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ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION PROJECT REPORT

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3.7 Grapevine: 

The grapevine is used by nearly everyone in an organisation at one time or another. It can convey accurate messages with amazing speed. It can also distort and filter messages beyond recognition. Rumours as well as facts are carried by the grapevine. Good managers pay attention to grapevine. Even though the grapevine’s reliability can never be determined with complete certainty, it does serve some useful functions:

1.       It satisfies a need — employees have to enjoy friendly relations with     their fellow employees.

2.       It helps workers to make sense out of their work environment especially in interpreting unclear orders from supervisors.

3.       It acts as a safety valve. When people are confused and unclear about what is going to happen to them, they use grapevine to let out their anxieties. Passing a rumour along the grapevine is a way of expressing and releasing negative energy.

 

 

4.       When people gossip about someone who is not present, they often pass judgments. Some people pass judgment on others to find out where they stand. It is a way of dealing with self-doubt and insecurity.

Grapevine thrives on information, not openly or generally available to an employee, either because of its confidential or secret nature or because of the defective or inadequate formal communication lines. Grapevine is inevitable but at the same time, valuable and an intelligent manager uses this form of communication by feeding accurate information at the right places and thus gains very quick communication around the establishment. Grapevine properly used is a great help. Neglecting grapevine is likely to lead to serious consequences in an establishment.

The best way to dispel grapevine is to give people the facts. If there is no truth to a rumour or no information concerning it that should be said? Above all workers should be asked to never repeat a rumour. Supervisors must show their people that they intend to do everything possible to keep them fully informed. 

3.8 Styles of Communication

A communication style may be defined as a specialized set of interpersonal behaviours which are used in a given situation. Since communication is at the heart of effective managerial functioning, it is imperative to identify and to analyze the styles of communication which are used in an organisation. Four basic communication styles may be characterized in the organisational situation in terms of the communicator’s concern for self and concern for others.

1. The Controller Style of Communication: In this style, the manager has a high concern for himself and a low concern for the person with whom he communicates; he, therefore, represents an unbalanced exchange relationship. In business organisations, the existence of an unbalanced exchange, as in the controller style of communication, causes strains in inter-personal relationships. The production- oriented manager often expects loyalty from workers in exchange for money. In this case, there is usually a transaction from the critical parent-ego state to the child-ego state with the life position. “I am O.K., You are not O.K.” The controller communication thus jeopardizes the interpersonal trust which is essential for effective communication.

2. The Withdrawn Communicator: In withdrawn communication, there is the least amount of actual communication, for it involves the avoidance of interaction. The communicator prefers to withdraw because he neither wishes to influence others nor wishes to be influenced.

The withdrawn communicator has the least concern, both for him and for others, and feel that other people in the organisation are not interested in them. They, therefore, have a life position of “I am not O.K., You are not O.K.” The withdrawn style is rarely effective in communication, because it blocks interaction.

 

 

 

3. The Relinquisher Communicator: Here the communicator takes up a receptive rather than a directive position and evinces interest in others. Here, too, there is an unbalanced exchange, for the relinquishing communicator tends to be passive in an interchange. It is possible that, for a relinquishing manager, his subordinates take the lead in decision-making and discussion. The relinquishing manager has the life position of “I am not O.K., You are O.K.”, which is characteristic of the child. Being humble and unsure, the relinquisher believes it has nothing worthwhile to contribute.

4. The Developmentor Communicator: The ideal type of communication is, of course, that of the developmentor, which involves a high concern for both himself and for others. The Developmentor is an adaptable social type who can be a high or low participator in a group, depending upon the situation. Since they have the life position of “I am O.K., You are O.K.”, they neither feel it necessary to constantly assert their competence, nor do they refrain from leadership positions when the need arises. The developmentor-communicator understands the need for a two way communication by not assuming that he is always right. He is the one who, unlike the controller, allows the subordinate to make some mistakes in the process of learning, and builds in him self-confidence and esteem.

 

 

 

 

3.9 Supervisory Communication:

Supervisory Communication is an important dimension of management communication for proper functioning of an organisation. It is mainly the supervisor who is constantly in touch with the workers and, therefore, it is necessary for him to acquaint himself with the importance of communication and the principles to be followed for effective communication. “Talking it over” is very important to an employee. Employees have asserted that where communication is lacking, frustration and misunderstanding exist, and that this condition not only reduces their productivity, but also has an adverse effect on the total working of the establishment. Supervisors, therefore, should always: (a) discuss problems immediately with the subordinates; (b) keep the discussion frank and open; (c) choose a proper place; (d) be fair and impartial; and (e) develop good attitudes and maintain good relations.

Four aspects of interpersonal relationships influence communication in organisations:
          (1) The sender’s and receiver’s trust of each other;

(2) The sender’s and receiver’s influence over each other;

(3) The sender’s mobility aspirations; and

(4) The norms and sanctions of the groups(s) to which the sender and receiver belong. When people trust each other, their communication tends to be more accurate and open; when they distrust each other, they are more likely to be secretive or hesitant to talk openly.

3.10 Effective Communication

The key to effective communication is reception of messages. It then implies that the transmission of message sent and received does not presuppose that communication has occurred. Only on receiving the intended message that one can conclude that communication has occurred. The touchstone of effective communication is hearing of the meaning “intended” and to carry out the message. It then appears that communication to be effective not only needs the skill of self-expression but also the skill of effective listening. Listening is more intricate and complicated than the physical process of hearing. Effective listening habits prevent misunderstanding and rumours. –

There are four factors affecting reception of messages:

(1) Attention

(2) Perception

(3) Comprehension

(4) Acceptance

Attention refers to situations when individuals become voluntarily interested in the message. Once attention has been drawn to the message, the perception of the same begins. It means that the messages must be recognised in an unbiased manner. Comprehension is to understand the message received. Acceptance of message results in effective communication.

 

An effective communication serves several purposes, and benefits an organisation in many ways. First, it acts as a basic foundation for management. Since communication provides the key to facilitate the exchange of ideas, information as well as meeting of minds, it can aptly be described as the “ears and eyes” of the management.

Second, it plays a vital role in planning. The making of a plan requires facts and figures which can only be made available through effective communication. Third, it integrates the formal organisation structure and is responsible for holding together the members of a primary social group. Fourth, it also plays a pivotal role in national decision-making, organisational control, as well as building and maintaining employee morale.

The transformation of an organisation is conditional on the employees’ involvement with commitment, common goals and shared purpose and vision. Communication as a continuous process ensures this. The climate of communication in an organisation, therefore, needs constant nurturing by a well- meaning and transparent management that has the manifest image that it cares for its stakeholders.

In many organizations, communication occupies a central place because the structure, extensiveness, and scope of the organisation are almost entirely determined by communication techniques. It is said that communication gives life-blood to an organisation. If organisation fail to provide careful attention to communication, a defensive climate prevails.

Experts have laid down several guidelines to improve communication. They are:

q    Seek to clarify your ideas before communicating.

q    Be sure your actions support your instructions.

q    Consider the total physical and human situations whenever you give instructions.

q    Do not over communicate but just enough for the purpose in view.

q    Listen attentively and develop the skill of listening, be a good listener.

q    Use simple language as understood by the receiver.

q    Follow-up on your communication: get feedback.

q    Concentrate on the problem rather than the people involved.

q    When people are being emotional, other people should try to be rational.

q    When people are misunderstanding and getting confused, others should  try to be sympathetic and understanding.

q    Consult everyone affected, even though they are not concentrating at present (because they will resent not being consulted afterwards).

q    When people are being manipulative or deceptive, this can be openly acknowledged, but others should be honest and open rather than trying to pay them back in their own coin.

 

There are four fundamental rules of communicating which can help anyone to get across messages more accurately:

  1. Choose your words carefully and do not include unnecessary words.
  2. Do not leave out important information. An incomplete message is sometimes more dangerous than no message at all.
  3. Be concise in your message. The message has to be received accurately.
  4. Be correct in your message. If the information conveyed is false or misleading, even the best technique cannot save the message.

Other techniques for improving communication include transaction analysis and active listening. Transactional Analysis (TA) is a technique aimed at helping interpersonal transactions or communication between superior and subordinate. It assumes that there are three ego states — adult, parent, and child - and that the way a person communicates depends on the state he or she is in. TA helps to identify one’s own state and the state of the person with whom he or she is talking to and helps to improve communication between the two. Active listening is another technique that can help to improve interpersonal communication.

Communicating Better at Work:

Experience shows there are many ways managers can improve internal communication. Here are some tips for them:

q    Understand that communication is a two-way street. It involves giving information and getting feedback from employees. It is not complete simply when information is given.

q    Put more emphasis on face-to-face communication with employees. Don’t rely mainly on bulletin boards, memos and other written communication.

q    Ask each time when an instruction is given whether the message is clear. Most vagueness is caused by failing to be specific.

q    View information as “service to” employees and not “power over” them.

q    Listen to employees; show respect for them when they speak. They will feel part of the team and will tend to be more dedicated and productive.

q    Don’t just talk open-door policy. Practice it by walking around and talking to employees. Allow people to disagree and to come up with new ideas.

q    Conduct one-on-one meetings, ask employees how management can help them to do a better job, and emphasize current issues that employees care about.

q    Concentrate on building credibility with employees. Managers who lack credibility and fail to create a climate of trust and openness are not believed - no matter how hard they try to communicate. 

3.11 Listening
Listening can be described as a combination of:
(i) Hearing — the physical reception of sound;
(ii) Comprehending — the interpretation and understanding of the message; and
(iii) Remembering — the ability to retain what has been heard.

Hearing is with ears, but listening is with the mind. Effective listening helps receiver to take the exact intended message. Good listeners save time because they learn more within a given period of time and they learn about the person talking, as well as what the person is saying. Good listening is also good manners; people think more of us when we listen to them attentively.

  •   Nature has given people two ears but only one tongue, which is
  • Gentle hint that they should listen more than they talk.
  • Listening requires two ears, one for meaning and one for feeling.
  • Decision-makers who do not listen have less information for making sound decisions.

The Bureau of National Affairs has developed a “laundry list” of the important concepts related to effective listening:

  1. Everyone likes to feel important.
  2. people perform better when they know that their opinions and suggestions are heeded
  3. Supervisors must use their expertise and experience of employees and be able to get them to exercise this expertise.
  4. Attention paid to gripes often prevents their blossoming into big grievances.
  5. Supervisors who jump to conclusions lose the respect of their subordinates.
  6. To do a good job of listening, supervisors must plan time for it in their busy schedules.
  7. Listening requires full attention to the speaker; it is impossible to listen intelligently while the mind is preoccupied with something else.
  8. Listening habits are deeply embedded in the personality and are related to other personality traits, such as obstinacy, empathy, and so on.
  9. The correction of bad habits is a slow process and must be self-motivated.
  10. Supervisors who don’t get all the facts often make poor decisions.

 The following guidelines are suggested in respect of listening:

  • Put the talker at ease. Help a person feel free to talk.
  • Show a talker that you want to listen. Look and Remove distractions. Don’t doodle, tap, or shuffle papers. Will it not be quieter if you shut the door?
  • Empathize with the talker. Try to help yourself see the other person’s point of view.
  • Be patient. Allow plenty of time. Do not interrupt a talker. Don’t start for the door or walk away.
  • Hold your temper. An angry person takes the wrong meaning from words.
  • Go easy on arguments and criticisms. These put people on the defensive, and they may calm up or become angry. Do not argue.
    Even if you win, you lose.
  • Ask questions. This encourages a talker and shows that you are listening. It helps to develop points further.
  • Stop talking. This is first and the last, because all other guides depend upon it. You cannot do effective listening job while you are talking.

One must develop the art of listening. The higher you go up in the organisational set-up, the more successful you are likely to be if you listen to others. Some of the listening gains are:

ü           You get information that may help you.

ü           You get ideas that you might never have thought. (Ideas have no pride. They are willing to be born to anyone willing to have them).

ü           You develop understanding of people who are different from you in many ways.

ü           You get co-operation from people who know that you value their thinking and ideas.

ü           You motivate action from people who have a part in your success.

ü           You get good listening on the part of others to what you have to say.


Listening Tips:

1. Listen for ideas, not just for facts.
2. Control your emotional reactions.
3. Overcome personal prejudgments and distractions.
4. Keep an open mind.
5. Listen more than you talk.
6. Hear the other person out; don’t interrupt.
7. Learn to practice active listening.
8. Keep your mouth shut (literally, keep your lips closed).
9. Paraphrase frequently in your mind, and aloud to the speaker.
10. Focus on the person speaking. 

3.12 HR Role in Communication.

  • Strengthening formal communication through departmental/cross functional meetings along the suggested lines.
  • Providing linkages with annual appraisals as a mode of facilitating meetings.
  • Ensuring proper dissemination of information, other than through departmental meetings.
  • Conducting training programmes on

(a) effective listening skills, and

(b) conducting meetings.

  • Developing a system of open communication policy to facilitate more openness and trust.
  • Involving line personnel in conducting training classes to improve understanding of each other, and for creating healthy interaction at shop floor level.
  • Organizing informal gatherings such as annual day, sports meets, and the like to promote free interaction and exchange of views.
  • Advising departments to maintain circulars and flies relating to their working for general consumption.
  • Exploring avenues for establishing a library which would act as a central point of information.
  • Facilitating greater clarity of job role and relationships through job descriptions.
  • Facilitating upward communication through personal contacts, fact finding surveys, and soon.
  • Issuing manuals/guidelines detailing policies, procedures, rules, and other personnel related matters to ensure clarity.

Frequent interaction with employees tells them they’re important. The way you communicate with your employees demonstrates you care about them as people — not just as employees. Sometimes you have to go out of your way to interact with your employees, but they always will notice how much effort you put forth to communicate with them.

Self-check — Communication

Are you making the most of your opportunities to communicate with your employees? Answer the questions below in YES or NO to see how well you’re doing.
1. Do you try to greet your employees every day?
2. Do you go out of your way to interact with your employees at least once each day?
3. Do you speak to your employees before they speak to you?
4. Do you go to your employees’ work areas to talk to them?
5. Do you talk to your employees about non-work activities?
6. Are your employees welcome at your office at any time?
7. Do you have lunch with your employees from time to time?
8. Do you know what your employees like to do when they aren’t at work?
9. Do you understand your employees’ needs, wants, goals and aspirations?
10. Do you give frequent positive reinforcement?
11. Do you frequently review goals and expectations?
12. Do you ask your employees’ personal goals and aspirations?
13. Do you ask about your employees’ problems, fears and concerns?

14. Do you ask yourself what you can do to help improve your employees’ performance?
For any questions that you answered “no,” list below things you can do to increase your interaction with your employees.

3.13 Computer-Aided Communication

 

          Communication in today’s organizations is enhanced and enriched by computer-aided technologies. These include electronic mail, for instance, has dramatically reduced the number of memos, letters, and phone calls that employees historically used to communicate among themselves and with suppliers, customers, or other outside stakeholders.

 

E-Mail: 

Electronic mail (or e-mail) uses the Internet to transmit and receive computer-generated text and documents. Its growth has been spectacular. Most white-collar employees now regularly use e-mail. In fact, a recent study found that the average U.S. employee receives 31 e-mail messages a day. And organizations are recognizing the value of e-mail for all workers. Ford Motor Company, for instance, recently made a computer, modem, printer and email account available for $5 a month to all of its more than 3,00,000 employees worldwide.

As a communication tool, e-mail ahs a long list of benefits. E-mail messages can be quickly written, edited and stored. They can be distributed to one person or thousands with a click of a mouse. They can be read, in their entirety, at the convenience of the recipient. And the cost of sending formal e-mail to employees is a fraction of what it would cost to print, duplicate and distribute comparable letter or brochure.

 

 

E-mail, of course, is not without its drawbacks. At the top of the list is information overload .Its not unusual for employees to get a hundred or more e-mails a day. Reading, absorbing and responding to such an inflow can literally consume an employee’s entire day.

 

In essence e-mail’s is of use has become its biggest negative. Employees are finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish important e-mails from junk mails and irrelevant messages. Another drawback of e-mail is that the lack emotional content. The nonverbal quest in a face to face message or the tone of voice from a phone call convey important information that come across an e-mail, although efforts have been made to create emotional icons. Finally e-mails tend to be cold and impersonal. As such it’s the ideal means to convey information like lay-offs, plant closings or other messages that might evoke emotional responses or social support.

 

Intranet and extranet links:

 

Intranets are private. Organization worldwide information networks that look and act like a web-site, but to which only people in an organization have access. Intranets are rapidly becoming the proffered means for employees within the companies to communicate with each other. IBM recently bought together 52 thousand of its employees online for what it called Worldjam.Using companies intranet IBMers must everywhere swapped ideas on everything from how to retain employees to how to work faster without undermining quality.

 

 

 

In addition organisations are creating extra net links that connect internal employees with selected suppliers, customers and strategic partners. For instance an extranet allows GM employees to send electronic messages and documents to its steel and rubber supplier as well as to communicate with its dealers. Similarly all Wall Mart vendors are linked into its extranet system, allowing Wall Mart buyers to easily communicate with its suppliers and for suppliers to monitor the inventory status of its product at Wall Mart stores.

 

Videoconferencing:

 

Videoconferencing is an extension of intranet or extranet system. It permits employees in an organization to have meetings with people at different locations. Live audio and video images of members allow them to see, hear and talk with each other. Videoconferencing in effect allows employees to conduct interactive meetings without the necessity of all physically being in the same location.

 

In the late 1990s videoconferencing was basically conducted from special rooms equipped with television cameras located at company facilities. More recently cameras and microphones are being attached to individual computers allowing people to participate in videoconferences without leaving their desks. As the cost of this technology drops in price videoconferencing is likely to be increasingly seen as an alternative to expensive and time consuming travel.

hen p4�ea�#���erstanding and getting confused, others should  try to be sympathetic and understanding.

 

q    Consult everyone affected, even though they are not concentrating at present (because they will resent not being consulted afterwards).

q    When people are being manipulative or deceptive, this can be openly acknowledged, but others should be honest and open rather than trying to pay them back in their own coin.

 

3.14 CHOICE OF COMMUNICATION CHANNEL

 

Neal .L. Patterson, CEO at medical software maker Cerner Corporation likes e-mails. May be too much so. Upset with his staff’s work ethics he recently sent an e-mail to his firm’s 400 managers. Here are some of those e-mails highlight:

 

“Hell with freeze over before this CEO implements ANOTHER EMPLOYEE benefit in this culture….. We are getting less those 40 hours of work from a large number of our Kansa City based employees. The parking is sparsely used at 8am likewise at 5pm. As managers-you either do not know what your EMPLOYEES are doing or YOU do not CARE ….we has a problem and we will fix it or will replace you. ..What are you doing as managers with this companies makes me sick.

 

Patterson’s e-mail additionally suggested that managers schedule meetings at 7 Am., 6pm., and Saturday mornings promised a staff reduction of 5% an institution of a time clock system and Patterson’s intention to charge unapproved absences to employees vacation time.

 

Within hours of this e-mail, copies of it had made its way on to a Yahoo website. And within three days Corners’ stock price has plummeted 22%. Although one can argue about whether such harsh criticism should be communicated at all, one thing is certainly clear Patterson erred selecting the wrong channel for his message. Such an emotional and sensitive would have been better received in a face to face meeting.

Why do people choose one channel of communication over another-for instance a phone call instead of face you face talk? Is there any general insight we might be able to provide regarding choice of communication channel? The answer to the later question is a qualified ‘Yes’. A model of media richness has been developed to explain channel selection among managers.

 

Research has found that channels differ in their capacity to convey information some are rich in that they have ability to:

(1) handle multiple quest simultaneously

(2) Facilitate rapid feed back.

(3) be very personal .Others are lean in that they score low on these three factors.

 

Generally, face-to-face conversation scores highest in terms of channel richness because it provides for the maximum amount of information to be transmitted during a communication episode. That is, it offers multiple information cues , immediate feedback, and the personal touch of “being there “ Impersonal written media such as formal reports and bulletins rate lowest in richness.

 

The choice of one channel over another depends on whether the message is routine or non-routine. The former types of messages tend to be straight forward and have a minimum of ambiguity. The latter are likely to be complicated and have the potential for misunderstanding. Managers can communicate routine messages efficiently through channels that are3 lower in richness.

 

However, they can communicate non routine messages effectively only by selecting rich channels. Referring back to our opening example at Cerner Corp, it appears that Neal patter sons problem was using a channel relatively low in richness to convey a message that, because of its no routine nature and complexity, should have been conveyed using a rich communication medium.

 

Evidence indicates that high-performing managers tend to be more media sensitive than low-performing managers. That is, they’re better able to match appropriate media richness with ambiguity involved in the communication.

 

The media richness model is consistent with organizational trends and practice during the past decade. It is not just coincidence that more and more senior managers have been using meetings t5o facilitate communication and regularly leaving the sanctuary of their executive’s offices to manage by walking around. These executives are relying on rich channels of communication to transmit the more ambiguous messages they need to convey. The past decade has been characterized by organisations closing facilities, merging, consolidating and introducing new products and services at an accelerated pace-all no routine messages in high ambiguity and requiring the  use of channels that convey a large amount of information .It is not surprising, therefore to see the most effective managers expanding their use of rich channels .

 

4.1 BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

A number of barriers can retard or distort effective communication. In this section, we highlight the more important of these barriers.

 

Filtering

Filtering refers to a sender’s purposely manipulating information so it will be seen mare favorably by the receiver. For example, when a manager tells his boss what he feels his boss wants to hear, he is filtering information.

 

The major determinant of filtering is no. of levels in the organization structure .The more vertical levels in the organizations hierarchy, the more opportunities there are for filtering. But you can expect some filtering to occur whenever there are status differences. Factors such as fear of conveying bad news and the desire to please one’s boss often lead employees to tell their superiors what they think those superiors want to hear, thus distorting upward communications.

 

Selective Perception

We have mentioned it earlier. It appears again here because the receivers in the communication process see and hear based on their needs, motivations, experience, background and other personal characteristics. Receivers also project their interests and expectations into communications as they decode them. The employment interviewer who expects a women job applicant to put her family ahead if her career is likely to see that female applicants, regardless of whether the applicants feel that way or not

 

Information Overload

Individuals have a fine capacity for processing data. As noted in our previous discussion of e-mail, when the information we have to work with exceeds our processing capacity, the result is information overload .And with e-mails, phone calls, faxes, meetings and the need to keep current in one’s field, more and more managers and professionals are complaining that they’re suffering overload.

 

What happens when individuals have more information than they can sort out and use? They tend to select out, ignore, pass over or forget information. Or they may put off further processing until the overload situation is over. Regardless, the result is lost information and less effective communication

 

Emotions

How the receiver feels at the time of receipt of a communication will influence how he or she interprets it. The same message received when you are angry is often interpreted differently from when you’re happy. Extreme emotions such as jubilation or depression are most likely to hinder effective communication.

 

In such instances, we are most prone to disregard our national and objective thinking processes and substitute emotional judgments.

 

Language

Words mean different thing to different people. Age, education and cultural background are three of the more obvious variables that influence the language a person uses and the definitions he or she gives to words.

 

In an organization, employees usually come from diverse backgrounds. The grouping of the employees into departments creates specialists who develop their own “buzzwords” or technical jargon. In large organizations, members are also frequently widely dispersed geographically-even operating in different countries. The existence of vertical levels can also cause language problems.

 

There point is that although you and I probably speak a common language-English –our use of that language is far from uniform. If we knew how each of us modified the language, communication difficulties could be minimized. There problem is that the members in an  organization usually don’t know how those the words and terms they use mean the same to the receiver as they do to them This assumption is often incorrect.

 

Communication Apprehension

Another major barrier to effective communication is that some people- an estimated 5-20% of the population-suffer from debilitating. Although lots of people speaking in front of a group, communication techniques.

 

People who suffer from it experience undue tension and anxiety in oral apprehensive may find it extremely difficult to talk with others face to face or become extremely anxious when they have to use the telephone. As a result, they may rely on memos or faxes to convey messages when a phone call would be not only faster but more appropriate.

 

Studies demonstrate that oral-communication apprehensive avoid situations that require them to engage in oral communication. We should expect to find some self-selection in jobs so that such individuals don’t take positions such as teacher. But almost all jobs require some oral communication is a dominant requirement. And of greater concern is the evidence that high oral communication apprehensive distort the communication demands of their jobs in order to minimize the need for communication. So we need to be aware that there is a set of people in the organization who severely limit their oral communication and rationalize this practice by telling that more communication isn’t necessary for them to do their job effectively.

Poor structure to the communication

The structure of a communication is an essential factor in how well a business communication is received by an audience.

It doesn't matter whether that audience is an audience of one or one million, good structure is essential if a communication is to be 'heard' amongst the advertising and marketing 'noise' of today's business environment.

So a poor structure to your message or delivery is therefore a major barrier to effective communication.

Weak delivery

It doesn't matter how important or impressive the subject of your communication is, if you deliver it without any 'punch' you will not get as many people to take your desired action as you would like.

A weak delivery is like the very funny joke with the badly-told punch line --- it is not as funny or as memorable as you remember the original to be. It's all in the delivery. It is important to not get confused between delivery and presenter.

 Several businessmen are extremely confident in the public's gaze, very happy to be in front of an audience. But because their presentations and communications lack a suitable structure, they 'lose' their audience within minutes, the audience becomes increasingly confused and eventually frustrated by not being able to understand clearly and easily what on earth these businessmen are on about.

The use of the wrong medium

You have to announce a temporary hold on non-essential stationery spending in your department. How do you communicate this?

An advertising campaign on local radio would be a highly ineffective way of reaching the desired audience if the message was complex and really intended for a narrow niche audience.

Similarly, a public presentation, with 'obligatory' PowerPoint TM slideshow full of complex charts and data, would be the wrong medium if the message you were trying to communicate would be better served by a white paper, or some similar print-based format that allowed the audience to digest the complexities at their own pace.

suggested

 

When considering which medium to use for which type of message you wish to communicate, it is wise to analyze the following:

  • What is the fixed cost of production? Are there ad agency fees, broadcast or print fees that must be paid, irrespective of the number or volume of items produced?
  • What are the variable costs -- such as CDs, DVDs, audio cassettes and printing costs?
  • How long will it take to write, edit and produce your communication in your chosen medium?
  • What percentage of your target audience is likely to have access to your chosen medium at the time you choose to publish/play/present it?
  • What percentage of your target audience will be likely to pay attention to your chosen medium?
  • Is your message a complex one? Would your message be more easily and readily comprehended through auditory, tactile or visual (e.g. reading or images) modalities?
  • How quickly do you need your audience to comprehend and take action on your message?

A mixed message

It is very hard for an audience -- whether an audience of 1 or 1 million to understand your communication if you unnecessarily confuse the audience.

If you deliberately, or otherwise, confuse them. A HUGE barrier to business communication is the ability of 'business-speak' to confuse and alienate its audience.

It does this in two ways:

1. By using terms and phrases that are 'jargon', the meaning of which are possibly recognized but probably not fully understood

2. By trying to 'save time/paper' by rolling several different communication messages into one.

Another barrier arising from mixed messages is when a previously-held stance is lightly overturned to meet some political or business expediency, then upheld again. An example of this would be where the acceptance of corporate gifts is not allowed, but then allowed if it a brand new client who has contracted a large amount of money to your business, then not allowed again after the gift-giving and receiving season is over.

Or a company-wide budget cut that stops all business-class travel, but the very senior management is found to be traveling first class.

Be very careful of mixing your messages, as mixed messages are a very real barrier to effective business communication.

The wrong audience

Presenting your message to the wrong audience for your business communication is a complete waste of your time and money. Don't do it -- pick your audience then pick the medium that will best find them.

A distracting environment

There's nothing worse than trying to communicate your message to a group of people who cannot 'hear' you.

 

Whether their inability to 'hear' you is because of:

  • Your voice not being strong enough
  • Too many others talking in the room at the same time
  • Police and ambulance sirens outside the venue
  • Too many phone calls coming in to their office while they're trying to read your memo
  • Interruptions while they try to read your report
  • Incoming emails keep popping up while they are reading your web-based communication
  • Their minds are full of other pressing matters
  • They are supposed to be somewhere else at that moment
  • Their mobile phone keeps ringing, or vibrating if they've set it to 'silent' instead of switching it off
  • Their internet connection is slow
  • Their internet connection keeps dropping out
  • There are too many interesting people to look at while they are on the bus trying, in vain, to concentrate on your report
  • The room's air-conditioning is not working and the room is hot and stuffy
  • The room's heating is not working and the room is cold and clammy

Well, there are of course a thousand possible distracting reasons why they cannot or will not attend to your business communication.

The point is to do whatever you can, whilst acknowledging that this might be next to nothing, to reduce the number of distractions your chosen audience might be subjected to.

4.2 CURRENT ISSUES IN COMMUNICATION

In this section we discuss four current issues relating to communication in organization. Why do men and women often have difficulty communicating with each other? What role does silence play in communication? What are implications of the “politically correct” movement on communications in organizations? And how individuals can improve their cross culture communication?

Communication Barriers between Women and Men

 

Research by experts provides us with some important insights into the differences between men and women in terms of their conversational styles. The essence of the research is that men use talk to emphasize status, whereas women use it to create connection. The conclusion, of course, doesn’t apply to every woman. Thus it , means  “a larger % of women or men as a group talk in  a particular way, or individual women and men are more likely to talk one way or the other.

 

Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence. Independence emphasis separateness and differences. But here’s the kick Women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy men speak and hear a language of status power and independence. So for many men conversations are primarily a means to preserve independence ands maintain status in a hierarchical social order’s few examples will illustrate this:

 

Men frequently complain that women talk on and on about their problem. Women criticize men for not listening. What’s happening is that when men hear a problem, they frequently assert their for independence and control by offering solutions .Many women, on other hand view telling a problem as a means to promote closeness’s e women present the problem to gain support and connection ,not to get the man’s advise.  Mutual understanding is symmetrical. But giving advise is asymmetrical it sets up the advise giver as more knowledge, more reasonable, and more in control. This contributes to distancing men and women in their efforts to communicate

 

Men are often more direct than women in conversation. A man might say “I think you are wrong at that point”. Women might say” Have you looked at the marketing research report on that point?” Men frequently see female indirections as “covert “or “sneaky” but women are not vas concerned as men with the status and one-upmanship that directness often creates.

 

Women tend to be less boastful than men. They often downplay their authority or accomplishments to avoid appearing as braggarts and to take the other’s person feelings into account Men can interpret this and incorrectly conclude that a woman is less confident and competent than she really is.

 

Finally men often critise women for seeming to apologize all the time .Men tend to see the phrase “I m sorry” as a weakness because they interpret the phrase to mean the woman is accepting blame, when he knows she’s not to blame. The problem is that the women use often “I m sorry” to express to regret and restore balance to conversations. For many women “I m sorry “is an expression of understanding and caring about the other person’s feelings rather than an apology.

4.3 SILENCE AS COMMUNICATION:

 Sherlock Holmes once solved a murder mystery based on what didn’t happen. Holmes remarked to his assistant Dr .Watson, about “the curious incident of the dog in night time. “Watson surprised responds” But the dog did nothing in the night time.

 

 “Holmes concluded thwart crime had to be committed by someone with whom the dog was familiar because the dog didn’t bark. The dog that didn’t bark in the night is often used to metaphor for an event that is significant by reason of its absence. That story is also an excellent illustration of the importance of silence in communication.”

 

Silence—defined here as an absence of speech or noise-has been generally ignored as a form of communication in OB because inaction or no behavior .But it’s not necessarily in action .Nor is silence as, many believe a failure to communicate. It can be a powerful form of communication. It can mean someone is thinking a response to question. It can mean a person is anxious and fearful of speaking. It can signal agreement, dissent, and anger.

 

In terms of Organizational Behaviour we can see several links between and work related behaviour. For instance, silence is a critical element of group thinks, in which it implies agreement with majority. It can be a way of employees to express dissatisfaction, as when they “suffer in silence”. It can be sign that someone is upset, as when a typically talking person says nothing

 

Failing to pay close attention to silent portion of a conversation can result in missing a vital part of the message. Astute communications watch for gaps, pauses, hesitations. They hear and interpret silence. They treat pauses; they pay attention to what comes next. Is the person suffering from communication apprehension? Sometimes the real message in a communication is buried in silence.

 

4.4  “POLITICALLY CORRECT” COMMUNICATION:

What words do you use to describe a colleague who is wheel-chair bound? What terms do you use to address a female customer? How do you communicate with a brand new client who is not like you? Your answers can mean between losing a client, an employee, a lawsuit, a harassment claim or a job.

 

Most of us are aware of how our vocabulary has been modified to reflect political correctness. For instance, most of us have cleansed the words handicapped, blind, and elderly from our vocabulary – and replaced them with physically challenged, visually impaired, senior. The Los Angeles Times, for instance, allows its journalists to use the word old age but cautious that it varies from “person to person”.

 

We must be sensitive to others feelings.  Certain words can and do stereotype and insult individuals. We must be sensitive to know how words might offend others. There is a downside to political correctness. To illustrate, you probably know what these 4 terms mean: death, garbage, quotas women. But each of these words also has been found to offend one or more groups. They’ve been replaced by negative patient outcome, post consumer waste materials, educational equity, and people of gender. You know what death means; I know what death means; but can you be sure that “negative patient outcome” will be consistently defined as synonymous of death?

 

Some critics for humor’s sake enjoy carrying political correctness to the extreme. Even those of us with thinning scalp, who aren’t thrilled at labeled “bald” have to smirk when we’re referred to as “follicle challenged”. But our concern here is with how politically correct language is contributing a barrier to effective communication.

 

 

Words are primary means with which people communicate. When we eliminate words from use because they are politically incorrect, we reduce our options for conveying messages in accurate form. For the most part, the larger the vocabulary used by sender, the greater opportunity to transmit messages. By removing certain words from our vocabulary we find it hard to communicate.

 

We must sensitive to how our choice of words offends others. But we also have to be careful not to sanitize our language to the point at which it clearly restricts clarity of communication. However you should be aware of the trade-offs and the need to find a proper balance.

4.5 CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION:

Effective communication is difficult under the best of conditions. Cross – cultural factors clearly the potential for increased communication problems. A gesture that is well understood and acceptable in one culture can be meaningless or lewd in another.

 

Cultural barriers:

One author has identified 4 specific problems related to large difficulties in cross-cultural communications.

 

First, there are barriers caused by semantics. As we’ve noted, words mean different to different people. This is true for people from different cultures. Some words. Don’t translate between cultures. Understanding sisu will help you to communicate in Finland but this is non transferable to English.

 

Second there are barriers caused by word connotations. Words imply different things in different languages. Negotiations between Americans and Japanese executives are made more difficult because Japanese hai translates as yes but its connotation will be “yes I m listening” rather than “yes I agree”

 

Third are barriers caused by tone differences in some cultures, language is formal, in others it’s informal. In some, tone changes depending upon the context: people speak differently at home. Using a personal, informal style in situation in which a more formal style is expected can be embarrassing and off-putting

 

Fourth, there are barriers caused by differences caused by perceptions. People who speak different languages actually view the world in different ways. Thais perceive no differently than Americans because the former have no such word in the vocabulary.

 

Cultural Context:

A better understanding of these barriers for communicating across cultural can be achieved by considering the concepts of high and low context cultures.

 

 

Cultures tend to differ in importance to which context influences meaning that individuals take from what is actually said or written in light of who the other person is. Countries like china, Korea, Japan and Vietnam are high context cultures they rely heavily on nonverbal and subtle situations cues when communicating with others. A person’s official status in society and reputation carry considerably weight in communications. People from Europe and North America reflect their low context cultures.

 

What do these contextual differences mean in terms of communication? Actually quite a lot. Communication in high context cultures implies considerably more trust by both parties. What may appear to outsider as casual and insignificant is important because it reflects a desire to build a relationship and create trust. Oral agreements imply strong commitments in high context cultures. Low context cultures value directness. Managers are directed to be explicit and precise in conveying intended meaning.

 

A Cultural Guide:

When communicating with people from a different culture what can you do to reduce misperceptions and misevaluations? You can begin by trying to assess context culture. The 4 rules are helpful:

 

(1)   Assume differences until similarity is proven. Most of us assume that others are more similar to us than they actually are. But people from different countries often are different.

(2)   Emphasis description rather than interpretation or evaluation. Interpreting or evaluating what someone has said or done is based on observer’s culture and background than on observed situation.

(3)   Practice empathy. Before sending a message put yourself in the recipient’s shoes what don you know about his or her education, upbringing or background? Try to see other person as she or he really is.

(4)   Treat your interpretations as a working hypothesis. Once you’ve developed an explanation for a new situation think your empathize with some foreign culture. Carefully assess the feedback by recipients to see if it confirms your hypothesis. For important decisions or communiqués, your can also check with other foreign and home country colleagues to make sure that your interpretations are on target.

CONCLUSION

Thus, Communication is an exchange of information and transmission of meaning. It is considered as a crucial function of modern management. Communication always involves a sender, channel and receiver. The symbols of communication are words, actions, pictures, and numbers.

 

Organization communication thus is one of the most important tools used by many Human Resource Development (HRD) managers to cut the communication gap in the organisation. It also plays an important part to build an organization structure. Lack in organizational communication hampers the productivity of employees and in turn that of the organisation. Moreover, the case studies also help to throw light on the important aspects of organizational communication and depict how useful it is in shaping the organization’s future and helping it achieve its objectives. To be fully effective, a communication programmes must:

 

  1. Be properly organized and integrated with the structure of the corporate enterprise;
  2. Have the support the support of top management to operate in a climate favourable  to free and open exchange of views and attitudes;
  3. Have continuity.

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