The barriers of communication may be grouped under:-

1. Semantic Barriers 2. Emotional Barriers 3. Physical Barriers 4. Organisational Barriers 5. Personal Barriers 6. Socio-Psychological Barriers 7. Cultural Barriers 8. Technological Barriers.

Some of the barriers of communication are:- 1. Distortion Caused by Superior-Subordinate Relationship 2. Problem of Semantic Distortion 3. Barriers Arising on Account of Poor Listening and Premature Evaluation 4. Barriers due to Perfunctory Attention 5. Barriers due to Failure to Communicate 6. Barriers Arising on Account of Resistance to Change 7. Other Distortions of Information and Few Others.

Communication has a special place in every organization. Effective communication creates a favourable environment among the various people working in the enterprise which results in the establishment of industrial peace.


Employees’ morale gets a boost leading to increased production. However, sometimes communication does not yield the desired results. It is because some barriers appear in the process of communication.

The information sent by the sender is received by the receiver in the opposite sense and it proves to be a barrier in communication.

The barrier can be in the form of wrong use of language or haste on the part of the receiver in understanding the information received or some other reason. Whatever may be the cause of the barrier, it nullifies the importance of communication and the enterprise may have to face serious consequences.

Types of Barriers to Communication

List of Communication Barriers – With Approaches to Overcome the Barriers

Although a communicator may take great care in sending the message to the receiver properly, there may exist some barriers to communication. A poorly transmitted messages lead to misunderstanding and affect employee morale adversely. A large number of managerial problems are just because of faulty communication.


Some of the important barriers in communication are as follows:

1. Distortion Caused by Superior-Subordinate Relationship:

One of the fundamental barriers to communication arises from the status relationships in the organization. A superior may offer advice and comment on the subject under discussion before listening fully to what the subordinate has to say. Inability or impatience of the superior to listen to the subordinate results in failure to understand the true feelings and emotions of the subordinate concerning a particular problem.

Further, the subordinates may judge the message in terms of his own background, position, experience, and personality of the senior. In doing so he frequently adds motives which were never intended. This kind of mental block influences feelings and prejudices and creates a barrier to proper understanding in the organization.


Barriers to communication arising on account of superior-subordinate relationship are not confined to downward flow of communication alone; obstacles also arise in the upward flow of communication.

2. Problem of Semantic Distortion:

Language is a medium of communication. Misinterpretation of this media results into a distortion in communication. Misunderstanding is often caused by the meaning of words and symbols. However, there are words that often mean different things to different people and thus cause non-deliberate distortions. The senior selects the words according to his own frame of reference which he intended to be communicated.

And the receiver, on the other hand, reads or listens to the message and interprets it within his own frame of reference. Since people differ in their orientation, experience and knowledge of the language, so communication transmitted through words is distorted on account of semantic problems. Communication becomes ineffective when the same message is interpreted in a differ­ent.


3. Barriers Arising on Account of Poor Listening and Premature Evaluation:

Listening plays an important role for a good business as it demands full attention and self-discipline. It also requires that the listener avoids early evaluation of what another person has to say. In order that the complete message may be transmitted and received, it is essential that the communicator should be provided with an environment in which he can have his full attention.

4. Barriers due to Perfunctory Attention:

Communication in the sense of transfer of information and understanding will fail if the receiver pays little or no attention to the message. In colleges, schools, business enterprises, and other organizations as well, failure to read bulletins, notices, reports and minutes is quite common.


In the same way, people are usually found paying half-attention to what is being communicated orally. Whatever be the reasons, perfunctory attention to the message makes communication less effective.

5. Barriers due to Failure to Communicate:

Sometimes manager fails to communicate correct information at the right time. This is because of human tendency to be lethargic and partly due to inability of the executive to select what to communicate. It is rightly said that, “right type of information at right time serves the purpose of decision-making”. But, on the contrary, failure to communicate will cause the commu­nication network to break down.

6. Barriers Arising on Account of Resistance to Change:


Because of convenience, security and other reasons people generally prefer to follow the old pattern and tend to resist change. Any communication attempting to introduce change or convey a new idea is thus likely to be overlooked and at times, opposed by the receiver.

7. Other Distortions of Information:

Communication is distorted if the message is not properly expressed. Thus, when information is worded in a manner not understandable to the average receiver, it is likely to be misunderstood. In the same way, when communication is not retained, its future transmissions are likely to be less and less accurate.

Overcoming Barriers to Communication:

Perfect communication is an illusory concept. The first major step in overcoming barriers to communication is to develop awareness about the existence of some degree of distortion.


The important approaches and methods that can be used to minimize distortion of information are as follows:

1. Orientation of Employees:

An employee who knows about the company’s working environment is able to better appreciate problems of other people in the organization. When the subordinate is provided with information relating to company objectives, policies, procedures and authority relations, many possible conflicts and misunderstand­ings may be avoided.

2. Developing Proper Interpersonal Relations:

Business or any other activity requires joint efforts for accomplishing its goals. Therefore proper relations between different people working in the organization should be developed. A senior executive should respect the dignity and authority of his subordinates and be kind and sympathetic to them.

Subordinates trust their superiors and keep them informed about their dealings with other departments and progress of their work then the feeling of mutual trust and confidence will be developed. And it results in two-way communication process.


3. Protective Listening:

Misunderstanding and confusion are often caused by poor listening. Protective listening aims at paying full attention to what is being said, allowing the speaker to state his viewpoint without an early evaluation or judgment.

A manager should evaluate the information only when it has fully been communicated. Thus, the listener must try to understand the viewpoint of the communicator without prejudging, approving or disapproving what he says.

4. Using Proper Language:

Semantic distortions can be minimized by communicating the message in direct, simple and meaningful language. Use of technical terms should be minimized.

5. Communication through Actions and Deeds:


When a message is communicated without being acted upon, it tends to distort the current and subsequent communication from the manager. Reason is that action and deeds often speak louder and clearer than words. If acts of the senior differ from what he says, subordinates will gradually become used to ‘listen’ to what he does and not what he says.

6. Feedback:

Feedback is also very important in improving communication. Meaningful communication occurs when it is received as it was intended. A simple way to ensure that communication has resulted in mutual understanding is to observe behaviour of the subordinate and notice how far his actions conform to the requirements of the message.

List of Communication Barriers – Several Obstacles that Block the Flow of Ideas

Successful performance of an organisation depends on effective communication. The communication must be interpreted and understood in the same sense as it was meant by the sender. But there are several obstacles which continuously block and distort the flow of ideas and informations.

These are as under:

1. Lack of Planning:

Every step in the communication process must be properly planned. Unplanned steps become barriers. The purpose of the message must be stated clearly. Un­planned message blocks the transfer of understanding. Koontz and Weihrich write, “Good communication sel­dom happens by chance. Too often people start talking and writing without first thinking and planning”.

2. Poor Expression:


Very often the message is expressed in poorly chosen words or empty phrases, awkward sentences, unneces­sary technical jargon, poor-vocabulary or poor ideas. Also, the lack of coherence, clarity and precision makes mes­sages poorly expressed. This may lead to misunderstand­ing and unnecessary clarifications. Thus, badly expressed messages may be costly errors.

3. Loss by Transmission and Poor Retention:

In a flow of information from one person to next, the message becomes less and less accurate. Each succes­sive message is distorted than the previous one. It is said that in oral communication about thirty per cent of the matter is lost. In fact, communication suffers on account of screening or filtering process. Filtering refers to inten­tionally withholding or deliberate manipulation of infor­mation by the sender at every level in the hierarchy.

Poor retention of information is another serious problem in communication. It oral communication, some portion of message is lost due to the limited capacity of memory.

4. Organisational Structure:

Effective communication largely depends on organisational structure. If the structure involves many hierarchical levels, the message passes through these levels and becomes less accurate. In the same way, communication becomes difficult if the specialization increases, for it tends to separate people by functions. Different functions, different levels of authority and differ­ent jobs can make people feel that they live in different worlds. This creates obstacle in communication.

5. Physical Barriers:

Physical barriers are interferences that occur in the environment in which the communication takes place. Some typical physical barriers include a sudden distract­ing noise, distances between people, walls, climatic dis­turbances, and other ‘noise’ factors. These may block the clarity of the message or dilute the strength of the communication.

6. Personal Barriers:

Personal barriers to communication arise from hu­man emotions, outlook, values, attitude, work interests and poor listening habits. They may also stem from differences in education, thinking, race, sex, socio­economic status and other similar factors. These barriers are common in work situations. Personal differences influence the meaning arid understanding of the mes­sage.

7. Psychological Barriers:


There are many psychological barriers which arise on account of human ego, status, superior-subordinate relationship, biases, needs and expectations. “Psycholog­ical distance” between people is an important barrier. It is a feeling of emotional separation. According to Basil one of the greatest barriers to communication is the ecocentric tendency of all human beings to view activity from a highly personal point of view.

Human emotions are another major psychological barrier. Keith Davis writes, “Our emotions act as filters in nearly all our communications. We see and hear what we are emotionally “tuned” to see and hear, and so commu­nication cannot be separated from our personality.” Hyakawa says, “Meanings are not in words, but in us.” Our perception and past experiences also affect our messages and their meaning.

8. Semantic and Language Barriers:

These barriers occur due to differences in individual use of words and symbols. Semantics is the science of meaning. Semantic problems arise due to the different meanings being applied to the same words. Words mean different things to different people. Age, education and cultural background also influence the language a person uses. All of us do not have a common level of vocabulary. Furthermore, technicians have developed their own jargon or technical language. All this creates difficulties in communication.

List of Communication Barriers – 10 Barriers to Communication in an Organization

When a message is sent by the sender to the receiver, it may be possible that it may not be effectively understood by the receiver in the same sense as the sender intended it. There may be several reasons for its ineffectiveness. The message may not reach the receiver at all or some problems may arise in its encoding and decoding, or communication channel may be wrong or defective and there may be noise in the channel or there may be several personal reasons.

The barriers to communication in an organization may be broadly categorized into following groups:

I. Physical Barriers:


It may occur due to noise, physical discomfort, distance or physical distractions.

II. Socio-Psychological or Personal Barriers:

It is the hurdle created by social and psychological factors. Psychological barriers may occur due to emotional disturbance, anxiety or over acrousal of emotions.

III. Organization Barriers:

It arises due to defec­tive structure of the organization.

IV. Semantic Barriers:

Misunderstanding message received is an example of semantic barrier.

Language (Semantic) Barrier:

Language is a central element in communication. It may pose a barrier if its use obscures meaning and distorts intent. The receives of the message with their different educational and cultural backgrounds find it hard to understand the message in the senders’ senses due to jargons used in the message language. The word may be attributed different meanings by the sender and the receiver of the message. This is known as the problem of semantics.

V. Mechanical Barriers:

It is due to faulty func­tioning of the instruments used in communication.

1. Physical Barriers:

Physical barriers are environmental factors that obstruct or reduce the sending and receiving of communication. They include physical distance, distracting noises and other interferences. Communication of message becomes difficult as the physical distance increases.

2. Personal or Socio-Psychological Barriers:

Personal barriers arise from motives, attitudes, judgement, emotions and social values of people which may create psychological distance similar to physical distance. Psy­chological distance prevents the communication or filters part of it out or simply cause misinterpretation. Persons differ in their motives, attitude or sentiments.

A person may be unaware of his motives, attitudes or sen­timents or there may be problems in encoding and de­coding others’ sentiments, attitudes and motives and there­fore interpersonal perceptions or interpersonal emotion may cause breakdown because each perceives the things in light of his own experiences, prejudices and thinking.

The interests of people differ and so is their attitude. A problem may be important for one person but may carry no weight for another.

It sometimes happens that the ideas, questions, atti­tudes, feelings, etc. of other party present an obstacle to his own personal goal. In the absence of adequate self- confidence or for fear of retaliation, one restrains the expression of his true wants and needs. When we think of a person to be fool, any message from him is looked upon only in that spirit.

Division of People into classes, castes and com­munities also affects communication of ideas and viewpoints. In an organization dominated by people of certain castes or communities, those belonging to minority group may have less opportunities of being heard. Viewpoints may differ and so communication suffers.

Productivity for example may be looked from profit point of view by managers and from wages point of view by workers and trade unions. An executive may be harsh enough not to hear and accept others’ viewpoint whether right or wrong. Thus, receptability and credibility of message are sub­ject to several mental and social barriers.

3. Filtering Barrier:

In formal organizations, the message travels through many layers or levels of hierarchy. It is found that the message tends to be distorted or impaired while passing through intermediate levels in upward and downward communi­cations. This is because the message is passed on to suit the convenience or serve the interest of the ultimate re­ceiver of the message.

4. Status Barrier:

Status differences related to power and the organizational hierarchy poses another barrier to communication among people at work, especially within manager-employee pairs. It is due to the status difference that subordinates often suppress or withhold information which may not be liked by their superiors, or pass on distorted information to please their superiors. On the other side, status conscious­ness of the superiors prevents them from fully communi­cating information to their subordinates.

5. Emotional Barrier:

When people are eloquent with emotions, it influences their understanding of the message accordingly. Psycho­logical barriers do also impair effectiveness of communi­cation. When the subordinates hold favourable image of the superior, they become psychologically more inclined to accept and respond positively to the message sent by the superior.

Obviously, it does not happen so when they have an unfavourable image of their superior. The image is built on the basis of experience and interaction between the superior and the subordinate. Any change when its effects are uncertain also creates psychological barriers to effective communication in an organization.

6. Organizational Structure Barriers:

Effective communication largely depends upon sound organizational structure. If the structure is complex in­volving several layers of management, the breakdown or distortion in communication will arise. It is an established fact that every layer cuts off a bit of information. In the words of W.C. Bennis (1966), “Communication gets dis­torted particularly as it goes up the hierarchy”.

More­over, information travelling through formal structure in­troduces rigidity and causes-delay because of long lines of communication. Similarly, lack of instructions for fur­ther conveying information to the subordinates and heavy pressure of work at certain conveying information to the subordinates and heavy pressure of work at certain lev­els of authority also act as barriers to effective commu­nication.

7. Premature Evaluation:

Some people have the tendency to form a judgement before listening to the entire message. This is known as premature evaluation. “Half-listening is like racing your engine with the gears in neutral. You use gasoline but you get nowhere”. Prema­ture evaluation distorts understandings and acts as a bar­rier to effective communication.

8. Emotional Attitude:

Barriers may also arise due to emotional attitude because when emotions are strong, it is difficult to know the frame of mind of other person or group. Emotional attitudes of both, the communicator as well as the communicatee obstruct free flow of transmission and understanding of messages.

9. Resistance to Change:

It is a general tendency of human beings to stick to old and customary patterns of life. They may resist change to maintain status quo. Thus, when new ideas are being communicated to introduce a change, it is likely to be overlooked or even opposed. This resistance to change creates an important obstacle to effective communica­tion.

10. Barriers Due to Lack of Mutual Trust:

Communication means sharing of ideas in common. “When we communicate, we are trying to establish a commonness”. Thus, one will freely transfer information understanding with another only when there is mutual trust between the two.

Barriers to Communication – Semantic, Psychological, Organisational and Personal Barriers

Communication has a special place in every organisation. Effective communication creates a favourable environment among the various people working in the enterprise which results in the establishment of industrial peace. Employees’ morale gets a boost leading to increased production. However, sometimes communication does not yield the desired results. It is because some barriers appear in the process of communication.

The information sent by the sender is received by the receiver in the opposite sense and it proves to be a barrier in communication. The barrier can be in the form of wrong use of language or haste on the part of the receiver in understanding the information received or some other reason. Whatever may be the cause of the barrier, it nullifies the importance of communication and the enterprise may have to face serious consequences.

For the convenience of study the different barriers can be divided into four parts:

(1) Semantic Barriers.

(2) Psychological or Emotional Barriers.

(3) Organisational Barriers.

(4) Personal Barriers.

(1) Semantic Barriers:

There is always a possibility of misunderstanding the feelings of the sender of the message or getting a wrong meaning of it. The words, signs, and figures used in the communication are explained by the receiver in the light of his experience which creates doubtful situations. This happens because the information is not sent in simple language.

The chief language related barriers are as under:

(i) Badly Expressed Message:

Because of the obscurity of language there is always a possibility of wrong interpretation of the messages. This barrier is created because of the wrong choice of words, in civil words, the wrong sequence of sentences and frequent repetitions.

(ii) Symbols or Words with Different Meanings:

A symbol or a word can have different meanings. If the receiver misunderstands the communication, it becomes meaningless.

For example- the word ‘value’ can have the following meanings:

(a) What is the value of computer education these days?

(b) What is the value of this mobile set?

(c) I value our friendship.

(iii) Faulty Translation:

A manager receives much information from his superiors and subordinates and he translates it for all the employees according to their level of understanding. Hence, the information has to be moulded according to the understanding or environment of the receiver. If there is a little carelessness in this process, the faulty translation can be a barrier in the communication.

(iv) Unclarified Assumptions:

It has been observed that sometimes a sender takes it for granted that the receiver knows some basic things and, therefore, it is enough to tell him about the major subject matter. This point of view of the sender is correct to some extent with reference to the daily communication, but it is absolutely wrong in case of some special message. Special messages should be made absolutely clear otherwise there is a possibility of some wrong action in the absence of clarification.

(v) Technical Jargon:

Generally, it has been seen that the people working in an enterprise are connected with some special technical group who have their separate technical language. Their communication is not so simple as to be understood by everybody. Hence, technical language can be a barrier in communication. This technical group includes industrial engineers, production development manager, quality controller, etc.

(vi) Body Language and Gesture Decoding:

When the communication is passed on with the help of body language and gestures, its misunderstanding hinders the proper understanding of the message. For example- moving one’s neck to reply to a question does not indicate properly whether the meaning is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

(2) Psychological or Emotional Barriers:

The importance of communication depends on the mental condition of both the parties. A mentally disturbed party can be a hindrance in communication.

Following are the emotional barriers in the way of communication:

(i) Premature Evaluation:

Sometimes the receiver of information tries to dig out meaning without much thinking at the time of receiving or even before receiving information, which can be wrong. This type of evaluation is a hindrance in the exchange of information and the enthusiasm of the sender gets dampened.

(ii) Lack of Attention:

When the receiver is preoccupied with some important work he / she does not listen to the message attentively. For example- an employee talking to his boss when the latter is busy in some important conversation. In such a situation the boss may not pay any attention to the talk of the subordinate. Thus, there arises psychological hurdle in communication.

(iii) Loss by Transmission and Poor Retention:

When a message is received by a person after it has passed through the medium of many people, generally it loses some of its truth. This is called loss by transmission. This happens normally in case of oral communication.

Poor retention of information means that with every next transfer of information the actual form or truth of information changes. According to one estimate with each transfer of oral communication the loss of information amounts to nearly 30%. This happens because of the carelessness of human behaviour. Therefore, lack of transmission of information in its true or exact form becomes a hindrance in communication.

(iv) Distrust:

For successful communication the transmitter and the receiver must trust each other. If there is a lack of trust between them, the receiver will always derive an opposite meaning from the message. Because of this, communication will become meaningless.

(3) Organisational Barriers:

Organisational structure greatly affects the capability of the employees as far as the communication is concerned.

Some major organisational hindrances in the way of communication are the following:

(i) Organisational Policies:

Organisational policies determine the relationship among all the persons working in the enterprise. For example- it can be the policy of the organisation that communication will be in the written form. In such a situation anything that could be conveyed in a few words shall have to be communicated in the written form. Consequently, work gets delayed.

(ii) Rules and Regulations:

Organisational rules become barriers in communication by determining the subject-matter, medium, etc. of communication. Troubled by the definite rules, the senders do not send some of the messages.

(iii) Status:

Under organising all the employees are divided into many categories on the basis of their level. This formal division acts as a barrier in communication especially when the communication moves from the bottom to the top. For example- when a lower level employee has to send his message to a superior at the top level there is a lurking fear in his mind that the communication may not be faulty, and because of this fear, he cannot convey himself clearly and in time. It delays the taking of decisions.

(iv) Complexity in Organisational Structure:

The greater number of managerial levels in an organisation makes it more complex. It results in delay in communication and information gets changed before it reaches the receiver. In other words, negative things or criticism are concealed. Thus, the more the number of managerial levels in the organisation, the more ineffective the communication becomes.

(v) Organisational Facilities:

Organisational facilities mean making available sufficient stationery, telephone, translator, etc. When these facilities are sufficient in an organisation, the communication will be timely, clear and in accordance with necessity. In the absence of these facilities communication becomes meaningless.

(4) Personal Barriers:

The above mentioned organisational barriers are important in themselves but there are some barriers which are directly connected with the sender and the receiver. They are called personal barriers.

From the point of view of convenience, they have been divided into two parts:

(a) Barriers Related to Superiors:

These barriers are as follows:

(i) Fear of Challenge of Authority:

Everybody desires to occupy a high office in the organisation. In this hope the officers try to conceal their weaknesses by not communicating their ideas. There is a fear in their mind that in case the reality comes to light they may not have to move to the lower level.

(ii) Lack of Confidence in Subordinates:

Top level superiors think that the lower level employees are less capable and, therefore, they ignore the information or suggestions sent by them. They deliberately ignore the communication from their subordinates in order to increase their own importance. Consequently, the self-confidence of the employees is lowered.

(b) Barriers Related to Subordinates:

Subordinates related barriers are the following:

(i) Unwillingness to Communicate:

Sometimes the subordinates do not want to send any information to their superiors. When the subordinates feel that the information is of negative nature and will adversely affect them, an effort is made to conceal that information. If it becomes imperative to send this information, it is sent in a modified or amended form. Thus, the subordinates, by not clarifying the facts, become a hindrance in communication.

(ii) Lack of Proper Incentive:

Lack of incentive to the subordinates creates a hindrance in communication. The lack of incentive to the subordinates is because of the fact that their suggestions or ideas are not given any importance. If the superiors ignore the subordinates, they become indifferent towards any exchange of ideas in future.

List of Communication Barriers – Due to  Organisation Structure, Badly Expressed Message, Status and Position, Inattention and Resistance to Change

As the sender and the receiver are two separate persons living in different worlds, there exist many barriers which tend to distort the messages that pass between them. As a result the meaning given to the message by one person may not be what the sender intended it to be.

Misunderstandings frictions and inconveniences arise when communica­tion network breaks down. A vast majority of the managerial problems are due to faulty communication. There are a number of barriers to communication, but more important of them are considered here.

1. Barriers Due to Organisation Structure:

The organisation structure of enterprises these days is complex and involves several layers of supervision, long communication lines; rela­tions of staff to line and organisational distance of the worker from lop management. This itself creates problems and barriers, because at any one level of supervision communication may break down due to faulty transmission. To check such a barrier from arising the management might reduce the number of levels of supervision, shorten the lines of authority and provide for more participative practices such as commit­tees.

2. Badly Expressed Message:

Lack of clarity in expression by use of empty words and phrases resulting in vagueness is a great barrier lo communication. What is intended is not conveyed resulting in costing errors.

3. Barriers Due to Status and Position:

The organisation structure creates a number of status levels among the members of the organisation. For example, the status and prestige of the manager at the plant are different from the worker’s. When the worker listens to the message, he evaluates it in terms of his own position, background and experience. He very often adduces non-existent motives to the sender of the message and is suspicious of the manager. This stands in the way of understanding and there is no communication.

4. Inattention as a Barrier:

Failure to read notices, bulletines, minutes and reports is common. Similarly, non-listening of oral communication is quite common. Efforts to communicate with someone who is not listening will surely fail.

5. Resistance to Change:

Resistance to change is a chronic human failing. People prefer to preserve the status quo. This causes a strong communication barrier. The listener’s receiving apparatus works like a filter, rejecting new ideas if they conflict with what he already believes.

6. Insufficient Adjustment Period:

Sometimes, communication announces change which seriously affects employees. Changes affect people in different ways, and it may take time to think through the full meaning of a message. It is therefore important to efficiency not to enforce change before people can adjust to its implications.

7. Distrust of Communicator:

The habit of modifying or countermanding messages, because of ill-considered judgments or non-logical decisions encourages subordin­ates to delay action or to act unenthusiastically. Inconsistency of the superior inhibits communication.

List of Communication Barriers – Semantic, Emotional, Physical, Organisational, Personal, Socio-Psychological, Cultural and Technological Barriers

Semantic Barriers to Communication:

The obstructions that come in the process of encoding or decoding the message are called as semantic barriers.

Some of them are as follows:

1. Different Language:

People working in an organisation may speak different language and have different cultural base. In such a case, there is a lack of common vehicle to convey ideas and communicate freely. In case of multinational, as operations expand to other countries, the language barrier ideas and even the competent translations fail to convey the exact meaning of messages in different language.

2. Words:

Words and symbols used have more than one meanings depending upon the context in which they are used. Same word can have different meanings. Unless the context of words and symbols used is known, the receiver may misinterpret them because of his/her preconceived ideas.

3. Pictures:

Maps, graphs, charts, blue prints and three dimensional models pictures etc. should be supported with proper words; otherwise the receiver may get confused and might not understand properly.

4. Actions:

Actions include gestures, movements, body language. Body language can be lip movement, eye movement, breathing, smiles, frowns, expression, way of sitting, standing. Proper actions make communication effective.

5. Poor Vocabulary:

It hinders the communicator to convey written or verbal message in right sense. The communicator should use the clear and precise meaning of the used words and their appropriate replacement, if needed.

Emotional/Psychological Barriers to Communication:

Emotional or psychological barriers arise from motives, attitudes, judgment, sentiments, emotions and social values of participants. These create psychological distance that breaks the communication or partly filters it out or causes misinterpretation, thereby making the communication inadequate.

Following are some emotional barriers:

1. Loss in Transmission and Retentions:

Communication, when passed through various levels in an organisation, its accuracy gets decreased. A part of information is lost in transmit. It is said that about 30% of the information is lost at each level of transmission. Poor retention of the information is again a problem. Workers get only 50% of information and supervisors retain 60% of it.

2. Distrust of Communicator:

The own subordinates of the managers sometimes distrust the communication, especially when he/she lacks self-confidence or is less competent in his/her position. Frequently, he/she makes illogical decisions and then reviews his/her own decision when he/she fails to implement them.

3. Failure in Communicating:

In certain situations, the manager may find that everybody has got the information or may, due to his/her laziness, do not communicate with the subordinates. Frequently, the superior may also refrain from communicating and avoid the information deliberately to embarrass the employee or put them in trouble.

4. Undue Reliance on the Written Word (Order):

In this case, employees get uneasy in accepting the face-to-face verbal communication of their superiors because the oral orders of superiors are not consistent with the written policies of the organisation. Only written communication is taken seriously making organisational verbal communication ineffective.

5. Lack of Attention from Receiver:

It is a common phenomenon that people simply fail to react to bulletins, notices, minutes and reports.

Physical Barriers to Communication:

Physical barriers which hamper during communication process are as follows:

1. Noise:

Any disturbance or interference that reduces the clarity and effectiveness of communication is called noise. It may be physical or psychological, written or visual. Noise pauses the persons communicating and acts as barrier to communication. Loud noise of speaker playing outside or noise due to machines, affect listening process of persons communicating.

2. Improper Time:

It also hinders the process of communication. For example, a phone call at midnight interrupts sleep further irritates the receiver, if message is vague.

3. Distance:

Long distances between the senders and receivers can also obstruct effective communication. If sender and receiver are separated by geographical distances, telecommunication is most often used but disturbance in telephone connection can result in miscommunication or incomplete communication.

Organisational Barriers to Communication:

The barriers related to the functioning of the organisation are known as the organisational barriers.

Major organisational barriers are as follows:

1. Organisational Policy:

This policy provides overall guidelines, which might be in the form of written documents 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 smooth and effective.

2. Organisational Rules and Regulations:

Organisational rules and regulations prescribing the different sub-matter along the formal communication may hinder the flow of messages and act as hindrance in the communication process. Sometimes important messages are omitted or manipulated. Observance of rigid rules and regulations related to communication, products delay of message and discouragement of employee in conveying their creative and innovative ideas.

3. Status Relationship in the Organisation:

Superior-subordinate relationship also affects the flow of communication, particularly in upward direction. The greater the difference in hierarchical positions in terms of their status, greater is the difficulty in communication.

4. Structure of the Organisation:

In greater number of managerial levels, communication gets delayed as it moves along the hierarchical sine. Also, the chances of the communication getting distorted are greater as the number of filtering points is higher.

5. Lack of Organisational Facilities:

In order to have smooth, clear, adequate and timely form of communication in the organisation, facilities such as conferences, meetings, suggestion boxes, complaint boxes and open door system are arranged. If the mentioned facilities are not available in the organisation, people fail to communicate in effective way.

6. Wrong Choice of Channel:

There are many mediums and channels of communications like face-to-face, oral, written, telephone, e-mail and audiovisual. Each channel is not ideal and perfect in every situation. If persuasion is to be made by sales manager, face-to-face communication is required in case of formal relation, but in communicating with illiterate, this channel falls. Illiterate people are to be communicated orally.

Personal Barriers to Communication:

As communication is basically an interpersonal process, many personal factors inherent in the sender and receiver influence the flow of communication, these are could physical barriers to communication.

Some of the main personal barriers to communication are:

1. Barriers Regarding Superiors:

Superiors play an important role in communication. Because of their hierarchical position, superiors act as barriers in a number of ways as follows:

(i) Attitude of Superiors – If the attitude is biased; there is greater possibility of filtering or coloring of the information. Managers at intermediate levels may color the information, sometimes intentionally, with a view to twist the situation in their favour.

(ii) Fear of Challenge to Authority – Superiors many times with hold the upward or downward flow of information for the fear of disclose of their own weaknesses, especially when superior lacks self-confidence.

(iii) Insistence on Following the Proper Channel – Superiors are not in favour of passing any channel in communication. They think it to be adverse for their authority and thus, insist on proper channel.

(iv) Underestimation of their Subordinates – The superiors generally perceive that their subordinates are less competent and are not capable of advising their superiors. This stops the superiors to talk to their subordinates.

(v) Ignoring the Juniors – Superiors avoid their juniors and do not pass on the information, just as to maintain their importance.

2. Barriers Regarding Subordinates Factors like attitude, lack of time etc. badly affect the subordinates’ participation in communication process.

Two more factors, blocking upward communication are:

(i) Unwillingness to Communicate:

The subordinate generally are unwilling 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:

In some organisation, the superiors have a tendency to punish the subordinates on their poor performance, while not giving any reward, appreciation and incentive as they perform marvelously well. Such lack of incentive may prevent the subordinates from communicating upwards.

3. Poor Listening:

Most people hear, but not attentively. If they listen, they listen selectively, taking the “desired part” and ignoring the “undesired part” of the message. They listen, not what the other is saying but what they want to listen. These poor’s listening slows the communication flow and prevents understanding of the real meanings.

(i) Egotism:

The self-centered persons think that their own ideas are more important and others are wrong. Such people are very bad listeners. If a person wants other people to understand him/her, he/she has to understand them. Such level of understanding diminishes with egotism and as a result, the communication process is hindered.

(ii) Emotions:

Positive emotions i.e., love and affection smoothen the flow of communication whereas negative emotions such as hatred, anger, anxiety obstruct the communication process. Effective communication needs a clear heart and a silent mind.

(iii) Selective Perception:

We cannot communicate the whole, due to selective perception. Because of different perceptions, neutral words conveying certain positive message convey the opposite meanings as they reach to the receiver. Our sensory receptors have their own limitations.

As a result we perceive not the whole spectrum, but few selective symbols based upon our needs, motives, experience, background, etc. We do not see the reality objectively, but interpret what we see and call it reality. It results into misunderstandings and misinterpretations and make communication ineffective.

Socio-Psychological Barriers:

Some socio-psychological barriers are as follows:

1. Closed Mind:

A person with a biased mind is very difficult to communicate with. He/She is a man with deeply in-trained prejudices and he/she is not prepared to reconsider his/her opinions. He/She is the kind of man who will say, “Look, my mind is made up. I know what I know and I do not want to know anything else. So just don’t bother me”.

2. Attitude and Opinions:

Personal attitudes and opinions often act as barriers to effective communication. If information agrees with our opinions and attitudes, we incline to receive it favorably. It fits comfortably in the filter of our mind. But if information disagrees with our views and tends to run contrary, to our accepted beliefs, we do not react favorably.

3. Status-Consciousness:

Status consciousness exists in every organisation and is one of the major barriers to effective communication. Subordinates are afraid of communicating upward any unpleasant information. They are either too conscious of their inferior status or too afraid of being insulted. Status-conscious superiors think that consulting their juniors would compromise their dignity.

Cultural Barriers to Communication:

When in case cultural differences cause communication problems then these are called cultural barriers to communication. The same category of words, phrases, symbols, actions, colors mean different things to people of different countries/cultural backgrounds. For example, in Western countries, black color is associated with death and mourning whereas in the East, white is the color of mourning.

In the United States, people love to be called by their first name while in Britain people are more formal and like to be addressed by their title or their last name. In the hierarchical structure of Indian society and business environment too, the last name is important.

Technological Barriers of Communication:

Although technology has improved communication process in various ways. Technology can also act as a barrier in communication.

These barriers are briefly described as follows:

1. Technical Noise – This refers to inherent barriers in the device itself of channel, for instance interference on a mobile phone, a faulty LCD projector, etc.

2. Lack of Technological Knowledge – If the sender and receiver lack technical knowledge on the subject then it is unlikely the message will be correctly received.

3. Use of Outdated Technology – Use of different technology by sender and receiver is a technological barrier. Therefore, technology used for communication should be selected carefully, with clarity about the message to be commentated and the receiver. Choice of wrong technology may hinder or delay the communication.

4. Barriers at Decoding Stage – It includes lack of listening ability, stereo typical bias, etc.