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Communication in its simplest form is conveying of information from one person to another. In other words, communication is the sum of all the things, one person does when he wants to create understanding in the mind of another. It is a bridge of meaning. It involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding. "Thus, communication may be defined as an interchange of thought or information to bring about mutual understanding and confidence. It is the exchange of facts, ideas and viewpoints which brings about commonness of interest, purpose and efforts. Common forms of communication include speaking, writing, signaling and gesturing.
FEATURES OF COMMUNICATION
The characteristics of communication are as follows:
Communication is possible only when there are at least two persons, one sender and the other receiver. This means that one person alone cannot communicate.
Information Sharing and Understanding
Communication involves both transfers of information as well as understanding between two or more persons. This means that communication does not take place simply because information has been transferred or conveyed to the person concerned. What is equally important is that the receiver of communication should understand the information transferred to him as it was intended to be.
Verbal and Non-Verbal
Communication is not restricted to transfer of information and understanding through words alone. A manager can communicate through symbols, gestures and actions which are non-verbal in nature.
The flow of communication is circular, that is, the process of communication starts when the sender transmits a message to the receiver and is completed when the receiver sends the feedback to the sender.
Communication is goal oriented .The end result of communication is understanding between the sender and the receiver of information.
Exchange of ideas and opinions among persons is an ongoing process in business and non-business organizations. Communication is as important in the organization as flow of blood in the human body.
Communication is a pervasive activity. It takes place at all levels (top, middle, low) and in all functional areas (production, finance, marketing, personnel, etc) of a business enterprise.
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Communication is a process which involves a sender of message and a receiver. Communication is complete only when the receiver is able to interpret the message as desired by the sender and responds to it. Communication is regarded as a two-way. it includes sending of a message and the response to that message. The receiver may or may not agree with the point of view of the sender of the message. However, for communication to be complete, the receiver must understand the message in the same sense as intended by the sender.
As shown above in the figure, the process of communication begins when one person (the sender) wants to transmit a fact .idea opinion or other information to someone else (the receiver). This fact, idea or other information has meaning to the sender. Whether it be simple and concrete or complex or abstract. The next step is to translate or convert message into language which reflects the idea. That is the message must be encoded .The encoding process is influenced by content of the message, the familiarity of sender and receiver and other situational factors.
After the message has been encoded, it is transmitted through an appropriate channel or medium. Common channels in organization include meetings, memos, letters, reports, e-mails and telephone calls. After the message is received, it is decoded, that is, the receiver translates the message into terms meaningful to him.
IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION IN MANAGEMENT OF BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
MEANING OF CULTURE
Culture is linked to communication and a wide range of human experience including feelings identity and sense- making. It provides people with different ways of thinking, seeing and interpreting the world. It involves a number of man-made, collective artifacts and is shared bu the members of a social group. It is something that shapes one's behavior of structures one's perception of the world.
Culture represents the beliefs, ideologies, policies, practices of an organization. It gives the employees a sense of direction and also controls the way they behave with each other. The work culture brings all the employees on a common platform and unites them at the workplace.
There are several factors which affect the organization culture:
Individuals working in the organization
The first and the foremost factor affecting culture is the individual working with the organization. The employees in their own way contribute to the culture of the workplace. The attitudes, mentalities, interests, perception and even the thought process of the employees affect the organization culture.
Example - Organizations which hire individuals from army or defence background tend to follow a strict culture where all the employees abide by the set guidelines and policies. The employees are hardly late to work. It is the mindset of the employees which forms the culture of the place. Organizations with majority of youngsters encourage healthy competition at the workplace and employees are always on the toes to perform better than the fellow workers.
The sex of the employee
It also affects the organization culture. Organizations where male employees dominate the female counterparts follow a culture where late sitting is a normal feature. The male employees are more aggressive than the females who instead would be caring and softhearted.
The nature of the business
This also affects the culture of the organization. Stock broking industries, financial services, banking industry are all dependent on external factors like demand and supply, market cap, earning per share and so on. When the market crashes, these industries have no other option than to terminate the employees and eventually affect the culture of the place. Market fluctuations lead to unrest, tensions and severely demotivate the individuals. The management also feels helpless when circumstances can be controlled by none. Individuals are unsure about their career as well as growth in such organizations.
The culture of the organization is also affected by its goals and objectives
The strategies and procedures designed to achieve the targets of the organization also contribute to its culture.
Individuals working with government organizations adhere to the set guidelines but do not follow a procedure of feedback thus forming its culture. Fast paced industries like advertising, event management companies expect the employees to be attentive, aggressive and hyper active.
The clients and the external parties
This to some extent also affect the work culture of the place. Organizations catering to UK and US Clients have no other option but to work in shifts to match their timings, thus forming the culture.
The management and its style of handling the employees
It also affect the culture of the workplace. There are certain organizations where the management allows the employees to take their own decisions and let them participate in strategy making. In such a culture, employees get attached to their management and look forward to a long term association with the organization. The management must respect the employees to avoid a culture where the employees just work for money and nothing else. They treat the organization as a mere source of earning money and look for a change in a short span of time.
CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION
Culture is often defined in interrelation to communication:
"Culture is communication and communication is culture"
Culture is passed on via communication and communication reflects one's culture
CROSS -CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
It is a research field that studies how people from different cultural backgrounds communicate with each other. It is an instrument which transmits a certain meaning, composes and reinforces identity and expresses feelings. It is an instrument to connect with others.
CONSTRAINTS FOR CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
The barriers of cross cultural communication are as follows:
The frame of reference or the mind set or the world view which provides a backdrop that all new information is compared to or inserted into.
Each culture has its own rules concerning proper behavior which effect verbal and non verbal communication.
Different cultures regulate the display of emotions differently. Some cultures get very emotional while others try to keep their emotions hidden.
Every culture has its own way of doing things and perceptions about what is right and is what is wrong. And like every culture has its own social habits, things which are socially acceptable or unacceptable.
If I would have been working for a multinational IT company and would have been transferred to JAPAN for five years for a project. The aspects of the local culture I would have wish to observe and understand in order to avoid problems of cross-cultural communication and to ensure effective cross-cultural communication are as follows :
I should have the desire to communicate with the individuals in the new organization and the new culture. To connect with the individuals with different culture from mine's as Japanese culture is quite different from the Indian culture
I would try to know about the culture of the people of Japan and other organizations I have to deal with. To develop the skills and to act in a way that respects their preferences.
Knowledge will include how the organizations work, what are their ethics and norms, rules and regulations, organizational practices etc. I will do some research work on Japan's culture.
There is only one official language spoken in Japan, which is of course Japanese. However, many Japanese are able to understand English to a certain extent since English is the foreign language that everyone must learn as part of compulsory education.
. But if I will be knowing a few everyday Japanese phrases then it will make me communicate more easily. Few words make a big difference:
Useful Japanese Phrases
Japanese > English
I don't understand
The Japanese term "hourensou" refers to important attributes that are said to characterize collaboration and information flow within effective Japanese corporate culture. "Genchi genbutsu" refers to "getting your hands dirty", to identify or solve immediate problems and leaders are not exempt from this. Aspects of these principles are often mistaken by western managers for the type of micromanagement that is constant and unprincipled and interferes with processes. In contrast, these principles are used as tools to shepherd processes. I would like to learn the managerial style of Japanese corporations to understand the culture better.
"Jargon" is the specialized or technical language of any trade, fellowship, organization, class, profession, or even hobby. Technical jargon is a specific word or set of words that are used in various technical fields. The words could have meaning to the rest of the world .
Even the most educated employees who understand English in japan will not have a complete knowledge of slang,idioms and sayings.the threat here is that,the words will be understood but the meaning will be misude.So I would have to learn to avoid the use of slangs or technical jargons being used in INDia.
When communication across culture takes place, one should never assume the other party has understood would have to be an active listener. And I would like to summarize what has been said in order to verify it. This is a very effective way of ensuring accurate cross cultural communication has taken place.
LEARNING JAPANESE BUSINESS ETTIQUETTE
In practice, Japanese business etiquette is not so different - politeness, sensitivity and good manners are the pillars of Japanese business etiquette. The main difference is that Japanese business etiquette is more formal - especially so at a first meeting when the exchanging of the infamous Japanese business card is almost ritualistic.
There are certain aspects of Japanese business etiquette (for example business attire) that are very traditional compared to business in other countries (most especially when doing business with a company where an executive or senior manager has recently died) where you must be very sensitive. it is not so different once you get to know the people you are dealing with. I would like to learn and practice their business etiquette.
9. SLOW DOWN
Even when English is the common language in a cross cultural situation, this does not mean one should speak at a normal speed. Slow down, speak clearly and ensure your pronunciation is intelligible.
10. SEPERATE QUESTIONS
I will try not to ask double questions such as 'Do you want to carry on or shall we stop here". In cross cultural communication, one should let the listener answer only one question at a time.