A Grounded Theory Study of Communication in a Public Sector System Change Initiative

  • Author / Creator
    Pinto, Dorothy
  • The field of organizational communication currently lacks a communication theory to inform practice in system change initiatives (SCIs; Bryson, Crosby, & Stone, 2015). The context of the present study is a SCI in Alberta, Canada, that was established to build capacity across the province for clinical research. With the aim of addressing the practical and theoretical gaps with respect to communication in SCIs, the present study uses Corbin and Strauss’ (2008) grounded theory approach to develop a theory of communication in SCIs. Data were collected and analyzed from four sources: semi-structured interviews, documents, a social network survey, and field notes. The resulting ACE theory brings the communication process in the context of a SCI into focus, deepening our understanding of the underlying driver for communication and the dynamic interactions between communication and context. The driver of communication in SCIs is the creation of a space where individuals are committed to working collectively to affect change at the system level. The name of the ACE theory is derived from the three inter-related sub-processes of communication: providing Access to information, Connecting stakeholders, and Engaging stakeholders. These sub-processes influence, and are influenced by, three structural conditions for communication: system interdependence, power dynamics, and time management. The implications of the study findings are considered with respect to organizational communication and collaboration.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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