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Submitted to Symbiosis Centre of Distance Learning

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of degree of


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Organizational Communication can be defined as a process through which organizations are
created and in turn create and shape events. The process can be understood as a combination
of process, people, message, meaning and purpose.
Functions of Organizational Communication:

It is the means by which a manager ensures co-operation of subordinates.

It is the exchange of meanings among members of an organization.

It is the glue which binds the elements of an organization together.

It builds the very structure of an organization i.e. who communicates with whom about

Can misunderstanding of a few words literally mean the difference between life and death?
They can in airlines business. A number of aviation disasters have been largely attributed to
problems in communication. There are other fields also in which there are examples to
illustrate how miscommunication can have deadly consequences. Good communication is
essential to any groups or organizations effectiveness.
Research indicates that poor communication is probably the most frequently cited source of
interpersonal conflict. Because individuals spend nearly 70 percent of their working hours
communicating-writing, reading, speaking, listening-it seems reasonable to conclude that one
of the most inhibiting forces to successful group performance is a lack of effective
No group can exist without communication: the transference of meaning among its members.
It is only through transmitting meaning from one person to another that information and ideas
can be conveyed. Communication, however, is more than merely imparting meaning. It must
also be understood. In a group in which one member speaks only German and the others do

not know German, the individual speaking German will not be fully understood. Therefore,
communication must include both the transference and the understanding of meaning.
An idea, no matter how great, is useless until it is transmitted and understood by others.
Perfect communication, if there were such a thing, would exist when a thought or an idea was
transmitted so that the mental picture perceived by the receiver was exactly the same as that
envisioned by the sender. Although elementary in theory, perfect communication is never
achieved in practice, due to unavoidable reasons.
What is Communication?
The term communication has been derived from the Latin word communis which means
common. It was Aristotle who, for the first time, brought about a systematic study of the
communication process. According to him, there are three essential elements in a
communication system, namely, the speaker, the speech, and the audience. Communication
strictly stands for sharing of ideas in common. The word communication, however, has
many and varied meanings. Popularly speaking, it refers to the various means of transmitting
information from individual to individual, individual to a group of individuals or from one
place to another. It is a transmission of messages, ideas, methods, skills, and thoughts between
two or more persons. It is a mutual exchange of facts, thoughts, opinions or emotions by the
use of symbols, words, pictures, figures, graphs and so on.
Communication is the chain of understanding which permeates an organization from top to
bottom, from bottom to top, and from side to side, and which moves the organization ahead
towards its stated objectives. It is the cohesive force which holds the group together.
Vardaman and Halterman opine: Communication is the flow of material, information,
perception and understanding between various parts and members of an organization.

In the words of Allen, Communication is the transfer of meaning from one person to
another. Mitchell goes a step further and observes, Communication involves more than just
having the right information the information should be believed, weighed correctly, reach
the right decision-makers and result in the appropriate action. Rogers and Rogers have
reiterated this point of view. They opine Communication is a process by which an idea is
transferred from a source to the receiver with the intention of changing behaviour.
Communication is made with the intention of achieving results/change in knowledge, attitude
and overt behaviour.
Communication is a process in which senders and receivers of messages interact in a given
social context. Interpersonal communication refers to the exchange of information and
transmission of meaning between two people. Organizational communication is the subject
that deals with the exchange of information and transmission of meaning throughout the
organizational hierarchy.
Since the leader or the manager accomplishes organizational objectives through people, it is
essential to communicate what the leader or the manager wants people to accomplish, how to
accomplish, where to accomplish and more important, why to accomplish. To communicate
the organizational philosophy, objectives, procedures, and practices to all employees is not
easy, because communication is a very complex phenomenon.
In communication, the people must understand what they are trying to communicate; they
must be willing and able to understand them; they must accept their communication or
message or information or goals. Thus, all social phenomena are a function of communication.

Communication serves four major functions within a group or organization: Control,
motivation, emotional expression and information.
Communication acts to control member behaviour in several ways. Organizations have
authority hierarchies and formal guidelines that employees are required to follow. When
employees, for instance are required to first communicate any job related grievance to their
immediate boss, to follow their job description, or to comply with company policies,
communication is performing a control function. But informal communication also controls
behaviour. When work groups tease or harass a member who produces too much (and makes
the rest of the group look bad), they are informally communicating with, and controlling, the
members behaviour
Communication fosters motivation by clarifying to employees what is to be done, how well
they are doing, and what can be done to improve performance if its supbar. The formation of
specific goals, feedback on progress toward the goals, and reinforcement of desired behaviour
all stimulate motivation and require communication.
For many employees, their work group is a primary source for social interaction. The
communication that takes place within the group is a fundamental mechanism by which
members show their frustrations and feelings of satisfaction. Communication, therefore,
provides a release for the emotional expression of feelings and for fulfillment of social needs.
The final function that communication performs relates to its role in facilitating decision
making. It provides the information that individuals and groups need to make decisions by
transmitting the data to identify and evaluate alternative choices.
No one of these functions should be seen as being more important than the others. For groups
to perform effectively, they need to maintain some form of control over members, stimulate
members to perform, provide a means for emotional expression, and make decision choices.

Almost every communication interaction that takes place in a group or organization performs
one or more of these four functions.
Before communication can take place, a purpose, expressed as a message to be conveyed, is
needed. It passes between a source (sender) and a receiver. The message is encoded (converted
to a symbolic form) and passed by way of some medium (channel) to the receiver, who
retranslates (decodes) the message initiated by the sender. The result is a transference of
meaning from one person to another.
The exhibit above depicts this communication process. This model is made up of seven parts:
(1) the communication source, (2) encoding, (3) the message, (4) the channel, (5) decoding,
(6) the receiver, and (7) feedback.
The source initiates a message by encoding a thought. The message is the actual physical
product from the source encoding. When we speak, the speech is the message. When we write,
the writing is the message. When we gesture, the movements of our arms and the expression
on our face are the message. The channel is the medium through which the message travels. It
is selected by the source, who must determine whether to use a formal or informal channel.
Formal channels are established by the organization and transmit message that are related to
the professional activities of the members. They traditionally follow the authority chain within
the organization. Other forms of messages, such as personal or social, follow the informal
channels in the organization. The receiver is the object to whom the message is directed.
But before the message can be received, the symbols in it must be translated into a form that
can be understood by the receiver. This step is the decoding of the message. The final link in
the communication process is a feedback loop. Feedback is the check on how successful we
have been in transferring our messages as originally intended. It determines whether
understanding has achieved.

Communication can flow vertically and laterally. The vertical dimension can be further
divided into downward and upward directions.
Communication that flows from one level of a group or organization to a lower level is a
downward communication. When we think of managers communicating with employees, the
downward pattern is the one we are usually thinking of. Its used by group leaders and
managers to assign goals, provide job instructions, inform employees of policies and
procedures, point out problems that need attention, and offer feedback about performance. But
downward communication doesnt have to be oral or face-to-face contact. When management
sends letters to the employees homes to advise them of the organizations new sick leave
policy, it is using downward communication. So is an e-mail from a team leader to the
members of her team, reminding them of an upcoming deadline.
Upward communication flows to a higher level in the group or organization. Its used to
provide feedback to higher-ups, inform them of progress toward goals, and relay current
problems. Upward communication keeps managers aware of how employees feel about their
jobs, co-workers, and the organization in general. Managers also rely on upward
communication for ideas on how things can be improved.
Some organizational examples of upward communication are performance reports prepared by
lower management for review by middle and top management, suggestion boxes, employee
attitude surveys, grievance procedures, superior-subordinate discussions, and informal gripe
sessions in which employees have the opportunity to identify and discuss problems with their
boss or representatives of higher management. For example, FedEx prides itself on its
computerized upward communication program. All its employees annually complete climate
surveys and reviews of management. This program was cited as a key human resources

strength by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award examiners when FedEx won the
When communication takes place among members of the same work group, among members
of work groups at the same level, among managers at the same level, or among any
horizontally equivalent personnel, we describe it as lateral communications.
Why would there be a need for horizontal communications if a group or organizations vertical
communications are effective? The answer is that horizontal communications are often
necessary to save time and facilitate co-ordination. In some cases, these lateral relationships
are formally sanctioned. More often, they are informally created to short-circuit the vertical
hierarchy and expedite action. So lateral communications can, from managements viewpoint,
be good or bad. Since strict adherence to the formal vertical structure for all communications
can impede the efficient and accurate transfer of information, lateral communications can be
beneficial. In such cases, they occur with the knowledge and support of superiors.
But they can create dysfunctional conflicts when the formal vertical channels are breached,
when members go above or around their superiors to get things done, or when bosses find out
that actions have been taken or decisions made without their knowledge.
Diagonal Communication
This occurs when communication occurs between workers in a different section of the
organisation and where one of the workers involved is on a higher level in the organisation.
For example in a bank diagonal communication will occur when a department manager in
head office converses with a cashier in a branch of the bank based on the high street.


How do group members transfer meaning between and among each other? There are three
basic methods. People basically rely on oral, written and non-verbal communication.
Oral Communication
The chief means of conveying messages is oral communication. Speeches, formal one-on-one
and group discussions, and the informal mill or grapevine are popular forms of oral
The advantages of oral communication are speed and feedback. A verbal message can be
conveyed and a response received in a minimal amount of time. If the receiver is unsure of the
message, rapid feedback allows for early detection by the sender and, hence, allows for early
The major disadvantage of oral communication surfaces in organizations or whenever the
message has to be passed through a number of people. The more people a message must pass
through, the greater the potential distortion. For example, if you ever played the game
telephone at a party, you know the problem. Each person interprets the message in his or her
own way. The messages content, when it reaches its destination, is very often different from
that of the original. In an organization, where decisions and other communiqus are verbally
passed up and down the authority hierarchy, there are considerable opportunities for messages
to become distorted.
Written Communication
Written communications include memos, letters, electronic mail, fax transmissions,
organizational periodicals, notices placed on bulletin boards, or any other device that is
transmitted via written words or symbols.

Why would a sender choose to use written communications? They are tangible and verifiable.
Typically, both the sender and the receiver have a record of the communication. The message
can be stored for a indefinite period. If there are questions concerning the content of the
message, it is physically available for later reference. This feature is particularly important for
complex and lengthy communications. The marketing plan for a new product, for instance, is
likely to contain a number of tasks spread out over several months. By putting it in writing,
those who have to initiate the plan can readily refer to it over the life of the plan. A final
benefit of written communication comes from the process itself. You are usually more careful
with the written word than the oral word. You are forced to think more thoroughly about what
you want to convey in a written message than in a spoken one. Thus, written communications
are more likely to be well thought out, logical and clear.
Of course, written messages have their drawbacks. They are time consuming. You could
convey far more information to a college instructor in a one-hour oral exam than in a one-hour
written exam. In fact, you could probably say the same thing in 10 to 15 minutes that it would
take you an hour to write. So, although writing may be more precise, it also consumes a great
deal of time.
The other major disadvantage is feedback, or lack of it. Oral communication allows the
receiver to respond rapidly to what he thinks he hears. Written communication, however, does
not have a built-in feedback mechanism. The result is that the mailing of a memo is no
assurance it has been received, there is no guarantee the recipient will interpret it as the sender
intended. The latter point is also relevant in oral communiqus, except it is easy in such cases
merely to ask the receiver to summarize what you have said. An accurate summary presents
feedback evidence that the message has been received and understood.
Employees Handbook: As business grows in size, management often turns to the use of an
employee handbook as a communication tool to inform employees on issues such as company
history and products, human resource policies, employee compensation and benefits, training
assistance, health services, safety, security, employee responsibilities, and work standards.

Handbooks are also useful to supervisors and administrators for ensuring consistent
implementation and enforcement of company policies.
These are intended to help in the induction of newcomers and to provide all the employees
with a clear-cut understanding not only of the general policies of the management but also of
the nature of the business, its sources of supplies, its customers, its products and the range of
benefits and services available to its employees. Many organizations publish illustrated
handbooks, depicting cartoons, charts and photographs.
House Magazines and Newspapers: Some organizations maintain one or more employee
magazines or journals. These are meant to keep employees well informed of the development
in the business and to acquaint them with the personalities and activities of the organisation. It
can explain the policies of the management in easily understood terms. House magazines
contain news, and personal and social items. There may be references to parties, marriages,
births, retirements, honours and awards.
Financial Reports: Such reports describe the essential facts concerning the conduct of
business, its expenses and profits, its income and distribution of financial standing. of the
organisation and create understanding between the management and its employees.
Bulletin Boards: Usually, big organizations keep a bulletin board for 50 to 100 employees in
attractive colours, types and formats. These boards contain a wide range of material such as
someones choice of cartoons from newspapers and magazines, pin-up photographs, events in
the lives of present or former employees and other items of common interest.
Audio-Visual Aids: Sound films, movies, slides, tapes may be played back to the workers.
Such audio-visual aids have an obvious advantage of describing a companys range of
operations and products, in illustrating how financial and other decisions are made, or in
explaining work rules.

Notice Boards: Notices are often pasted o the factory walls or gates or placed in glass covered
notice boards, and these are hung at appropriate places in the premises of an organisation, near
the canteens or factory gates. These notices usually depict abstracts as desired under the
various statutes as well as notices of the various institutions in the establishment such as the
sports club.
Suggestion System: The suggestion system is designed to enlist the co-operation of
subordinates in effecting improvements and in eliminating waste and to provide an avenue for
a working communication with the management. Rewards are offered for suggestions which
results in greater productive efficiency. In some organizations, suggestion boxes are located
at convenient places throughout the plant.
Communication with Public and Government: Organisations educate the public about their
various activities through advertising, campaigns, meetings and conferences. Organisations
also establish and organize special groups to communicate with the important segments of
Proper communication plays an important role in a large organization, and there has to be a
proper balance between the oral and written forms of communication. It need hardly be said
that the choice of any method depends upon the purpose to be accomplished and the likelihood
of its success. Quite often, it is better to use more than one method to convey the same
information so that one can reinforce the other.
Nonverbal Communication
Every time we verbally give a message to someone, we also impart a nonverbal message. In
some instances, the nonverbal component may stand alone. For example, in a singles bar, a
glance, a stare, a frown, and a provocative body movement all convey meaning. As such, no
discussion of communication would be complete without consideration of nonverbal
communication-which includes body movements, the intonations or emphasis we give to
words, facial expressions, and the physical distance between the sender and receiver.

It can be argued that every body movement has a meaning and no movement is accidental. For
example, through body language we say, Help me, Im lonely; Take me, Im available;
Leave me alone, Im depressed. And rarely do we send our messages consciously. We act
out our state of being with nonverbal body language. We lift one eyebrow for disbelief. We rub
our nose for puzzlement. We clasp our arms to isolate ourselves or to protect ourselves. We
shrug our shoulders for indifference, wink one eye for intimacy, tap our fingers for impatience
and slap our forehead for forgetfulness.
The two most important messages that body language conveys are (1) The extent to which an
individual likes another and is interested in his or her views and
(2) The relative perceived status between a sender and receiver. For instance, we are more
likely to position ourselves closer to people we like and touch them more often.
Similarly, if you feel that youre higher status than another, youre more likely to display body
movements-such as crossed legs or a slouched seating position-that reflect a casual and
relaxed manner.
Body language adds to, and often complicates, verbal communication. A body position or
movement does not by itself have a precise or universal meaning, but when it is linked with
spoken language, it gives fuller meaning to a senders message.
If you read the verbatim minutes of a meeting, you wouldnt grasp the impact of what was said
in the same way you would if you had been there or saw the meeting on video. Why? There
are no records of nonverbal communication. The emphasis given to words or phrases is
Facial expressions also convey meaning. A snarling face says something different from a
smile. Facial expressions, along with intonations, can show arrogance, aggressiveness, fear,
shyness, and other characteristics that would never be communicated if you read a transcript
of what had been said.

The way individuals space themselves in terms of physical distance also has meaning. What is
considered proper spacing is largely dependent on cultural norms. For example, what is
considered a businesslike distance in some European countries would be viewed as intimate in
many parts of North America. If someone stands closer to you than is considered appropriate,
it may indicate aggressiveness or sexual interest; if farther away than usual, it may mean
disinterest or displeasure with what is being said.
Its important for the receiver to be alert to these nonverbal aspects of communication. You
should look for nonverbal cues as well as listen to the literal meaning of senders words. You
should particularly be aware of contradictions between the messages. Your boss may say she is
free to talk to you about a pressing budget problem, but you may see nonverbal signals
suggesting that the is not the time to discuss the subject regardless of what is being said, an
individual who frequently glances at her wristwatch is giving the massage that she would
prefer to terminate the conversation. We misinform others when we express one message
verbally, such as trust, but nonverbally communicate a contradictory message that reads, I
dont have confidence in you.

Internal/Organizational Communication: This is communication that takes place within (or
across) an organization. In addition to the usual face to face, telephone, fax or mail; modern
organizations may use technology to communicate internally. Technology may be used for emails or a linked internal communication system such as the intranet which is an internet
system designed solely for use by those working for the organization.
External communications: Conversely external communication is communication between
the organization and those outside the organization. Modern organizations may design
technological systems so that they can communicate with customers and undertake eCommerce. Alternatively they communicate with other businesses through the internet or
similar systems and undertake e-Business.
Functions of Internal and External Communications: Technology has rapidly expanded the
types of internal and external communication available to organizations. The diagram
illustrates the vast array of internal and external communication available. Combined together
internal and external types of communications allow various sectors of the local, national and
international community to interact, liaise and conduct business.

Communication is not an end in itself. There is no use of communicating just for the sake
of communicating. It is a means and a very effective means for the solution of managerial
problems and for attainment of managerial objectives. Since managers work through
others, all their acts, policies, rules, orders and procedures must pass through some sort of
communication channel. The purposes of communication are:
1. To develop information and understanding which are necessary for group effort?
2. To provide an attitude which is necessary for motivation, co-operation and job

To discourage the spread of misinformation, rumours, gossip, and to release the

emotional tensions of workers

4. To prepare workers for a change by giving them the necessary information in


To encourage ideas, suggestions from subordinates for an improvement in the

product and work conditions, for a reduction in time or cost involved and for the
avoidance of the waste of raw material.

6. To improve labour-management relations by keeping both in contact with each

7. To satisfy the basic human needs like recognition, self-importance and sense


8. To serve auxiliary functions such as entertainment and the maintenance of social
relations among human beings.
The purpose of communication is to establish asocial environment that supports effective
interaction and to ensure that the workforce has the skills to share information and coordinate their achievements efficiently

Organizations cannot exist without communication. If there is no communication,
employees cannot know what their respective associates are doing, management cannot
receive information on inputs, and management cannot give instructions. Co-ordination of
work is impossible, and the organisation will collapse for lack of it. Co-operation also
becomes impossible, because people cannot communicate their needs and feelings to
others. Every act of communication influences the organisation in some way or the other.
As such effective communication tends to encourage better performance, improves job
satisfaction, creates proper understanding, and develops feeling of involvement among the
Chester Bernard (1938) has considered communication to be the very first function of a
manager and has viewed it as the shaping force which links people and purposes together
in any co-operative system. In the practice of management, Peter Drucker (1954) has
observed that the managers main instrument for operating his affairs is information. The
management process has widely been discussed as one which embraces the functions of
planning, organizing, leading and controlling, which are intimately involved with and
dependant on, communication. Organisational structure is definitely tied to the
communication systems. Communication is the key to effective teamwork, for both are
based on the common fundamentals of information, understanding, consultation and
participation. Communication is an essential skill at every level of organisational
functioning and for organisations of all types, whether social, governmental, or
According to Miner and Miner there Ware four basic types of communication network:
(a) the regulative network ensures security, conformity to plans and the achievement of
productivity through the communication of policy statements, procedures, and rules; (b)
the innovative network is concerned with problem-solving and change through such
techniques as suggestion systems and meetings; (c) the integrative network is directly

related to consideration of employee morale and organisational maintenance; and (d) the
informative network relates to employees effectiveness and productivity through a direct
dissemination of information and training programmes.
A few basic rules should be followed in planning for and carrying out communications of
all kinds, written and oral, regardless of form or format.

Clarity: To be effective, communications must be understood, and to be

understood, they must be clear.

Brevity: It makes both written and oral communications easier to understand. Only
one idea should be used in a sentence.

Simplicity: Short, simple words, phrases, and sentences should be used. Every
word should count. Extra words only serve to confuse.

Precision: Precise words should be used.

Integrity: Communication should always be used as a means, never as an end.

During any major change programme, internal communication in an organisation is

extremely. Important. It must be borne in mind in this context that communication is more
than a dialogue. It builds on trust and openness among colleagues, and results in common
understanding of the organisational issues that have a long-term bearing on the future of
the organisation.
Basically, the two most important media of communication in an organisation are formal
and informal communications. Formal communications are those that are official, that
are a part of the recognized communication system of the organisation. A formal
communication can be from a superior to a subordinate, from a subordinate to a superior,

intra-administrative, or external. These communications may be oral or written. Informal

communication is those that are outside the formal, recognized communication system.
Informal communication originates spontaneously outside the formal channels and is the
natural responses to the need for social interaction.
Within the organisation, whatever its style or form, cohesive informal groups develop.
Extensive research has shown that these informal work groups have tremendous power in
shaping attitudes, behaviour, and consequently, production. They share a set of beliefs,
values, and socially acceptable behaviours. In other words, group members come to think
and act in similar ways, and this encourages feelings of closeness among them.
In industry, at every level of organisational life, employees are bound together in informal
groups and develop a common set of norms. It is important to remember that these groups
are not established by the management. They are generally beyond the control of the
management, and they do not appear on the organisation charts. The influence of informal
work groups is pervasive, and they are vital parts of the total organisational environment.
They can work for or against the management, by encouraging cooperation and increasing
production or by sabotaging management and slowing production. A major finding of
Hawthorne studies was the revelation of the ways in which these groups operate.
One of the characteristics of informal work groups is leadership. There are many
opportunities for conflict between the needs and goals of the informal work group and the
needs and goals of the organisation. If management is to deal effectively with the informal
groups, it must recognize their existence and try to understand them. The informal group
serves many needs of the workers. It can serve the needs of the organisation as well, or it
can defeat them. Often, the ideals and standards of these groups conflict with those of the
formal organisation. New employees who do not conform to the group norms may be
The information actually transmitted through the informal channels may be inaccurate,
distorted, a half-truth, a rumour, a gossip, or a private interpretation. It spreads with an

amazing speed like a wild fire. Davis observes: It (grapevine) cannot e abolished, rubbed
out, hidden under the basket, chopped down, tied up, or stopped.
If we suppress it at one place, it will pop up in another If we cut off one of its sources, it
merely moves to another one quite similar to the way we change from one channel to
another on a television set....In a sense, the grapevine is mans birthright, because
wherever men congregate into groups, the grapevine is sure to develop. It may use smoke
signals, jungle toms, taps on the prison wall, or ordinary conversation, or some other
method, but it will always be there. No management can fire it because it does not hire
it. It is simply there.
Though the grapevine thrives on rumours, it does serve some useful purpose. A manager
can utilize the grapevine as a positive aid, for a grapevine may turn out to be a barometer
for the management as to what is ailing the employees and what ought to be done about it.
It may be utilized to clarify and spread messages which the management wishes to convey
to its employees and to counter rumours and half- truths by feeding them the real facts.
Though they serve many useful functions, at times, they become detrimental to the
Formal organization networks can be very complicated. They can, for instance, include
hundreds of people and half-dozen or more hierarchical levels. To simplify our discussion,
weve condensed these networks into three common small groups of five people each (as
shown in the exhibit below). These three networks are the chain, wheel and all-channel.
Although these three networks have been extremely simplified, they do not allow us to
describe the unique qualities of each.
The chain rigidly follows the formal chain of command. This network approximates the
communication channels you might find in a rigid three-level organization. The wheel relies
on a central figure to act as the conduit for the entire groups communication. It stimulates the

communication network you would find on a team with a strong leader. The all-channel
network permits all group members to actively communicate with each other. The all channel
network is most often characterized in practice by self-managed teams, in which all group
members are free to contribute and no one person takes on a leadership role.
As the exhibit below demonstrates, the effectiveness of each network depends on the
dependent variable youre concerned about. For instance, the structure of the wheel facilitates
the emergence of a leader, the all-channel network is best if you are concerned with having
high member satisfaction, and the chain is best if accuracy is most important. The exhibit
below leads us to the conclusion that no single network will be best for all occasions.
The grapevine is used by nearly everyone in an organisation at one time or another. It can
convey accurate messages with amazing speed. It can also distort and filter messages
beyond recognition. Rumours as well as facts are carried by the grapevine. Good
managers pay attention to grapevine. Even though the grapevines reliability can never be
determined with complete certainty, it does serve some useful functions:
1. It satisfies a need employees have to enjoy friendly relations with

their fellow

2. It helps workers to make sense out of their work environment especially in
interpreting unclear orders from supervisors.
3. It acts as a safety valve. When people are confused and unclear about what is
going to happen to them, they use grapevine to let out their anxieties. Passing a
rumour along the grapevine is a way of expressing and releasing negative energy.
4. When people gossip about someone who is not present, they often pass judgments.
Some people pass judgment on others to find out where they stand. It is a way of
dealing with self-doubt and insecurity.

Grapevine thrives on information, not openly or generally available to an employee, either

because of its confidential or secret nature or because of the defective or inadequate
formal communication lines. Grapevine is inevitable but at the same time, valuable and an
intelligent manager uses this form of communication by feeding accurate information at
the right places and thus gains very quick communication around the establishment.
Grapevine properly used is a great help. Neglecting grapevine is likely to lead to serious
consequences in an establishment.
The best way to dispel grapevine is to give people the facts. If there is no truth to a
rumour or no information concerning it that should be said? Above all workers should be
asked to never repeat a rumour. Supervisors must show their people that they intend to do
everything possible to keep them fully informed.
The key to effective communication is reception of messages. It then implies that the
transmission of message sent and received does not presuppose that communication has
occurred. Only on receiving the intended message that one can conclude that
communication has occurred. The touchstone of effective communication is hearing of
the meaning intended and to carry out the message. It then appears that communication
to be effective not only needs the skill of self-expression but also the skill of effective
listening. Listening is more intricate and complicated than the physical process of hearing.
Effective listening habits prevent misunderstanding and rumours.
There are four factors affecting reception of messages:
(1) Attention
(2) Perception
(3) Comprehension
(4) Acceptance

Attention refers to situations when individuals become voluntarily interested in the

message. Once attention has been drawn to the message, the perception of the same
begins. It means that the messages must be recognised in an unbiased manner.
Comprehension is to understand the message received. Acceptance of message results in
effective communication.
An effective communication serves several purposes, and benefits an organisation in
many ways. First, it acts as a basic foundation for management. Since communication
provides the key to facilitate the exchange of ideas, information as well as meeting of
minds, it can aptly be described as the ears and eyes of the management.
Second, it plays a vital role in planning. The making of a plan requires facts and figures
which can only be made available through effective communication. Third, it integrates
the formal organisation structure and is responsible for holding together the members of a
primary social group. Fourth, it also plays a pivotal role in national decision-making,
organisational control, as well as building and maintaining employee morale.
The transformation of an organisation is conditional on the employees involvement with
commitment, common goals and shared purpose and vision. Communication as a
continuous process ensures this. The climate of communication in an organisation,
therefore, needs constant nurturing by a well- meaning and transparent management that
has the manifest image that it cares for its stakeholders.
In many organizations, communication occupies a central place because the structure,
extensiveness, and scope of the organisation are almost entirely determined by
communication techniques. It is said that communication gives life-blood to an
organisation. If organisation fail to provide careful attention to communication, a
defensive climate prevails.

Experts have laid down several guidelines to improve communication. They are:
Seek to clarify your ideas before communicating.
Be sure your actions support your instructions.
Consider the total physical and human situations whenever you give instructions.
Do not over communicate but just enough for the purpose in view.
Listen attentively and develop the skill of listening, be a good listener.
Use simple language as understood by the receiver.
Follow-up on your communication: get feedback.
Concentrate on the problem rather than the people involved.
When people are being emotional, other people should try to be rational.
When people are misunderstanding and getting confused, others should try to be
sympathetic and understanding.
Consult everyone affected, even though they are not concentrating at present (because they
will resent not being consulted afterwards).
When people are being manipulative or deceptive, this can be openly acknowledged,
but others should be honest and open rather than trying to pay them back in their own
There are four fundamental rules of communicating which can help anyone to get across
messages more accurately:
1. Choose your words carefully and do not include unnecessary words.
2. Do not leave out important information. An incomplete message is sometimes more
dangerous than no message at all.
3. Be concise in your message. The message has to be received accurately.
4. Be correct in your message. If the information conveyed is false or misleading, even
the best technique cannot save the message.

Other techniques for improving communication include transaction analysis and active
listening. Transactional Analysis (TA) is a technique aimed at helping interpersonal
transactions or communication between superior and subordinate. It assumes that there
are three ego states adult, parent, and child - and that the way a person communicates
depends on the state he or she is in. TA helps to identify ones own state and the state of
the person with whom he or she is talking to and helps to improve communication
between the two. Active listening is another technique that can help to improve
interpersonal communication.
Communicating Better at Work
Experience shows there are many ways managers can improve internal communication.
Here are some tips for them:
Understand that communication is a two-way street. It involves giving information
and getting feedback from employees. It is not complete simply when information is
Put more emphasis on face-to-face communication with employees. Dont rely mainly
on bulletin boards, memos and other written communication.
Ask each time when an instruction is given whether the message is clear. Most
vagueness is caused by failing to be specific.
View information as service to employees and not power over them.
Listen to employees; show respect for them when they speak. They will feel part of
the team and will tend to be more dedicated and productive.
Dont just talk open-door policy. Practice it by walking around and talking to
employees. Allow people to disagree and to come up with new ideas.
Conduct one-on-one meetings, ask employees how management can help them to do a
better job, and emphasize current issues that employees care about.
Concentrate on building credibility with employees. Managers who lack credibility
and fail to create a climate of trust and openness are not believed - no matter how hard
they try to communicate.

Listening can be described as a combination of:
(i) Hearing the physical reception of sound;
(ii) Comprehending the interpretation and understanding of the message; and
(iii) Remembering the ability to retain what has been heard.
Hearing is with ears, but listening is with the mind. Effective listening helps receiver to
take the exact intended message. Good listeners save time because they learn more within
a given period of time and they learn about the person talking, as well as what the person
is saying. Good listening is also good manners; people think more of us when we listen to
them attentively.

Nature has given people two ears but only one tongue, which is

Gentle hint that they should listen more than they talk.

Listening requires two ears, one for meaning and one for feeling.

Decision-makers who do not listen have less information for making sound

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

Everyone likes to feel important.


people perform better when they know that their opinions and suggestions are


Supervisors must use their expertise and experience of employees and be able to
get them to exercise this expertise.


Attention paid to gripes often prevents their blossoming into big grievances.


Supervisors who jump to conclusions lose the respect of their subordinates.


To do a good job of listening, supervisors must plan time for it in their busy


Listening requires full attention to the speaker; it is impossible to listen

intelligently while the mind is preoccupied with something else.


Listening habits are deeply embedded in the personality and are related to other
personality traits, such as obstinacy, empathy, and so on.


The correction of bad habits is a slow process and must be self-motivated.

10. Supervisors who dont get all the facts often make poor decisions.
The following guidelines are suggested in respect of listening:

Put the talker at ease. Help a person feel free to talk.

Show a talker that you want to listen. Look and Remove distractions. Dont doodle,
tap, or shuffle papers. Will it not be quieter if you shut the door?

Empathize with the talker. Try to help yourself see the other persons point of view.

Be patient. Allow plenty of time. Do not interrupt a talker. Dont start for the door or
walk away.

Hold your temper. An angry person takes the wrong meaning from words.

Go easy on arguments and criticisms. These put people on the defensive, and they
may calm up or become angry. Do not argue. Even if you win, you lose.

Ask questions. This encourages a talker and shows that you are listening. It helps to
develop points further.

Stop talking. This is first and the last, because all other guides depend upon it. You
cannot do effective listening job while you are talking.

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

You get information that may help you.

You get ideas that you might never have thought. (Ideas have no pride. They are
willing to be born to anyone willing to have them).
You develop understanding of people who are different from you in many ways.
You get co-operation from people who know that you value their thinking and
You motivate action from people who have a part in your success.
You get good listening on the part of others to what you have to say.
Listening Tips:
1. Listen for ideas, not just for facts.
2. Control your emotional reactions.
3. Overcome personal prejudgments and distractions.
4. Keep an open mind.
5. Listen more than you talk.
6. Hear the other person out; dont interrupt.
7. Learn to practice active listening.
8. Keep your mouth shut (literally, keep your lips closed).
9. Paraphrase frequently in your mind, and aloud to the speaker.
10. Focus on the person speaking.








meetings along the suggested lines.

Providing linkages with annual appraisals as a mode of facilitating meetings.

Ensuring proper dissemination of information, other than through departmental


Conducting training programmes on

(a) effective listening skills, and
(b) conducting meetings.

Developing a system of open communication policy to facilitate more openness and


Involving line personnel in conducting training classes to improve understanding of

each other, and for creating healthy interaction at shop floor level.

Organizing informal gatherings such as annual day, sports meets, and the like to
promote free interaction and exchange of views.

Advising departments to maintain circulars and flies relating to their working for
general consumption.

Exploring avenues for establishing a library which would act as a central point of

Facilitating greater clarity of job role and relationships through job descriptions.

Facilitating upward communication through personal contacts, fact finding surveys,

and soon.

Issuing manuals/guidelines detailing policies, procedures, rules, and other personnel

related matters to ensure clarity.

Frequent interaction with employees tells them theyre important. The way you
communicate with your employees demonstrates you care about them as people not
just as employees. Sometimes you have to go out of your way to interact with your

employees, but they always will notice how much effort you put forth to communicate
with them.
Self-check - Communication
Are you making the most of your opportunities to communicate with your employees?
Answer the questions below in YES or NO to see how well youre doing.
1. Do you try to greet your employees every day?
2. Do you go out of your way to interact with your employees at least once each day?
3. Do you speak to your employees before they speak to you?
4. Do you go to your employees work areas to talk to them?
5. Do you talk to your employees about non-work activities?
6. Are your employees welcome at your office at any time?
7. Do you have lunch with your employees from time to time?
8. Do you know what your employees like to do when they arent at work?
9. Do you understand your employees needs, wants, goals and aspirations?
10. Do you give frequent positive reinforcement?
11. Do you frequently review goals and expectations?
12. Do you ask your employees personal goals and aspirations?
13. Do you ask about your employees problems, fears and concerns?
14. Do you ask yourself what you can do to help improve your employees
For any questions that you answered no, list below things you can do to increase your
interaction with your employees.
Communication in todays organizations is enhanced and enriched by computer-aided
technologies. These include electronic mail, for instance, has dramatically reduced the number
of memos, letters, and phone calls that employees historically used to communicate among
themselves and with suppliers, customers, or other outside stakeholders.

E-Mail: Electronic mail (or e-mail) uses the Internet to transmit and receive computergenerated text and documents. Its growth has been spectacular. Most white-collar
employees now regularly use e-mail. In fact, a recent study found that the average U.S.
employee receives 31 e-mail messages a day. And organizations are recognizing the value
of e-mail for all workers. Ford Motor Company, for instance, recently made a computer,
modem, printer and email account available for $5 a month to all of its more than
3,00,000 employees worldwide.
As a communication tool, e-mail ahs a long list of benefits. E-mail messages can be quickly
written, edited and stored. They can be distributed to one person or thousands with a click of a
mouse. They can be read, in their entirety, at the convenience of the recipient. And the cost of
sending formal e-mail to employees is a fraction of what it would cost to print, duplicate and
distribute comparable letter or brochure.
E-mail, of course, is not without its drawbacks. At the top of the list is information overload. It
is not unusual for employees to get a hundred or more e-mails a day. Reading, absorbing and
responding to such an inflow can literally consume an employees entire day.
In essence e-mails is of use has become its biggest negative. Employees are finding it
increasingly difficult to distinguish important e-mails from junk mails and irrelevant
messages. Another drawback of e-mail is that the lack emotional content. The nonverbal quest
in a face to face message or the tone of voice from a phone call convey important information
that come across an e-mail, although efforts have been made to create emotional icons. Finally
e-mails tend to be cold and impersonal. As such its the ideal means to convey information like
lay-offs, plant closings or other messages that might evoke emotional responses or social
Intranet and extranet links: Intranets are private. Organization worldwide information
networks that look and act like a web-site, but to which only people in an organization
have access. Intranets are rapidly becoming the proffered means for employees within the
companies to communicate with each other. IBM recently bought together 52 thousand of

its employees online for what it called Worldjam.Using companies intranet IBMers must
everywhere swapped ideas on everything from how to retain employees to how to work
faster without undermining quality.
In addition organisations are creating extra net links that connect internal employees with
selected suppliers, customers and strategic partners. For instance an extranet allows GM
employees to send electronic messages and documents to its steel and rubber supplier as well
as to communicate with its dealers. Similarly all Wall Mart vendors are linked into its extranet
system, allowing Wall Mart buyers to easily communicate with its suppliers and for suppliers
to monitor the inventory status of its product at Wall Mart stores.
Videoconferencing: It is an extension of intranet or extranet system. It permits employees in
an organization to have meetings with people at different locations. Live audio and video
images of members allow them to see, hear and talk with each other. Videoconferencing
in effect allows employees to conduct interactive meetings without the necessity of all
physically being in the same location.
In the late 1990s videoconferencing was basically conducted from special rooms equipped
with television cameras located at company facilities. More recently cameras and microphones
are being attached to individual computers allowing people to participate in videoconferences
without leaving their desks. As the cost of this technology drops in price videoconferencing is
likely to be increasingly seen as an alternative to expensive and time consuming travel.
Neal .L. Patterson, CEO at medical software maker Cerner Corporation likes e-mails. May be
too much so. Upset with his staffs work ethics he recently sent an e-mail to his firms 400
managers. Here are some of those e-mails highlight:
Hell with freeze over before this CEO implements ANOTHER EMPLOYEE benefit in this
culture.. We are getting less those 40 hours of work from a large number of our Kansa City

based employees. The parking is sparsely used at 8am likewise at 5pm. As managers-you
either do not know what your EMPLOYEES are doing or YOU do not CARE .we has a
problem and we will fix it or will replace you. ..What are you doing as managers with this
companies makes me sick.
Pattersons e-mail additionally suggested that managers schedule meetings at 7 Am., 6pm.,
and Saturday mornings promised a staff reduction of 5% an institution of a time clock system
and Pattersons intention to charge unapproved absences to employees vacation time.
Within hours of this e-mail, copies of it had made its way on to a Yahoo website. And within
three days Corners stock price has plummeted 22%. Although one can argue about whether
such harsh criticism should be communicated at all, one thing is certainly clear Patterson erred
selecting the wrong channel for his message. Such an emotional and sensitive would have
been better received in a face to face meeting.
Why do people choose one channel of communication over another-for instance a phone call
instead of face you face talk? Is there any general insight we might be able to provide
regarding choice of communication channel? The answer to the later question is a qualified
Yes. A model of media richness has been developed to explain channel selection among
Research has found that channels differ in their capacity to convey information some are rich
in that they have ability to:
(1) handle multiple quest simultaneously
(2) Facilitate rapid feed back.
(3) be very personal .Others are lean in that they score low on these three factors.
Generally, face-to-face conversation scores highest in terms of channel richness because it
provides for the maximum amount of information to be transmitted during a communication
episode. That is, it offers multiple information cues , immediate feedback, and the personal

touch of being there Impersonal written media such as formal reports and bulletins rate
lowest in richness.
The choice of one channel over another depends on whether the message is routine or nonroutine. The former types of messages tend to be straight forward and have a minimum of
ambiguity. The latter are likely to be complicated and have the potential for misunderstanding.
Managers can communicate routine messages efficiently through channels that are3 lower in
However, they can communicate non routine messages effectively only by selecting rich
channels. Referring back to our opening example at Cerner Corp, it appears that Neal patter
sons problem was using a channel relatively low in richness to convey a message that, because
of its no routine nature and complexity, should have been conveyed using a rich
communication medium.
Evidence indicates that high-performing managers tend to be more media sensitive than lowperforming managers. That is, theyre better able to match appropriate media richness with
ambiguity involved in the communication.
The media richness model is consistent with organizational trends and practice during the past
decade. It is not just coincidence that more and more senior managers have been using
meetings t5o facilitate communication and regularly leaving the sanctuary of their executives
offices to manage by walking around. These executives are relying on rich channels of
communication to transmit the more ambiguous messages they need to convey. The past
decade has been characterized by organisations closing facilities, merging, consolidating and
introducing new products and services at an accelerated pace-all no routine messages in high
ambiguity and requiring the use of channels that convey a large amount of information .It is
not surprising, therefore to see the most effective managers expanding their use of rich
channels .


A number of barriers can retard or distort effective communication. In this section, we
highlight the more important of these barriers.
Filtering: Filtering refers to a senders purposely manipulating information so it will be seen
mare favorably by the receiver. For example, when a manager tells his boss what he feels his
boss wants to hear, he is filtering information.
The major determinant of filtering is no. of levels in the organization structure .The more
vertical levels in the organizations hierarchy, the more opportunities there are for filtering. But
you can expect some filtering to occur whenever there are status differences. Factors such as
fear of conveying bad news and the desire to please ones boss often lead employees to tell
their superiors what they think those superiors want to hear, thus distorting upward
Selective Perception: We have mentioned it earlier. It appears again here because the
receivers in the communication process see and hear based on their needs, motivations,
experience, background and other personal characteristics. Receivers also project their
interests and expectations into communications as they decode them. The employment
interviewer who expects a women job applicant to put her family ahead if her career is likely
to see that female applicants, regardless of whether the applicants feel that way or not
Information Overload: Individuals have a fine capacity for processing data. As noted in our
previous discussion of e-mail, when the information we have to work with exceeds our
processing capacity, the result is information overload .And with e-mails, phone calls, faxes,
meetings and the need to keep current in ones field, more and more managers and
professionals are complaining that theyre suffering overload.
What happens when individuals have more information than they can sort out and use? They
tend to select out, ignore, pass over or forget information. Or they may put off further

processing until the overload situation is over. Regardless, the result is lost information and
less effective communication
Emotions: How the receiver feels at the time of receipt of a communication will influence
how he or she interprets it. The same message received when you are angry is often
interpreted differently from when youre happy. Extreme emotions such as jubilation or
depression are most likely to hinder effective communication.
In such instances, we are most prone to disregard our national and objective thinking
processes and substitute emotional judgments.
Language: Words mean different thing to different people. Age, education and cultural
background are three of the more obvious variables that influence the language a person uses
and the definitions he or she gives to words.
In an organization, employees usually come from diverse backgrounds. The grouping of the
employees into departments creates specialists who develop their own buzzwords or
technical jargon. In large organizations, members are also frequently widely dispersed
geographically-even operating in different countries. The existence of vertical levels can also
cause language problems.
There point is that although you and I probably speak a common language-English our use of
that language is far from uniform. If we knew how each of us modified the language,
communication difficulties could be minimized. There problem is that the members in an
organization usually dont know how those the words and terms they use mean the same to the
receiver as they do to them This assumption is often incorrect.
Communication Apprehension: Another major barrier to effective communication is that
some people- an estimated 5-20% of the population-suffer from debilitating. Although lots of
people speaking in front of a group, communication techniques.

People who suffer from it experience undue tension and anxiety in oral apprehensive may find
it extremely difficult to talk with others face to face or become extremely anxious when they
have to use the telephone. As a result, they may rely on memos or faxes to convey messages
when a phone call would be not only faster but more appropriate.
Studies demonstrate that oral-communication apprehensive avoid situations that require them
to engage in oral communication. We should expect to find some self-selection in jobs so that
such individuals dont take positions such as teacher. But almost all jobs require some oral
communication is a dominant requirement. And of greater concern is the evidence that high
oral communication apprehensive distort the communication demands of their jobs in order to
minimize the need for communication. So we need to be aware that there is a set of people in
the organization who severely limit their oral communication and rationalize this practice by
telling that more communication isnt necessary for them to do their job effectively.
Poor structure to the communication: The structure of a communication is an essential
factor in how well a business communication is received by an audience.
It doesn't matter whether that audience is an audience of one or one million, good structure is
essential if a communication is to be 'heard' amongst the advertising and marketing 'noise' of
today's business environment.
So a poor structure to your message or delivery is therefore a major barrier to effective
Weak delivery: It doesn't matter how important or impressive the subject of your
communication is, if you deliver it without any 'punch' you will not get as many people to take
your desired action as you would like.
A weak delivery is like the very funny joke with the badly-told punch line --- it is not as funny
or as memorable as you remember the original to be. It's all in the delivery. It is important to
not get confused between delivery and presenter.

Several businessmen are extremely confident in the public's gaze, very happy to be in front of
an audience. But because their presentations and communications lack a suitable structure,
they 'lose' their audience within minutes, the audience becomes increasingly confused and
eventually frustrated by not being able to understand clearly and easily what on earth these
businessmen are on about.
The use of the wrong medium
You have to announce a temporary hold on non-essential stationery spending in your
department. How do you communicate this?
An advertising campaign on local radio would be a highly ineffective way of reaching the
desired audience if the message was complex and really intended for a narrow niche audience.
Similarly, a public presentation, with 'obligatory' PowerPoint TM slideshow full of complex
charts and data, would be the wrong medium if the message you were trying to communicate
would be better served by a white paper, or some similar print-based format that allowed the
audience to digest the complexities at their own pace.


In this section we discuss four current issues relating to communication in organization. Why
do men and women often have difficulty communicating with each other? What role does
silence play in communication? What are implications of the politically correct movement
on communications in organizations? And how individuals can improve their cross culture
Communication Barriers between Women and Men
Research by experts provides us with some important insights into the differences between
men and women in terms of their conversational styles. The essence of the research is that
men use talk to emphasize status, whereas women use it to create connection. The conclusion,
of course, doesnt apply to every woman. Thus it , means a larger % of women or men as a
group talk in a particular way, or individual women and men are more likely to talk one way
or the other.
Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and
independence. Independence emphasis separateness and differences. But heres the kick
Women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy men speak and hear a language
of status power and independence. So for many men conversations are primarily a means to
preserve independence ands maintain status in a hierarchical social orders few examples will
illustrate this:
Men frequently complain that women talk on and on about their problem. Women criticize
men for not listening. Whats happening is that when men hear a problem, they frequently
assert their for independence and control by offering solutions .Many women, on other hand
view telling a problem as a means to promote closenesss e women present the problem to
gain support and connection ,not to get the mans advise.

Mutual understanding is

symmetrical. But giving advise is asymmetrical it sets up the advise giver as more knowledge,

more reasonable, and more in control. This contributes to distancing men and women in their
efforts to communicate
Men are often more direct than women in conversation. A man might say I think you are
wrong at that point. Women might say Have you looked at the marketing research report on
that point? Men frequently see female indirections as covert or sneaky but women are
not vas concerned as men with the status and one-upmanship that directness often creates.
Women tend to be less boastful than men. They often downplay their authority or
accomplishments to avoid appearing as braggarts and to take the others person feelings into
account Men can interpret this and incorrectly conclude that a woman is less confident and
competent than she really is.
Finally men often critise women for seeming to apologize all the time .Men tend to see the
phrase I m sorry as a weakness because they interpret the phrase to mean the woman is
accepting blame, when he knows shes not to blame. The problem is that the women use often
I m sorry to express to regret and restore balance to conversations. For many women I m
sorry is an expression of understanding and caring about the other persons feelings rather
than an apology.
Sherlock Holmes once solved a murder mystery based on what didnt happen. Holmes
remarked to his assistant Dr .Watson, about the curious incident of the dog in night time.
Watson surprised responds But the dog did nothing in the night time.
Holmes concluded thwart crime had to be committed by someone with whom the dog was
familiar because the dog didnt bark. The dog that didnt bark in the night is often used to
metaphor for an event that is significant by reason of its absence. That story is also an
excellent illustration of the importance of silence in communication.

Silencedefined here as an absence of speech or noise-has been generally ignored as a form

of communication in OB because inaction or no behavior .But its not necessarily in action
.Nor is silence as, many believe a failure to communicate. It can be a powerful form of
communication. It can mean someone is thinking a response to question. It can mean a person
is anxious and fearful of speaking. It can signal agreement, dissent, and anger.
In terms of Organizational Behaviour we can see several links between and work related
behaviour. For instance, silence is a critical element of group thinks, in which it implies
agreement with majority. It can be a way of employees to express dissatisfaction, as when they
suffer in silence. It can be sign that someone is upset, as when a typically talking person
says nothing
Failing to pay close attention to silent portion of a conversation can result in missing a vital
part of the message. Astute communications watch for gaps, pauses, hesitations. They hear and
interpret silence. They treat pauses; they pay attention to what comes next. Is the person
suffering from communication apprehension? Sometimes the real message in a
communication is buried in silence.
What words do you use to describe a colleague who is wheel-chair bound? What terms do you
use to address a female customer? How do you communicate with a brand new client who is
not like you? Your answers can mean between losing a client, an employee, a lawsuit, a
harassment claim or a job.
Most of us are aware of how our vocabulary has been modified to reflect political correctness.
For instance, most of us have cleansed the words handicapped, blind, and elderly from our
vocabulary and replaced them with physically challenged, visually impaired, senior. The
Los Angeles Times, for instance, allows its journalists to use the word old age but cautious that
it varies from person to person.

We must be sensitive to others feelings. Certain words can and do stereotype and insult
individuals. We must be sensitive to know how words might offend others. There is a
downside to political correctness. To illustrate, you probably know what these 4 terms mean:
death, garbage, quotas women. But each of these words also has been found to offend one or
more groups. Theyve been replaced by negative patient outcome, post consumer waste
materials, educational equity, and people of gender. You know what death means; I know
what death means; but can you be sure that negative patient outcome will be consistently
defined as synonymous of death?
Some critics for humors sake enjoy carrying political correctness to the extreme. Even those
of us with thinning scalp, who arent thrilled at labeled bald have to smirk when were
referred to as follicle challenged. But our concern here is with how politically correct
language is contributing a barrier to effective communication.
Words are primary means with which people communicate. When we eliminate words from
use because they are politically incorrect, we reduce our options for conveying messages in
accurate form. For the most part, the larger the vocabulary used by sender, the greater
opportunity to transmit messages. By removing certain words from our vocabulary we find it
hard to communicate.
We must sensitive to how our choice of words offends others. But we also have to be careful
not to sanitize our language to the point at which it clearly restricts clarity of communication.
However you should be aware of the trade-offs and the need to find a proper balance.
Effective communication is difficult under the best of conditions. Cross cultural factors
clearly the potential for increased communication problems. A gesture that is well understood
and acceptable in one culture can be meaningless or lewd in another.

Cultural barriers: One author has identified 4 specific problems related to large difficulties
in cross-cultural communications.
First, there are barriers caused by semantics. As weve noted, words mean different to different
people. This is true for people from different cultures. Some words. Dont translate between
cultures. Understanding sisu will help you to communicate in Finland but this is non
transferable to English.
Second there are barriers caused by word connotations. Words imply different things in
different languages. Negotiations between Americans and Japanese executives are made more
difficult because Japanese hai translates as yes but its connotation will be yes I m listening
rather than yes I agree
Third are barriers caused by tone differences in some cultures, language is formal, in others
its informal. In some, tone changes depending upon the context: people speak differently at
home. Using a personal, informal style in situation in which a more formal style is expected
can be embarrassing and off-putting
Fourth, there are barriers caused by differences caused by perceptions. People who speak
different languages actually view the world in different ways. Thais perceive no differently
than Americans because the former have no such word in the vocabulary.
Cultural Context: A better understanding of these barriers for communicating across cultural
can be achieved by considering the concepts of high and low context cultures.
Cultures tend to differ in importance to which context influences meaning that individuals take
from what is actually said or written in light of who the other person is. Countries like china,
Korea, Japan and Vietnam are high context cultures they rely heavily on nonverbal and subtle
situations cues when communicating with others. A persons official status in society and
reputation carry considerably weight in communications. People from Europe and North
America reflect their low context cultures.

What do these contextual differences mean in terms of communication? Actually quite a lot.
Communication in high context cultures implies considerably more trust by both parties. What
may appear to outsider as casual and insignificant is important because it reflects a desire to
build a relationship and create trust. Oral agreements imply strong commitments in high
context cultures. Low context cultures value directness. Managers are directed to be explicit
and precise in conveying intended meaning.
A Cultural Guide: When communicating with people from a different culture what can you
do to reduce misperceptions and misevaluations? You can begin by trying to assess context
culture. The 4 rules are helpful:
(1) Assume differences until similarity is proven. Most of us assume that others are more
similar to us than they actually are. But people from different countries often are
(2) Emphasis description rather than interpretation or evaluation. Interpreting or
evaluating what someone has said or done is based on observers culture and
background than on observed situation.
(3) Practice empathy. Before sending a message put yourself in the recipients shoes what
don you know about his or her education, upbringing or background? Try to see other
person as she or he really is.
(4) Treat your interpretations as a working hypothesis. Once youve developed an
explanation for a new situation think your empathize with some foreign culture.
Carefully assess the feedback by recipients to see if it confirms your hypothesis. For
important decisions or communiqus, you can also check with other foreign and home
country colleagues to make sure that your interpretations are on target.

Thus, Communication is an exchange of information and transmission of meaning. It is
considered as a crucial function of modern management. Communication always involves
a sender, channel and receiver. The symbols of communication are words, actions,
pictures, and numbers.
Organization communication thus is one of the most important tools used by many Human
Resource Development (HRD) managers to cut the communication gap in the organisation. It
also plays an important part to build an organization structure. Lack in organizational
communication hampers the productivity of employees and in turn that of the organisation.
Moreover, the case studies also help to throw light on the important aspects of organizational
communication and depict how useful it is in shaping the organizations future and helping it
achieve its objectives. To be fully effective, a communication programmes must:
1. Be properly organized and integrated with the structure of the corporate enterprise;
2. Have the support the support of top management to operate in a climate favourable to free
and open exchange of views and attitudes;
3. Have continuity.