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Intercultural communication amongst employees at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development Western Cape
Over the past few decades the study of intercultural communication has expanded to cover a diverse set of variables deriving from the concepts "communication" and "culture" and the combination of communication and culture. As is the case for the communication discipline itself, the study of intercultural communication is influenced by traditional disciplines such as anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, psychology and sociology (Chen & Starosta, 2005:13). The development of a global mindset has become pivotal for further human progress. This mindset can only result from intercommunication among diverse people (Chen & Starosta, 2005:4). Intercultural communication is essential to any organization or department as it is a process of sending and receiving messages between people whose cultural backgrounds could lead them to interpret verbal and non-verbal signs differently. The purpose of this study was to devise a communication strategy which will address intercultural communication, specifically designed to assist managers dealing with intercultural differences. The core objective of this study was to establish whether the existing Communication Policy of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) adequately addresses intercultural communication in the work place and to verify the level of understanding of culture amongst employees of the DOJ&CD Western Cape Regional Office (WC RO) in order to determine whether a lack of cultural knowledge contributes to miscommunication in the department. In order to reach its objectives, the study employed a quantitative research approach whereby a non-probability sampling design in the form of a convenience sampling method was adopted and considered appropriate for this study, with specific reference to the DOJ&CD (WC RO). In terms of collecting the data, the study made use of structured questionnaires as a data collection method whereby questionnaires were administered and distributed to 85 employees of whom 70 participated. The results of the study reveal that cultural differences lead to misunderstandings, while lack of cultural knowledge is a major contributing factor of miscommunication within the DOJ&CD (WC RO). It is recommended that employees acquire knowledge about other cultures which will improve their understanding and reduce the chances of miscommunication in a multi-cultural environment to enhance intercultural communication and provide a harmonious working environment amongst employees of the DOJ&CD (WC RO) and the Public Service as a whole.
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