This study, undertaken over a two-year period (2001/2) concerns the appropriate content for teaching communicative competence to contemporary graduates. It comprised two parts, Phase One and Phase Two. Phase One set out to gauge the “fit” between the respective perceptions of Commerce students, staff and graduates in the field. Based on the findings of Phase One, Phase Two then evaluated the extent to which students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are being prepared for the commercial needs of their profession. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies was employed comprising questionnaires with multiple-choice and open-ended questions, interviews, both formal and informal, and discussions (classroom and office) to obtain primary data. Secondary sources as described in the international literature were also reviewed to provide an informed context for more in-depth evaluation and comparison. Based on local and international socio-economic, educational and technological shifts and forecasts, it was assumed that the focus of existing communication curricula would be outdated and differ substantially to the communicative demands of the 21st century. In a nutshell this overall assumption was, for the most part, unfounded; a plea to “stick to the basics” and not to “abandon” traditional oral and written communication modes and channels was sounded by all three constituent respondent groups. In particular, given the gendered and intercultural context of modern-day business transactions, face-to-face communication still proves to be the most popular and trusted channel of communication overall. The ‘connectedness’ of the globe, the size and power of many multinationals and the proliferation of corporate governance scandals produced further conclusions relating to how the definition of communicative competence could (and should) be expanded to include greater individual, team and corporate responsibility. Sentiment, both local and abroad, dictates that the global economy needs to incorporate sustainable, ethical and transparent business and communication practices that will benefit all stakeholders in developed and developing nations. Strategic partnerships across business, government and academia need to be forged in order to achieve lasting outcomes. How business communication programmes can foster the right mindset and play a role in tertiary institutions to achieve these goals, presents numerous opportunities for further research.
|Degree Type||Masters degree|