|dc.description.abstract||This research examines the relationship between normative re-educative organisation development (OD), that of human values creation, shared meaning, and internal communication. Underpinning normative re-educative OD is the principle of individuals learning and developing new values (Chin & Benne, 1969; Szabla, Dardick, & Devlin, 2016). In this context, individuals make meaning (Bushe & Marshak, 2009), which is understood through sensemaking (Maitlis & Christianson, 2014; Weick, Sutcliffe, & Obstfeld, 2005). Internal communication is explained through the concept of relationship development (Men & Bowen, 2017; Welch & Jackson, 2007), where meaning is the action outcome (Weick & Browning, 1986). Effective internal communication is seen as a driver of performance relevant to an organisation’s success (Gay, Mahony, & Graves, 2005; Meng, 2014).
Internal communication has been described as a simple sender, receiver, model (Jansson, 2013; Lasswell, 1948), a process (Clark & Seward, 2000) and more recently as a relationship (Men & Bowen, 2017). In this research, the lens of normative reeducative OD is applied to communication theory to enhance the depth and meaning of internal communication. The strategies of normative re-educative OD enable individuals to effectively work together through the creation of shared values (Chin & Benne, 1969). By pursuing this approach in organisations, meaning is improved, which is discussed from the perspective of sensemaking (Weick, 1995), where internal communication shifts from being a process to having relational qualities.
To investigate internal communication managers’ understanding of the above, a hermeneutic phenomenological approach was utilised (Crowther, Ironside, Spence, & Smythe, 2017; van Manen, 1997). Data were collected from 24 internal communication managers, which included stories about their work, semi-structured interviews, observations, and a review of secondary data including organisational documentation. Reflective journal notes made by the researcher finalised the data collection process. Data analysis used the constant comparison method (Dye, Schatz, Rosenberg, & Coleman, 2000; Strauss & Corbin, 1990) and the hermeneutic circle (Laverty, 2003), which enabled the discovery of the relationships between normative re-educative OD, meaning, and internal communication as meaning was revealed. The findings revealed that normative re-educative OD practices created and enhanced values and beliefs, developed trust-based and genuine relationships, and enabled personal growth and development through improved collaboration and participation. A stronger connection to the organisation was created, enabling the alignment of actions, behaviours, and communication. The implementation of valuesbased practices within the organisation led to enhanced meaning of internal communication.
A limitation of this thesis is the non-engagement of management in their understanding of the role of internal communication. This highlights an opportunity to broaden the research in this area. A second area of research is to include a wider range of industries on a global scale to identify whether there are cultural limitations to the approach.
The theoretical and practical outcomes included an understanding of the relationship between normative re-educative OD and shared values in leading to the enhancement of meaning. These findings change the way internal communication is managed and delivered in organisations. The action science aspects of normative reeducative OD provided learning processes, which lead to trust-based internal communication at individual and group levels; thus, influencing core values, beliefs, and operating assumptions. Reshaping the internal communication manager role to include an in depth understanding of theory and practice of OD will have an impact on organisational culture and performance. The influencing role of internal communication managers is also an aid in helping senior management to understand change management from a normative re-educative OD perspective. This research extends the understanding of the interplay between normative re-educative OD, meaning, and internal communication in organisational outcomes.||