n Communicatio : South African Journal of Communication Theory and Research - Barriers to formal communication in the South African National Defence Force : indicators related to the Tempe incident

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0250-0167



This article investigates the relationship between the issues surrounding the Tempe incident, as reported in the press, and the communication barriers which were identified during the research study conducted by the author of this article. The study is based on convergence theory which states that when members of different cultures communicate with each other they will, over time, converge to a state of greater uniformity provided that communication between the members is unrestricted. To determine whether conditions exist that could facilitate or impede convergence a survey was conducted. The questionnaire for the survey was developed from impressions gained during focus group interviews. A factor analysis was performed to determine the location and extend of the communication barriers. The findings of the study, the impressions gained and the statements released by the press were correlated to emphasise the restriction of communication and the unlikeliness of convergence. The author tries to emphasise the serious implications of the barriers indicating that the barriers and the impressions gained are indicators related to the Tempe incident and should be given the necessary attention. An important finding is the correlation between the statements (grievances) made during the focus group discussions, the communication barriers and the media reports, especially those in the press. From the findings it can be deduced that the diversity in culture leading to different perceptions, ignorance of the other culture and language need to be addressed. The problem of feedback ie regulated information is one of great concern.

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