Essentials of Organizational Communication

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” – Brian Tracy

Organizational communication is a subfield of the larger discipline of communication studies. Organizational communication, as a field, is the consideration, analysis, and criticism of the role of communication in organizational contexts.

Communication is a precondition in making the organizational development as well as accomplishing its goals and objectives. The purpose of communication is to influence the action towards the organizational benefits – linking the employees together for the fulfillment of common goals.

The occurrence of behaviors amid employees in the organization is directly allied with the communication process. With its eminence at all times in the workplace, it is seemingly to transmit the information from one person to another, but that which lies in a broader sense is who says and what, who is said, through which channel he is said and with what effect. Thus, it’s a way of reacting others with ideas, thoughts, feelings and values.

Organizational Communication, for the most part, is pragmatic in the function of leading and the managerial activities, such as, planning, organizing, directing and controlling (PODC). These managerial functions are exclusively contingent upon the communication. So, it’s rightly to be said that the effective management is functioned alongside by the effective communication.

Communication Process involves the followings:

Source/Sender: A person to transmit meaning, an opinion, fact or idea.
Encoding: It involves using the forms of words, facial expressions, gestures, actions, numbers, pictures, graphs, eye contact and posture etc.
Transmission: It is an appropriate channel or a medium of a message.
Decoding: It involves perception and interpretation.
Receiver: A person who receives the message – individual or a group.
Noise: Noise refers to any type of disruption which reduces the clearness of the message.

The primary methods that are involved in the process of communication are:Written, Oral and Non-Verbal.

Oral or face to face communication: It is the important form of organizational communication that involves direct talk between the speakers and the listeners when they are physically present. It is the process in that the receiver observes simultaneously the content of the message, gestures, the changes in tone and the pitch connected with the spoken word. The formal record of such communication does not exist, so the spirit of authority can not be transmitted as it should be. At times, more or less or different meaning may be communicated by manner of speaking, tone and facial expression. Nonetheless, personal warmth and friendliness can be conveyed through verbal communication. It enables the receiver to respond by opinions and reactions in case he or she is indecisive of the message.

Written communication: This method of communication is of much value and relevance in the organizations. It includes formal letters, memos, reports, company policy manuals and so on. These areas, for the efficient functioning of the organization, are covered in particular through written communication. It reduces the probabilities and perceptual distortions while providing permanent records for future references. The message can be stored for an indefinite period of time for use in the future. As a negative factor, it leads to the excessive formalities. It is likely that the confidential written material may leak out or may be disclosed unofficially before the proper time causing disruption. Nevertheless, it is authoritative for the action and most effective as and when needed, more specifically, when the communication is that of general informational nature.

Non Verbal Communication: Facial or non-verbal expressions reveal a lot about a person’s usual mood or temperament – his behavioral tendency can also be envisaged. This way of communication has considerable meaning to managers to interpret the behavior of the employees. It enables to comprehend pretense or real situation – it may be said that however much one acts as if something were true or acts in a way intended to make others believe something is untrue or misleading, but the reality is visible at his face. The true or false countenance can be easily differentiated. Thus, body language plays a vital role being diluted with non-verbal expressions. A handshake or a pleasant smile is an example of most common form of body language. Moreover, some of the environmental elements such as building, office space can convey a message about the authority of the person. Facial expressions can be categorized as, excitement, fear, joy, anger, unhappiness and distress etc. It is easy to know the person’s arrogance, boldness, shyness and other characteristics by means of his or her facial expressions.

Employees send and receive messages across the whole organizational levels and departments by means of vertical communication or the informal communication network. Non-verbal communication is also important and can be a part of interpersonal, group and organizational communication.

Vertical Communication flows both up and down the organizational hierarchy. It is amongst managers, their superiors and subordinates. Besides, there are upward and downward communications. Upward Communication is composed of messages moving up the hierarchy from sub-ordinates to superiors and its content usually includes requests, suggestions, complaints and information that the sub-ordinate thinks is of importance to the superior. The messages of downward communication move down the hierarchy from superiors to sub-ordinates including directives, assignments, performance feedback and information that the superior sends to his sub-ordinates.

Barriers to communication:

Many a time the communication is blocked. Noise barriers, eleventh hour communication or a given deadline may put too much pressure on the receiver and may lead to aggrieved feelings and stress. Poor choice of channel can also be causative to the misapprehension of the message. Any physical distractions, such as, telephone interruptions or walk-in visitors can close down face-to-face communication process. Communication may be chaotic or blocked if the channels are not clear. Out of the professional jealousy in the closed channels, the messages may be indistinct. Role overload occurs when individuals receive more information than they are capable of processing, the result may be confusion or some important information may be laid aside. Semantic barriers are due to misinterpretations of words and symbols. The wrong choice of words or improper use of punctuation marks in written communication can sometimes alter the meaning and convey different message from what has been intended.

Effective communication

In order that a balanced movement of diverse activities as well as a coordinated structure may be formed in the workplace, it is necessary to establish effective communication. Effective communication involves transmitting and understanding the information existed in the atmosphere of openness and conviction. It is very important for a management to recognize and overcome the barriers to effective communication.

Effective Communication involves diagnosing and analyzing situations, designing proper messages, assisting receivers of messages in correct decoding and providing an efficient feedback system. The receiver should be given the opportunity to ask for clarifications and answers to any questions about the message. Good listening skills lead to better understanding and good relationship midst colleagues.

Effective communication deals with emotions which are significant to interpersonal relationship. Developed writing skills bring about better understanding on the message sent. Technical jargons must be carefully used. Well written messages can help avoid semantic and perception barriers. Message should be precise and making the meaning as clear as possible, so that it may accomplish the desired purpose. Message will be lost if the words are complex. One should be better encoder and decoder and should not get bogged down in the rules of composition, whilst the rules of grammar must be respected. It is the responsibility of each employee in an organization working for a common purpose to carry out effective communication. Whether the communication has been effective is to be appraised and evidenced with the intended results that an organization produces.

Written by:
K. A. Fareed (Fareed Siddiqui)
Writer, Trainer, Author, Blogger, Software Developer
BBA, MBA-Finance, MPhil-Financial Management, (PhD-Management)
MA-English, MPhil-English
Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications and Programming
Certificate course in English language proficiency
Level 1 – Leadership and Management ILM – UK
Pursuing CMA-USA
Individual Member of Institute of Management Consultants of India

Professional Presentations 


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