Communication is a process by which all forms of information are transferred from one person to the other. The word communication is derived from the Latin word “Communes” which means common. The communicator which is the sender strives to establish a “Commune” with the receiver. This comm unication can be defined as the transfer of information or transmission of information and understanding through the use of common symbols. These common symbols maybe verbal or non-verbal. Communication can also be perceived as a process in which a sender and a receiver of a message interact inorder to give the message a meaning.
Scott and Ordeus defined communication as a process involving the transmission and accurate replication of ideas reinforced by feedback, purporting to stimulate actions to accomplish organizational goals.
Communication is important in the organization for three reasons:
All functions of management such as planning, organizing, leading and controlling involve the act of communication, without which they cannot be performed at all.
Secondly, managers devote a major portion of their time to the activity of the communication.
Interpersonal relations and group relations are maintained and developed only through the system of communication. Communication is essential to integrate and co-ordinate the activities of the people in the organization. Without effective communication no organizational objectives can be realized.
A – Sender: This is the individual group or organization that attemptsto transmit, communicate information to another individual or group or organization.
B – The Receiver: This is the individual or group that the senderattempts to transmit information to or wishes to communicate with the sender/receiver relationship is to make the receiver behave or act in manners that is desirable to the sender.
C – Encoding: This is the translating of mental thoughts, idea or wishinto a code or language that can be understood by intended receiver. In the encoding process, words, numbers, gestures, non-verbal elements such as facial expressions or pictures are used.
D – The Massage: This is the output of encoding messages maycontain hidden agenda as well as trigger aggressive or emotional reaction. Messages relay what the sender has encoded.
E – Medium: The medium is the carrier of the message. It is the meansby which the message is sent. Messages are sent to be received in a variety of ways. These include face-to-face communication, telephone communication, group meetings, fax, and memos.
Choosing an appropriate medium depends on many factors including the nature of the message, its intended purpose, the type of audience, proximity to the audience, time horizon for disseminating the message and personal preferences.
F – Decoding: For the process of communication to be complete, themessage must be decoded so that it becomes relevant to the receiver. Decoding is the technical term for the receivers thought processes which involve interpretation. It consists of translating verbal, oral or visual aspects of a message into a form that can be interpreted.
G – Creating Meaning: The conduct model of communication assumesthat meaning is transferred directly from the sender to the receiver. In contrast, the perception model is based on the belief that the receiver creates the meaning of a message in his or her mind.
A receiver’s interpretation of a message may differ from that intended by the sender, in him, the receivers act according to his own interpretation and not that of the sender.
H – Feed-Back: The receiver’s response to a message is the crux of thefeedback loop. A feedback loop provides a channel for receiver’s response that enables the communicator or sender to determine whether the message has been received and has produced the intended response. At this point, the receiver becomes a sender, this new message is then decoded and interpreted, and the feedback gives the sender an idea of how accurately his message is understood.
I – Noise: This refers to anything that interferes with transmission andunderstanding of a message or all factors that distract the intended message and these factors may occur in each of the elements of communication. These factors include speech impairment poor telephone connection, illegible hand writing, physical distance etc. Managers can improve communication by reducing noise.
What is at all true of interpersonal communication is also true of organizational communication. Here too the effective communication involves getting accurate message from one person to another. The four factors that influence the effectiveness of organizational communication are:-
– The formal channels of communication
– The organizations authority structure
– Job specialization
– Information ownership
The communication effectiveness is influenced by formal channels in two ways:
(1) Formal channels cover the unending distance that usually occurs when the organizations develop and grows.
(2) The formal channels inhibit the free flow of information between organizational levels, particularly in upward communication.
The authority structure in the organization also influences the effectiveness of communication. The content and accuracy of information are also affected because of the differences in authority and status.
Job specialization also affects the effectiveness of communication. Members who belong to the same group use the same jargon and understand each other better, while communication between highly differentiated groups is likely to be a problem for both. Information ownership refers to the unique knowledge and information about their jobs possessed by an individual. Of many individuals such information is a sort of power, which helps them function more effectively than others. Most people in this situation are often reluctant to share the information with others. Hence open communication is not always possible in the organization. Organizational communication takes place in variety of ways. Vertically or horizontally, vertical communication can be either downward or upward.
This type of communication style starts at the top management level and goes down through all management levels to the least worker. This is mainly used to advise, inform, direct, instruct and evaluate subordinates. This is also used to inform the members about organizational goals and policies.
Here what is happening at the lower levels is made known to the upper levels through the upward communication.
Communication is said to be horizontal when it takes place between two employees working at the same level in the organizational hierarchy e.g. communication between production and marketing manager.
Horizontal communication is essential because of the fact that the department in an organization are interdependent and the co-ordination of their activities are necessary.
Informal Communication Or Grapevine
This type of communication arises out of social relationship. The management has no absolute control over this type of communication. This informal channel satisfies the communication needs of various groups in the organization. Although most of the times the information passed on this channel is false or at least inaccurate as each person may add to or subtract from the message as he desires. It should be remembered that it is a part of the managers job to have a little control over this informal communication so that he can take appropriate action to minimise it especially the adverse effect of this channel.
There are certain factors that impede the proper flow of communication. All those factors that adversely affect the effectiveness of communication maybe called barriers to communication.
These barriers are classified into:-
- Emotional or Psychological
- External Barriers
These manifest in the following ways:
Semantic Barriers: This is due to linguistic barriers between thesender and the receiver. These barriers arise at the stage of encoding or decoding in the process of communication.
–Badly Expressed Message: Here if the message is not expressedclearly and precisely and wrong words used, they may not send the right message.
Faulty Translation: Managers are often required to translate themessages into a form, suitable to their superiors or subordinates. Unless one has good linguistic capacity, he cannot do his job well.
Specialist Language: Technical personnel and other experts arefond of using technical jargon which others outside their group fail to understand.
- Emotional or Psychological Barriers
– Premature evaluation: Here people often jump intoconclusion even before the message is completely communicated. This discourages the sender and may even give him a feeling of utility.
– Existence of pre-concerned notions.
– Inattention due to lack of interest.
– Distrust in the communicator.
– Fears – (i) of misinterpretation
(ii) of distortion
(iii) of exposure to criticism
(iv) deliberate information hold back
(v) Poor retention by the receiver
(vi) defensive behaviour.
Employees have a tendency to become defensive when they feel they are being threatened. In such circumstances they tend to stop listening to the sender’s message.
- Organizational Barriers
Here organizational policies, rules and regulations, status relationships also affect the effectiveness of communication.
- Personal Barriers
Personal barriers can again be classified into two types
– Barriers in superiors
Barriers in subordinate
Under barriers in supervisions, attitude of supervisors matters a lot. If the superior has an unfavourable attitude to the subordinate’s act of giving message, adequate information cannot flow from the subordinate to the superior; lack of confidence in subordinates, lack of awareness of importance of communication, insistence on proper channel.
Under barriers in subordinates we have:
– Unwillingness to communicate
Lack of proper incentives.
Source National Open University of Nigeria