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INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MODERN MANAGEMENT (IIMM)

Registration No. : IIMM/DH/1/2007/5516


Course : PM & HRD

ASSIGNMENT :-BUSINESS COMMUNICATION

Answer 1. (a) Communication Meaning and Definitions

Communication is the nervous system of an organisation. It keeps the members of the


organisation informed about the internal and external happenings relevant to a task and of interest
to the organisation. It co-ordinates the efforts of the members towards achieving organisational
objectives. It is the process of influencing the action of a person or a group. It is a process of
meaningful interaction among human beings to initiate, execute, accomplish, or prevent certain
actions. Communication is, thus, the life blood of an organisation. Without communication, an
organisation, an organisation is lifeless and its very existence is in danger.

The term communication has been derived from the Latin word ‘cmmunis’ that means
‘common’ and thus, if a person effects communication, he establishes a common ground of
understanding. Literally, communication means to inform, to tell, to show, or to spread information.
Thus, it may be interpreted as an interchange of thought or information to bring about
understanding and confidence for good industrial relations. It brings about unity of purpose,
interest, and efforts in an organisation.

Definitions:

1. “Communication is the sum of all things, one person does when he wants to create
understanding in the minds of another, it involves a systematic and continuous process of
telling, listening and understanding.”
-------Allen Louis

2. Communication has been defined “As the transfer of information from one person to
another whether or not it elicits confidence.”

-------Koontz and O’Donell

3. “Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more


persons.”
--------George Terry

4. Communication is defined as “the process of passing information and understanding from


one person to another, it is essentially a bridge of meaning between people. By using the
bridge of meaning a person can safely cross the river of misunderstanding.”
---------Keith Davis

The analysis of the above definitions implies that the communication process should have the
following characteristics:

).I A two – way traffic: Since communication is an exchange of views, opinions, directions
etc., it is a two-way traffic, upward and downward. Messages, directives, opinions, etc., are
communicated downward, from a higher level to a lower level in the hierarchy of
management. Likewise, grievances, complaints, opinions feelings, points of view etc., are
communicated upward along the line, from workers (lower level) to management (higher
level). George Terry has rightly remarked, “Simply talking or writing without regard to the
recipients’ response, is conducive to misunderstanding.” Thus, communication should be
both ways.

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).II Continuous process: Communication is a continuous process. More often than not, it is
repeated to achieve the desired results. It is not a one time shot.

).III A short lived process: The process of communication is complete as soon as the message
is received and understood by the receiver in the right perspective; hence, it is a short lived
process.

).IV Needs proper understanding: There may be numerous media of communication but the
main purpose of conveying the message is a proper understanding of the message by the
other party. For this purpose, it should be clearly and concisely worded.

).V Leads achievement of the organizational objective: Effective communication does this
by creating the sense of object orientation in the organization.

).VI Dispels misunderstanding: In this sense, it provides clear understanding between persons
and thus builds a bridge of comradrie among people.

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Answer 1. (b) PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION

The following principles can be followed to make the communication system more
effective:

().i Principle of clarity: The idea or the message to be transmitted should be clearly worded so
that it may be interpreted by the receiver in the same sense in which it is communicated.
There should be no ambiguity in the message. For this purpose, the idea to be communicated
should be very clear in the mind of the sender. It should be kept in mind that the words do not
speak themselves, but the speaker gives them meaning. If the message is clear, it would
evoke an appropriate response from the other party. It is also necessary that the receiver must
be conversant with the language, the inherent assumptions, and the mechanics of
communication.

().ii Principle of integrity: Communication should be aimed at motivating people to take action
as agreed upon. In this process, the superiors rely upon the subordinates and under
assumption that their integrity is unimpeackable. It is because the integrity of the organisation
is related to the level of integrity possessed by the subordinates. No communication may
evoke a response from the subordinates if their integrity is doubted. The superiors should
trust the subordinates, accept their view points and never doubt their intention, in executing
the task entrusted to them.

().iii Principle of informality: Formal communication system is cornerstone of a formal


organisation, and it leads to transmittal of messages. But, sometimes, formal communications
prove ineffective in evoking the needed response from the subordinates. In such cases, the
superiors should adopt the strategy of making use of informal channels of communication:
they may contact, if necessary, the subordinates personally or through someone else to
persuade them to translate their orders into action. Informal communication at times proves
for more effective than formal communication.

().iv Principle of attention: In order to make the message effective, the recipient’s attention
should be drawn to the message communicated. Each one is different in behaviour,
sentiments and emotions, which determine the degree of attention. For this purpose, the
superior must note that he himself should not expect from his subordinates what he himself
does not practice. So, a manager cannot enforce punctuality if he himself is not punctual:
“Actions speaks louder than words.”

().v Principle of consistency: This principle implies that communication should always be
consistent with the policies, plans, programmes and objectives of the organisation, and not in
conflict with them. Messages which are inconsistent with the policies and plans of the
organisation create confusion in the minds of the subordinates about their implementation;
and, such a situation may prove detrimental to the organisation’s health.

().vi Principle of adequacy: The information should be adequate and complete in all respects.
Inadequate and incomplete information may delay action and destroy understanding, and
create confusion. Inadequate information also affects the efficiency of the sender and the
receiver of the communication.

().vii Principle of timeliness: All messages should be transmitted at the proper time. Any delay in
communicating message serves no purpose except to make them merely historical document
as it loses its importance after some time.

().viii Principle of feedback: One of the most important principles of communications is the
principle of feedback. The communicator must have feedback information from the recipient
to know whether the recipient has understood the message in the same sense in which the
sender has meant it, or whether the subordinates agree or disagree with the contents of the
message. It also helps in understanding attitude of the people.

().ix Principle of communications network: Communications network means the routes through
which the communication travels to its destination, the person for whom it is meant. A
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number of such networks may exist in an organisation at a given point of time; but the
management should consider the effectiveness of the communications network in the given
situation and its effects on the behaviour of the recipient before it finally chooses the
network.

The above principles if followed will make the communication effective. An effective
system of communication should be installed in the organisation so as to promote better industrial
relations.

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Answer 2. (a) COMMUNICATION IS A TWO-WAY PROCESS

Management of an organisation is effective only when its communication machinery is


effective. The very existence of management depends upon an effective machinery of
communication. Effective communication machinery is important because it communicates, and
helps in implementing, the policies and objectives of the organisation on the one hand and also
helps in understanding the nature and behaviour of the people at work.

Management communication is a two-way process. It means that the management must


allow both the parties the management and the subordinates to convey their feelings, ideas,
opinions, facts, grievances etc. to the other party. Communication is said to be a continuous process
of exchange of views and ideas but it should be both ways down ward and upward. The
communication machinery or process should not only provide the manager with a the privilege of
communicating orders and directions to the workers to get the work done towards the achievement
of organisational objectives as pleaded by the classical theory of organisation behaviour knows as
Theory X by McGregor, but the workers also must be given a right to approach the management
and communicate their complaints, grievances, opinions, facts, suggestions etc. which may be in
response to the orders or directions received from the management, or in the interest of the
organisation, contributing to the achievement of its objectives. This two-way traffic is
advantageous to both the management and the workers. Managers, very often like that the
subordinates must listen to them and follow their orders and directions whatsoever. On the other
hand, managers are not prepared to listen to their subordinates regarding what they think about
them and of their suggestions, ideas or direction. They are not bothered about their subordinates
likes and dislikes and how they can contribute to the organisational objectives. Management in this
way cannot be effective. Without giving subordinates an opportunity to be heard their feelings will
remain suppressed and they may breakdown at any time.

A message can be interpreted by the recipient according to the image of the communicator
in the mind of the recipient. If the image is bad the version of the massage may be distorted and
interpreted differently. The bad image can be erased through proper communication from the other
side which is possible only when there is two-way communication in the organisation.

Thus creation of organizational systems allowing two-way traffic will improve the morale
of the workers on the one hand because they think that they have a say in the management and will
improve the working of the organisation on the other hand because management worker relation
develop in a cordial atmosphere. Thus two-way communication is necessary for effective
management.

Communication is a process that allows organisms to exchange information by several


methods. Communication requires that all parties understand a common language that is exchanged
with each other. Exchange requires feedback. The word communication is also used in the context
where little or no feedback is expected such as broadcasting, or where the feedback may be delayed
as the sender or receiver use different methods, technologies, timing and means for feedback.

There are auditory means, such as speaking, singing and sometimes tone of voice, and
nonverbal, physical means, such as body language, sign language, paralanguage, touch, eye
contact, or the use of writing.

Communication happens at many levels (even for one single action), in many different
ways, and for most beings, as well as certain machines. Several, if not all, fields of study dedicate a
portion of attention to communication, so when speaking about communication it is very important
to be sure about what aspects of communication one is speaking about. Definitions of
communication range widely, some recognizing that animals can communicate with each other as
well as human beings, and some are narrower, only including human beings within the parameters
of human symbolic interaction.

Nonetheless, communication is usually described along a few major dimensions:

− Content (what type of things are communicated)


− Source/Emisor/Sender/Encoder (by whom)
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− Form (in which form)
− Channel (through which medium)
− Destination/Receiver/Target/Decoder (to whom)
− Purpose/Pragmatic aspect (with what kind of results)

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Answer 2. (b) IMPORTANCE OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

In this age of competition communication is the number one problem of the management.
Competition, complex methods of production, large scale operations and specialisation in
production functions have increased the importance of communication. Without effective
communication a manager cannot perform his duties well. Communication is as essential to
business as blood is to the human body. Success of the communication system affects the success
of business. The following points will prove its importance in business:

1. Smooth Working of a Business Firm

Communication is necessary for the successful smooth and unrestricted working of an


enterprise. All organisational interaction depends upon working of an enterprise. All organisational
interaction depends upon communication. The manager co-ordinates the human and the physical
elements of an organisation into an efficient and working unit that achieves common objectives. Be
it an activity of purchase or sale or production or finance it is the process of communication that
makes cooperative action possible. The internal and external communication process of an
organisation decides the various activities to be done and various objectives to be achieved.
“Communication is basic to an organisation’s existence from birth of the organisation through its
continuing life when communication stops, organised activity ceases to exist.”

2. Basis of Managerial Function

Communication plays an important role in discharging the various functions of


management. No function of management is possible without the communication process. Its
importance in performing the various functions is as follows:

i. Planning: Planning the most important among the functions of management, requires
extensive communication among the executives and the other personnel. Communication is
important in executing a planned programme and then controlling the activities of the
personnel with the help of feedback information.

ii. Organisation: Organisation is the second important function of management which


decides the various activities of an organisation, divides them into workable units,
delegates authority to perform the. For this purpose, communication is a must because
different persons, departments and group come to know their powers and jurisdiction only
through an effective means of communication.

iii. Direction and Leadership: Direction and effective leadership requires an efficient system
of communication in an organisation. A good leader can direct or lead his subordinates only
when an efficient system of communication is present. It brings both the leader and the
subordinates in close contact with each other and removes misunderstanding if any.

iv. Motivation: An efficient system of communication enables management to change the


attitude of the subordinates and to motivate, influence and satisfy them. Most of the
conflicts in business are not basic but are caused by misunderstood motives and ignorance
of facts. Proper and timely communication between the interested parties, reduces the
points of friction and minimises those that inevitably arise.

v. Co-ordination: The present day big organisations, designed on the basis of specialisation
and division of labour are constituted of a large number of people. In order to achieve the
desired objective, it is very necessary to co-ordinate the efforts of labour engaged in the
various activities of production and the organisation. Co-ordination requires mutual
understanding about the organisational goals and the mode of their accomplishment; and
the interrelationship between the works being performed by various individuals.

vi. Control: Communication aids in controlling the activities of the individuals department
and groups. The facts standards and information are communicated to the concerned parties
and they perform their respective obligations according to the standards set forth in the
plan.
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3. Maximum Production at Minimum Cost

Every organisation aims at getting the maximum output at the minimum cost and for this
purpose it requires an effective internal and external communication system. In the external field,
and efficient communication system helps in improving public opinion having contacts with
government departments and getting market information in order to achieve the primary goals.

4. Prompt Decision and its Implementation

In order to make prompt decisions, fact collecting process is necessary. Information must
be received before any meaningful decision and for this purpose communication is a primary
requirement. Again to implement the decision effectively its communication to subordinates
concerned is essential. Thus, decision-making and its implementation require and effective system
of communication.

5. Building Human Relations

Man is the most active and effective factor of production and good human relations are the
basis of cooperation and industrial peace that requires good working conditions and work-
environment. As we have discussed earlier communication is a two-way traffic which helps
promote cooperation and mutual understanding between the two partners of an organisation.
Efficient downward communication helps the management to tell the subordinates what the
organisation wants and how it can be performed. On the other hand upward communication helps
the workers in putting their grievances and suggestions and reactions to the policies, before the
management.

6. Job-satisfaction and Good Morale

Morale is the human element that motivates a man to work in the right spirit. Good
communication removes the possibility of misunderstanding among the parties concerned. Workers
know what they have to do and how it creates a sense of cooperation among them. It increases the
morale of the workers and each worker will have job satisfaction.

7. Avoids Illusion

While passing through various stages information may be distorted by interested parties
and many create illusion and misunderstanding among persons. Illusion is the great enemy of
communication. An efficient system of communication aims at removing illusions and
misunderstanding by communicating facts and figures.

8. Contacts with External Parties

Communication is essential not only for the internal management of the organisation but it
also helps contacts with the outside world. Contact with outside agencies such as customers,
associations, other manufacturers, advertisers, suppliers, trade unions, research councils and
institutions, etc. are necessary for furthering the interests of the organisation. It increases the
goodwill of the firm and helps in creating a favourable public attitude towards the organisation.

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Answer 3. (a) Broad Categories of communication in an Organisation

Communication on the basis of organisation structure may be classified into two broad
categories: Formal and Informal.

1. Formal Communication

Formal communication is closely associated with a formal organisational structure. The


communication flows through formal channels, officially recognised positions along the line in the
organisation. In the organisation the path along which a communication is to travel is deliberately
created to regulate the flows of communication so as to make it orderly and thereby to ensure that
the required information flows smoothly, accurately and timely to the points at which it is required.
Very often we hear the term through proper channels which means communication through the
channel prescribed in the organisation. It is the path of the line of authority linking two positions in
the organisation. It is also known as the chain line of command.

Advantages of formal Communication:

(i). It helps in maintaining the authority of line executives over their subordinates who are
responsible to get the work done by their subordinates and are answerable to their bosses.
The responsibility of the subordinates for the activities carried out by them can easily be
fixed.

(ii). An immediate superior has direct contact with the subordinates; so, a better understanding is
developed between them and communication is made more effective.

(iii). Since an executive better informed about the organisation and its problems than the
subordinates a better solution can possibly be found easily and good relations between the
leader and his subordinates develop.

Disadvantages of formal Communication:

(i). Every happening in an organisation cannot be foreseen; hence action required for unforeseen
events cannot be formalised.

(ii). It increases the workload of the line superior because all communications are transmitted
through tem. Thus, it leaves the superiors with little time to perform other organisational
functions well.

(iii). There are more chances of red-tapism and delay tactics in this method because executives
generally overlook the interests of the subordinates. Any information upward or downward
favouring subordinates is more often suppressed or delayed by the superiors.

(iv). In most of the big organisations contact between the top executive and the subordinates at the
lowest level are far remote. Very often they do not recognise each other. This adversely
affects the relations of executives and subordinates.

2.Informal Communication

Informal communication also known as the grapevine is not a planned or deliberately


created channel of communication. It is free from all formalities. No formal organisational chart is
followed to convey messages. It is based on the informal relations of the two persons, the sender
and the receiver of communication. A general manager may develop contacts with a worker at the
lowest level and communicate certain important information relating to him direct to the worker. It
is an example of informal communication. It is the result of the natural desire of people to
communicate with each other when they come into contact on a regular basis. When interaction
takes place among them a small social groups emerges spontaneously and members of the group
develop their own communication system known as an informal communication channel or the
grapevine.

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Advantages of informal communication:

(i). The communication travels at a faster speed because there is no formal line of
communication.

(ii). It is multi dimensional. As there is no channel of communication, communication may be


made on any topic of interest to any person in the group irrespective of his position in the
formal organisation. It may go to any extent all limits as to direction and degree of
communication is self-impose.

(iii). It is dynamic and reacts quickly because informal channels have their sanctions in the group
and develop within the organisation.

(iv). At times it may supplement the formal channel. Certain matters which are difficult to
communicate through formal channels may be effectively communicated through informal
channels. If properly utilised it may clarify the management’s points of view to the
subordinates which otherwise may not be appealing or it may provide necessary feedback to
managers on the possible effects of a decision or action of the management.

Disadvantages of informal communication:

(i). It very often carries half-truths, rumours and distorted facts at an alarming rate of speed. As
there is no mechanism for authentication of the news and views, members of the organisation
are likely to be misinformed and misled by informal communications.

(ii). Sometimes the messages communicated through informal channels are so erratic that any
action based on these cannot be taken and if taken it may lead to a difficult situation in the
organisation because responsibility for erratic messages cannot be fixed.

(iii). In informal communication, there are greater chances of distortion of messages. Each person
conveying the message may add, subtract, or change the original message according to his
motive or interest. There is a chance that by the time a message completes its complex
journey, it may be completely distorted.

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Answer 3. (b) Written Communication

Written communication is often resorted to by the management for messages that are
lengthy and have to be made permanent. It is also undertaken when oral communication cannot
reach each and every person concerned, either due to a large number of communications or duel to
long geographical distances between the sender and the receiver. Written communication includes
written words, graphs, charts, manuals, reports, diagrams, pictures, letters, circulars etc. Written
communication is the most common form of communication used in an organisational set up to be
effective, written communication must posse’s four important characteristics. It should be clear,
complete, correct and to be intelligible.

Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of signs or
symbols. It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and the recording
of language via a non-textual medium such as magnetic tape audio.

Writing is also a distinctly human activity. It has been said that a monkey, randomly typing
away on a typewriter (in the days when typewriters replaced the pen or plume as the preferred
instrument of writing) could re-create Shakespeare-- but only if it lived long enough (this is known
as the infinite monkey theorem). Such writing has been speculatively designated as coincidental. It
is also speculated that extra-terrestrial beings exist who may possess knowledge of writing. The
fact is, however, that the only known writing is human writing.

Advantages of written communication: Written communication has the following advantages:

(i). Written communications possess the quality of being stored for future reference. Policy
matters, service conditions, confidential orders and instructions and many other
communications can be effectively and satisfactorily communicated only through written
communication because they are necessary for future reference so that necessary action may
be taken against the subordinates who fail to follow the communication. It can be used as
evidence if any dispute about jurisdiction or bypassing etc. arises.

(ii). When the sender and the receiver are at distant points, even beyond telephonic range written
communication is the only means of communication.

(iii). Written communication is the only way out in such cases where the message is too lengthy
and meant for a large number of persons.

(iv). Written communication gives more time to the receiver to think, analyse, and then decide
upon the right course of action.

(v). Written communication is more orderly; and it is binding upon the subordinates and their
superiors.

(vi). Written communication becomes essential to pass on to others correct and accurate
information. While writing a message superfluous words and all possible errors can be
avoided to make it concise.

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Answer 4. (a) Effective Communication Barriers

These barriers, obstructions and interruptions in communication may broadly be categorized into
the following groups:

(i). External Barriers

(ii). Organisational Barriers

(iii). Personal Barriers

External barriers

External barriers are those caused by factors other than organisational and personal factors. Such
external barriers may be (a) semantic barriers, (b) emotional or psychological barriers.

1. Semantic Barriers
Such barriers are obstructions caused in the process of receiving or understanding a
message during the process of encoding or decoding it into words and ideas. The linguistic capacity
of the two parties may have some limitations or the symbols used may be ambiguous. Symbols
may have several meanings and unless the context is known to the receiver he is likely to take the
meaning of the symbol according to his preconceived notion and misunderstand the
communication. Symbols may be classified as language, picture or action.

(i). Language
In written or verbal communication, words used are important. A word used in the
communication may have several meanings. In a face to face communication, it is easy to seek
clarification of words used, if any doubt is encountered. In case of doubt feedback is required.
Many words which we use informally may be taken literally in other contexts, non-friendly
situations or in written communication.

(ii). Picture
Picture is another type of symbol. Pictures are visual aids worth thousands of words. An
organisation makes extensive use of pictures like blueprints, charts, maps, graphs, films, three
dimensional models and other similar devices. A viewer may come to understand the whole story
when he sees them.

(iii). Action
Action is another type of symbol. We communicate by both by action or by lack of it. To do
or not to do both have a meaning for the receiver. For example if a subordinate does a good job,
patting and non-patting on his back by the superior both have a meaning. Patting may inspire him
to do a better job again and non-patting may make him disappointed. In this sense we communicate
all the times on the job whether we intend to do so or not. Action or non-action may influence the
perception of the receiver.

2. Emotional or Psychological Barriers

Personal or emotional or psychological barriers arise from motives, attitudes judgement


sentiments emotions and social values of participants. These create a psychological distance that
hinders the communication or partly filters it out or causes misinterpretation.

The following are some emotional barriers:

(i). Premature evaluation


Premature evaluation is a tendency to evaluate a communication prematurely rather than
keeping an open mind during the interchange. Such evaluation interferes with the transfer of
information and begets a sense of futility in the sender.

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(ii). Loss in transmission and retention
When communication passes through various levels in an organisation, successive
transmissions of the same message are decreasingly accurate. A part of information is lost in transit
it is said that about 30% of the information is lost in each transmission.

(iii). Distrust of communicator


The communicator is sometimes distrusted by his own subordinates. It happens when he
lacks self-confidence or is less competent in his position. He frequently makes ill considered
judgements or illogical decisions and then reviews his own decisions when he fails to implement
them.

(iv). Failure to communicate


Sometimes manager do not communicate the needed messages to their subordinates. This
might be because of laziness or procrastination on their part or they arbitrarily assume that
everybody has got the information or they may hide information deliberately to embarrass the
subordinate.

Organisation Barriers

An organisation is a deliberate creation of management for the attainment of certain


specific objectives. The day to day functioning of the organisation is regulated in such a way as to
contribute to the attainment of these objectives in the most effective manner. For this purpose a
variety of official measures are adopted such as designing of the structure arrangement of activities,
formulation of various policies, rules and regulation and procedures, laying down of norms of
behaviour.

1. Organisational Policy

The general organisational policy regarding communication provides overall guidelines in


this matter. This policy might be in the form of a written document or it has to be inferred from
organisational practice particularly at the top level. If the policy creates hindrance in the free flow
of communication in different directions, communication would not be sooth and effective.

2. Organisational Rules and Regulations

More often different activities of an organisation are governed by specific rules and
regulations. Such rules and regulations prescribe the subject matter to be communicated as also the
channel through it is to be communicated. The rules may restrict the flow of certain messages and
may omit many important ones.

3. Status Relationship

The placing of people in superior-subordinate relationship in a formal organisation


structure also blocks the flow of communication and more particularly in the upward direction. The
greater the difference in hierarchical positions in terms of their status the greater would be the
worry of middle managers about what their senior bosses might think; this leads to their paying
little attention to the needs and demands of their subordinates.

4. Complexity in Organisation Structure

In an organisation where there are a number of managerial levels communication gets


delayed as it moves along the hierarchical line. Also chances of the communication getting
distorted are greater as the number of filtering points is higher. This is particularly true in upward
communication because people at intermediate levels do not like to pass on negative remarks
either of themselves or of their superiors.

5. Organisational Facilities

Certain organisations provide certain facilities for smooth, edequate, clear and timely flow
of communication such as meetings conferences complaint or suggestion boxes, open door system
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etc. If these facilities are not properly emphasized, people generally fail to communicate
effectively.

Personal Barriers

As communication is basically an interpersonal process many personal factors inherent in


the two parties to communication the sender and the receiver, influence the flow of communication
and present many hurdles in the way of effective communication.

1. Barriers in Superiors

Superiors play an important role in communication. Because of their hierarchical position


they act as barriers in a number of ways a follows:

(i). Attitude of superiors


General attitude of the superiors about communication or attitude towards a particular
communication affects the flow of messages in different direction. If the attitude is unfavourable
there is greater possibility of filtering or colouring of the information. Any information received
from the top may not reach the bottom in the same form, or even the reverse may happen.

(ii). Fear of challenge to authority


The superiors in an organisation generally try to withhold the information coming down the
line or going up as frequent passing of information may disclose their own weaknesses; thus
generally happens when the superior lacks self-confidence and is afraid that someone else might be
promoted in his place if his weaknesses were to come to light.

(iii). Insistence on proper channel


There are channels of communication in an organisation along which information passes
upward or downward. Some officers insist too much on communication through proper channel.
They do not like any bypassing in communication. But sometimes bypassing becomes necessary in
the interest of the organisation; however, the superiors think bypassing as thwarting of their
authority and block the flow of communication.

(iv). Lack of confidence in subordinates


The superiors generally perceive that their subordinates are less competent and they are not
capable of advising their superiors. Therefore they feel whether correctly or otherwise, that they are
over burdened and have not time to talk to their subordinates.

2. Barriers Regarding Subordinates

There are certain factors in the subordinates which adversely affect their participation in the
communication process. Some factors like attitude lack of time applicable to the superiors are also
applicable here. Two more factors in the subordinates need special attentions which are responsible
for blocking communication in the upward direction.

(i). Unwillingness to communicate


The subordinates generally are not willing to communicate upward any information which
is likely to affect them adversely. If they feel that supply of such adverse information is necessary
for control purposes they would modify it in such a way so as not to harm their interest.

(ii). Lack of proper incentive:


Lack of incentive to communicate also prevents the subordinates from communicating
upward. They are punished when they are wrong but may not be rewarded when they work
marvellously well and offer a novel suggestion.
The above are some of the barriers which come in the way of effective communication.
They vitiate the message in several ways including distortion filtering and omission. Distortion
means changing the context or the meaning of the text of information. Filtering means reducing the
message only to a few basic details and omission refers to deletion of all or a part of the message
from the text. We must be careful about these barriers in communication.

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Answer 4. (b) Steps to Make Communication Effective

In order to remove barriers to communication an open door communication policy should


be prepared and followed by managers at all levels. The superiors in the organisation must create
and atmosphere of confidence and trust in the organisation so that the credibility gap may be
narrowed down. Major efforts in this direction are:

1. Two-way communication
The organisation’s communication policy should provide for a two-way traffic in
communication upwards and downwards. It brings two minds closer and improves understanding
between the two parties the sender and the receiver. A sound feedback system should be introduced
in the organisation so that distortion in and filtering of messages should be avoided. There should
be no communication gap.

2. Strengthening Communication Network


The communication network should be strengthened to make communication effective. For
this purpose the procedure of communication should be simplified, layers in downward
communication should be reduced to the minimum possible. Decentralisation and delegation of
authority should be encouraged to make information communication more efficient, through
frequent meetings, conferences and timely dissemination of information to the subordinates.

3. Promoting Participative Approach


The management should promote the participative approach in management. The
subordinates should be invited to participate in the decision making process. It should seek
cooperation from the subordinates and reduce communication barriers.

4. Appropriate Language
In communication certain symbols are used. Such symbols may be in the form of words,
pictures and actions. If words are used, the language should be simple and easily comprehensible to
the subordinates. Technical and multi-syllable words should, as far as possible be avoided. The
sender must use the language with which the receiver is familiar. The message should be supported
by pictures or actions wherever necessary to emphasise certain points. The sender must also
practices in action what he says to others or expects from others.

5. Credibility in Communication
One criterion of effective communication is credibility. The subordinates obey the orders of
their superior because they have demonstrated through their actions that they are trustworthy. They
must practise whatever they say. The superior must also maintain his trust worthiness. If the
superior is trusted by the subordinates, communication will be effective.

6. Good Listening
A communicator must be a good listener too. A good manager gives his subordinates a
chance to speak freely and express their feelings well before him. The manager also gets some
useful information for further communication and can also have a better understanding of the
subordinates needs, demands etc.

7. Selecting on Effective Communication Channel


To be effective the communication should be sent to the receiver through an effective
channel. By effective channel we mean that the message reaches its destination in time to the right
person and without any distortion, filtering or omission.

8. Preventing Predictable Decision Making Errors


Predictable errors in decision making are preventable errors. And a few simple techniques
can help you steer clear of the most common wrong turns in decision making. They can get you to
your go point, that decisive moment when the essential information has been gathered, the pros and
cons weighed, and the time has come to get off the fence and make your decision. Learn more
about decision making.

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Answer 8. (a) Scope of Communication

(i). Information sharing:


The main purpose of communication is to transmit information from a source to target
individuals or groups. Various types of information are transmitted in the organisation: policies
and rules and changes and development in the organisation etc. There may be need for fast
diffusion of some information in the organisation, special rewards and awards given, settlements
with the union and major changes in the organisation.

(ii). Feedback:
There is a need to give feedback to the employees on their achievements to the departments
on their performance and to the higher management on the fulfilment of goals; and difficulties
encountered in the communication of feedback helps in taking corrective measures and making
necessary adjustments and it motivates people in developing challenging and realistic plans.

(iii). Control:
The management information system is well-known as a control mechanism. Information is
transmitted to ensure that plans are being carried out according to the original design.
Communication helps in ensuring such control.

(iv). Influence:
Information is power. One purpose of communication is to influence people. The manager
communicates to create a good working environment, right attitudes and congenial working
relationships. All these are examples of influencing.

(v). Problem-solving:
In many cases communications aim at solving problems. Communication between the
management and the unions on some issues (negotiation) is aimed at finding a solution. Many
group meeting are hold to brainstorm alternative solutions for a problem and to evolve a consensus.

(vi). Facilitating change:


The effectiveness of a change introduced in an organisation depends to a large extent on the
clarity and spontaneity of the communication. Communication between the managers and
employees helps in recognising the difficulties in the planned change and in taking corrective
action.

(vii). Gate keeping:


Communication helps to build linkages of the organisation with the outside world. The
organisation can use its environment to increase its effectiveness..

(viii). Decision-making:
For arriving at a decision several kinds of communication are needed, exchange of
information, views and available alternatives etc, communication helps a great deal in decision-
making.

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Answer 8. (b) The Grapevine

Grapevine is Informal Communication in general is exchange of information, a discussion


that adheres less to the rules and standards. it is on the dimension of the Project Communication
Management. For example, a Project Sponsor might have a meeting with the Project Manager to
discuss about the progress of the project and can give much better feedback that another type of
communication (other types may include emails, hard copy reports etc.). Informal Communication
is more effective for discussing sensitive information in a project.

Four types of informal communications have been identified:

(i) Single strand: In single strand network the individual communicates with the other
individual through intervening persons. In other words each person tell s the other in
sequence, one tells one.
(ii) Gossip: In gossip one individual tells others on a non-selective basis, one tells all.
(iii) Probability: In probability the individual tells other individuals randomly according
to the law of probability.
(iv) Cluster: In cluster type network the individual communicates with only those
individuals whom he trusts. Research shows that out of the four, cluster chain is the
most popular form of informal communication.

It is not possible to establish a particular type of informal communication in an


organisation. However attempts may be made indirectly to influence the result of informal
communication. Keith Davis has found certain predictable forms of informal communication which
can be of great use to the management in this respect. For instance individuals talk most when
news is recent they talk about things which affect their work, and they talk about people they know.
In addition people who are working with each other and who contact each other in the formal chain
are likely to be on the same grapevine. It should be recognised that informal communication is as
important as the informal organisation and that it is not identical with false rumour. Therefore, the
management can profitably utilise the informal system in the attainment of organisation goals.

According to Robbins, the grapevine in an organization has three significant characteristics.


− It is not controlled by formal management.
− Most employees perceive it to be more believable and reliable than formal
communication issued by top management.
− It is largely used for the self-interests of the people within the organization.

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Answer 8. (e) Guide to Effective Listening

1.Listen patiently to what the other person has to say even though you may believe it to be wrong
or irrelevant. Indicate simple acceptance (not necessarily agreement) nodding your head or perhaps
interjecting an occasional “um-hm” or “I see.”

2.Try to understand the feeling the person is expressing as well as the intellectual content. Most of
us have difficulty talking clearly about our feelings. So careful attention is required.

3.Restate the person’s feelings briefly but accurately. At this stage you simply serve as a mirror and
encourage the other person to continue talking. Occasionally make summary responses such as you
think you are in a dead-end job but in doing so keep your tone neutral and try not to lead the person
to your pet conclusions.

4.Avoid direct questions and arguments about facts refrain from saying, “That is just not so,” “Hold
on a minute let’s look at the facts,” or “Prove it.” You may want to review the evidence later, but a
review is irrelevant to how the person feels now.

5.Allow time for the discussion to continue without interruption and try to separate the
conversation from mere official communication of company plans. That is, don’t make the
conversation any more “authoritative” than it already is by virtue of your position in the
organisation.

6.When the other person does touch upon a point you do want to know more about, simply repeat
statements as a question. For instance, if he remarks, ‘nobody can break even on his expense
account’, you can probe by replying, and “You say no one breaks even on expenses?” With this
encouragement he will probably expand on his previous statement.

7.Listen for what is not said evasions for pertinent points or perhaps too ready agreement with
common clichés. Such an omission may be a clue to a bothersome fact the person wishes was not
true.

8.If the other person appears genuinely to want your view point, be honest in your reply. But at the
listening stage try to limit the expression of your views, since these may condition or repress what
the other person says.

9.Don’t get emotionally involved yourself. Try simply to understand first and defer evaluation until
later.

10.Listen “between the lines.” A person does not always put everything that is important into
words. The changing tones and volume of his voice may have a meaning. So may his facial
expression the gestures he makes with his hands and the movements of his body.

11.Better results can be achieved if the superior gives less emphasis to explaining and more
emphasis to listening.

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Answer 8. (f) Communication Feedback

When individuals work together and interact the need to communicate effectively their
feelings, impressions and views on various matters becomes important. Equally important is how
these are received. When we communicate our reactions and perceptions to a person, especially
regarding his behaviour, style of working. We call it feedback. Feedback, in simple terms, is the
communication of feelings and perceptions by an individual to another individual about the latter’s
behaviour and style of working. Such interpersonal feedback is involved in everyday life in various
situations; for example, the boss sits with his subordinate and gives him necessary counselling
about his achievements his strengths as well as areas in which he can improve further. We tell our
peers what we think about their style and ways of behaviour so that they may be able to benefit
from such communication. A subordinate may also do the same. If his boss pulled him up in the
presence of others he may go and tell him how bad he felt about such a happening. This may help
the boss to improve his ways of communicating such matters to his subordinates.

The main function of giving feedback is to provide data about a person’s style of behaviour
and its effect on others. Such data can be verified by the individual by either collecting more data
from other sources or by checking some aspects with others. The feedback also provides several
alternatives to the individual out of which he can choose one or two to experiment on.
Interpersonal feedback contributes to the improvement of communication between two persons
involved in feedback through the establishment of a culture of openness and promoting
interpersonal trust. Continuous feedback will help in establishing norms of being open.

Similarly, receiving of feedback fulfils several purposes. It primarily helps the individual
(one who receives feedback) to process behavioural data he has received from others (the
perceptions and feelings people have communicated to him about the effect of his behaviour on
them). It helps him to have better awareness of his own self and behaviour. Getting information
about how his behaviour is perceived and what impact it makes on others, increases his sensitivity,
his ability to pickup cues from the environment that indicate what perceptions and feelings people
have about his behaviour.

Giving Feedback Receiving Feedback


Provides verifiable data Helps in processing behavioural
Encourages collecting data from several Increase self- awareness
sources
Suggests alternatives to be considered Increase sensitivity in picking up cures
Improves interpersonal communication Encourages experimentation with new
behaviour
Establishes culture of openness Helps in building an integrated self
Promotes interpersonal trust Encourages openness
Facilitates autonomy Develops mutuality

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Answer 8. (g) Essential qualities of a business letter

A letter is called effective when it meets its objectives. Some common objectives of letters are:

1. To be read
2.To be understood
3.To be accepted
4.To be acted upon
5.To build goodwill

Whatever the purpose, the message should be clear to the reader. A letter is one whole piece
and should be balanced. Modern correspondence, like many things in the twentieth century, is the
result of the scientific spirit and the professional approach to getting things done.

Rightly or wrongly the reader of a letter judges it by its appearance. It is a common human
habit. Shoddy and badly crafted letters reflect discredit upon an organisation. The factors that make
for good presentation in a letter and its aesthetic attractiveness are:
 The display
 The balance
 The proportion
 The letter-head design
 The typewriter ribbon
 The typing
 The way the letter is folded

All these things come together to make an impact. If overlooked the letter gets a bad start.
1. Prompt and complete replies to all letters that require acknowledgement.
2. Intelligent and sympathetic understanding of a customer’s problem and a genuine desire to be
of service.
3. Casting aside suspicions and giving the customer the benefit of doubt until he proves himself
unworthy.
4. A friendly cheerful cordial and urbane style of writing.
5. Use of correct titles and solutions.
6. Putting yourself in the other person’s place and treating him as you would like to be treated.

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