Relational communication between Catholics and Protestants in the Northern Ireland workplace: A study of policies, practices and procedures

Owen Hargie, David Dickson, Seanenne Nelson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper presents the results of a study that investigated cross-community communication patterns in the Northern Ireland (NI) workplace. Work is one of the many institutions in NI affected by the deep politico-religious fault-line of division that pervades much of social life. That said, the workplace represents an environment where members of both communities do come together and associate. When this contact is typified by tension, disharmony and mutual recrimination, both the organisation and the wider community suffer. Good internal working relationships, on the other hand, have the potential not only to profit the organisation, but to ripple out through the wider community. It is therefore surprising that little research has been conducted into cross-community relations in the NI workplace. Indeed, institutions generally have been criticised for failing to play a more prominent role in promoting positive community relations. The main objectives of the study were to determine the manner in which contentious situations of a sectarian nature can best be managed, based on a comparison of organisational practice and to document ‘best practice’ guidelines to advise public and private sector organisations on effective methods of dealing with cross-community relations at work. The study involved 4 major organizations. Data was collected using an inventory to measure cross-community communication (n = 440); 22 in-depth interviews; and 16 focus groups. A very clear finding was that it was strongly felt that all of the organisations could do significantly more to reduce tensions between the two religious groupings. The results of the study will be discussed in terms of both organisational and relational communication.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages89-107
    JournalAustralian Journal of Communication
    Volume32
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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    @article{76a9ba1dbe834d1e812756f94433805d,
    title = "Relational communication between Catholics and Protestants in the Northern Ireland workplace: A study of policies, practices and procedures",
    abstract = "This paper presents the results of a study that investigated cross-community communication patterns in the Northern Ireland (NI) workplace. Work is one of the many institutions in NI affected by the deep politico-religious fault-line of division that pervades much of social life. That said, the workplace represents an environment where members of both communities do come together and associate. When this contact is typified by tension, disharmony and mutual recrimination, both the organisation and the wider community suffer. Good internal working relationships, on the other hand, have the potential not only to profit the organisation, but to ripple out through the wider community. It is therefore surprising that little research has been conducted into cross-community relations in the NI workplace. Indeed, institutions generally have been criticised for failing to play a more prominent role in promoting positive community relations. The main objectives of the study were to determine the manner in which contentious situations of a sectarian nature can best be managed, based on a comparison of organisational practice and to document ‘best practice’ guidelines to advise public and private sector organisations on effective methods of dealing with cross-community relations at work. The study involved 4 major organizations. Data was collected using an inventory to measure cross-community communication (n = 440); 22 in-depth interviews; and 16 focus groups. A very clear finding was that it was strongly felt that all of the organisations could do significantly more to reduce tensions between the two religious groupings. The results of the study will be discussed in terms of both organisational and relational communication.",
    author = "Owen Hargie and David Dickson and Seanenne Nelson",
    note = "Reference text: Anderson, L., Wilson, S. (1997). Critical incident technique. In D. Whetzel and G. Wheaton (Eds.). Applied measurement methods in industrial psychology. Palo Alto: Davies-Black. Argyle, M. (1989). The social psychology of work (2nd ed). London: Penguin Books. Bloomer, F. & Weinreich, P. (2004). Cross community relations projects and interdependent identities. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.). Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Boyatzis, R. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Thousand Oaks, Cal: Sage. Connolly, P., Neill, J. (2004). The development of children’s attitudes towards ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.), Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Cox, T. H., (1997). Linkages between managing diversity and organizational performance. In T. Cox and R. Beale (Eds.), Developing competency to manage diversity. San Francisco, Cal.: Berrett-Koehler. Chow, I., Crawford, R. (2004). Gender, ethnic diversity, and career advancement in the workplace: the social identity perspective. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 69, 22-39. Dickson, D., Hargie, O., Rainey, S. (2000). Communication and relational development between Catholic and Protestant students in Northern Ireland. Australian Journal of Communication, 27, 67-82. Downs, C., DeWine, S., Greenbaum, H. (1994). Measures of organizational communication. In R. Rubin, P. Palmgreen & H. Sypher (Eds.), Communication research measures: A sourcebook. New York: Guilford Press. Downs, C., Hydeman, A., Adrian, A. (2000). Auditing the annual business conference of a major beverage company. In O. Hargie & D. Tourish (Eds.), Handbook of communication audits for organisations. London: Routledge. Eyben, K., Morrow, D. & Wilson, D. (1997). A worthwhile venture? Practically investing in equity, diversity, and interdependence in Northern Ireland. University of Ulster: FutureWays. Gaska, A., & Frey, D. (1996). Occupation-determined role relationships. In A. E. Auhagen & M. Salisch (Eds.), The diversity of human relationships. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hargie, C., & Tourish, D. (1997). Relational communication. In O. Hargie, (Ed.). The handbook of communication skills. London: Routledge. Hargie, O., & Tourish, D. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of communication audits for organisations. London: Routledge. Hargie, O., Dickson, D. & Nelson, S. (2003). Working together in a divided society: A study of inter-group communication in the Northern Ireland workplace. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 17, 285-318. Hargie, O., Dickson, D., & Tourish, D. (2004). Communication skills for effective management. Macmillan, Basingstoke. Jarman, N. (2004a). From war to peace? Changing patterns of violence in Northern Ireland, 1990-2003. Terrorism and Political Violence, 16, 420-438. Jarman, N. (2004b). Managing disorder: Responses to interface violence in North Belfast. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.). Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Millar, R., Gallagher, M. (2000). The interview approach. In O. Hargie & D. Tourish (Eds.), Handbook of Communication Audits for Organisations. London: Routledge. Morgan, D. (1997). Focus groups and qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Cal: Sage. Smith, M., Hamilton, J. (2004). The human costs of the troubles. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.), Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Symon, G., Cassell, C. (1998). Qualitative methods and analysis in organizational research: A practical guide. London: Sage. Tayeb, M. (1994). Japanese managers and British culture: A comparative case study. The International Review of Human Resource Management, 5, 145-166. Tourish, D & Hargie, O. (Eds.). (2004), Key issues in organizational communication. London and New York: Routledge. Wise, L. & Tschirhart, M. (2000). Examining empirical evidence on diversity effects: How useful is diversity research for public-sector managers? Public Administration Review, 60, 386-94.",
    year = "2005",
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    volume = "32",
    pages = "89--107",
    journal = "Australian Journal of Communication",
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    }

    Relational communication between Catholics and Protestants in the Northern Ireland workplace: A study of policies, practices and procedures. / Hargie, Owen; Dickson, David; Nelson, Seanenne.

    In: Australian Journal of Communication, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2005, p. 89-107.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

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    AU - Hargie, Owen

    AU - Dickson, David

    AU - Nelson, Seanenne

    N1 - Reference text: Anderson, L., Wilson, S. (1997). Critical incident technique. In D. Whetzel and G. Wheaton (Eds.). Applied measurement methods in industrial psychology. Palo Alto: Davies-Black. Argyle, M. (1989). The social psychology of work (2nd ed). London: Penguin Books. Bloomer, F. & Weinreich, P. (2004). Cross community relations projects and interdependent identities. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.). Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Boyatzis, R. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Thousand Oaks, Cal: Sage. Connolly, P., Neill, J. (2004). The development of children’s attitudes towards ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.), Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Cox, T. H., (1997). Linkages between managing diversity and organizational performance. In T. Cox and R. Beale (Eds.), Developing competency to manage diversity. San Francisco, Cal.: Berrett-Koehler. Chow, I., Crawford, R. (2004). Gender, ethnic diversity, and career advancement in the workplace: the social identity perspective. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 69, 22-39. Dickson, D., Hargie, O., Rainey, S. (2000). Communication and relational development between Catholic and Protestant students in Northern Ireland. Australian Journal of Communication, 27, 67-82. Downs, C., DeWine, S., Greenbaum, H. (1994). Measures of organizational communication. In R. Rubin, P. Palmgreen & H. Sypher (Eds.), Communication research measures: A sourcebook. New York: Guilford Press. Downs, C., Hydeman, A., Adrian, A. (2000). Auditing the annual business conference of a major beverage company. In O. Hargie & D. Tourish (Eds.), Handbook of communication audits for organisations. London: Routledge. Eyben, K., Morrow, D. & Wilson, D. (1997). A worthwhile venture? Practically investing in equity, diversity, and interdependence in Northern Ireland. University of Ulster: FutureWays. Gaska, A., & Frey, D. (1996). Occupation-determined role relationships. In A. E. Auhagen & M. Salisch (Eds.), The diversity of human relationships. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hargie, C., & Tourish, D. (1997). Relational communication. In O. Hargie, (Ed.). The handbook of communication skills. London: Routledge. Hargie, O., & Tourish, D. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of communication audits for organisations. London: Routledge. Hargie, O., Dickson, D. & Nelson, S. (2003). Working together in a divided society: A study of inter-group communication in the Northern Ireland workplace. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 17, 285-318. Hargie, O., Dickson, D., & Tourish, D. (2004). Communication skills for effective management. Macmillan, Basingstoke. Jarman, N. (2004a). From war to peace? Changing patterns of violence in Northern Ireland, 1990-2003. Terrorism and Political Violence, 16, 420-438. Jarman, N. (2004b). Managing disorder: Responses to interface violence in North Belfast. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.). Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Millar, R., Gallagher, M. (2000). The interview approach. In O. Hargie & D. Tourish (Eds.), Handbook of Communication Audits for Organisations. London: Routledge. Morgan, D. (1997). Focus groups and qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Cal: Sage. Smith, M., Hamilton, J. (2004). The human costs of the troubles. In O. Hargie & D. Dickson (Eds.), Researching the troubles: Social science perspectives on the Northern Ireland conflict. Edinburgh: Mainstream. Symon, G., Cassell, C. (1998). Qualitative methods and analysis in organizational research: A practical guide. London: Sage. Tayeb, M. (1994). Japanese managers and British culture: A comparative case study. The International Review of Human Resource Management, 5, 145-166. Tourish, D & Hargie, O. (Eds.). (2004), Key issues in organizational communication. London and New York: Routledge. Wise, L. & Tschirhart, M. (2000). Examining empirical evidence on diversity effects: How useful is diversity research for public-sector managers? Public Administration Review, 60, 386-94.

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    AB - This paper presents the results of a study that investigated cross-community communication patterns in the Northern Ireland (NI) workplace. Work is one of the many institutions in NI affected by the deep politico-religious fault-line of division that pervades much of social life. That said, the workplace represents an environment where members of both communities do come together and associate. When this contact is typified by tension, disharmony and mutual recrimination, both the organisation and the wider community suffer. Good internal working relationships, on the other hand, have the potential not only to profit the organisation, but to ripple out through the wider community. It is therefore surprising that little research has been conducted into cross-community relations in the NI workplace. Indeed, institutions generally have been criticised for failing to play a more prominent role in promoting positive community relations. The main objectives of the study were to determine the manner in which contentious situations of a sectarian nature can best be managed, based on a comparison of organisational practice and to document ‘best practice’ guidelines to advise public and private sector organisations on effective methods of dealing with cross-community relations at work. The study involved 4 major organizations. Data was collected using an inventory to measure cross-community communication (n = 440); 22 in-depth interviews; and 16 focus groups. A very clear finding was that it was strongly felt that all of the organisations could do significantly more to reduce tensions between the two religious groupings. The results of the study will be discussed in terms of both organisational and relational communication.

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