950 - 2004
    (University of the Free State, 2011-05) Cawood, Stephanie; De Wet, J. C.; Breytenbach, H. J.
    The study set out to construct a rhetorical imprint of Nelson Mandela as reflected in a combination of all, as well as selected publicly available speeches from 1950 to 2004. The rhetorical imprint refers to constant, underlying patterns of distinctive, verbal characteristics that support the content of numerous speeches in different contexts (Burgchardt, 1985: 441). The rhetorical imprint is conceptualised in pragmatic constructivist terms to be the product of the conceptual categories of the mind, which are intrinsically metaphorically structured (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980: 7). Since conceptual categories cannot be directly observed, evidence of the particular conceptual categories which governed Nelson Mandela’s rhetorical imprint was sought in the rhetoric itself. The rhetorical imprint functions at both the manifest and latent levels of meaning. In this study, the researcher accessed the surface-level patterns through quantitative, computer-aided content analysis, while the very fact that the individual conceptual system was considered metaphorical suggested the use of metaphorical concepts as qualitative tool in order to access the deeply embedded content of the conceptual categories which were most influential on the rhetorical imprint. The rhetorical imprint was finally synthesised from the qualitative and quantitative data in terms of the general characteristics of the rhetoric, the cognitive complexity and the conceptual structure of the rhetorical imprint, which consists of transcending conceptual motifs and sub-ordinate themes. Mandela’s rhetoric was also contextualised against his biographical background and ethos, as well as against the overall rhetorical situation, which include the socio-political context as controlling need or exigency, a consideration of the rhetorical audiences and constraints on the rhetor. Mandela’s rhetoric was found to be complex, with sophisticated vocabulary use and conceptual structuring. The rhetorical complexity indicates a rhetor who is cognitively complex and able to adapt his rhetoric to the nuances of different audiences and contexts. Mandela’s rhetoric further indicates a definite evolution from sub-corpus to sub-corpus. It was found that the controlling concern of the struggle period revolved around aspects of struggle, while the liberation sub-corpus signified a focus on aspects of the political transition. The presidential period focused on reconciliation and reconstruction and the postpresidential sub-corpus indicates a preoccupation with the issue of HIV/AIDS. The most dominant conceptual motif at the core of Mandela’s rhetorical imprint was found to be his use of the archetypal JOURNEY source domain in metaphorical concepts to conceptualise the controlling concerns throughout the entire corpus. The JOURNEY motif is accompanied by a forward-looking orientation where future paths and destinations are optimistically envisioned. The source domains war and building/structure are also prominent, although subordinate to JOURNEY. The metaphorical concepts related to JOURNEY are based on the mega-metaphorical concept LIFE IS A JOURNEY, while war is derived from LIFE IS A STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL and building/structure is based on ABSTRACT COMPLEX SYSTEMS ARE BUILDINGS. These mega-metaphorical concepts interact and indicate that Mandela’s individual construal system and rhetoric are fundamentally structured by the notion of a PERILOUS SYMBOLIC JOURNEY, which is the rhetorical imprint, and that all metaphorical concepts discovered in his rhetoric are subsumed in this configuration.