Beatrice Wairimu Njeru


Two out of three Kenyans organize themselves in popular social collectives known as Chamas. Despite their prevalence, there is scanty literature discussing Chamas, especially from an organizational communication perspective. Strong literature now explains organisations as constituted through communication, especially through the meta-theory Communicative Constitution of Organisation (CCO) and its three Schools of thought. This study presents findings from four purposively selected Chamas, studied through one of CCOs schools, McPhee and Zaug’s (2000) Four Flows. The purpose was to explore exactly how communication constitutes the Chama. Four Flows provided a theoretical framework to analyse and discuss the data.  The study adopted a case study design. The findings are based on twelve Chama meetings observed over seven months, four focus group discussions, and eight in depth interviews with Chama leaders. The findings illustrate specific explications of the Four Flows, on exactly how communication constitutes and strengthens the Chama, despite its non-formal nature.


Organisational Communication Four Flows, communicative constitution, Non formal organisation

Full Text:



Alvesson, M., & Deetz, S. (2006). Critical theory and postmodernism approaches to organisational studies. In The Sage Handbook of Organisation Studies (p. 255). n.p.

Ashcraft, K., Kuhn, T. R., & Cooren, F. (2009). Constitutional Amendments: “Materializing” Organizational Communication. The Academy of Management Annals, 3(1), 1–62.

Bean, H., & Buikema, R. J. (2015a). Deconstituting al-Qa’ida CCO Theory and the Decline and Dissolution of Hidden Organizations. Management Communication Quarterly, 29(4), 512–538.

Bean, H., & Buikema, R. J. (2015b). Deconstituting al-Qa’ida: CCO theory and the decline and dissolution of hidden organizations. Management Communication Quarterly, 29(4), 512–538.

Brummans, B. H., Hwang, J. M., & Cheong, P. H. (2013). Mindful Authoring through Invocation Leaders’ Constitution of a Spiritual Organization. Management Communication Quarterly, 27(3), 346–372.

Carroll, C. E. (Ed.). (2015). The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Reputation. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Chaput, M., Brummans, B. H. J. M., & Cooren, F. (2011). The Role of Organizational Identification in the Communicative Constitution of an Organization: A Study of Consubstantialization in a Young Political Party.

Management Communication Quarterly, 25(2), 252–282.

Cobley, P., & Schulz, P. J. (Eds.). (2013). Theories and Models of Communication. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Creswell, J. W., Hanson, W. E., Plano, V. L. C., & Morales, A. (2007). Qualitative Research Designs Selection and Implementation. The Counseling Psychologist, 35(2), 236–264.

Deetz, S. (Ed.). (2012). Communication Yearbook 17. London: Routledge.

Elo, S., & Kyngäs, H. (2007). The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(1), 107–115.

Gartner, W. B., & Brush, C. (2016). In Entrepreneurship as Organizing: Selected Papers of William B. Gartner. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Giddens, A. (1984). The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Girginova, K. (2013). Social CEOs: Twitter as a consitituve form of communication. Georgetown University, Georgetown, USA.

Haslett, B. B. (2012). Communicating and Organizing in Context: The Theory of Structurational Interaction. New York: Routledge.

Herbling, D. (2014). Bank’s chama awards to showcase power of group investments. Retrieved from

Jensen, P. R., & Meisenbach, R. J. (2015). Alternative Organizing and (In)Visibility Managing Tensions of Transparency and Autonomy in a Nonprofit Organization. Management Communication Quarterly, 29(4), 564–589.

KAIG, K. I. A. (2014). The Chama Handbook (2nd ed.). Nairobi: Raspberry Haven.

Kinyanjui, M. N. (2012). Vyama: Institutions of Hope - Ordinary People’s Market Coordination & Society Organization Alternatives. Oakville, Ontario, Canada: Nsemia Inc.

Kioko, D. M., Ng’ang’a, I., & Maina, L. K. (2015). Influence of member income on table banking adoption among rural households: A survey of Machakos county Kenya. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 2(10), 119–128.

Koschmann, M. A. (2012). What is organizational communication? Retrieved May 25, 2016, from

Kuhn, T. (2008). A Communicative Theory of the Firm: Developing an Alternative Perspective on Intra-organizational Power and Stakeholder Relationships. Organization Studies, 29(8–9), 1227–1254.

Kuhn, T., & Burk, N. (2014). Language and Communication at Work: Discourse, Narrativity, and Organizing. (F. Cooren, E. Vaara, A. Langley, & H. Tsoukas, Eds.). Oxford: OUP Oxford.

Luhmann, N. (1995). Social Systems. Carlifornia: Stanford University Press.

McPhee, R. (2015). Agency and the Four Flows. Management Communication Quarterly, 29(3), 487–492.

McPhee, R., & Zaug, P. (2000). The Communicative Constitution of Organisations: A framework for explanation. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 10(1and 2). Retrieved from

Miller, K., & Barbour, J. (2015). Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes (7th ed.). Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Njeru. (2017, July 10). What am I learning? Retrieved August 18, 2017, from

Novak, D. R. (2016). Democratic Work at an Organization-Society Boundary Sociomateriality and the Communicative Instantiation. Management Communication Quarterly, 30(2), 218–244.

Putnam, L., & Mumby, D. K. (Eds.). (2014). (3rd Ed.).The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Communication: Advances in Theory . London: SAGE Publications.

Putnam, & Nicotera, A. M. (Eds.). (2009). Building Theories of Organization: The Constitutive Role of Communication. New York: Routledge.

Republic of Kenya. (2015) The Self-help Associations Bill, 2015, Pub. L. No. Senate Bill NO. 2.

Schoeneborn, D. (2011). Organization as Communication: A Luhmannian Perspective. Management Communication Quarterly, 0893318911405622.

Schoeneborn, D., Blaschke, S., Cooren, F., McPhee, R. D., Seidl, D., & Taylor, J. R. (2014). The Three Schools of CCO Thinking Interactive Dialogue and Systematic Comparison. Management Communication Quarterly, 28(2), 285–316.

Scott, C. (2013). Anonymous Agencies, Backstreet Businesses, and Covert Collectives: Rethinking Organizations in the 21st Century. Stanford,CA: Stanford University Press.

Sindic, D., Barreto, M., & Costa-Lopes, R. (Eds.). (2014). Power and Identity. London: Psychology Press.

Tsuruta, T. (2006). African imaginations of moral economy: notes on indigenous economic concepts and practices in Tanzania. African Studies Quarterly, 9(1–2), 104–121.

Vásquez, C., Schoeneborn, D., & Sergi, V. (2015). Summoning the spirits: Organizational texts and the (dis)ordering properties of communication. Human Relations, 1–31.

Wrench, J., & Punyanunt-Carter, N. (2012). Modern Theories of Organizational Communication. Unnamed: Unnamed Publisher. Retrieved from

Wright, A. (2016). Organizational routines as embodied performatives: A communication as constitutive of organization perspective. Organization, 23(2), 147–163.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Media Critiques [JMC]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.