Muutuste kommunikatsioon Politsei- ja Piirivalveametis 2007-2010 Lõuna prefektuuri näitel
Communication of changes in the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board in 2007- 2010 through the example of the South Prefecture. This Master's thesis analyzes, through the example of the South Prefecture, the communication of changes before, during and after the reform in the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, formed on January 1, 2010 through the merger of the Police Board, Border Guard Board, Central Criminal and Personal Protection Police, and the Citizenship and Migration Board. The merger process that was time-consuming and complex meant that, after the merger of the boards, the state created Estonia's historically largest institution with almost 7 000 state officials whose background varied from military representatives to customer service assistants. Estonia has never seen such a large-scale merger of institutions and it is also noteworthy that the merger included very autonomous bodies with historical traditions and long-term organizational culture. The Master's thesis analysis focuses on the timeliness and reasoning concerning the communication of changes in one of the South Prefecture staff's main communication channels, the internal web, and also the meaning of these changes. The author additionally uses in-depth interviews to study the level of awareness of the changes among the prefecture board members whose task is to forward crucial information and messages to the subordinate units. The author also compares the results of the two named analysis sources with external communication messages to study any differences in the internal and external communication. Solution of the research task employs the text analysis of posts to the internal web of the South Prefecture, also the structured in-depth interviews with South Prefecture heads, and a discourse analysis of external communication. As a result of the study, the author found that the internal web environment before the merger was primarily a place for presenting operative messages and mediating media texts. When it came to comments on behalf of the institution, the communication was predominantly passive and described the process, rather than explaining its background. Since the input for internal communication was often gained from external communication, the messages on the semantic field of the communication of changes were primarily from external sources (gains from the merger: an increase in effectiveness and internal security). During the merger, the mediation of journalistic texts to the internal web died down; one could also note a marked increase in the quality of posts since the messages were clearer and the topics raised were more specific (the basis for these was planned internal communication). When it came to messages, the semantic field saw a strong arrival of the attempt to achieve uniformity in the merged board; at the same time the messages also continued to emphasize the increase in effectiveness, but also the service quality. After the merger, several groups of issues concerning minor processes caused by the changes were raised, but the related communication in the internal web was almost non-existent; a period of silence reigned. The messages that had previously appeared in the semantic field were suddenly gone, although some were still not convinced in the necessity or promised gains of the merger. However, at the same time, the messages continued to emphasize, to a lesser extent, the fact that a merged board needs to create uniform standards (uniformity). The most exciting input for the thesis was provided by the regional managers whose in-depth interviews revealed that during their everyday work they see gains from the merger in the form of more effective resource usage (including the opportunity for cross-usage), yet the majority of the interviewees were rather skeptical about the messages mediated to them during the reform. More than half the respondents had heard that the merger would bring about optimization of costs and the reduction of overlapping through support services, but did not fail to note that these reasons were not convincing and do not apply to today's situation; some also found that the merger process arose due to national policy where the execution of a merger was more of an opportunity for 'heroism'. The interviewees repeatedly highlighted the fact that overlapping in information exchange has increased significantly after the merger and there is now a lot of noise, because a large number of people in the central apparatus turn daily to as many officials as possible with very different issues, yet these issues do not affect such officials at all or do not affect them concerning the specific process period. The discourse analysis revealed that the messages provided in external communication about the gains from the merger were quite clear, but transformed too quickly in the chronological sense. Before the merger, messages were relatively uniform in internal and external communication (because external texts were mediated into internal communication), but in later periods the media was far more progressive in raising and discussing crucial issues, directing their focus to the most important points – the costs, lay-offs, cuts, and identity and other problems. However, in internal communication these periods were often ruled by silence. During the study the author found that the main mistakes revealed in the internal communication of the reform were the facts that, despite the rapid pace of the merger process, communication was not hurried; the employees were not engaged in the process to the least extent; internal communication yielded to silence; and the main question – why the merger was executed in the first place – was constantly forgotten.