A critical evaluation of corporate employee communication in the light of recent changes in workplace relations
AbstractWhile substantial literatures exist in the areas of modem management practice in general, corporate communication in particular, and the labour process, these bodies of literature hardly seem to overlap. Detailed analysis of the language used in corporate communication, and of its interpretation by its target audience of employees seems not to exist. This thesis is a modest attempt to remedy this defect, bringing to bear the methodology of critical linguistics to analyse the language used in samples of corporate communication, and using focus groups to investigate its interpretation by employees. Based on case studies in three companies, the thesis examines the forms of corporate communication which are present in each company, finding some evidence that "management fads" exist, and that quality circles in particular seem to have gone out of fashion. The linguistic content of specific examples of written communication is examined in some detail. Linguistic forms are identified which appear to be intended to disguise underlying conflict. In the course of this part of the work, I propose a modest extension to linguistic understanding of the use of the first person plural. In focus groups of employees, I investigate employee understanding of their employers' communication, and specifically their decoding of the items of written communication which I had analysed. I examine in particular detail the question of whether employees have an understanding of the linguistic forms used in corporate communication. I find evidence for a fairly sophisticated "folk linguistics" enabling oppositional decoding of the messages contained in corporate communication.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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