Some of the barriers to effective communication in an business organization are: 1. Semantic Barriers 2. Psychological Barriers 3. Organisational Barriers 4. Personal Barriers!

Barriers lead to various breakdowns in the process of Communication.

Such barriers filter a part of it or distort its meaning due to which misunderstandings can be created. The various barriers have been grouped as semantic barriers, psychological barriers, organisational barriers and personal barriers.

1. Semantic Barriers:


Semantic barriers are related with the problem in the process of encoding and decoding of message. Such barriers usually arise on account of wrong words, faulty translation etc.

Following are some of the semantic barriers:

(a) Badly Expressed Message:

The use of wrong words, omission of needed words, inadequate vocabulary etc. leads to badly expressed message. Resultantly, the message reaching the recipient gets distorted & may be quite different from the intended message.


(b) Symbols with Different Meanings:

A word may have many meanings. The receiver is required to understand the meaning of the word used by the sender in the same sense for which latter has used it. In the absence of same, the intended message does not get interpreted by the receiver correctly.

(c) Faulty Translations:

Sometimes the message is in some another language, which is not understandable to the receive & needs translation. For example, suppose a message is in English and there is a need to translate it’s to say Hindi which is easily understood by the workers. If the translator is not efficient in both the languages, there is a chance of giving different meaning to the message.


(d) Unclarified Assumptions:

At times, there are certain assumptions attached with the communication and that need to be understood. Failure to do so makes the communication process ineffective. Let’s say the boss has instructed his subordinate to look after some guest.

Now what he really means is that the subordinate should take care of transport, food, accommodation of the guest etc. until he leaves the place. The subordinate however may take this instruction as to take the guest to the hotel only with care. As a result, the guest may not get looked after the way the boss has “in his mind”.

(e) Technical Jargon:


Generally, the specialists such as scientists, engineers use technical words while explaining something to the unspecialized people in the concerned field. Hence, these latter people fail to understand the meaning of such words.

(f) Body Language and Gesture Decoding:

The body movement and gestures of communication play a significant role in the communication process. The information can be misinterpreted if there is no harmony between spoken words and body language. For example, a sender may shake his head sideways while saying “Yes” and vice versa i.e. he may nod his head while uttering “No”

2. Psychological Barriers:

The psychological barriers have a great influence on the communication process. The communication process indicates the state of mind of both the receiver and the sender, e. g anger, worry, sadness etc.


Following are the main types of psychological barriers:

(a) Premature evaluation:

It refers to evaluating the message before the sender even completes it. This may lead to misunderstanding and thus acts as a barrier to effective communication.

(b) Lack of attention:


Non listening of message by the receiver because of latter’s preoccupied mind acts as a great psychological barrier. For example, a boss was preoccupied by some paper work before him due to which he failed to even listen to the problem of a worker not to speak of solving it etc.

(c) Loss by transmission and poor retention:

The information contained in a message is lost partially or completely when the message has to pass through various levels. This is most common case in oral communication.

Poor retention is also an important barrier in communication process. If the people are not attentive or interested they cannot retain the information for a long time.


(d) Distrust:

If the receiver and the sender don’t trust each other, they cannot understand the message in its original form.

3. Organisational Barriers:

The Organisational barriers are related to organization structure, authority, relationships, rules & regulations etc.

Following are the main organisational barriers:

(a) Organisational Policy:

If the organisational policy does not provide for free flow^ of communication, the effectiveness of communication is affected. For example, people don’t have free communication in a completely centralized organisation.


(b) Rules and Regulations:

Rigid rules and regulations may place many difficulties in the way of clear communication.

(c) Status:

Communication among people belonging to different status & position is rather difficult. They don’t feel free to communicate with one another.

(d) Complexity in Organization Structure:

The communication in an organization with a number of managerial levels gets delayed and distorted due to many filtering points.


(e) Organizational Facilities:

Proper organisational facilities like complaint box, suggestion box, social and cultural gathering, frequent meetings etc. are very essential for free flow of communication. Various problems can get created in the absence of these facilities.

4. Personal Barriers:

The personal factors of both sender and receiver also have a great impact on the flow of communication.

Some of the personal barriers are as follows:

(a) Fear of Challenge to Authority:

A superior may suppress such communication which according to him may affect his authority.


(b) Lack of Confidence by Superior in his Subordinates:

If a superior does not possesses confidence in his subordinates’ abilities, he may not seek their advice or opinions.

(c) Unwilling to Communicate:

Best of communicators cannot communicate with those who are just not open to same. Some by nature are simply not keen to communicate much anyway. Fear of rejection or any other likely adverse fall out may be other reasons for which people are unwilling to communicate e.g. sometimes the subordinates are not willing to communicate with their superior as they think it may affect their interest.

(d) Lack of Proper Incentives:

In the absence of any motivation or incentive, the workers may not initiate to communicate. For example, absence of reward or appreciation may resist the employees to come out with good suggestions.