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COMMUNICATING

COMMUNICATING
The achievement of the objectives of the engineering organization will depend on
the performance of the organization will depend on the performance of the human and
non-human elements attached to it. The task of management is to program these
elements correctly so that each will respond accordingly to their assigned tasks. Standard
programming methods have already been adapted by technologists for most machines
and equipment.
The programming approach to the human element is different and must be dealt
with using methods espoused by behavioral scientists. Employees will perform according
to the dictates of their minds. If this is really so, then management must reach them
through powerful means of persuasion under an atmosphere conducive to effective
communication.
The issue now will be Is management using the communication option effectively?
The answer must be yes, for if not, trouble may be forthcoming, if it has not yet arrived.

WHAT COMMUNICATION IS
Morris Philip Wolf and Shirley Kuiper define communication as a process of sharing
information through symbols, including words and message.
Communication may happen between superior and subordinate, between peers,
between a manager and a client or costumer, between an employee and a government
representative, etc. It may be done face to face, or through printed materials, or through
an electronics device like the telephone, etc.

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FUNCTIONS OF COMMUNICATION
Communication may be used to serve any of the following functions.
1

Information Function information provided through communication may be


used for decision-making at various work levels in the organization. A construction
worker, for instance, may be given instructions on the proper use of certain
equipment. This will later provide him with a guide a deciding which equipment to
use in particular circumstances.
Another concern is the manager who wants to make that his decision in
promoting an employee to a higher position is correct. Through communication, the
information provided will minimize if not eliminate the risk.

Motivation Function communication is also oftentimes used as a means to


motivate employees to commit themselves to the organizations objective.

Control Function when properly communicated, reports, policies, and plans


define roles, clarify duties, authorities and responsibilities. Effective control is, then,
facilitated.

Emotive Function when feelings are repressed in the organization, employees,


are affected by anxiety, which, in turn, affects performance. Whatever type of
emotions are involved, whether satisfaction, dissatisfaction, happiness or bitterness,
communication provides a means to decrease the internal pressure affecting the
individual.

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THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS

SENDER

DEVELOP
S IDEA

ENCODES

RECEIVER
WHO
RECEIVES
MESSAGE
DECODES

ACCEPTS
OR
REJECTS

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8 STEPS OF COMMUNICATION PROCESS
1 DEVELOP AN IDEA
The most important step in effective communication is developing an idea. It
is important that the idea to be conveyed must be useful or of some value. An
example of a useful idea is how to prevent accidents in workplaces.
2 ENCODE
The next step is to encode the idea into words, illustrations, figures, or other
symbols suitable for transmission. The method of transmission should be
determined in advance so that the idea may be encoded to conform with the
specific requirements of the identified method. An example of an encoded message
using telefax as a means of transmission.

3 TRANSMIT

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After encoding, the message is now ready for transmission through the use
of an appropriate communication channel. Among the various channels used
include the spoken word, body movements, the written word, television, telephone,
radio, an artists paint, electronic mail, etc.
Proper transmission is very important so the message sent will reach and
hold the attention of the receiver. To achieve this, the communication channel must
be free of barriers, or interference (sometimes referred to as noise)
4 RECEIVE
The next step is the communication process is the actual receiving of the
message by the intended receiver. The requirement is for the receiver to be ready
to receive at the precise moment the message relayed by the sender.
The message may be initially received by a machine or by a person. In any
case, communication stops when the machine is not turned or turned on to receive
the message, or the person assigned to receive the message does not listen or pay
attention properly.
5 DECODE
The next step, decoding, means translating the message from the sender
into a form that will have meaning to the recipient. If the receiver knows the
language and terminology used in the message, successful decoding may be
achieved.
If the receiver understands the purpose and the background situation of the
sender, decoding will be greatly improved. In legal practice, for instance, the
declarations of a dying person have more weight.
6 ACCEPT
The next step is for the receiver to accept or reject the message.
Sometimes, acceptance (or rejection) is partial. An example is provided as follows:
A newly-hired employee was sent to a supervisor with a note from his
superior with a note from his superior directing the supervisor to accept the
employee into his unit and to provide the necessary training and guidance.
As the supervisor feels that he was not consulted in the hiring process, he
thinks that his only obligation is to accept the employee in his unit and nothing
more

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The factors that will affect the acceptance or rejection of a message are as
follows:
1

The accuracy of the message

Whether or not the sender has the authority to send the message and/or
action

The behavioral implications for the receiver.

7 USE
The next step is for the receiver to use the information. If the message
provides information of importance to a relevant activity, then the receiver could
store it and retrieve it when required. If the message requires a certain
action to be made, then he may do so, otherwise, he discards it as soon as it is
received. All of the above mention options will depend on his perception of the
message.
8 PROVIDE FEEDBACK
The last step in the communication process is for the receiver to provide
Feedback to the sender. Depending on the perception of the receiver ,however, this
important step may not be made.
Even if the feedback is relayed, it may not reach the original sender of the
message. This may be attributed to the effects of any of the communication
barriers.

FORMS OF COMMUNICATION

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VERBAL

COMMUNICATION
Verbal communications are those transmitted through hearing or sight. These
modes of transmission categorize verbal communication into two classes: oral and written.
Oral Communication mostly involves hearing the words of the sender, although
sometimes, opportunities are provided for seeing the senders body movements, facial
expression, gestures, and eye contact. Sometimes, feeling, smelling, tasting and touching
are involved.
An alternative to oral communication is the written communication where the
sender seeks to communicate through the written word. The written communication is,
sometimes, preferred the oral communication because of time and cost constraints. When
a sender, for instance, cannot meet personally the receiver due to some reason, a written
letter or memo is prepared and sent to the receiver.
The written communication, however, has limitations and to remedy these, some
means are devised. Perfume advertiser, for instance, lace their written message with the

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smell of their products. In the same light, the now popular Christmas card is an attempt to
enhance the effects of the written note.

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION
Nonverbal communication is a means of conveying message through body
language, as well as the use of time, space, touch, clothing, appearance and aesthetic
elements. Body language consists of gestures, bodily movement, posture, facial
expression, and mannerisms of all kinds.
Nonverbal expression conveys many shades of meaning and it is to the advantage
of the communicator to understand what messages are relayed.

BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION
Various factors may impede the efficient flow of communication. Any, or all, of these
factors may, at any point, derail the process. Even if the message is transmitted by the
channel, the timing and the meaning of the message may be affected by the factors.
The barriers to communication may be classified generally as:
1. Personal barriers
2. Physical barriers
3. Semantic barriers
PERSONAL BARRIERS
Personal barriers are hindrances to effective communication arising from a
communicators characteristics as a person, such as emotions, values, poor listening
habits, sex, age, race, socioeconomic status, religion, education, etc.
Personal barriers are real or imagined hindrances between you and the success you
want to achieve. The key to overcoming personal barriers is to identify what keeps you
from reaching your goals, and then take steps to remove those impediments. While the

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process may sound simple, overcoming personal barriers can be one of the hardest things
you have every accomplished.
Emotions cloud the communicators ability to judge correctly the real meaning of
messages received. People with different values will find it hard to communicate with each
other. Poor listening habits of a receiver frustrate the communication efforts of a sender.
PHYSICAL BARRIERS
Physical barriers refer to interferences to effective communication occurring in the
environment, where the communication is undertaken. The very loud sound produced by a
passing jet temporarily drowns out the voice of a guest delivering a speech. Such
distraction does not allow full understanding of the meaning of the entire message and is
an example of a physical barrier.
Physical barriers include distances between people, walls, a noisy, jukebox near a
telephone, etc. An office that is to tidy may sometimes inhibit a person from meeting the
occupant of the office face-to-face. A menacing pet dog (or secretary) posted near the
door may also prevent a person from directly communicating with the object person
behind the door.
A communication channel that is overloaded may also prevent important
information to reach the intended user. Another physical barrier to communication is
wrong timing. For instance, how may one expect a person who has just lost a loved one to
act on an inquiry from a fellow employee?
SEMANTIC BARRIERS
Semantics is the study of meaning as expressed in symbols. Words, pictures or
actions are symbols that suggest certain meanings. When the wrong meaning has been
chosen by the receiver, misunderstanding occurs. Such error constitutes a barrier to
communication.
A semantic barrier may be defined as an interference with the reception of a
message that occurs when the message is misunderstood even though it is received
exactly as transmitted.
For example, the words wise and salvage will have different meanings to an
English speaking foreigner than to an ordinary Filipino.
OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION

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When communication barriers threaten effective performance, certain measures
must be instituted to eliminate them. To eliminate problems due to noise, selective
perception, and distraction, the following are recommended:
1. Use feedback to facilitate understanding and increase the potential for appropriate
action.
2. Repeat messages in order to provide assurance that they are properly received.
3. Use multiple channels so that the accuracy of the information may be enhanced.
4. Use simplified language that is easily understandable and which eliminates the
possibility of people getting mixed-up with meanings.
TECHNIQUES FOR COMMUNICATING IN ORGANIZATIONS
Communication may be classified as to the types of flow of the message are as
follows: downward, upward, or horizontal. Each of the types of message flow has its own
purposes and techniques.
DOWNWARD COMMUNICATION
Downward communication refers to message flows from higher levels of authority to
lower levels. Among the purposes of downward communication are:
1.
2.
3.
4.

To
To
To
To

give instructions
provide information about policies and procedures
give feedback about performance
indoctrinate or motivate

Among the techniques used in downward communication are as follows: letters,


meetings, telephones, manuals, handbooks, and newsletters.
UPWARD COMMUNICATION
Upward communication refers to messages from persons in lower-level positions to
persons in higher positions. Among the techniques used in upward communication are:
formal grievance guidance, employee attitude and opinion surveys, suggestion systems,
open-door policy, informal gripe sessions, task forces, and exit interviews.
Formal grievance guidance. Grievances are part of a normally operating
organization. To effectively deal with them, organizations provide a system for employees
to air their grievances.
Employee attitude and opinion surveys. Finding out what the employees think
about the company is very important. The exercise, however, requires expertise and the
company may not be prepared to do it. If the organizations operation is large enough to
justify such activity, then it must be done. If the assistance of an outside research firm is
considered, a benefit-cost analysis must be used as a deciding factor.
Suggestion systems. Suggestions from employees are important sources of costsaving and production enhancing ideas.
Open-door policy. An open-door policy, even on a limited basis, provides the
management with an opportunity to act on difficulties before they become full-blown
problems.

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Informal gripe sessions. Informal gripe sessions can be used positively if
management knows how to handle them. When employees feel free to talk and they are
assured of not being penalized for doing so, then management will be spared with lots of
efforts determining the real causes of problems in the company.
Task forces. When a specific problem or issue arises, a task force may be created
and assigned to deal with the problem or issue. Since membership of task force consist of
management and non-management personnel, integration and teamwork are fostered,
creativity is enhanced, and interpersonal skills are developed.
Exit interviews. When employees leave an organization for any reason, it is to the
advantage of management to know the real reason. If there are negative developments in
the organization that management is not aware of, exit interviews may provide some of
the answers.
HORIZONTAL COMMUNICATION
Horizontal communication refers to message sent to individual or groups from
another of the same organizational level or position. The purposes of horizontal
communication are:
1. To coordinate activities between departments
2. To persuade others at the same level of organization
3. To pass on information about activities or feelings
Among the techniques appropriate for horizontal communication are: memos,
meetings, telephones, picnics, dinners, and other social affairs.
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM
Management information systems (MIS) is defined by Boone and Kurtz as an
organized method of providing past, present, and projected information on internal
operations and external intelligence for use in decision-making.
The MIS currently used by corporate firms consists of written and electronically
based systems for sending reports, memos, bulletins, and the like. The systems allow
managers of the different departments within the firm to communicate with each other.
THE PURPOSE OF MIS
The MIS is established for various reasons. Wheelen and Hunger enumerate them as
follows:
1. To provide a basis for the analysis of early warning signal that can originate both
externally and internally.
2. To automate routine clerical operations like payroll and inventory reports.
3. To assist managers in making routine decisions like scheduling orders, assigning
orders to machines, and reordering supplies.
4. To provide the information necessary for management to make strategic or nonprogrammed decisions.