After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Communication 2. Definition of Communication 3. Process 4. Objectives 5. Modes 6. The Organisational Context 7. Directions 8. Channels 9. Patterns 10. Barriers 11. Organisation-Level Improvements.
Essay on the Meaning of Communication:
The word communication has been derived from the Latin word communis which means common, besides commonality, communication involves the concept of transfer, meaning and information transfer. Thus communication means sharing ideas in common to one or many.
It means a verbal or written message, an change of information, a system of communicating, and a process by which meanings are exchanged between individuals/groups of individuals through a common system of symbols. It also means technique for expressing ideas effectively and quickly.
Essay on the Definition of Communication:
Communication is the process of transferring information, meaning and understanding from sender to receiver and vice versa. And carrying out that process convincingly, meaningfully and proficiently is an absolute essential for a manager to exercise leadership efficiently.
In fact, it is hard to conceive of successful leadership in the absence of excellent communication skills. The first step for a manager to become an outstanding leader, therefore, is to become an outstanding communicator or perhaps best communicator.
Communication is defined as “the process of passing information in oral or written form and understanding from one person to another in oral or written form.” It means transmitting and sharing of ideas, opinions, facts, figures and information in a manner that is perceived and understood by the receiver of the communication.
F.E.X. Dance defined communication as “the process by which people seek to share meaning via the transmission of symbolic messages.”
Essay on the Process of Communication:
The communications involves four actions and five components. The four actions are encoding, sending, receiving, and decoding. The five components are sender, message, medium, noise and receiver. The actions and components combine to transfer meaning from the sender who sends the message to the receiver. The sender who sends message originates the message by encoding it, that is, by constructing the message.
The message is the content of the communication. The sender then transmits the message through a medium. A medium is the mode or form of transmission of message, not the message itself. Examples of media are spoken words, gestures and fiscal expressions video.
Telephones, written memos, faxes and e-mail messages. The receiver acquires, or receives, the message by hearing it, reading it, or having it appear on a fax or computer through e-mail or voice mail.
The receiver then begins decoding the message, that is, interpreting it using various tools. Sometimes distractions interfere with the message; these interferences are called noise which leads to misunderstanding, noise contributes to misinterpretations of the original message, and it is only through feedback, or verification of the original message, that communication problems may be located, corrected and understood properly.
The basic model of communication is called as fundamental and universal model. That is, it occurs whenever communication takes place regardless of the culture or organisation and location.
However, while the basic acts and components of the communication process are the same everywhere, how the acts are carried out and the nature of the components are deeply influenced by cultural, organisational, and even personal contexts through this type of communication.
Who can send messages to whom, what kinds and what volumes of messages are sent, by what medium are messages transmitted what sort of interference or noise is likely to occur, and what cues are available for decoding are just some of the many examples of the types of communication issues that can vary from manager to manager, from organisation to organisation, from media to media and from country to country.
Essay on the Objectives of Communication:
Modern Organisation cannot exist without communication. If there is no communication, employees can’t know what their co-workers are doing, management can’t receive information inputs, and supervisors and team leaders cannot dive instructions and therefore communication is needed for effective management of the organisation.
Thus the followings are the objectives/importance of communication in the present context:
1. To develop information and understanding among all workers in the organisation.
2. To foster any attitude which is necessary for motivation and cooperation in the organization.
3. To encourage better performance and job satisfaction in the organization.
4. To prepare workers in the organization for a change in methods or environment by giving them the necessary information in advance.
5. To discourage misinformation, ambiguity and rumours in the organisation.
6. To encourage subordinates in the organisation to supply ideas and suggestions for improving upon the product or work environment, and taking these suggestions seriously.
7. To improve labour-management relations in the organization.
8. To encourage social relations among workers in the organisation by encouraging into communication.
9. To accomplish all the basic management functions— Planning, Organizing, Leading/directing and controlling in the organization.
10. To achieve their goals and meet challenges in the organization.
Essay on the Modes of Communication:
Communication can occur in the organization either a verbal mode or a non-verbal mode as given below. Each mode has particular characteristics in the organisation and issues that an effective manager must understand.
1. Verbal Communication:
Spoken words, which are called as verbal communication, mean both oral and written communication in the organization.
(i) Oral Communication:
The spoken word has the potential advantages of being vivid, stimulating and commanding attention in the organisation. In most organizational situations, it is difficult for receivers—the listeners—to ignore the words spoken or the person speaking to them in oral type of communication.
Just think about the last time someone spoke to you directly. Even if you weren’t interested in what the person had to say, wouldn’t it have been difficult to simply ignore the person, turn and walk away? Certainly not possible, hence, here it is mandatory to listen the person.
Also, oral communication is exceptionally flexible for both the sender and receiver in the organization. While you are speaking with another person, you may try to make a point a certain way but along the way change your words in order for the listener to understand you in a better way.
Because oral communication is generally interactive in the organisation, it can be quite responsive and adaptive to circumstances. However, this mode of communication in the organisation has the major disadvantages of being transistor and subject to considerable misinterpretation of messages.
Even when individuals use the same language in the oral communication, the subtle nuances of the spoken word may be missed or incorrect meaning attached to them. Oral communication between those whose First language differ in the organisation, as in many management situations today, simply multiplies the chances of intended meaning going away.
Advantages of Oral Communication in the Organisation:
1. It is direct, simple, timesaving and least expensive for any organisation.
2. It helps in avoiding delays, red tape and other formalities in the organization.
3. Feedback and spontaneous thinking are available in this type of communication which benefits organisation growth.
4. We can clear any misunderstanding between speakers.
5. It develops a sense of belonging because of personalized contacts in the organization.
Disadvantages of Oral Communication:
1. There is no any formal record for transaction in the organization.
2. Lengthy and distant communications cannot be effectively conveyed verbally in the organization.
3. The receiver may receive the message in his own perception and thus misunderstand the intent of the message in the organization.
4. The spirit of authority cannot be transmitted effectively in verbal transaction unless trust between speakers.
5. Different meaning may occur by manner of speaking, tune of voice and facial expressions in the organization.
(ii) Written Communication in Organisation:
Written communication is one when messages are put in writing, as in letters, memos, electronic mail, and the like, the opportunity for misunderstanding the words of the sender are decreased. The receiver of the message sent may still misinterpret the intended message, of course, but there is no uncertainty about exactly what words the sender has used.
In that sense, written communication has precision. However, not everyone writes well, and so greater precision does not necessarily lead to greater understanding in the organisation.
This is further complicated when the words need translation from one language to another for better understanding. The writer/sender does not know immediately how well or poorly the message is getting across, written communication has the disadvantage of not being very flexible in the organization.
In addition, it is often not as vivid or compelling as oral communication. Although you might find it difficult to ignore someone speaking to you, it would probably be much easier to ignore a letter you received in your organisation.
Advantages of Written Communication in the Organization:
1. It can easily verify and more precisely defined in the organization.
2. It is likely to be a permanent record and uses for future references in the organization.
3. It reduces the possibility of misunderstanding and misinterpretation in the organization.
4. It is reliable for transmitting lengthy statistical data in the organization.
5. The time can be saved when many persons should be contacted in the organization at the same time.
Disadvantages of Written Communication in the Organization:
1. It is very slow and causes delay in the organization.
2. Written material may leak out before time, causing disruption in its effectiveness in many organization.
3. More dependence of written communication can lead to too much of paper-work in the organization.
4. It leads to excessive formality in personal relations in the organization.
2. Nonverbal Communication in the Organization:
In direct interpersonal communication, nonverbal actions and behaviors often constitute significant messages in the organization. A whole range of actions, or lack of them, has the potential for communicating in the organization.
The way you dress, speak words, use gestures, handle utensils, exhibit facial expressions, and set the physical distance to the receiver are just some of the many forms of nonverbal communication in the organization.
Now a day, electronic mail, or e-mail, has emerged as one of the fastest-growing forms of communication in the organisation. In the recent nationwide survey, 79 per cent of the responding executives indicated that e-mail was their number-one choice for business communication in their organisation.
With e-mail or faxes, you can send a message simultaneously to dozens or even hundreds of people throughout the world. Recently, Videoconferences have also emerged as a business communication too.
Essay # The Organisational Context of Communication:
Managers in the organization do not deal with communication in the abstract. Rather they deal with it within an organizational context. The structure of organisations and the process of organisations powerfully shape the nature and effectiveness of communication that takes place within and between them.
In the present setup Organizations, whether business, hospitals or government agencies, have a set of defining characteristics, all of which affect communication in one way or another.
a) Are composed of individuals and groups.
b) Are oriented towards goals
c) Have differentiated functions.
d) Has intended coordination.
e) Have continuity through time.
Organizations of any size, regardless of country, are not simply a random set of individuals who by chance come together for a brief period with no purpose. The fact that they have goal orientations, structures, and coordination greatly influences the nature and amount of communication that takes place in the organization.
This influence can be analyzed in terms of directions, channels and patterns of communication in the organization.
Essay # Directions of Communication within Organizations:
Because organizations of any degree of complexity have both differentiated functions and more than one level in the organisation, the directions of communication within them can be classified according to the level for which they are intended.
Downward communication is sent from higher organizational levels to lower levels in the organisation; for example, from the organization’s top executives like to its employees, or from supervisors to subordinates.
Upward Communication is sent from lower organizational levels to higher levels; for example, from non-management employees like workers to their supervisors, or from a manager to her CEOs.
Lateral Communication is sent across essentially equivalent levels of an organization; for example, from one clerical to another, from the manager of product X to the manager of product Y, or from the marketing department to the engineering design department in the organisation.
The topics covered in organizational communication vary according to their direction. Downward communication typically involves such matters as goals, objectives, directions, decisions, and feedback in the organisation.
Upward communication usually focuses on information, suggestions, questions, problems and requests for clarification in the organisation. Lateral communication typically involves changes of information-both formal and informal-that assist or affect coordination and joint problem solving in the organization.
While the subject matter of communication in particular direction tends to be fairly similar in most medium to large organizations, the culture of the organization can affect the process. For example, in an organization where authority and hierarchy are stressed, upward communication might be more formal than in an organization with more egalitarian culture.
As a simple illustration, in the hierarchical organization, a conversion might start with the subordinate addressing a superior several levels above as Mr. Or Ms. James.
In many countries, for example in Korea, the conversion might start by addressing the superior by his or her title, such as Director Park. In organizations with less emphasis on hierarchy, the conversation might start by addressing the superior by his or her first name.
Likewise, organizational or country culture can influence the frequency and flavor of upward communications. For example, in organizations with strong hierarchical values, upward communication tends to be less frequent.
In summary, organizational communications flow upward, laterally, and downward in every organization. The direction of the communication has a significant impact on the type of communication that is likely to take place frequently.
However, the culture of the organization and the region or country in which the organization is located can further determine the exact from that communication will have and even the frequency of each direction of communication will take place in organization.
Essay # Channels of Communication within Organizations:
Organizational channels, or routes of communication, consist of two fundamental types namely formal and informal. Both types are essential for organizational functioning, and neither types can easily substitute for the other.
Formal Communication channels are those that are authorized planned and regulated by the organization and that are directly connected to its official structure. Thus, the organization’s designated structure indicates the normal paths for downward, upward and lateral formal communication. Formal communication channels are like highlighted roads on road map.
They specify organizational members who are responsible for tasks and communicating information to levels above and below them and back and forth to adjacent units. Also, formal channels indicate the persons or positions to whom work-related messages should be sent in the organization. Formal channels can be modified, and thus they have some flexibility, but they can seldom be disregarded in the organization.
The wheel or star network refers to an administrator and four subordinates with whom he interacts in the organisation. There is no interaction among the subordinates in the organization.
In ‘y’ network; there are two subordinates reporting to the superior.
The “chain” in the network, denotes a five-level hierarchy in which communication can take place only upward and downward, and across organizational lines in modern organizations.
The circle network denotes a three level hierarchy in which there is communication between superiors and subordinates, with cross communication at the operative level.
Informal communication channels are communication routes that are not prescribed by the organization but that develop through typical interpersonal activities of people at work in the organisation. Channels can come into existence and change or disappear rapidly, depending on circumstances in the organization.
However, they may also endure in many work situations, especially where individuals have been working together over a period of time in the organization. If a specific pattern becomes well established, it would ordinarily be called a ‘network’ in the organisation.
There are four major type of informal communication in the organisation.
They are as follows:
(1) Single strand.
In the single stranded network, the individual communicates through intervening persons in the organisation. In the gossip network, the individual communicates or spreads like anything without a choice in the organisation. In probability network, the individual spreads the communication at random in the organisation.
But in the cluster network, the individual communicates with only those individuals whom he trusts in the organisation. Among these types of communication network, the cluster is most popular network in many organisation.
Essay # Formal and Informal Channels of Communication in Organization:
In a Plastic Bottle manufacturing company the CEO has got two immediate managers one is GM-marketing who markets plastic bottle and another one is GM-production who manufactures Plastic Bottle. The GM-marketing has got two subordinates one is advertising manager and the second one is promotions manager.
Likewise the GM-Production has got two immediate subordinates, one is supervisor design and another one is supervisor testing. If CEO communicates to GM-Marketing or GM-Production it is called as formal channels of communication. However, if CEO contacts Advertising manager or supervisor testing it is called INFORMAL channels of communication.
Formal Communication Channels:
a) Authorized, Planned and regulated by the organization.
b) Reflect the organization’s formal structure.
c) Define who has responsibility for information dissemination and indicate the proper recipients of work-related information in organization.
d) Maybe modified by the organization in future.
e) Minor to severe consequences for ignoring them unknowingly.
Informal Communication Channels:
a) Develop through interpersonal activities of organisation members
b) Hot specified by the organization
c) Man is short-lived or long lasting.
d) Are more often lateral than vertical in organization.
e) Information flow can be very fast in organization.
f) Used for both work-related and non-work information.
Some more informal communication Channels in the organization are as follows:
a) Informal Communication Channels tend to operate more often in the lateral than in the vertical direction compared to formal channels because they are not designated by the organization and its top officials.
b) Second, information flowing through informal channels in the organization often moves extremely fast, principally because senders are highly motivated to pass information on. The so-called grapevine is a classic example of rapid transmission of messages through informal channels.
c) A third feature is that informal channels carry work- related as well as non-work information in the organisation. Just because channels are informal does not mean that only gossip and other messages unrelated to jobs and tasks are carried by them. In fact, crucial work-related information is frequently communicated in this way.
Of course, some of the messages passed through the informal channels in the organisation may contain inaccuracies or be negative, and thus seen by some managers as a source of problems. However, few organizations could exist for long if they had to rely only on formal communication channels in the organisation.
Essay # Patterns of Organizational Communication in the Organisation:
Identifiable patterns of communication that occur with some regularity within and between organizations, whether using formal or informal channels, are typically called communication networks in any organisation. Put another way, communication networks are stable systems of interconnections in any organisation.
Thus, networks involve consistent linkages between particular sets of senders and receivers in the organisation. For example, a middle-level divisional marketing manager in New Delhi might have a particular network that involves her boss in Kolkata, three key managers in other departments in the Kolkata headquarters, her seven subordinates located in major Western cities, and two outside vendors of market research data.
Another network for the same manager might involve two lower-level managers in other units in the New Delhi office and their former colleague and old friend who is now a sales supervisor in Chennai and who has access to inside information on how well new marketing approaches are working in that region.
An example of a larger, more organization wide network could be the Coca Cola Company’s worldwide pattern of communication relationships between its headquarters in Atlanta and its bottlers and distributors throughout world. Of course, networks can also be formed across organizations as well as within the organisation.
The importance of communication networks to managers in any organisation is that they can provide significant and regular sources of information, both of the formal and informal type, that might otherwise take a much longer time to obtain if the various links had to set up from scratch each time some new topic or problem came up.
Also, when managers are members of established networks, it can make it easier for them to influence the other people or groups involved in the networks. Consequently, for both of these reasons, managers need to pay particular attention to what networks they can, and want to, be a part of and to the composition of those networks in the organisation.
It is no accident that the term networking has come to signify a process that has the potential for gaining advantages for a manger (or anyone for that matter) by having one or more sets of individuals in the organisation or groups with which one can interact easily and regularly, and with whom one can communicate a sense of confidence and trust in the organisation.
In traditional western organizations, it has always been relatively easy for males in management positions to establish various network with other males (thus providing the basis for the phase “old boys network”) in their organisation. However, at least until very recently, it has been much harder for women and members of underrepresented ethnic groups to establish similar helpful networks in their organisations
Recent research suggests, in fact, that organizational networks involving individuals from these groups are different in terms of both composition and relationships from the traditional networks composed primarily of white males in the organisation.
It does not make such networks any less important or useful to managers from these groups, but docs serve to emphasize that network patterns to communication in organisations can vary based on a number of different situational circumstance, including the age, gender, and ethnicity of individuals in the organisation.
Essay # Barriers to Communication in the Organisation:
Although the organisational context provides numerous opportunities for managers to engage in effective and productive communication to assist in leadership efforts, there are likewise many barriers related to that context that can interfere with the communication process in the present organisation.
Such barriers can arise from several different sources, including interpersonal, organisational, organizational, and cultural in the organization.
Obstacles to interpersonal communication in the organisation can occur with either the sender or the receiver. The burden is simultaneously on both the sender and the receiver in any organisation to ensure accurate communication.
It is, however, the sender’s obligation to choose the language and words—to encode the message—carefully to carry the greatest precision of meaning. Precision in the organisation is especially important if the sender is trying to persuade the receiver to do something in a language or communication style different from what the receiver prefers.
For example, if you are talking with your boss style and choice of words, your boss may not be receptive if he or she prefers a more formal approach in the organisation. You will probably need to adjust your style for the communication to be effective in the organisation.
The receiver, of course, is often the source of communication breakdowns in the organisation. For example, the receiver might have a selective perception problem in the organisation. That is, the receiver may unintentionally screen out some parts of the intended message because they contradict his beliefs or desires in the organisation.
For example, you might stress the increased productivity in the organisation from a proposed project, but your boss is focusing on the estimated cost of the project. Although selective perception is a natural human tendency, it hinders accurate communication, especially when sensitive or highly important topics are being discussed in the organisation.
Another way to state this point is that individuals tend to adopt frames of reference, or quick ways of interpreting messages in the organisation that help them make sense of complex communications, but these shortcuts may prevent the intended message from being received.
Essay # Organisational Barriers:
Just as interpersonal barriers can limit communication, so can organisational barriers limit communication? Such barriers in the organisation can interfere with communication between individuals or groups within the same organisation, between individuals or groups from two different organisations, or between entire organizations.
The basis of these organisational barriers lies within the hierarchical structure of organizations.
All organisations of any complexity have specialized functions and more than one level of authority in the organisation. This specialization creates a situation that is ripe for communication difficulties in the organisation.
For example one person might come from marketing and the other form Production. The person in marketing might think nothing of exaggerating while the person from Production always understates her points.
Consequently, the marketer might see the Production Manager as unimaginative and boring, while the Production Manager might view the marketer as superficial and careless. In addition, the two parties might come from different levels in the organisation.
The differences between responsibility and level of authority could cause a senior executive to expect an explanation of the broad impacts on the entire organization of a proposed project and a junior technical expert to focus on the detailed schedule of the project in any organisation.
Essay # Cultural Burriers in Organization:
Communication and culture are tightly intervened in the organisation. Culture cannot exist without communication and human communication only within a cultural context in the organisation. Since the act of communicating is so closely connected to the surrounding environment, culture can ease or hinder it in the organisation.
Thus, similarity in culture between senders and receivers facilitates successful communication-the intended meaning has a higher probability of getting transferred in the organisation.
Differences in culture hinder the process of-any organisation. The greater the cultural differences between sender and receiver, the greater the expected difficulty in communicating within or outside the organisation. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be easier, for example, for an Indian manager to communicate with a Singapore subordinate than with a Malaysian subordinate.
Probably the greatest single cultural barrier that can affect communication across different departmental, organisational, regional, or national cultures is ethnocentrism in the organisation.
Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s own groups and the related tendency to view others in terms of the values of one’s own group in the organisation. Ethnocentrism leads individuals to divide their interpersonal worlds into in-groups and out-groups in the organisation.
A third major cultural barrier to communication I can be labeled cultural distance in the organisation. This concept refers to the overall difference between two cultures basic characteristics such as language, level of economic development, and entrenched traditions and customs in the organisation.
Cultural distance was illustrated by a study that gathered 21 senior executives from major corporations in Japan, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom and India for a five-week period of cultural explorations regarding communication.
The executives attended lecturers and seminars, built rafts and climbed riffs together, and even travelled in fact-finding teams to the countries represented to improve communication, nevertheless, observers reported that communication remained a problem the entire five weeks among them.
The various barriers that were discussed in the preceding section can interfere with effective communication, but there are ways of dealing with, or overcoming, them in the organisation. That is the subject of this section – approaches that will help to improve your communication in the organisation as a manager.
Essay # Organisation-Level Improvements in Communication:
Organisations can take steps to change their policies and methods for how and when managers should communicate in the organisation. Unfortunately, guidelines for this more structural approach are not as well developed as those for individual managers in the organisation.
A recent study of research and development laboratories within 14 large multinational firms, however, did provide some suggestions. The study produced strong evidence for the importance of gatekeepers, or so-called “boundary-spanning” individuals who are at the communication interface between separate organizations or between units within an organisation.
Large companies especially need to be able to structure the activities of gatekeepers to maximize their usefulness to the communication process and to make sure that the most critical information is both sent and received.
Finding from the study indicated that communication could be improved by implementing rules and procedures that increased formal communication, replacing some face-to-face communication with electronic communication, developing particular communication networks, and even creating a centralized office to manage communication activities in the organization.