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Communication facilitates the initiation, operation and completion of most processes of the world. Human beings, animals and even automated and other objects engage in the practice of communicating with each other so that the framework and system of the world can function properly and go on. Communication is critical if various tasks are to be carried out. Nations do their work, human beings manage their relationships with other people and organizations carry out their procedure with the assistance of communication.
Organizational communication is a core component of any organization and without it, the tasks of the organization cannot be carried out in a proper manner. This is why organizational communication is so important to the organization and its employees. It is further so significant because it can decide the fate of a project and whether it will be successful or unsuccessful. The following sections of the paper highlight the pros and cons linked with the topic of organizational communication and the factors which make it successful or unsuccessful. The paper will further go on to analyze various types of organizational communication, how interpersonal communication is carried out and the equations between organizational communication and the factor of cultural diversity.
Pros and Cons: What makes Organizational Communication Successful or Unsuccessful?
Factors which may Cause Unsuccessful Communication
Organizational communication can be unsuccessful if the employer-employee relations are governed in the form of too much of a dictatorship style. If the management just gives orders to employees and does not listen to the questions they might have or pay heed to their input, problems may arise. In addition, if communication is not established and used as a norm to connect various levels of the management hierarchy with the employees, then harmful gaps may occur in the communicational hierarchy and the problems of employees may be left unattended. Also, if communication is ambiguous or unclear, it can lead to a substantial number of problems. An example can be a project management environment. If the flow of communication is too unidirectional, it can lead to a stiff communicational sphere and if misunderstandings are regarding how a project should unfold or be carried out, then project development or outcomes can also suffer.
Key Areas of Focus that lead to Success
Successful communication occurs when all parties, whether they are formed by various employees or an employee-employer combination, pay heed to the viewpoints of each other and respect it. In addition to giving the other party ample time to express its opinion and views, it is also required that the parties should follow that with an emphatic statement about their own point. Also, it should be noted that while coordinating efforts on a project or task, various employees should compile and organize their views and perspectives in a proper manner in advance so that no questions are left unanswered during communication and all parties covey their points to the other in the best possible manner.
The pros of effective organizational communication originate from the specific detail that when this category of communication is successful, the general performance standards of an organization and its outcomes are improved and the quality is better all around. It should also be noted that this type of communicational practices and outcomes will give rise to improved "productivity" and employee satisfaction (Cushman & Cahn, 1985, p. 101).
When an organization has the kind of processes which enable a balanced and effective communicational structure, it is capable of enjoying a culture in which the elements of communication are stable and efficient, and in which people are more concerned about coordinating various tasks by finding the best possible set of conditions rather than just sharing and imposing their opinion.
Types of Organizational Communication
Organizational communication does not exist for the purpose of letting employees communicate with each other. There is a deeper purpose behind this communication and that purpose can be defined to aim for accomplishing those conditions which can help coordinate all processes of the organization in such a manner that its operations can be carried out in a perfect manner and the outcomes, products and/services are of the highest quality. Therefore, communication can also be defined as a catalyst for the success of an organization.
Even though there can be a substantial number of the types of organizational communication, it should be noted that majority of the types of organizational communication can fall under a number of 4 categories. These categories can be defined as "upward", "downward", "business" and "informal" communication (Aamodt, 2012, p. 396).
In this type of communications, the route of the flow of communication is upward i.e. from subordinates to managers. This communication can be very effective because it means that employees are conveying their point directly to management, but it cannot be considered to be very pragmatic because too much communication will take place and the higher level managers will be burdened. A method to do this communication another way is by serial communication in which an employee conveys the message to his supervisor who passes it to his manager and so on. A drawback is that by going through so many channels, the message gets altered or modified (Aamodt, 2012, p. 396)
Downward communication is that form of communication in which the managers convey their message to their employees and the flow of information is from higher to lower.
Business communication takes place so as to ensure the interaction between two entities conducting business smoothly so that mutual outcomes can be accomplished. It should be noted that this communication is of a formal nature and can be both verbal and written
Informal communication is the communication which takes place among the employees of an organization in an informal manner. It does not fall under any of the afore-mentioned categories
There is a point where organizational and interpersonal areas of communication overlap each other. The phenomenon of organizational communication is such that it defines a backdrop for managing interpersonal communication which takes place the entities encompassed by it or in other words, its workforce (Cushman and Cahn, 1985, p. 102). Communication is a key factor if the management of an organization strives to accomplish its outcomes.
As far as the human interactions which take place in an organization are concerned, it should be noted that interpersonal communication is required to be dealt with sensitivity, finesse and consideration. If the management of an organization requires high level of interpersonal communication with its employees, it should take into account and center on both nonverbal and verbal kinds of communication and the impediments to communication which exist because of the authority factor which exists (Marguis & Huston, 2009, p. 461).
While discussing interpersonal communication in the context of an organization, it is also significant to highlight the impediments which may obstruct this. Interpersonal communication involves human beings and when human beings are being considered, the very human complications, problems and issues that they bring to the table must also be considered. The impediments which may exist to obstruct the route and efficacy of interpersonal communication include the issues that are of an interpersonal nature, the distractions which may be part of the environment or of a physical nature and those kinds of impediments which are in the category of semantic obstructions (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p. 245).
In some cases, it should be noted that interpersonal barriers may include the conflicts existing between two individuals, a deficiency of faith in each other, or preexisting notions or biases (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p. 245). Factors in the surroundings or physical barriers can include the likes of noises in the workplace, the distractions created by other people and other such factors (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p. 246).
The third pertinent category of barriers which may harm organizational communication to a considerable degree include semantic barriers, which may arise from a bad or low quality selection of what to say and those ambiguous messages which are not clear at all (Schermerhorn et al., 2010, p. 246)
With the advent of globalization and other such factors, cultural diversity in organizations is also increasing with an exponential speed. Cultural diversity proves to be instrumental in giving rise to a structure and setting in which people from different backgrounds and conditions are brought together under the same roof. It should be noted that cultural diversity can create barriers to communication but if treated properly and with suitable principles of organizational communication, it can be capitalized on as an asset to the organization and a core strength. If such conditions are born which enable people from diverse backgrounds to merge and exchange ideas in the manner and form of well-defined teams and groups, the organization can benefit from it to a considerable degree.
As far as cultural diversity is concerned, it should also be noted that all workers associated with an organization should be informed about the complications originating from cultural diversity so that they are aware of all variables and factors which may leave an effect on or impede the communication among them. Not only is cultural diversity management of core significance in today's organizational culture, but communication with all workers regarding the nuances and implications of cultural diversity can be underlined to be of prime significance.
Communication to overcome the difficulties arising from cultural diversity is also essential because of the specific detail that if employees are ill-informed and not knowledgeable to a considerable degree in this department, they can communicate in an improper manner and send the wrong signals to members belonging to other cultures, which will harm employee relations as well as the overall culture of an organization and its environment. If the communicational sphere of an organization is so ineffective, there is no denying that its processes and outcomes will suffer and it will face a disadvantage.
It is also of an intrinsically significant nature to note that it should be the duty of the department of communication to facilitate those procedures which take care of defining the worth of diversity management all the way through the echelons of upward and downward levels of communication. As far as the aspect of cultural diversity in an organization is concerned, it should further be noted that there is a requirement for devising a "communication policy" and implementing it in the structure and framework of the organization so that all employees comprehend it to a substantial degree.
Therefore, it is the duty of the corporate communication department to formulate those efficient communication strategies which can improve matters all around in relation to the phenomenon of cultural diversity (Syed & Ã-zbilgin, 2010, p. 34).
Organizational communication is required to be examined thoroughly so that its flaws can be underlined and eliminated and a level of stability is discovered and established between various aspects of an organization. The afore-mentioned discussion makes an emphatic statement about the detail that organizational communication is a critical factor as far as the correct operation of an organization, stable equations between various levels of the hierarchy and the accomplishment of its outcomes are concerned.
Employee satisfaction is dependant to a considerable degree on the kind of communication which takes place and if the communication is too rigid or unidirectional, it may direct the course of events to the conditions in which the overall productivity of the organization will suffer and cause deterioration in the quality of outcomes accomplished by its workers as individuals as well as a collective force. In brief, it can be ascertained that for an organization to be comprehensively and completely successful, the standards of its communication should be elevated and incorporate a balanced form of structure integrating the best points from all types of communication.
Furthermore, it should also take the impediments to communication originating from cultural diversity into consideration and give rise to the kind of processes which enlighten employees belonging to all echelons regarding the significance of communication in a culturally diverse environment and the factors which may create issues.