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Integrative complexity in South African Parliamentary debate : the normative basis for variability.

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All 1996 parliamentary speeches of two members from each of three parties represented in the South African parliament were coded for the extent to which they demonstrated integrative complexity, a measure of the level of differentiation and integration which a decision-maker demonstrates in justifying his or her position. Each of the selected debates was also categorised according to the manner in which the speaker was aligned in relation to other parties taking part in the debate and the extent to which the matter had been aired in parliament previously. The relationship between the level of integrative complexity shown in the speeches was assessed in relation to the alignment of the speaker with other parties, the extent to which the debate had been rehearsed and the position f the speaker on the left-right political spectrum. The results of the study indicated a strong relationship between the relationship of the speaker to the ruling ANC in the debate, with speakers showing significantly lower integrative complexity when opposing the ANC than when they were in agreement with the ANC. The extent to which the debate had been rehearsed bore a relationship to integrative complexity which only approached significance and the political affiliation of the speaker yielded a non-significant relationship to integrative complexity. The results of the study are discussed with reference to existing theoretical understandings of and research into integrative complexity.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1999.


Political parties--South Africa--Psychological apects., Politicians--South Africa--Psychology., Political psychology., South Africa. Parliament--Officials and employees--Psychological apects., Decision making--Psychological aspects., Political science--Decision making., Political oratory--Psychological aspects., Theses--Psychology.