In work place a good communication is more successful compared to others and even an organization having an effective communication with employees, customers, stakeholders, etc creates a good trust and position. Communicaiton is also an vital element of leadership. A good leader is always good with communication as they are clear and confident and has the power to persuade.
Communication process in an organisation
Business communication is the communication used to support the product, service or an organization with the purpose. In business, communication helps us to manage and make the best utilization of the resources and manpower available.
Various channels of communications like internet, radio, television, prints, etc are used to convey the message in business. Communication is core of business. Communication is done either in formal or informal way depending on the type of message or information to be sent.
Communication is the lifeblood of any organisation or business. It is needed for making plans proposals, exchanging information, exchanging ideas, executing decisions, conducting sales, etc.
Let’s review the basic elements of communication process in the organization for the flow of message or information. The basic elements required for the process are the sender (encoder), channel, medium, receiver (decoder) and the feedback mechanism. With the use of these elements a clear and formal channel of communication should be established by the management.
Let us consider a hypothetical situation where a manager has to pass a piece of information to finance department for the change in the payment system. He decides about what information to be sent and to whom to send and via which medium.
He uses the direct channel of communication to send the information to the financial department. Financial department select e-mail as the medium of communication and pass it on to the staff.
Change in payment system
Sender Channel Medium Receiver
Sender: is the communicator.
Receiver: is the person who receives the information/message.
Encoding: is the process of transferring the information into an understandable form. For example: in phone microphone converts sound into electrical impulse which are then transmitted through wires.
Decoding: is the process of understanding the encoded message and interpreting in the right way. For example: humans do not comprehend the electrical impulse and so the decoder converts it into the understandable form.
Channel: is the way through which the message is been sent. It can be verbal or nonverbal.
Types of communication in an organization
Internal communication is the communication within the organization whether in formal or informal way. Effective internal communication means a flourished business. Under internal communication types there comes:
Upward communication: it is the flow of information from the employees to management and from the subordinates to the superiors. It is important as it will keep the high authority informed regarding employee’s job satisfaction and feelings and also on the organisation.
Downward communication: it is the flow of information from the top organisational management towards the subordinates, employees, etc. It is important as it will let the high authority explain and inform regarding the job duties, roles and policies of the organization.
Horizontal communication: it is the flow of information or coordination between the employees working at the same level and it is very essential as well to keep the coordination.
Figure.3. Internal Communication Process
External communication is the communication with the people outside the company. For example: communication with customers, vendors, etc.
Channels of Communication in an organization
The three directions of internal communication upward, downward and horizontal are the formal communications.
Formal communications are generally in written; for example rule books, memos, policies, forms, manuals, procedures, etc.
Formal communication takes place along the line of authority established by the management.
Example: cover letter or resume.
The communication that takes place outside the formal channel is known as informal communication.
Informal communication arises due to the personal requirement of the organization’s members.
It is built around the social relationship between the organization members.
Informal communication is usually oral and so its accuracy cannot be measured.
Grapevine is an informal communication.
Grapevine is usually the unrevealed confidential information. It is the informal broadcasting of information, gossip or rumour from one person to another. In corporates it generally takes place between the employees of similar stage.
Example for formal & informal communication
UNISON-the public service union
At UNISON the expansion of policy takes place through formal procedures by the upward members where the policies are discussed by the members in their branches and then the delegates from different branches unites Annual Conference and finalizes the policy.
UNISON shares skills and facts through publication to empower the people who are dealing with the day to day issues and problems. Through informal communication with their representative and employee, members feel that they are being supported. Through this they take accountability of many problems and work towards solving it.
Importance of communication in an organization
Effective communication is a very significant element for management-employee relationship to exchange the information and decisions. Effective communication can minimize misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Most of the management problems arise due to lack of communication. The more effective communication is the more effective work could be done.
Communication helps in motivating and improving the morale of the employees in an organization.
Good communication helps in maintaining good relationship with the employees and by encouraging and implementing the ideas and suggestions from the employees can make them feel their importance in the organization.
Communication plays an important role in changing individual’s attitude.
Good communication helps in controlling the behaviour of organization’s members.
Barriers to Effective Communication in an organization
Communication is the process of conveying information or message to a person or group of person and if the message conveyed is clear and unmistakable then it is known as effective communication.
One of the main problem faced by many organizations is the effective communication, nearly 50% to 70% of the meaning is loosed while conveying the messages from sender to the receiver. Few barriers to effective communication in an organization are as below:
Physical barrier- is one of the major barriers to effective communication. Physical barriers in work place includes:
Large working areas
Closed office doors
Separate areas for employees with different status
Separate working areas
Background noise, environment
Language barrier- inability to communicate in the language that is used by both sender and the receiver is the biggest communication barrier. When a person uses jargons or any inappropriate words while speaking or writing then it could lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation for the message. The greatest compliment we can pay to another person in global market is to communicate in their language.
Perceptual barrier- everyone have their own way of looking at world and hence that is one of the problem while communication with others; due to this reason everyone interpretate the communication in their own way.
Emotional barrier- it mainly includes fear, anger, mistrust, hostility and suspicion. And due to these elements of emotional barriers you tend to have problem in understanding and listening to the message conveyed. For example; fear between the manager and employee. Here the fear makes the employee think slowly and he become narrow minded.
Lack of subject knowledge- sender or receiver whom so ever is lacking the knowledge on the message which is to be sent/received won’t be able to convey/read the message clearly and so misunderstanding would take place.
Stress- it is again of the major barrier faced by the employees in any organization. Immense pressure or stress makes it difficult for a person to understand the message conveyed and so it leads to communication distortion. At the time of stress, the mental frame of mind depends on our goals, experience, beliefs and values and so we fall short to understand the essence of communication.
Cultural barrier- this communication barrier occurs due to the working of employees of different culture, place or religion in an organization. Also there are many other elements to cultural barriers like age, social position, economical status, values, rules, ethics, standards, thinking pattern, priorities, etc.
Gender barrier- this barrier arise due to difference in the way of communication of men and women and so both feel uncomfortable to speak to each other due to the difference in their communication style. For example women on average speaks 25000 words a day while men speaks 7000 words a day and thus this shows how precise men are while the women likes the detail. Men mainly try to communicate in logical way while women links it both logical and emotional way while communicating. Hence men won’t be able to comprehend what women want to say and vice versa.
Incorrect medium selection- inappropriate medium selection for communication can distort the message sent.
Overcoming communication barriers in an organization
Perception elimination- right candidate should be selected for the job. Ensure the command over written and spoken language. Proper training should be conducted to overcome any problem. Policies should be clear with every employee.
Use simple language- emphasizes on using clear and simple words; i.e. jargon free.
Reduce/eliminate noise- identify the cause responsible for noise and eliminate that source.
Listen actively- listen carefully and attentively with proper understanding of the message and raise questions to get the clarity to the message.
Emotions- one should have a control on the emotions at the time of communication as misinterpretation could take place. Use effective body language along with the verbal communication. Be accessible and available to avoid mistrust, fear, suspicion, etc.
Feedback- constructive feedback should be given avoiding the negative feedbacks.
Medium selection- appropriate medium should be selected depending on the type of the message. For simple message oral or face-to-face communication should be used and for complex message written communication should be used.
Organization structure- simple structure should be used. There should be optimum number of hierarchical level.
Culture- learn more about acceptable forms of communicating and listening in your partner’s culture.
Example for a bad communication in an organisation
“A major illustration of bad communication took place in the year 2001 at medical software company the Cerner Corporation, where the CEO sent an angry email to the entire team scolding employees for coming in late and leaving early, and threatened to take revenge by taking away benefits. The email was posted on the Internet, resulting in a huge drop in the company’s stock price.”
Hence, the above example shows how much important is the medium of communication and control of emotions in an organization.
Mass communication in an organzation
“Mass communication is non-personal channel of broadcasting a message to common public.” It can be through print media and electronic media. Print media includes newspaper, magazine, etc and electronic media includes radio, television, internet, etc. There are three chief purpose of mass communication: to inform, to entertain and to persuade.
Problem with mass communication
Very slow and weak feedbacks are received.
Feedback is usually delayed and absent.
Actual give and take is practically not possible for feedback.
Noise is again a problem for mass communication like other communication, it can be environmental, semantic or mechanical.
Misinterpretation is also the barrier in mass communcation as it is usually a one way communication.
In business organization before making any written or spoken communication make a clear picture of what to be communicated, to whom to communicate and through which medium to communicate as it will help in clear and effective communication. Also the barriers to communication should be worked out when selecting the medium of communication.
Hence, to make an effective communication all the barriers should be taken into consideration and work upon the available barriers and then should execute with the communication.
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