This issue of Communicare is concerned with stakeholders, and various strategies employed to ensure and attain stakeholder engagement and participation. While effective stakeholder engagement is often viewed as reliant on a commitment to engage and communicate openly and honestly with stakeholders, this not easily achieved, especially in emergent contexts in which competing worldviews transact to establish meaning, and gain consent for particular outcomes. It has been argued by scholars such as Dutta-Bergman that these points of intersection may easily become sites of struggle for gaining a share of voice, and as such may resist any attempt at marginalisation and silencing. An important characteristic of a participatory approach is that it involves dialogue - the two-way flow of information through which ideas can be shared freely. In this sense stakeholder participation results in the active involvement of individuals in solving problems or meeting needs as they contribute ideas, take initiative and articulate their needs and their problems, while also asserting their autonomy.
This article gives account of a research study that was conducted on a "beneficiary" community's participation in HIV/AIDS communication through a community radio station. The aim was to understand the community's presence and access to dialogue on HIV/AIDS, as practiced by their community radio station. The research underpinning the article focused on a community radio station based in Platfontein, Kimberley, in South Africa. X-K FM is a community radio station with !Xun and Khwe people as its primary target audience. The station is the only formal communication channel that targets these communities in their respective mother tongues. The researchers attempted to understand civil voices' participation in and access to the strategies of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support and treatment. The article is underpinned by Jürgen Habermas's theory of structural transformation of the public sphere. Research data was gathered using semi-structured interviews. The article concludes that the radio station has provided some avenues to facilitate the process of beneficiary community participation in HIV/AIDS communication.
Despite a vast array of HIV/AIDS prevention communication initiatives in South Africa, recent research pointed out that the general public's knowledge level about HIV/AIDS has decreased and that risky behaviour associated with the spread of the virus, is on the increase. This means that even though some successes with HIV/AIDS prevention communication have been achieved, new innovative ways of communicating about the epidemic urgently needs to be investigated. In search for a new direction, this article maps four forms of HIV/AIDS prevention communication in the country. Instead of continuing on the trajectory of exploring project-based campaigns that are initiated 'from the outside' (such as projects formulated by donor institutions), this article suggests that community-initiated HIV/AIDS prevention communication initiatives might suggest a new direction to supplement existing communication on the epidemic.
It is widely reported in the literature that employees' image of the organisation has a direct influence on external stakeholders' image of the organisation. This research attempted to address the need for an approach that facilitates employee engagement coupled with a leadership approach that allows collaboration, inclusion and co-operation within the organisation, to strengthen the internal corporate image. A synthesis of the literature from a unique stakeholder-inclusive perspective, depicted in the King III Report on corporate governance, was conducted to identify the theoretical principles for a preliminary conceptual framework explored through a case study approach. Parsec Technologies Pty Ltd was purposively selected as case study, because it was the 2012 and 2013 winner in the manufacturing sector of the Deloitte Best Company to Work For (BCTWF) survey, and served as a best practice organisation in the context of this research. Data triangulation by means of one-on-one interviews, focus groups and an open-ended survey was conducted with employees to determine the pragmatic relevance of the proposed framework. The findings culminated in a new generic stakeholder-inclusive conceptual framework to strengthen the internal corporate image by means of the AA 1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard elements and responsible leadership. Although a single case study is limited, this framework contributed to the body of knowledge on corporate image to provide organisations with guidelines for strengthening their internal corporate image.
The use of social networking sites is becoming increasingly essential to communicate and establish long-term relationships with stakeholders. In order for universities to retain their stakeholders, the effective use of media like Facebook is evident. This study investigated the Facebook pages of 24 South African universities by means of a content analysis, to determine how they have structured and populated their Facebook pages with different types of content that could be relevant to their public relations communication strategies. The theoretical basis of the content analysis consisted of the three virtual communication strategies developed by Waters et al. (2009), namely disclosure, information dissemination and involvement. This study came to the general conclusion that South African universities had not yet capitalised on Facebook to fully integrate the three virtual communication strategies in order to enhance online stakeholder relationships.