The management communications process is one that occurs every day in workplaces all across the globe, often times without many employees even considering the process they are engaging in. The communications process lies at the core of every business or organization and can fuel the success or the downfall of a company or organization. The one thing that managers can do is to ensure that the communications process is working in the most effective manner possible and that every employee not only understand the process but are able to engage in the process for the benefit of their coworkers, the overall company, as well as, themselves.
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In order to achieve success a strategic approach to the managerial communications process must be implemented. This would entail a multilayered approach, the first of which would be to understand what the process is. As seen in Figure 1, the communication process is shown visually. The process includes: the communicator, decoding, encoding, noise and receiver. The communicator is the person or group that needs/wants to share information with another group/person. Decoding is understanding the message the communicator sent. Encoding is translating the information into a language that the receiver can understand. Noise is anything that interferes with the giving or receiving of the communication. The receiver is the individual/group that the information was originally meant for.
Figure 1: The Communications Process (lumenlearning).
The second layer of the approach would be to recognize and minimize any barriers to effective communication that exist within the workplace. Examples of communication barriers would be a misunderstanding of what information needs to be shared, an over reliance on technological communications, language/cultural barriers, speaking in ‘slang’ terms, or even employees that struggle with public speaking could all be barriers to communication. In order to recognize and minimize communication barriers, each employee would need to undergo special communication training. Communication training would help every employee engage in more effective workplace communication in which the productivity and happiness of the workplace would all benefit.
“Early theories of mass communication were focused on communication as a one-way process in which a sender does something to one or more receivers” (von Ruler, 2018). As Figure 1 shows, communication is not only one way, but a loop. An example of misuse of this process would be if a manager needed to tell their subordinates that the deadline for their project has been moved up and due in one week. The manager calls a meeting, in which they tell their subordinates “The deadline that was three weeks away has been moved by a week”. This leaves the subordinates to believe that they have two weeks left to complete their work. The noise in this example was the manager misspeaking, which left the intended message altered on the end of the receivers.
“Communication, from a management point of view, is the process by which people are informed and guided to achieve the best results” (Blaga & Balcescu, 2017). Another example of misuse would be the use of slang in the workplace. For example, a manager who would be described as a millennial speaking to someone of an older generation, using modern slang. If the manager says: “This is low key fire but I’m going to need you to just go ahead and yeet this and focus on the other task.” This could be a communications nightmare. While the communicator may perfectly understand what they were saying, slang can leave a receiver confused. In this instance it would have been much clearer to state: “This is great work, unfortunately we can use it at this time so it would be more useful to focus your attention on the other task we discussed”.
“Building up trust, and organizational climate and a healthy workplace requires effective communication processes” (Bergman, Dellve, & Skagert, 2016). A final example of a way the communications process could be misused would be the use of the language itself. If one is employed by a company/organization that is multinational one would expect many different nationalities of employees to be employed by said company/organization. Not everyone shares the ability to speak/understand one language fluently. For example, an employee in Oklahoma needs to send a memo to the company office in Nice, France. This memo pertains to new laws that the company must abide by. Instead of seeking the expertise of a translator, the manager in Oklahoma decides it is faster to just send it in English, or perhaps, makes use of Google translate.
This could lead to the employees in Nice, France to translate the document to French. They may not be fluent in English, or perhaps they can speak it but not read it. If the document was put through a translation engine, such as Google, words and phrases may have been altered in a manner that leaves the French employees unable to understand what the memo truly states. An example of phrase that does not translate well would be “Je suis avocet” means I am a lawyer, however if you translate it word for word into French you will end up with “Je suis un avocet” which means I am an avocado. If the French employees cannot understand the memo, the necessary changes may not occur leaving the company open to legal issues.
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The managerial communications process is much akin to the way we communicate on a daily basis with friends, family, and coworkers without realizing we are engaging in the process. Noise can occur anytime. Sometimes the noise that distorts a message is a lack of understanding on the part of the communicator or the receiver. Occasionally, the noise can be actual sound that caused words to be muffled therefore ideas were not fully formed and transmitted. One needs only remember back to the childhood game of telephone to know that verbal communication chains can break down quickly. If a manager tells one employee to tell “Sam” they need them to stay an extra hour after their shift ends, that employee tells another, who tells another, who ends up telling “Sam” they need to work two doubles and stay late all next week. When communication is done in an effective manner, the messages are clearly given and clearly received which minimizes the risks to job performance and the company/organization overall. One misuse of the managerial communications process may not amount to much, but continued and habitual misuse of the process could mean failure of an entire company/organization.
Bergman, C., Dellve, L., & Skagert, K. (2016). Exploring Communication Processes in Workplace Meetings: A Mixed Study in a Swedish Healthcare Organization. Work (Reading, Mass.), 54(3), 533-541.
Blaga, L., & Balcescu, N. (2017). The Role of Communication in Enhancing Work Effectiveness. Land Forces Academy Review, 1(85).
lumenlearning. (n.d.). Module 8: Communication in the Workplace: Key Concepts of Communication. Retrieved from lumen: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wmopen-organizationalbehavior/chapter/key-components-of-communication/
von Ruler, B. (2018). Communication Theory: An Underrated Pillar on Which Strategic Communication Rests. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 12(4), 367-381.
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