Sample Term Paper On Barriers To Communication
Communication is an essential part of any organization. Information and the effective passage of it, is critical to effective communications. Human communication and passing of information is central to any organizational action. Today, there is an increase in the introduction of various sophisticated communication and there is a demand for better forms of interaction in the organization which visibly influences the nature of organizational communication. In the course of the communication process, there arises some significant differences between the intended information and the information conveyed by the originator as well what the recipient perceives. Such instances arise whereby the information either never reaches the recipient, the information received may be distorted, the process of information transfer may be interrupted, and the recipient may interpret the information in a manner not intended by the sender. Thus communication barriers refer to the causes of the loss and distortion of information in the course of communication. It is important that management identifies the barriers of communication in the organization and develop actions to ensure effective communication to sustain efficient communication for the purpose of operational optimization. This would require that they diagnose and analyze the situations, so that they can design the appropriate messages, select the appropriate channels to communicate the messages, assist they receivers in decoding the messages in the right manner and providing for effective feedback.
For ease of comprehension, the barriers are divided into categories.
Semantic barriers in communications occur when there is divergence in the words being used in the process of communication. These barriers are likely to occur because of cultural barriers between individuals in the workplace. They may also occur when there is a lot of technological terms’ emerging in the process of communication causing one party to lack understanding of terminology utilized in the workplace (Grenier, & Metes, 1995). The semantic barriers are mostly founded upon language barrier and intercultural differences.
There is a lot that an organization and its management can do to ensure effective communications. This involves the facilitation of communication and weaknesses in planning this can cause infectiveness in communication. Organizational policies affect the communication capabilities of the employees (Argyris, 1993). Some of these hindrances are:
The policies structured into the business determine the types of relationship that develop in the work place. For instance, the organization may have a policy to have information transfer be in written form. This would mean that all the information despite how short should be in written form and cause a delay in time. Printing out memos and delivering them to every employee in an enterprise can cause delays and resource wastage. It may take some employees some time to get information (Lewis, 1980). Negligent and ignorant acts can be justified by claiming that they did not get the memo or email.
Rules and regulations of the organization
The rules and regulations are the ones that determine policies governing communication in an enterprise. They also determine the medium and subject matter of communications. Because of the definite rules that are brought up by the organizational management individuals may hesitate in sending of information to prevent themselves from getting into trouble with the administration.
In employee management, there is often a division of staff in terms of seniority. This is a formal division and the capacity that an employee holds dictates strongly the manner in which they behave and relate with fellow organizations. When the communication occurring is bottom to top and the employee has to pass on information to those higher ranked than himself or herself, the employee may be lurked with fear and he may fail to convey the message clearly and in time. This can cause a delay in decision making as well as a delay in feedback from projects.
Complexity in organizational structure
An organizational structure is critical in any enterprise. It may be vertical, horizontal or customized. A complex organizational structure may be too complex and this can be a barrier to communication. This structure may result in communication and information that gets changed before the receiver gets to decode the information. In other words, criticism and negative things that may be affecting the organization may be concealed. The more the levels there are in an organization, the more the communication becomes ineffective.
This refers to the infrastructure that is available in the enterprise to facilitate effective communication. If these facilities are insufficient, there is a hindrance to the communication. However, if they are effective, the information is clear, timely and in accordance with the need. If there are no such facilities to aid communication, communication may be futile.
Individual /personal barriers
The organizational barriers are important but it is also important to consider the personal barriers that are directly connected with the receiver and the sender (Axley, 1984).
Regardless of how well put together the message or content of the message is, weak delivery in communication acts as a barrier to communication. This can be attributed to different factors such as the environment. Weak delivery is a major problem in the organization because people need to communicate presentations for work to investors and other stakeholders. An inefficient communicator can cost the enterprise an investment.
There are some barriers related to superiority in the workplace. They include:
Fear of challenge authority
Everybody in the workplace desires to advance in their career. In this, for fear of showing their weakness, the officers attempt to conceal their weakness by failing to communicate their ideas accordingly. They are afraid that if they display a sense of weakness, they could move a level lower in the workplace.
Lack of confidence in subordinates
There is a stereotype in offices where top level employees look down on the capabilities of the lower-level employees. This could cause them to ignore the suggestions sent to them from the lower-level employees (Yates & Orlikowski, 1992). This deliberate ignoring of their messages may cause the subordinates to refuse to give any suggestions even when there are pressing matters. Consequently, the employee’s self-confidence is significantly lowered.
Barriers related to the subordinates
Unwillingness to communicate
Sometimes the subordinates have information of a negative nature but are afraid that submitting the information, it would adversely affect them. They therefore make effort to conceal the information. If they really have to send information, they can send it in an amended form. They become hindrances in communication.
Lack of proper incentives
There is a lack of incentives for the incentives to create barriers in communication. There is a lack of incentive for the subordinates to provide information, suggestions and feedback because their idea is not accorded the importance they hope. They become indifference in future and fail to provide information necessary.
How to increase effectiveness of communication in the workplace
Clarify ideas before communication
The individual who is sending information needs to be clear about the message being sent. This requires that the sender understands the objective of the message and arrange the thought in an organized order.
Communicate according to receiver’s needs
The communication’s needs should prepare the message’s structure according to not only his level of ability but he should understand the receiver’s level and understand the receiver’s environment.
Consult others before communication
At the time of communication planning, there should be invitations from all the involved parties. The main advantage is that consulting with all these parties will ensure the success of the communication system in the workplace.
Understand the tone, language and content of the message
The sender needs to take care of the fact that they should frame the message in the right manner in order to be efficient.
Follow up communication
In order to make sure the communication in the workplace is effective, management should try to realize the weaknesses of the workplace communication system. It is necessary that they realize whether to put stress upon both the formal and informal communication and either in the workplace.
Ensure proper feedback
The management should ensure that they have proper framework to encourage the employees to communicate feedback from actions taking place in the work environment and encourage employees from every level of the environmental structure to be less afraid to communicate to each other.
Encourage upward communication
Feedback between employees from different levels helps reduce misunderstanding in the workplace. This ensures that information is transferred more accurately if the receiver has the opportunity to ask for clarification and answers to queries that may arise. Although two way communication even though it is time consuming leads to openness and a level of openness building to a healthy relationship between the receiver and the sender contributing to increased effectiveness of communication. Management can encourage open communication by keeping open door policies while providing their employees with suggestions that need to be taken with the seriousness they deserve as well as taking the appropriate action.
Avoiding credibility gaps
The process of communication is a continuous process whose goal is accurate and complete understanding of the messages along with creation of trust among the members of the enterprise. The management must earn the trust among the members of the enterprise. Earning the trust of the subordinates will increase the employee’s confidence to talk about issues that emerge in the workplace. The management and high ranking employees should be sensitive about the needs of the feelings of the junior employees and strengthen their employees.
Eliminating the differences in perception
The organization needs to ensure that the right individuals fill the right vacancies. This is the responsibilities charged to the interviewer ensuring the employee has command over spoken and written language, to improve their communication. The management should have a proper induction program to ensure that the employees understand the policies of the workplace.
Having a simple organizational structure
The organization can chose to have a simple organizational structure that eases the workplace communication. The employees in higher level ranks in the workplace and those in low ranks can relate properly and effectively. The simplicity will help the communication mechanisms to run more efficiently.
Argyris, C. (1993). Knowledge for action: A guide to overcoming barriers to organizational change. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104.
Axley, S. R. (1984). Managerial and organizational communication in terms of the conduit metaphor. Academy of Management Review, 9(3), 428-437.
Grenier, R., & Metes, G. (1995). Going virtual: Moving your organization into the 21st century. Prentice Hall PTR.
Lewis, P. V. (1980). Organizational communication: The essence of effective management. Grid Pub..
Yates, J., & Orlikowski, W. J. (1992). Genres of organizational communication: A structurational approach to studying communication and media. Academy of management review, 17(2), 299-326.
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