After reading this article you will learn about the Definition and Significance of Communication.

Definition of Communication:

The term communication is freely used by behavioral theorists, management scholars and the general public. Despite the widespread use of the term, very few people have been able to come up with a precise definition of it. Let us look at a few definitions proposed by management theorists.

i. Newman and summer define communication as “an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons”.

ii. Bellows, Gilson and Odirone define communication as “a communion by words, letters, symbols, or messages, and as a way that one organization member shares meaning with another”.


iii. According to L.A. Allen, communication is “the sum of all things, one person does when he wants to create an understanding in the mind of another. It involves a systematic and continuous understanding”.

iv. According to Koontz and O’Donnell, communication may be understood “as the exchange of information at least between two persons with a view to create an understanding in the mind of the other, whether or not it gives rise to conflict” From the above definitions, we can conclude that communication is the process of sending information to a receiver so that the receiver understands it and responds to it.

Significance of Communication in Organizations:

Modern organizations are complex social systems. No social system functions effectively without meaningful interaction between its participants. Thus, communication can be described as a means through which organizational participants are linked.

We cannot expect effective management without communication. According to some estimates, communication takes up nearly three-fourths of an active human being’s life; in the case of a manager, this percentage may be even higher.


Communication is essential for the functioning of an organization. Every day a vast amount of information flows from managers to employees, employees to managers, and from employee to employee. Apart from this internal communication, a considerable amount of information is also carried in and out of the organization.

This communication, internal and external, takes place in a nonverbal and verbal manner: through gestures, expressions, meetings, listening, speaking and writing.

Purpose and Function of Communication

Good communication is essential for the functioning, of enterprises, as communication helps coordinate the various managerial functions of enterprises.


Communication serves the following purposes in organizations:

i. Helps establish and disseminate the goals of an organization

ii. Facilitates the development of plans for the achievement of goals

iii. Helps managers utilize manpower and other resources in the most effective and efficient way


iv. Helps managers select, develop, and apprise members of the organization

v. Helps managers lead, direct, motivate and create a climate in which people are willing to contribute

vi. Facilitates control and evaluation of performance.

In an organization, effective communication not only helps managers discharge their duties but also builds a bridge between managers and the external environment of the organization. The external environment consists mainly of customers, suppliers, stockholders, government, community and others that affect the success of the enterprise.


By means of an effective communication network, a manager can understand the needs of customers, the demands of the stockholders and the expectations of the community, and be aware of the presence of quality suppliers and relevant government regulations. An organization can function as an open system only by communicating with the environment. Figure 1.1 shows the purpose and function of communication.