Communication Meaning and Definitions
Communication is the nervous system of an organisation. It keeps the members of the organisation informed about the internal and external happenings relevant to a task and of interest to the organisation. It co-ordinates the efforts of the members towards achieving organisational objectives. It is the process of influencing the action of a person or a group. It is a process of meaningful interaction among human beings to initiate, execute, accomplish, or prevent certain actions. Communication is, thus, the life blood of an organisation. Without communication, an organisation, an organisation is lifeless and its very existence is in danger.
The term communication has been derived from the Latin word ‘cmmunis' that means ‘common' and thus, if a person effects communication, he establishes a common ground of understanding. Literally, communication means to inform, to tell, to show, or to spread information. Thus, it may be interpreted as an interchange of thought or information to bring about understanding and confidence for good industrial relations. It brings about unity of purpose, interest, and efforts in an organisation.
- “Communication is the sum of all things, one person does when he wants to create understanding in the minds of another, it involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding.”
- Communication has been defined “As the transfer of information from one person to another whether or not it elicits confidence.”
-------Koontz and O'Donell
- “Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons.”
- Communication is defined as “the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another, it is essentially a bridge of meaning between people. By using the bridge of meaning a person can safely cross the river of misunderstanding.”
The analysis of the above definitions implies that the communication process should have the following characteristics:
).I A two - way traffic: Since communication is an exchange of views, opinions, directions etc., it is a two-way traffic, upward and downward. Messages, directives, opinions, etc., are communicated downward, from a higher level to a lower level in the hierarchy of management. Likewise, grievances, complaints, opinions feelings, points of view etc., are communicated upward along the line, from workers (lower level) to management (higher level). George Terry has rightly remarked, “Simply talking or writing without regard to the recipients' response, is conducive to misunderstanding.” Thus, communication should be both ways.
).II Continuous process: Communication is a continuous process. More often than not, it is repeated to achieve the desired results. It is not a one time shot.
).III A short lived process: The process of communication is complete as soon as the message is received and understood by the receiver in the right perspective; hence, it is a short lived process.
).IV Needs proper understanding: There may be numerous media of communication but the main purpose of conveying the message is a proper understanding of the message by the other party. For this purpose, it should be clearly and concisely worded.
).V Leads achievement of the organizational objective: Effective communication does this by creating the sense of object orientation in the organization.
).VI Dispels misunderstanding: In this sense, it provides clear understanding between persons and thus builds a bridge of comradrie among people.
Answer 1. (b) PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION
The following principles can be followed to make the communication system more effective:
().i Principle of clarity: The idea or the message to be transmitted should be clearly worded so that it may be interpreted by the receiver in the same sense in which it is communicated. There should be no ambiguity in the message. For this purpose, the idea to be communicated should be very clear in the mind of the sender. It should be kept in mind that the words do not speak themselves, but the speaker gives them meaning. If the message is clear, it would evoke an appropriate response from the other party. It is also necessary that the receiver must be conversant with the language, the inherent assumptions, and the mechanics of communication.
().ii Principle of integrity: Communication should be aimed at motivating people to take action as agreed upon. In this process, the superiors rely upon the subordinates and under assumption that their integrity is unimpeackable. It is because the integrity of the organisation is related to the level of integrity possessed by the subordinates. No communication may evoke a response from the subordinates if their integrity is doubted. The superiors should trust the subordinates, accept their view points and never doubt their intention, in executing the task entrusted to them.
().iii Principle of informality: Formal communication system is cornerstone of a formal organisation, and it leads to transmittal of messages. But, sometimes, formal communications prove ineffective in evoking the needed response from the subordinates. In such cases, the superiors should adopt the strategy of making use of informal channels of communication: they may contact, if necessary, the subordinates personally or through someone else to persuade them to translate their orders into action. Informal communication at times proves for more effective than formal communication.
().iv Principle of attention: In order to make the message effective, the recipient's attention should be drawn to the message communicated. Each one is different in behaviour, sentiments and emotions, which determine the degree of attention. For this purpose, the superior must note that he himself should not expect from his subordinates what he himself does not practice. So, a manager cannot enforce punctuality if he himself is not punctual: “Actions speaks louder than words.”
().v Principle of consistency: This principle implies that communication should always be consistent with the policies, plans, programmes and objectives of the organisation, and not in conflict with them. Messages which are inconsistent with the policies and plans of the organisation create confusion in the minds of the subordinates about their implementation; and, such a situation may prove detrimental to the organisation's health.
().vi Principle of adequacy: The information should be adequate and complete in all respects. Inadequate and incomplete information may delay action and destroy understanding, and create confusion. Inadequate information also affects the efficiency of the sender and the receiver of the communication.
().vii Principle of timeliness: All messages should be transmitted at the proper time. Any delay in communicating message serves no purpose except to make them merely historical document as it loses its importance after some time.
().viii Principle of feedback: One of the most important principles of communications is the principle of feedback. The communicator must have feedback information from the recipient to know whether the recipient has understood the message in the same sense in which the sender has meant it, or whether the subordinates agree or disagree with the contents of the message. It also helps in understanding attitude of the people.
().ix Principle of communications network: Communications network means the routes through which the communication travels to its destination, the person for whom it is meant. A number of such networks may exist in an organisation at a given point of time; but the management should consider the effectiveness of the communications network in the given situation and its effects on the behaviour of the recipient before it finally chooses the network.
The above principles if followed will make the communication effective. An effective system of communication should be installed in the organisation so as to promote better industrial relations.
Answer 2. (a) COMMUNICATION IS A TWO-WAY PROCESS
Management of an organisation is effective only when its communication machinery is effective. The very existence of management depends upon an effective machinery of communication. Effective communication machinery is important because it communicates, and helps in implementing, the policies and objectives of the organisation on the one hand and also helps in understanding the nature and behaviour of the people at work.
Management communication is a two-way process. It means that the management must allow both the parties the management and the subordinates to convey their feelings, ideas, opinions, facts, grievances etc. to the other party. Communication is said to be a continuous process of exchange of views and ideas but it should be both ways down ward and upward. The communication machinery or process should not only provide the manager with a the privilege of communicating orders and directions to the workers to get the work done towards the achievement of organisational objectives as pleaded by the classical theory of organisation behaviour knows as Theory X by McGregor, but the workers also must be given a right to approach the management and communicate their complaints, grievances, opinions, facts, suggestions etc. which may be in response to the orders or directions received from the management, or in the interest of the organisation, contributing to the achievement of its objectives. This two-way traffic is advantageous to both the management and the workers. Managers, very often like that the subordinates must listen to them and follow their orders and directions whatsoever. On the other hand, managers are not prepared to listen to their subordinates regarding what they think about them and of their suggestions, ideas or direction. They are not bothered about their subordinates likes and dislikes and how they can contribute to the organisational objectives. Management in this way cannot be effective. Without giving subordinates an opportunity to be heard their feelings will remain suppressed and they may breakdown at any time.
A message can be interpreted by the recipient according to the image of the communicator in the mind of the recipient. If the image is bad the version of the massage may be distorted and interpreted differently. The bad image can be erased through proper communication from the other side which is possible only when there is two-way communication in the organisation.
Thus creation of organizational systems allowing two-way traffic will improve the morale of the workers on the one hand because they think that they have a say in the management and will improve the working of the organisation on the other hand because management worker relation develop in a cordial atmosphere. Thus two-way communication is necessary for effective management.
Communication is a process that allows organisms to exchange information by several methods. Communication requires that all parties understand a common language that is exchanged with each other. Exchange requires feedback. The word communication is also used in the context where little or no feedback is expected such as broadcasting, or where the feedback may be delayed as the sender or receiver use different methods, technologies, timing and means for feedback.
There are auditory means, such as speaking, singing and sometimes tone of voice, and nonverbal, physical means, such as body language, sign language, paralanguage, touch, eye contact, or the use of writing.
Communication happens at many levels (even for one single action), in many different ways, and for most beings, as well as certain machines. Several, if not all, fields of study dedicate a portion of attention to communication, so when speaking about communication it is very important to be sure about what aspects of communication one is speaking about. Definitions of communication range widely, some recognizing that animals can communicate with each other as well as human beings, and some are narrower, only including human beings within the parameters of human symbolic interaction.
Nonetheless, communication is usually described along a few major dimensions:
- Content (what type of things are communicated)
- Source/Emisor/Sender/Encoder (by whom)
- Form (in which form)
- Channel (through which medium)
- Destination/Receiver/Target/Decoder (to whom)
- Purpose/Pragmatic aspect (with what kind of results)
Answer 2. (b) IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
In this age of competition communication is the number one problem of the management. Competition, complex methods of production, large scale operations and specialisation in production functions have increased the importance of communication. Without effective communication a manager cannot perform his duties well. Communication is as essential to business as blood is to the human body. Success of the communication system affects the success of business. The following points will prove its importance in business:
1. Smooth Working of a Business Firm
Communication is necessary for the successful smooth and unrestricted working of an enterprise. All organisational interaction depends upon working of an enterprise. All organisational interaction depends upon communication. The manager co-ordinates the human and the physical elements of an organisation into an efficient and working unit that achieves common objectives. Be it an activity of purchase or sale or production or finance it is the process of communication that makes cooperative action possible. The internal and external communication process of an organisation decides the various activities to be done and various objectives to be achieved. “Communication is basic to an organisation's existence from birth of the organisation through its continuing life when communication stops, organised activity ceases to exist.”
2. Basis of Managerial Function
Communication plays an important role in discharging the various functions of management. No function of management is possible without the communication process. Its importance in performing the various functions is as follows:
- Planning: Planning the most important among the functions of management, requires extensive communication among the executives and the other personnel. Communication is important in executing a planned programme and then controlling the activities of the personnel with the help of feedback information.
- Organisation: Organisation is the second important function of management which decides the various activities of an organisation, divides them into workable units, delegates authority to perform the. For this purpose, communication is a must because different persons, departments and group come to know their powers and jurisdiction only through an effective means of communication.
- Direction and Leadership: Direction and effective leadership requires an efficient system of communication in an organisation. A good leader can direct or lead his subordinates only when an efficient system of communication is present. It brings both the leader and the subordinates in close contact with each other and removes misunderstanding if any.
- Motivation: An efficient system of communication enables management to change the attitude of the subordinates and to motivate, influence and satisfy them. Most of the conflicts in business are not basic but are caused by misunderstood motives and ignorance of facts. Proper and timely communication between the interested parties, reduces the points of friction and minimises those that inevitably arise.
- Co-ordination: The present day big organisations, designed on the basis of specialisation and division of labour are constituted of a large number of people. In order to achieve the desired objective, it is very necessary to co-ordinate the efforts of labour engaged in the various activities of production and the organisation. Co-ordination requires mutual understanding about the organisational goals and the mode of their accomplishment; and the interrelationship between the works being performed by various individuals.
- Control: Communication aids in controlling the activities of the individuals department and groups. The facts standards and information are communicated to the concerned parties and they perform their respective obligations according to the standards set forth in the plan.
3. Maximum Production at Minimum Cost
Every organisation aims at getting the maximum output at the minimum cost and for this purpose it requires an effective internal and external communication system. In the external field, and efficient communication system helps in improving public opinion having contacts with government departments and getting market information in order to achieve the primary goals.
4. Prompt Decision and its Implementation
In order to make prompt decisions, fact collecting process is necessary. Information must be received before any meaningful decision and for this purpose communication is a primary requirement. Again to implement the decision effectively its communication to subordinates concerned is essential. Thus, decision-making and its implementation require and effective system of communication.
5. Building Human Relations
Man is the most active and effective factor of production and good human relations are the basis of cooperation and industrial peace that requires good working conditions and work-environment. As we have discussed earlier communication is a two-way traffic which helps promote cooperation and mutual understanding between the two partners of an organisation. Efficient downward communication helps the management to tell the subordinates what the organisation wants and how it can be performed. On the other hand upward communication helps the workers in putting their grievances and suggestions and reactions to the policies, before the management.
6. Job-satisfaction and Good Morale
Morale is the human element that motivates a man to work in the right spirit. Good communication removes the possibility of misunderstanding among the parties concerned. Workers know what they have to do and how it creates a sense of cooperation among them. It increases the morale of the workers and each worker will have job satisfaction.
7. Avoids Illusion
While passing through various stages information may be distorted by interested parties and many create illusion and misunderstanding among persons. Illusion is the great enemy of communication. An efficient system of communication aims at removing illusions and misunderstanding by communicating facts and figures.
8. Contacts with External Parties
Communication is essential not only for the internal management of the organisation but it also helps contacts with the outside world. Contact with outside agencies such as customers, associations, other manufacturers, advertisers, suppliers, trade unions, research councils and institutions, etc. are necessary for furthering the interests of the organisation. It increases the goodwill of the firm and helps in creating a favourable public attitude towards the organisation.
Answer 3. (a) Broad Categories of communication in an Organisation
Communication on the basis of organisation structure may be classified into two broad categories: Formal and Informal.
1. Formal Communication
Formal communication is closely associated with a formal organisational structure. The communication flows through formal channels, officially recognised positions along the line in the organisation. In the organisation the path along which a communication is to travel is deliberately created to regulate the flows of communication so as to make it orderly and thereby to ensure that the required information flows smoothly, accurately and timely to the points at which it is required. Very often we hear the term through proper channels which means communication through the channel prescribed in the organisation. It is the path of the line of authority linking two positions in the organisation. It is also known as the chain line of command.
Advantages of formal Communication:
- It helps in maintaining the authority of line executives over their subordinates who are responsible to get the work done by their subordinates and are answerable to their bosses. The responsibility of the subordinates for the activities carried out by them can easily be fixed.
- An immediate superior has direct contact with the subordinates; so, a better understanding is developed between them and communication is made more effective.
- Since an executive better informed about the organisation and its problems than the subordinates a better solution can possibly be found easily and good relations between the leader and his subordinates develop.
Disadvantages of formal Communication:
- Every happening in an organisation cannot be foreseen; hence action required for unforeseen events cannot be formalised.
- It increases the workload of the line superior because all communications are transmitted through tem. Thus, it leaves the superiors with little time to perform other organisational functions well.
- There are more chances of red-tapism and delay tactics in this method because executives generally overlook the interests of the subordinates. Any information upward or downward favouring subordinates is more often suppressed or delayed by the superiors.
(iv). In most of the big organisations contact between the top executive and the subordinates at the lowest level are far remote. Very often they do not recognise each other. This adversely affects the relations of executives and subordinates.
Informal communication also known as the grapevine is not a planned or deliberately created channel of communication. It is free from all formalities. No formal organisational chart is followed to convey messages. It is based on the informal relations of the two persons, the sender and the receiver of communication. A general manager may develop contacts with a worker at the lowest level and communicate certain important information relating to him direct to the worker. It is an example of informal communication. It is the result of the natural desire of people to communicate with each other when they come into contact on a regular basis. When interaction takes place among them a small social groups emerges spontaneously and members of the group develop their own communication system known as an informal communication channel or the grapevine.
Advantages of informal communication:
- The communication travels at a faster speed because there is no formal line of communication.
- It is multi dimensional. As there is no channel of communication, communication may be made on any topic of interest to any person in the group irrespective of his position in the formal organisation. It may go to any extent all limits as to direction and degree of communication is self-impose.
- It is dynamic and reacts quickly because informal channels have their sanctions in the group and develop within the organisation.
- At times it may supplement the formal channel. Certain matters which are difficult to communicate through formal channels may be effectively communicated through informal channels. If properly utilised it may clarify the management's points of view to the subordinates which otherwise may not be appealing or it may provide necessary feedback to managers on the possible effects of a decision or action of the management.
Disadvantages of informal communication:
- It very often carries half-truths, rumours and distorted facts at an alarming rate of speed. As there is no mechanism for authentication of the news and views, members of the organisation are likely to be misinformed and misled by informal communications.
- Sometimes the messages communicated through informal channels are so erratic that any action based on these cannot be taken and if taken it may lead to a difficult situation in the organisation because responsibility for erratic messages cannot be fixed.
- In informal communication, there are greater chances of distortion of messages. Each person conveying the message may add, subtract, or change the original message according to his motive or interest. There is a chance that by the time a message completes its complex journey, it may be completely distorted.
Answer 3. (b) Written Communication
Written communication is often resorted to by the management for messages that are lengthy and have to be made permanent. It is also undertaken when oral communication cannot reach each and every person concerned, either due to a large number of communications or duel to long geographical distances between the sender and the receiver. Written communication includes written words, graphs, charts, manuals, reports, diagrams, pictures, letters, circulars etc. Written communication is the most common form of communication used in an organisational set up to be effective, written communication must posse's four important characteristics. It should be clear, complete, correct and to be intelligible.
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of signs or symbols. It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and the recording of language via a non-textual medium such as magnetic tape audio.
Writing is also a distinctly human activity. It has been said that a monkey, randomly typing away on a typewriter (in the days when typewriters replaced the pen or plume as the preferred instrument of writing) could re-create Shakespeare-- but only if it lived long enough (this is known as the infinite monkey theorem). Such writing has been speculatively designated as coincidental. It is also speculated that extra-terrestrial beings exist who may possess knowledge of writing. The fact is, however, that the only known writing is human writing.
Advantages of written communication: Written communication has the following advantages:
- Written communications possess the quality of being stored for future reference. Policy matters, service conditions, confidential orders and instructions and many other communications can be effectively and satisfactorily communicated only through written communication because they are necessary for future reference so that necessary action may be taken against the subordinates who fail to follow the communication. It can be used as evidence if any dispute about jurisdiction or bypassing etc. arises.
- When the sender and the receiver are at distant points, even beyond telephonic range written communication is the only means of communication.
- Written communication is the only way out in such cases where the message is too lengthy and meant for a large number of persons.
- Written communication gives more time to the receiver to think, analyse, and then decide upon the right course of action.
- Written communication is more orderly; and it is binding upon the subordinates and their superiors.
- Written communication becomes essential to pass on to others correct and accurate information. While writing a message superfluous words and all possible errors can be avoided to make it concise.
Answer 4. (a) Effective Communication Barriers
These barriers, obstructions and interruptions in communication may broadly be categorized into the following groups:
- External Barriers
- Organisational Barriers
- Personal Barriers
External barriers are those caused by factors other than organisational and personal factors. Such external barriers may be (a) semantic barriers, (b) emotional or psychological barriers.
1. Semantic Barriers
Such barriers are obstructions caused in the process of receiving or understanding a message during the process of encoding or decoding it into words and ideas. The linguistic capacity of the two parties may have some limitations or the symbols used may be ambiguous. Symbols may have several meanings and unless the context is known to the receiver he is likely to take the meaning of the symbol according to his preconceived notion and misunderstand the communication. Symbols may be classified as language, picture or action.
In written or verbal communication, words used are important. A word used in the communication may have several meanings. In a face to face communication, it is easy to seek clarification of words used, if any doubt is encountered. In case of doubt feedback is required. Many words which we use informally may be taken literally in other contexts, non-friendly situations or in written communication.
Picture is another type of symbol. Pictures are visual aids worth thousands of words. An organisation makes extensive use of pictures like blueprints, charts, maps, graphs, films, three dimensional models and other similar devices. A viewer may come to understand the whole story when he sees them.
Action is another type of symbol. We communicate by both by action or by lack of it. To do or not to do both have a meaning for the receiver. For example if a subordinate does a good job, patting and non-patting on his back by the superior both have a meaning. Patting may inspire him to do a better job again and non-patting may make him disappointed. In this sense we communicate all the times on the job whether we intend to do so or not. Action or non-action may influence the perception of the receiver.
2. Emotional or Psychological Barriers
Personal or emotional or psychological barriers arise from motives, attitudes judgement sentiments emotions and social values of participants. These create a psychological distance that hinders the communication or partly filters it out or causes misinterpretation.
The following are some emotional barriers:
(i). Premature evaluation
Premature evaluation is a tendency to evaluate a communication prematurely rather than keeping an open mind during the interchange. Such evaluation interferes with the transfer of information and begets a sense of futility in the sender.
(ii). Loss in transmission and retention
When communication passes through various levels in an organisation, successive transmissions of the same message are decreasingly accurate. A part of information is lost in transit it is said that about 30% of the information is lost in each transmission.
(iii). Distrust of communicator
The communicator is sometimes distrusted by his own subordinates. It happens when he lacks self-confidence or is less competent in his position. He frequently makes ill considered judgements or illogical decisions and then reviews his own decisions when he fails to implement them.
(iv). Failure to communicate
Sometimes manager do not communicate the needed messages to their subordinates. This might be because of laziness or procrastination on their part or they arbitrarily assume that everybody has got the information or they may hide information deliberately to embarrass the subordinate.
An organisation is a deliberate creation of management for the attainment of certain specific objectives. The day to day functioning of the organisation is regulated in such a way as to contribute to the attainment of these objectives in the most effective manner. For this purpose a variety of official measures are adopted such as designing of the structure arrangement of activities, formulation of various policies, rules and regulation and procedures, laying down of norms of behaviour.
1. Organisational Policy
The general organisational policy regarding communication provides overall guidelines in this matter. This policy might be in the form of a written document or it has to be inferred from organisational practice particularly at the top level. If the policy creates hindrance in the free flow of communication in different directions, communication would not be sooth and effective.
2. Organisational Rules and Regulations
More often different activities of an organisation are governed by specific rules and regulations. Such rules and regulations prescribe the subject matter to be communicated as also the channel through it is to be communicated. The rules may restrict the flow of certain messages and may omit many important ones.
3. Status Relationship
The placing of people in superior-subordinate relationship in a formal organisation structure also blocks the flow of communication and more particularly in the upward direction. The greater the difference in hierarchical positions in terms of their status the greater would be the worry of middle managers about what their senior bosses might think; this leads to their paying little attention to the needs and demands of their subordinates.
4. Complexity in Organisation Structure
In an organisation where there are a number of managerial levels communication gets delayed as it moves along the hierarchical line. Also chances of the communication getting distorted are greater as the number of filtering points is higher. This is particularly true in upward communication because people at intermediate levels do not like to pass on negative remarks either of themselves or of their superiors.
5. Organisational Facilities
Certain organisations provide certain facilities for smooth, edequate, clear and timely flow of communication such as meetings conferences complaint or suggestion boxes, open door system etc. If these facilities are not properly emphasized, people generally fail to communicate effectively.
As communication is basically an interpersonal process many personal factors inherent in the two parties to communication the sender and the receiver, influence the flow of communication and present many hurdles in the way of effective communication.
1. Barriers in Superiors
Superiors play an important role in communication. Because of their hierarchical position they act as barriers in a number of ways a follows:
(i). Attitude of superiors
General attitude of the superiors about communication or attitude towards a particular communication affects the flow of messages in different direction. If the attitude is unfavourable there is greater possibility of filtering or colouring of the information. Any information received from the top may not reach the bottom in the same form, or even the reverse may happen.
(ii). Fear of challenge to authority
The superiors in an organisation generally try to withhold the information coming down the line or going up as frequent passing of information may disclose their own weaknesses; thus generally happens when the superior lacks self-confidence and is afraid that someone else might be promoted in his place if his weaknesses were to come to light.
(iii). Insistence on proper channel
There are channels of communication in an organisation along which information passes upward or downward. Some officers insist too much on communication through proper channel. They do not like any bypassing in communication. But sometimes bypassing becomes necessary in the interest of the organisation; however, the superiors think bypassing as thwarting of their authority and block the flow of communication.
(iv). Lack of confidence in subordinates
The superiors generally perceive that their subordinates are less competent and they are not capable of advising their superiors. Therefore they feel whether correctly or otherwise, that they are over burdened and have not time to talk to their subordinates.
2. Barriers Regarding Subordinates
There are certain factors in the subordinates which adversely affect their participation in the communication process. Some factors like attitude lack of time applicable to the superiors are also applicable here. Two more factors in the subordinates need special attentions which are responsible for blocking communication in the upward direction.
(i). Unwillingness to communicate
The subordinates generally are not willing to communicate upward any information which is likely to affect them adversely. If they feel that supply of such adverse information is necessary for control purposes they would modify it in such a way so as not to harm their interest.
(ii). Lack of proper incentive:
Lack of incentive to communicate also prevents the subordinates from communicating upward. They are punished when they are wrong but may not be rewarded when they work marvellously well and offer a novel suggestion.
The above are some of the barriers which come in the way of effective communication. They vitiate the message in several ways including distortion filtering and omission. Distortion means changing the context or the meaning of the text of information. Filtering means reducing the message only to a few basic details and omission refers to deletion of all or a part of the message from the text. We must be careful about these barriers in communication.
Answer 4. (b) Steps to Make Communication Effective
In order to remove barriers to communication an open door communication policy should be prepared and followed by managers at all levels. The superiors in the organisation must create and atmosphere of confidence and trust in the organisation so that the credibility gap may be narrowed down. Major efforts in this direction are:
1. Two-way communication
The organisation's communication policy should provide for a two-way traffic in communication upwards and downwards. It brings two minds closer and improves understanding between the two parties the sender and the receiver. A sound feedback system should be introduced in the organisation so that distortion in and filtering of messages should be avoided. There should be no communication gap.
2. Strengthening Communication Network
The communication network should be strengthened to make communication effective. For this purpose the procedure of communication should be simplified, layers in downward communication should be reduced to the minimum possible. Decentralisation and delegation of authority should be encouraged to make information communication more efficient, through frequent meetings, conferences and timely dissemination of information to the subordinates.
3. Promoting Participative Approach
The management should promote the participative approach in management. The subordinates should be invited to participate in the decision making process. It should seek cooperation from the subordinates and reduce communication barriers.
4. Appropriate Language
In communication certain symbols are used. Such symbols may be in the form of words, pictures and actions. If words are used, the language should be simple and easily comprehensible to the subordinates. Technical and multi-syllable words should, as far as possible be avoided. The sender must use the language with which the receiver is familiar. The message should be supported by pictures or actions wherever necessary to emphasise certain points. The sender must also practices in action what he says to others or expects from others.
5. Credibility in Communication
One criterion of effective communication is credibility. The subordinates obey the orders of their superior because they have demonstrated through their actions that they are trustworthy. They must practise whatever they say. The superior must also maintain his trust worthiness. If the superior is trusted by the subordinates, communication will be effective.
6. Good Listening
A communicator must be a good listener too. A good manager gives his subordinates a chance to speak freely and express their feelings well before him. The manager also gets some useful information for further communication and can also have a better understanding of the subordinates needs, demands etc.
7. Selecting on Effective Communication Channel
To be effective the communication should be sent to the receiver through an effective channel. By effective channel we mean that the message reaches its destination in time to the right person and without any distortion, filtering or omission.
8. Preventing Predictable Decision Making Errors
Predictable errors in decision making are preventable errors. And a few simple techniques can help you steer clear of the most common wrong turns in decision making. They can get you to your go point, that decisive moment when the essential information has been gathered, the pros and cons weighed, and the time has come to get off the fence and make your decision. Learn more about decision making.
Answer 8. (a) Scope of Communication
(i). Information sharing:
The main purpose of communication is to transmit information from a source to target individuals or groups. Various types of information are transmitted in the organisation: policies and rules and changes and development in the organisation etc. There may be need for fast diffusion of some information in the organisation, special rewards and awards given, settlements with the union and major changes in the organisation.
There is a need to give feedback to the employees on their achievements to the departments on their performance and to the higher management on the fulfilment of goals; and difficulties encountered in the communication of feedback helps in taking corrective measures and making necessary adjustments and it motivates people in developing challenging and realistic plans.
The management information system is well-known as a control mechanism. Information is transmitted to ensure that plans are being carried out according to the original design. Communication helps in ensuring such control.
Information is power. One purpose of communication is to influence people. The manager communicates to create a good working environment, right attitudes and congenial working relationships. All these are examples of influencing.
In many cases communications aim at solving problems. Communication between the management and the unions on some issues (negotiation) is aimed at finding a solution. Many group meeting are hold to brainstorm alternative solutions for a problem and to evolve a consensus.
(vi). Facilitating change:
The effectiveness of a change introduced in an organisation depends to a large extent on the clarity and spontaneity of the communication. Communication between the managers and employees helps in recognising the difficulties in the planned change and in taking corrective action.
(vii). Gate keeping:
Communication helps to build linkages of the organisation with the outside world. The organisation can use its environment to increase its effectiveness..
For arriving at a decision several kinds of communication are needed, exchange of information, views and available alternatives etc, communication helps a great deal in decision-making.
Answer 8. (b) The Grapevine
Grapevine is Informal Communication in general is exchange of information, a discussion that adheres less to the rules and standards. it is on the dimension of the Project Communication Management. For example, a Project Sponsor might have a meeting with the Project Manager to discuss about the progress of the project and can give much better feedback that another type of communication (other types may include emails, hard copy reports etc.). Informal Communication is more effective for discussing sensitive information in a project.
Four types of informal communications have been identified:
- Single strand: In single strand network the individual communicates with the other individual through intervening persons. In other words each person tell s the other in sequence, one tells one.
- Gossip: In gossip one individual tells others on a non-selective basis, one tells all.
- Probability: In probability the individual tells other individuals randomly according to the law of probability.
- Cluster: In cluster type network the individual communicates with only those individuals whom he trusts. Research shows that out of the four, cluster chain is the most popular form of informal communication.
It is not possible to establish a particular type of informal communication in an organisation. However attempts may be made indirectly to influence the result of informal communication. Keith Davis has found certain predictable forms of informal communication which can be of great use to the management in this respect. For instance individuals talk most when news is recent they talk about things which affect their work, and they talk about people they know. In addition people who are working with each other and who contact each other in the formal chain are likely to be on the same grapevine. It should be recognised that informal communication is as important as the informal organisation and that it is not identical with false rumour. Therefore, the management can profitably utilise the informal system in the attainment of organisation goals.
According to Robbins, the grapevine in an organization has three significant characteristics.
- It is not controlled by formal management.
- Most employees perceive it to be more believable and reliable than formal communication issued by top management.
- It is largely used for the self-interests of the people within the organization.
Answer 8. (e) Guide to Effective Listening
- Listen patiently to what the other person has to say even though you may believe it to be wrong or irrelevant. Indicate simple acceptance (not necessarily agreement) nodding your head or perhaps interjecting an occasional “um-hm” or “I see.”
- Try to understand the feeling the person is expressing as well as the intellectual content. Most of us have difficulty talking clearly about our feelings. So careful attention is required.
- Restate the person's feelings briefly but accurately. At this stage you simply serve as a mirror and encourage the other person to continue talking. Occasionally make summary responses such as you think you are in a dead-end job but in doing so keep your tone neutral and try not to lead the person to your pet conclusions.
- Avoid direct questions and arguments about facts refrain from saying, “That is just not so,” “Hold on a minute let's look at the facts,” or “Prove it.” You may want to review the evidence later, but a review is irrelevant to how the person feels now.
- Allow time for the discussion to continue without interruption and try to separate the conversation from mere official communication of company plans. That is, don't make the conversation any more “authoritative” than it already is by virtue of your position in the organisation.
- When the other person does touch upon a point you do want to know more about, simply repeat statements as a question. For instance, if he remarks, ‘nobody can break even on his expense account', you can probe by replying, and “You say no one breaks even on expenses?” With this encouragement he will probably expand on his previous statement.
- Listen for what is not said evasions for pertinent points or perhaps too ready agreement with common clichés. Such an omission may be a clue to a bothersome fact the person wishes was not true.
- If the other person appears genuinely to want your view point, be honest in your reply. But at the listening stage try to limit the expression of your views, since these may condition or repress what the other person says.
- Don't get emotionally involved yourself. Try simply to understand first and defer evaluation until later.
- Listen “between the lines.” A person does not always put everything that is important into words. The changing tones and volume of his voice may have a meaning. So may his facial expression the gestures he makes with his hands and the movements of his body.
- Better results can be achieved if the superior gives less emphasis to explaining and more emphasis to listening.
Answer 8. (f) Communication Feedback
When individuals work together and interact the need to communicate effectively their feelings, impressions and views on various matters becomes important. Equally important is how these are received. When we communicate our reactions and perceptions to a person, especially regarding his behaviour, style of working. We call it feedback. Feedback, in simple terms, is the communication of feelings and perceptions by an individual to another individual about the latter's behaviour and style of working. Such interpersonal feedback is involved in everyday life in various situations; for example, the boss sits with his subordinate and gives him necessary counselling about his achievements his strengths as well as areas in which he can improve further. We tell our peers what we think about their style and ways of behaviour so that they may be able to benefit from such communication. A subordinate may also do the same. If his boss pulled him up in the presence of others he may go and tell him how bad he felt about such a happening. This may help the boss to improve his ways of communicating such matters to his subordinates.
The main function of giving feedback is to provide data about a person's style of behaviour and its effect on others. Such data can be verified by the individual by either collecting more data from other sources or by checking some aspects with others. The feedback also provides several alternatives to the individual out of which he can choose one or two to experiment on. Interpersonal feedback contributes to the improvement of communication between two persons involved in feedback through the establishment of a culture of openness and promoting interpersonal trust. Continuous feedback will help in establishing norms of being open.
Similarly, receiving of feedback fulfils several purposes. It primarily helps the individual (one who receives feedback) to process behavioural data he has received from others (the perceptions and feelings people have communicated to him about the effect of his behaviour on them). It helps him to have better awareness of his own self and behaviour. Getting information about how his behaviour is perceived and what impact it makes on others, increases his sensitivity, his ability to pickup cues from the environment that indicate what perceptions and feelings people have about his behaviour.
Provides verifiable data
Helps in processing behavioural
Encourages collecting data from several sources
Increase self- awareness
Suggests alternatives to be considered
Increase sensitivity in picking up cures
Improves interpersonal communication
Encourages experimentation with new behaviour
Establishes culture of openness
Helps in building an integrated self
Promotes interpersonal trust
Answer 8. (g) Essential qualities of a business letter
A letter is called effective when it meets its objectives. Some common objectives of letters are:
- To be read
- To be understood
- To be accepted
- To be acted upon
- To build goodwill
Whatever the purpose, the message should be clear to the reader. A letter is one whole piece and should be balanced. Modern correspondence, like many things in the twentieth century, is the result of the scientific spirit and the professional approach to getting things done.
Rightly or wrongly the reader of a letter judges it by its appearance. It is a common human habit. Shoddy and badly crafted letters reflect discredit upon an organisation. The factors that make for good presentation in a letter and its aesthetic attractiveness are:
- The display
- The balance
- The proportion
- The letter-head design
- The typewriter ribbon
- The typing
- The way the letter is folded
All these things come together to make an impact. If overlooked the letter gets a bad start.
- Prompt and complete replies to all letters that require acknowledgement.
- Intelligent and sympathetic understanding of a customer's problem and a genuine desire to be of service.
- Casting aside suspicions and giving the customer the benefit of doubt until he proves himself unworthy.
- A friendly cheerful cordial and urbane style of writing.
- Use of correct titles and solutions.
- Putting yourself in the other person's place and treating him as you would like to be treated.