A review of internal communication research in South Africa

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  • Submited: October 2, 2023
  • Published: December 9, 2023

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the current state and determine the development of internal communication research in South Africa over the past 21 years (from 2002 to 2022), to provide direction for future research with a view to expanding the body of knowledge in the field from a South African perspective. Research articles on internal communication that were written from a corporate communication and public relations perspective that had been published in three peer-reviewed scholarly communication journals in South Africa were systematically reviewed. Authorship information, research topics, theoretical frameworks, methodologies, and suggestions for future research indicated in 28 articles were analysed. It was found that most scholars focused on the implementation of internal communication management and internal strategies or plans in specific contexts or to attain certain outcomes. The most frequently used theories were relationship management theory and reputation management theories, and a qualitative research approach was the predominant methodical approach used, with non-probability (purposive) sampling, even though questionnaires were the prevalent data collection tools. Although internal communication as a research field has grown globally, research in the South African context is lagging behind. Future research opportunities include: (1) more quantitative studies that employ large probability samples to generalise findings, (2) the digitalisation of communication channels, (3) developing and empirically
testing local theories, frameworks and models, (4) including marginalised and diverse groups as a starting point for knowledge production, and (5) adapting the findings of research conducted prior to the post-COVID-19 setting.

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How to Cite
A review of internal communication research in South Africa. (2023). Communicare: Journal for Communication Studies in Africa, 42(2), 64-80. https://doi.org/10.36615/jcsa.v42i2.2770

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