Thumbnail Image

How can we help you? Communicating Social Welfare

This thesis examines the ways in which public sector organisations communicate with people from lower socio-economic communities. The study is guided by the research question: Do the existing communication strategies of public sector organisations serve the needs of low decile communities in New Zealand? The study looks at the communication strategies used by three public sector organisations - Ministry of Social Development, Inland Revenue and Hamilton City Council - to interact with residents of a low-decile neighbourhood in Hamilton. Positioned within the critical theoretical paradigm (e.g., Deetz, 2005; Mumby, 2000) which looks at issues of power, domination and asymmetry in terms of communication practices, the research shows how social policy is socially constructed in order to serve the political aims of the public sector but is not necessarily constructed in terms of the target publics of that organisation. The study uses a three dimensional discourse analysis - text, context, and social practices (Fairclough, 1992) - to analyse the formal communication and information dissemination structures, processes, and texts of these organisations and to examine the ways in which some of the intended target publics of these organisations make sense of them and respond to them. The study includes an analysis of public documents put out by the organisations as well as interviews with youth workers, social workers, and representatives of the specific neighbourhood community. Juxtaposing the textual analysis with the analysis of the interviews facilitates an evaluation of whether the communication strategies of the organisations relate to the context of the socio-cultural practices of lowdecile neighbourhoods.
Type of thesis
Schoenberger-Orgad, S. (2009). How can we help you? Communicating Social Welfare (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2763
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.