EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE
QUESTION: Effective communication can enhance the productivity and the flow of organization. Discuss the above statement emphasizing on the importance of communication in work place.
Communication can be termed as, the concept or state of exchanging data or information between entities or better still, an instance of information transfer; a conversation or discourse. On the other hand, effective communication is, the form of communication that, has the power to produce a required effect or effects which is a decided or decisive effect. An organization is termed as successful when it is able to meet its goals and objectives and this can only be achieved if there is effective communication across the organization from the highest level to the lowest. Communication is only effective if the receiver understands the message conveyed by the sender. This creates a work environment that promotes time management, production development, fast and reliable message delivery, employee loyalty and unity, boosts and increase employee morale, empowerment and transparency, healthy culture in the work place, increased accountability and clear direction. communication being the backbone of any organization contrary to this the work place develops a hostile environment, miscommunication, decrease of employee morale and unity, low productivity, time wastage, low customer satisfaction and ultimately failure of the organization. A number of factors may contribute to in effective flow of communication that such as psychological factors, physical barriers, cultural beliefs, language barrier, and personal barriers.
An effective communication is when the message being conveyed is delivered through the right channel and the intended message understood. Human brains work t different levels with different level of understanding, if both the sender and recipient are not psychologically there will be no effective communication. Psychology is basically the structure of the human mind and if the mental mind is unwell it creates an obstacle for effective communication.
Lack of attention due to stress if an individual feels distracted by either personal stressor work related stress like pressure from the boss to meet deadlines, under performance, possible work retrenchment, harsh boss or distrust with other employees. The communication will be in effective dues to these factors.
Poor retention of the mind, when the brain only remembers a portion of the information that they deemed useful for future reference, half of the information is forgotten. The brain will only remember the new information being processed and forget the old information e.g. the boss has asked you to inform the rest of the office that investors will be coming to visit their organization, everyone is required to come up with project that will suit their needs and give a description of their interest, goals, expectations and personal information. The brain is likely to remember the first part such as their expectations, goals and interests and sine their personal information s, telephone number never seemed important one might communicate wrong information leading to distortion of the information.
Distrust and defectiveness when people do not trust the person giving the information people tend to ignore or pick negative meaning to the information. When a person has the tendency of giving information according to their own understanding as opposed to how it was actually conveyed, or rather try to force their ideas or opinions on people the receivers of the message tend not to listen or prefer to get the information from the original sender. In this case the flow communication fails.
Bureaucracy in an organization sometimes tends to be important as it states the clear method of communication to a point of becoming monatomic. In an instance where it happens that the system is changed distrust of this information will arise or miscommunication might occur. If the company’s policy is that the Human Resource manager to use email or text messages to communicate and it happens an emergency memo is pinned on the wall by security office, majority of people are likely to miss the memo since they only expect communication from the human resource manager via text messages only.
Premature evaluation when a person is quick to talk or respond rather than listen to the whole information first, they are likely to make a premature judgment. They don’t put in mind the concept of the information such as social, cultural or economic and ends up taking quick and wrong decisions. It is important to ear the whole information so as to pass down the right information. Communication become ineffective if the psychological factors act as barriers, the mental condition of the sender is important as the receiver.
A physical barrier is the natural environment of the work place that can hinder effective communication. When passing a message it should get to the sender easily without any difficulties. When there is disturbance in the environments it gets hard to get the information being passed across. Types of physical barriers are such as noise, work space design, medium disturbance or technical problem, environment or climate.
When one is in an area full of noise one cannot clearly get what is being communicated to them by the other party. In a situation where multiple people talking at the same time in loud tones, the information can come out as noise missing out on the importance of the massage.
If employees work spaces are far away from each other they will not be able to communicate properly. Some offices tend to have very high practitioners in that cannot see the person giving the information it’s most likely they one might get some parts of the information. Sitting arrangements of the staff is also very important, if one has to pass information to another yet they are far apart, one may opt to send the person near their office or wait for somebody going that direction and give them the information to pass across. Having in mind retention of the brain differs or one may pass information according to their own understanding.
Sometime one has no control over the environment to which they are in. During bad weather such as rain, wind or thunder they create noise which makes it hard for effective communication. Incase staff area at a briefing and its heavily raining people might be concerned by their health by feeling cold or the noise made by the rain droplets especially with roofs made of iron sheet. Likewise when the temperatures are too high at a work place, people don’t concentrate on the information being passed across. The heat becomes unbearable for the staff making them uncomfortable one might focus on cooling themselves rather than listening to the message being passed across. Environment of the particular person is important when passing down information because they are directly affected by it.
The medium which is to be used when passing down information is important for the efficiency of communication. One is to consider the time as to which the medium will take, speed and accuracy, length of the information, nature of the information, the receiver of the information, efficiency of the medium. If one the message is urgent a phone call would be appropriate as opposed to sending a letter. When one wants to communicate very important yet lengthy message an email would suit because one can access it for future reference as opposed to sending a person to pass the information. Information can easily be distorted or forgotten and one will waste time trying to remind people all the time of the message. Organization mostly tend to use modern technology for communication since they are fast and reliable but sometimes they have technical breakdowns, computer virus crash or during bad weather poor network connection hence no medium can be considered to be highly effective than the other.
Everyone has their own language that they use in communication and inmost times it can be different from others. When communicating it is important to use the correct language when one want to pass a message. People’s language varies due to linguistic differences and this at times makes communication different. When one is affected by their language people tend to misinterpret whatever they are saying or sometimes end up not understanding. In an office set up it is important that language does not come in the way of communication by coming up with policies such as only using the office policy language, translation of message if not properly understood or asking for feedback. By doing this one ensures that everybody understood the message that was to be passed across in order to avoid mistakes or time wastage by correcting those mistakes. Emphasize on the use of repetition to ensure that everybody gets the message. Use of body language for emphasizes if one means to write and nobody understand they can mimic the action of writing so that it is easily understood by everyone. In case of foreign employees encourage them to take local language classes and also fellow employees to take up foreign language class. This promotes unity among workers working to understand ach others language.
Diversity is typical to occur in different work place and cultural differences determine how one behaves. Everybody has their own culture that they were bought up with from the way they dress, to what or how they eat, their beliefs and mode of communication. In some cultures the woman is to listen to the man speak and follow instructions without question. If this is the case a male employee might have difficulties taking instructions from female superiors. Information has already been affected due to the medium as to which the message is being delivered; they would rather prefer to take information from a male boss. In some cultures age comes with respect given to a person as it is assumed age comes with wisdom. In an organization this isn’t always the case, your qualifications according to education or experience puts you at the top. If a younger person is more educated making them suitable for a boss position, it might become difficult communicating order or instructions to an older audience. This not only makes the receiver of the message uncomfortable but also the sender of the message due to cultural belief of respect to older people. In another instance, if When one growing up if an individual always experienced people shouting or fighting in cases of disagreements. This habit can easily follow one to their work place by either shouting at the employees, fighting in the organization. The moment one creates a hostile working environment it instills fear, intimidation and sadness amongst employee. Earlier we discussed that the mental health of both the sender and receiver of the message is important. If one feels sad or depressed when getting information the brain tends to grasp very little information and focus on the hostility that was shown by the message sender. In order to create a healthy working space and at the same time respect everybody’s cultural beliefs the organization is comes up with office policies that governs mode of communication. This ensures respect of authority and easy interactions of employees.
Effective Communication proofing to be key to a successful organization, scholars have been able to come up with theories explaining some of the benefits; keeper theory, open system theory and Communication theory these theories assert that there is selective influence based social relationships psychological and physical categories.
Kurt Lewin states that the term “Gate keeping” is basically blocking unwanted or useless thing by using a gate. The person responsible for determining what is important is termed as a “Gate keeper”. The gate keeper decides what information should move to the group or individual. They are the decision makers of the whole system. This theory deals with three variables; attempt to understand the interface between communication, communication channels and the receiver of information. In an organization the gate keepers ensure that the relevant information gets passed through proper communication channels to prevent distortion of information.
An open system theory is a system that has external interactions with its environment through giving and receiving information. An organization is made up of several sub system that performs different functions and interact in different ways of each other’s subsystem. These systems depend on each other on how they convey their input to useful information by provides avenue for feedback mechanism. This enables individuals in an organization make and executes rational decisions, unity amongst the subsystems of the organization hence creating a healthy work environment. communication plays the role of the ‘’harmonizer” of the organization while information is ‘’the glue” that holds organizations together. Organizations draw their nourishment from information. They depend for their life on networks and systems of communication that makes it possible for many people to work in concert. It is this flow of information that binds an organization together into a single coherent unit” (Leavitt et als, 1973:57)
Communication theory was developed by scholars such as David Werner, Robert Asby and Karl Deutch. This theory focuses on the flow of information and structures as the analysis units. Werner and Asby used engineering to clarify the message between the channel that carries the message and the receiver; they say that when conveying messages there can be distortion along the channel caused by noise that hinders flow of information. In an organization communication is the backbone of their success, for this to happen the information has to be adequate, accurate, relevant and appropriate. This improves the employer and employee relationship when it comes to rational decision making that increases productivity, increase the unity amongst staff and encourage new innovative ides amongst the employees.
In other hand if information is not transferred through the correct channel or medium misunderstanding, distortion, and misinterpretation of information may occur. Poor communication leads to in effective communication and when communication stops organized activities cease to exist and individual uncoordinated activity return ( Gullet & Hicks, 1976) unfortunately the organization turns to a state of confusion and chaos and operate without proper clear instructions that leads to increased mistakes, low productivity, time wastage, decreased employee motivation, high absenteeism and turnover rates , hostility and demoralization of staff and failure of the organization.
In conclusion (Michael B Goodman, 1998) observed that communication governs the actions of the recipient when ideas and instructions are explained to the employee by
The supervisor, in a complete and clear form, then the employee is bound to do the
Right thing. This leads to increased productivity, increased employee morale loyalty, better customer organization and better employee interaction. Therefore, effective communication can influence the organizational performance either positively or negatively, this reduces time wastage, which is a scarce resource when it comes to the productivity of the organization.
Michael B. Goodman, (1998).State university of New York press.
Psychological Barriers to communication (2018), in, Bussinesstopia.
Rhohan Naik, (2016) PH.D Quantum Mechanic s& physics, university of Mumbai
Brooks Ian, (1981). Organizational Behavior, Essex: Pearson University Press.
Herbert G, C. Ray Gullet, Susan M, M Philips Williams S. Slaughter, (1975). Organization: theory and behavior
Shoemaer, Pamela, J. (1991). Gate keeping: communication center. Newbury, CA: sage
Berio, D.K. (1960). The process of Communication. New York, Holt Publishers.
Luhman, niklas (1995) Social systems. Stanford: Stanford University Press pp. 6-7
Armstrong, M. (2006), Human Resources Management Practices (10thed.). Philadelphia:
Buford, (1993), (2002), Fire in the Belly …Motivating Employees. Retrieved April 11,
2003 from http://www.co-dr.com/article_people_motivation.htm.
(Burt, 1992), Recognizing and Rewarding Employees. San Francisco: McGraw-Hill.
Bateman (1999). Managing to Excellence Today. Journal of Management, 2(2), 17-25.
Cummings, B. (2002), Money aside, rewards lose punch. Potentials, 35, 11-12.
Cole, G. A. (2002), Personnel and Human Resource Management (10th Ed.). London:
Dominic A. and Andrew Rancer, 2000, Building Communication Theory Advantage (4th
Ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Donna, D. (1994), How to Recognize and Reward Employees. New York:
American Management Association.
Elashmawi and Harris, (1993), How to Recognize and Reward Employees. New York:
American Management Association.
Gale, S. F. (2002), Small Rewards Can Push Productivity. Workforce, 81, 86-90.
Gay, L. R. (1992), Educational Research: Competencies for Analysis and Application.
(4thed.). New York: Macmillan.
Gibson, J., Ivancevich, J. M, & Donnelly, J. H. (2000), Pay and Performance: an
Examination of Faculty Salaries. The Review of Higher Education, 22, 391-410.
Greenberg, J., & Baron, Robert A. (2003), Behavior in Organizations, 8th ed., PrenticeHall.
Greenberg, J. (1996), Managing Behavior in Organizations. New York: Pearson
Government of Kenya (1998), Communications Act of 1998. Nairobi: Government Press.
Gruenberg, M. M. (1979), Understanding Job Satisfaction. New York: Wiley & Sons.
Harpaz, I. (1990), “The importance of work goals: An international perspective”, Journal
of International Business Studies, 21(1)75-100.
Heil, G., Bennis, W., & Stephens, D. (2000), Douglas McGregor Revisited: Managing
the Human Side of the Enterprise. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Luthans, F., & Linda, T. T. (1989), The Relationship between Age and Job
Satisfaction: Curvilinear Results from an Empirical Study. A Research Note
Personnel Review, 18(1), 23-26.
Mugenda, O. &Mugenda A. G., (2008), Research Methods: Quantitative &Qualitative
Approaches. ACTS Press, Nairobi.
Jepsen, D. A., &Sheu, H. B. (2003), General Job Satisfaction from a Developmental
Perspective: Exploring Choice-Job Matches at Two Career Stages. The Career
Development Quarterly, 52(2), 162-171.
(Kovach, 1987), Foundations of Behavioral Research. New York: Rhinehart and
Kovach, K. A. (1987), What Motivates Employees? Workers and Supervisors Give
Different Answers. Business Horizons, 30. 58-65.
Kothari, R. C. (2004). Research Methodology: Methods &Techniques. New Delhi: New
Age International Publishers.
Leigh, P. (2010), Practical Research: Planning and Design (7thed.). Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Locke E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2004). What Should We Do About Motivation Theory?
Six Recommendations for the Twenty First Century. Academy of Management Review
Nelson, (1997), Communications for Business and Profession Faculty: A Constant
Phenomena. Journal of Agricultural Education, 32 (2).16-22.
Olajide (2000), It Takes More than Pay to Keep Good Workers: Human Resources
Management News. 2003
Park, S. M., & Word, J. (2009), Motivated to Serve: Constructs and Consequences of
Work Motivation for Public and Nonprofit Managers. Paper presented at the International
Public Service Motivation (IPSM) Research Conference, June 7-9 2009, Bloomington,
Indiana. Taylor, F. (1911
Pinder, C. C. (1998), Work Motivation in Organizational Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice
Postal Corporation of Kenya, (2003), The Key Initiatives are Captured in the 2003-2007)
Corporate Strategic Plan. Nairobi: PCK: Department Publications.
Smith (1994), Communications Theory. New York: Wiley & Sons.
Stoker, (1999), Organizational Behavior. Journal of Leadership and Organization, 24(2),
(Terrell, 1979), Organizational Surveys: Tools for Assessment and Change. Jossey-Bass: