Problems with communication occur when the way in which we express ourselves is not fully understood and appreciated by those we want to communicate with. Communication often takes place in a complex and uncertain environment; understanding how to minimize such difficulties will have a direct impact on how effective our communications are.
Every organization you come into contact with in your role has its own ethos and set of acceptable behaviors. You will be able to identify in your senior management the sort of behavior that is deemed appropriate for the organization. These behaviors will determine the type of environment your organizational communications occur in. Often within organizations confusion and obstacles to communication result from poor definition of individual roles within the structure and of their working relationships and interactions. Many organizations' communication problems can be directly attributed to poor operational skills.
Without this level of appreciation and comprehension unrealistic demands can be placed on others. Organizational barriers can also occur if you use an inappropriate communication tool to send your message. Selecting the best communication tool to send your message is an essential component of excellent communication skills. This relates to the physical attributes of the environment the communication takes place in.
Many individuals operate in open plan offices, which whilst offering easy access to other members of the team when working within a group, can make other tasks more time consuming than necessary. Organizations generally conduct a wide variety of tasks, and management need to provide environments to suit different tasks if their workforce are to operate and communicate effectively. Organizations, with their global markets and operations, need to be conscious of what they say and of the interpretations different nationals working for them may give to their messages.
For example, Spanish is much more formal when communicating in writing than it is verbally.
When thinking about cultural differences it is important not to pay too much attention to stereotypes.
Cultures also have different interpretations of what is meant by something being 'urgent' and what level of work is considered stressful. Your message needs to clearly state your definition of terms such as 'afternoon,' and you should make sure the date you require the task to be completed by is accurate for the time zone of the recipient. With the increase in specialist language and jargon within the workplace, ensuring that what you are saying is interpreted as you want and expect is an essential aspect of communication. This is especially important when communicating with a wide variety of industries because each one may have their own expressions and acronyms for terms, as shown in the diagram above. In your communications you should never assume your meaning is the same for all those you are interacting with. Some barriers to communication result from the interpersonal skills of the individuals involved.
An aggressive attitude that may be intended by the communicator to display confidence may be interpreted as arrogance. To be an effective communicator you must also be conscious of your own bias, which can influence how you respond in an exchange. Developing your own questioning, analytical, and listening skills is essential if you want to communicate successfully and will have a direct impact on your career development.
Barriers to communication can be classified as organizational, physical, cultural, linguistic, and interpersonal. Cultural barriers include differences in the interpretation of word meanings in different cultures even though they may be using a common language.
Linguistic barriers include jargon and acronyms that mean different things to different groups. Interpersonal barriers include the many nonverbal signals that can easily be misinterpreted. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Discuss the nature of communications in an organizational setting, including communication flows, channels, and networks. Explain barriers to communication, and discuss the most common types of barriers to group communication.
Clearly, the task of preparing and submitting a finished sales report doesna€™t require the same kinds of communication skills as talking on the phone with a classmate.
Communication may also flow laterally in organizational settings (as it does between you and your classmate), but more often it flows up or down. As the term suggests, downward communicationdownward communicationCommunication flow from higher to lower organizational levels. Upward communicationupward communicationCommunication flow from lower to higher organizational levels. Lateral (or horizontal) communicationlateral (or horizontal) communicationCommunication flow across the organization, among personnel on the same level. Your bossa€™s request for a sales report is an instance of downward communication, and when youa€™ve finished and submitted it, you will have completed a task of upward communication. Finally, while horizontal flows are valuable for promoting cooperation, they can also be used to engage in conflicta€”for instance, between two departments competing for the same organizational resources. Note that FigureA 8.9, a€?Channels of Communicationa€? takes the form of a grid, thus creating four dimensions in which communication can take place.
An organizationa€™s formal communication networkformal communication networkNetwork consisting of all communications that flow along an organizationa€™s official lines of authority.
Every company also has an informal communication network (or grapevine)informal communication network (or grapevine)Network that carries information whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs., which goes to work whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs. Though ita€™s sometimes called the grapevine, an informal network is an extremely important communication channel. On the upside, savvy managers can tap into the informal network, either to find out what sort of information is influencing employee activities or to circulate more meaningful information, including new ideas as well as corrective information.
The organizationa€™s formal lines of communication arena€™t working as well as they should be.
The best way to minimize informal communication and its potential damage is to provide better formal communication from the outseta€”or, failing that, to provide whatever formal communication will counteract misinformation as thoroughly as possible.
Go to your supervisor or another senior manager and try to find out as much as you can about the organizationa€™s real plans. Ask a senior manager or a human resources representative to meet with your team and address membersa€™ concerns with accurate feedback.
Make it a priority to keep channels opena€”both between yourself and your team members and between team members and the human resources department. Because actions of this sort send a message, they can legitimately be characterized as a form of formal communication. By barriers we mean anything that prevents people from communicating as effectively as possible.
As for creating unnecessary verbal noise and failing to listen, we can probably chalk them up to poor communication habits (or maybe the same habit, for as legendary management expert Peter Drucker argues, a€?Listening is not a skill; it is a discipline. If it hasna€™t happened already, for example, one of these days youa€™ll find yourself having a work-related conversation with a member of the opposite sex. It really doesna€™t matter which a€?stylea€? (if either) is better suited to making a conversation more productive.
Even if two people of the opposite sex enter a conversation with virtually identical viewpoints, their different styles of expressing themselves might very well present a barrier to their reaching an agreement. FigureA 8.11, a€?Functional Barriers to Communicationa€? illustrates the location of barriers that may be present when a team-based project must deal with a certain degree of functional diversity. The company has assigned team members from different functional areas, notably marketing and operations (which, as at Motorola, includes design, engineering, and production). Information (which wea€™ve characterized as different types of a€?specsa€?) must be transferred from function to function, and at the key points where this occurs, wea€™ve built in communication barriers (symbolized by brick walls). If, for example, marketing specs called for the new Motorola phone to change colors with the usera€™s mood, someone in engineering might have to explain the difficulties in designing the software. Each technical problema€”each problem that arises because of differences in team membersa€™ knowledge and expertisea€”becomes a problem in communication.


Downward communication flows from higher organizational levels (supervisors) to lower organizational levels (subordinates). Lateral (or horizontal) communication flows across the organization, among personnel on the same level. Barriers to communication include anything that prevents people from communicating as effectively as possible. To your manager telling him what the sales were for the quarter and whether sales improved (or got worse), and why. To the vice president of the company recommending a new system for tracking sales in your division. Each learner comes from a different background, with their own values as influenced by the physical or cultural context.
Barriers to Communication includes a range of physical, mental or emotional hindrances which can prevent messages from being passed on successfully between sender and receiver during the process of communication.
Recognition of these barriers will facilitate selections of appropriate techniques or strategies that are needed for overcoming them and or for making improvement in the process. The mental, emotional, psychological state of the learner may also affect the way the message is conveyed or interpreted. As a learner from a different origin, your interaction with your group may impact how you communicate due to the difference in cultural and social class or sub-groups. As a learner it is of paramount importance that you make it your responsibility to accommodate language differences and find a common ground within which the group can learn. The context in which words are used by one person may be different from the context in which such words are used by another. An individuals prior experiences in encountering some words or expressions could affect how they respond to similar messages in the future. The prevailing situation at the time of the sending and receiving of the message may influence the process. 1.A French-speaking family arrives in Trinidad from Martinique and is immediately thrown into situations reflecting differences in culture including language, forms of greetings etc. Father is packing to leave on a business trip and reminding his sons about guidelines for visitors to the house; securing the house at night (Young men are playing hand-held computer games while listening to their father). Communication is unsuccessful when there is a breakdown between the sender and the receiver.
Effective communication takes place when there is a common understanding and acceptance of the message between the sender and receiver. Based on the types of barriers discussed in the session paragraphs above, share any of your personal experiences where you were unable to send intended message.state what the barriers is and show in the image at which point in the communication process the problem may have occur. Content is available under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License unless otherwise noted. Some of these differences are within our control, others are not, and being forewarned about such obstacles influences how successful your communications will be. Those who are seen as good communicators have the ability to adapt their communication style to overcome barriers to understanding and to maximize the impact of their message. To be a successful communicator you need to understand the beliefs and values of your own organization. You will also have the opportunity through the example you portray to influence the behavior and beliefs of those who report to you or interact with you. How many times have you found several people believing that a task is the responsibility of someone else?
This confusion and misinterpretation can be avoided be taking the time to learn about other departments and external bodies and listen to what they say in response to your communication. Is the sending of an email or text an appropriate way to inform someone of a major disruption to service that will have serious financial implications if not addressed immediately? Much of this comes from experience and observing how senior management and personnel in external organizations communicate their messages. For example, in the situation above you may want to speak to the person face-to-face first and then confirm that conversation in an email, copying in only those who need to be kept abreast of the situation.
Developing ideas or strategies, for instance, may require a quieter, more private environment, with few or no interruptions. For example, providing access to private rooms as well as open plan offices, and being willing to allow people to work from home, offers a choice of environment to best suit the task at hand. This is especially significant if your message needs to be translated into other languages.
Conversational Spanish is more colloquial and direct, supported by appropriate gestures and eye contact.
A stereotype is 'a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.' However, some stereotypes do have their roots in observable behavior.
This may result from different working hours in certain countries, and the fact that operations are taking place in different time zones.
For example, Friday 20th actually occurs on different days if you are based in London and the recipient is in Hong Kong. You need to actively listen to and observe your audience to ensure that your message is received in the way you intend.
Each person's level of self-esteem and their degree of confidence will be portrayed to others by the communication signals they display. This may not be an informed bias: it may be based merely on your own experiences or knowledge base. No matter what your a€?workstationa€? happens to bea€”whether your workplace office or your kitchen tablea€”youa€™re performing the task of preparing that sales report in an organizational setting.
Leta€™s assume that you and the classmate you called on the phone are on roughly equal footinga€”youa€™re both juniors, your grades in the class are about the same, and so forth. Downward communication, for example, is appropriate for giving instructions or directionsa€”telling people what to do. As information seeps downward, for instance, it tends to lose some of its original clarity and often becomes distorted or downright wrong.
The problem is especially bad when such horizontal communications breach official upward or downward lines of communication, thus bypassing managers who might be able to resolve the conflict. Informal communication, for example, can take place either among people within the company (internally) or between insiders and outsiders (externally).
Informal communication can take place just about anywhere (in one persona€™s cubicle, in the cafeteria, on the golf course) and by just about any means (phone, e-mail, instant messaging, face-to-face conversation).
Because much of it is communicated orally, ita€™s likely to get distorted and often degenerates into outright misinformation. In the 1970s, Chicago-area McDonalda€™s outlets found themselves fighting rumors about worms in their hamburgers.
Because ita€™s your job to replace bad information with good information, you need to find out whata€™s really going on. Its only function is to carry information, so therea€™s no reason why you cana€™t pump some useful information through it. In a practical sense, what can a managera€”say, the leader of a long-term product-development teama€”do to provide better communication?
They also reflect good leadership: Even though the information in this case relates only indirectly to immediate team tasks, youa€™re sharing information with people who need it, and youa€™re demonstrating integrity (youa€™re being honest, and youa€™re following through on a commitment to the team). Noise, for example, can be a barrier to communication; if you and other team members are mumbling among yourselves while your team leader is trying to explain task assignments, youa€™re putting up a barrier to group communication. None of these advantages, though, magically appears simply because workplace diversity increases. If the conversation doesna€™t go as smoothly as youa€™d expected, therea€™s a good reason: Men and women in the workplace dona€™t communicate the same way.
Much the same can be said of differences in style arising from other cultural filters, such as ethnicity, education, age, and experience. Recall that when we introduced the organizational structure of Notes-4-You in ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, we characterized it as a functional organizationa€”one that groups together people who have comparable skills and perform similar tasks. Simply this: The more a€?divisionalizeda€? an organization becomes, the more likely it will be to encounter communication barriers. At the same time, each group must contribute to the company-wide effort to achieve common goals. If design specs called for quadraphonic sound, production might have to explain the difficulties in procuring sufficiently lightweight speaker components.


In addition, communicating as a member of a team obviously requires much more than explaining the limitations of someone elsea€™s professional expertise. Its formal communication network consists of all communications that flow along an organizationa€™s official lines of authority. Some of the normal ones are: family communication, business communication, social communication, emotional communication and intellectual communication. It is important that you are aware of these differences as they may hinder the comunication process. These physical barriers may include physical object, noise from a passing trafic, disruptions such as two people talking as the same time, distance from which the call is made from, mechanical or technical faults or amfuctions, feeling unwell like being too sick or stressout or secondary or third person relaying the message.
Some words can have more than one meaning given the specific contextin which it is being used. A meeting of community leaders to present and discuss a proposed plan for improving the community. The breakdown occurs when there is a barrier to the communication process, resulting in misunderstandings and sometimes frustration.
Disscuss with another learner an unsuccessful communication situation in which you found yourself. Whatever atmosphere your day-to-day activities occur in, you will need to adapt your style and signals to best suit the environment. Rather than take the trouble to ensure someone accepts ownership, some people will simply sweep the task under the carpet on the assumption that someone else will perform it! Or it can be the result of little or no understanding of other operations within the organization or its external suppliers. So when you are making organizational communications you need to have a native speaker translate your message to make sure that it communicates what you want it to mean. For example, many people from the British Isles use understatement in their everyday speech and would describe something as 'not bad' when in fact they thought it was good or even very good. The aggressive attitude might also be a way of showing how stressed they are in their current role and that any further demands on that person's time is just too much for them to cope with.
If you don't open your mind to listen carefully to what is being said and objectively assess what you hear your bias will persist and could become a barrier to the communication process.
Youa€™re still a sender transferring information to a receiver, but the organizational context of the task requires you to consider different factors for success in communicating effectively (including barriers to success). Your phone conversation, therefore, is a€?laterala€?: You belong to the same group (your accounting class), and your group activities take place on the same level. If it looks familiar, thata€™s because wea€™ve borrowed it from ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, where it appeared as the organization chart for the fictional company Notes-4-You.
External communicationexternal communicationChannel through which communication occurs between parties inside a company and parties outside it. By and large, though you can use the same set of tools (memos, reports, phone calls) to communicate in any of these four situations, some tools (team blogs, news releases, supplier Web sites) are useful only in one or two.
For the simple reason that ita€™s typically widespread and can rarely be prevented, even if ita€™s not officially sanctioned by the companya€”indeed, even when the company tries to discourage or bypass it.
Remember: The more you know about grapevine information, the better you can interact with employees (who, in turn, will probably come to regard you as someone who keeps in touch with the things that concern them). As a matter of fact, youa€™re putting up two barriers: In addition to creating noise, youa€™re failing to listen. In the rest of this section, wea€™ll overlook personal barriers to communication and concentrate instead on two types of barriers that are encountered by groups of people, sometimes large and sometimes small, working toward organizational goals.
To the contrary: As diversity increases, so does the possibility that a group will be composed of people who have different attitudes and different ways of expressing them.
According to American linguist Deborah Tannen, men tend to assert their status, to exert confidence, and to regard asking questions as a sign of weakness.
Not surprisingly, communication gets more complicated, for the same reason that an organization comes to rely on more levels of management.[290] Notes-4-You, for instance, needs two supervisors because its note takers dona€™t do the same work as its copiers.
Moreover, certain organizational projects, like Motorolaa€™s cell phone project, may require the two groups to work together more closely than usual. Once theya€™ve surfaced, technical and other problems have to be resolveda€”a process that will inevitably require even more communication. External communication occurs between parties inside a company and parties outside the company, such as suppliers, customers, and investors. The informal communication network, sometimes called the grapevine, goes to work whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs.
Cultural barriers, sometimes called cultural filters, are the barriers that result from differences among people of different cultures.
Connecting with others on a deep level is important for a happy and healthy life. Emotional communication is truly food for the soul.
A personal call or going to the office of the senior executive will portray the correct level of urgency and importance for such a message.
This type of cultural difference can confuse people who speak the same language but who are not used to hearing understatement used in this way. One of the things that employeesa€”the receiversa€”most want to know is: What, exactly, does my job entail?[279]) Like a sales report, upward communication usually provides managers with information that they need for making decisions, but ita€™s also the vehicle for new ideas, suggestions, and complaints. The same thing may happen when bad newsa€”say, a negative status reporta€”must be sent upward. Because it incorporates the organization chart for Notes-4-You, it shows the companya€™s lines of authoritya€”what, in ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, we called its reporting relationships. Unofficial information crosses virtually every boundary drawn by a firma€™s organization chart, reaching out and touching everyone in the organization, and whata€™s more, it travels a lot faster than official information. About 80 percent of top executives say that learning to listen is the most important skill in getting things done in the workplace,[286] and as President Calvin Coolidge once remarked, a€?No man ever listened himself out of a job.a€? Business people who dona€™t listen risk offending others or misinterpreting what theya€™re saying.
In this respect, our structure shares certain characteristics with another form of organizationa€”divisional, which groups people into units that are more or less self-contained and that are largely accountable for their own performance.
In addition, because their groups dona€™t perform the same work, the two supervisors dona€™t call on the same resources from the companya€™s four functional managers.
When that happens, employees from each of the two groups may find themselves working together on the same team, but even so, one crucial fact remains: Information that one group possesses and the other doesna€™t must still be exchanged among team members. As wea€™ve seen in this part of the chapter, improving communication is a top priority for most organizations (for one thing, developing a team-based environment is otherwise impossible), and the ongoing task of improving communication is pretty much the same thing as the ongoing task of overcoming barriers to it.
Functional barriers arise when communication must flow among individuals or groups who work in different functional areas of an organization. Horizontal communication supports efforts to coordinate tasks and otherwise help people work together. Both internal and external forms of communication include everything from formal e-mail and official reports to face-to-face conversations and casual phone calls.
Here we can see that the reporting relationships in question consist of upward communication from subordinates to superiors.
Hugs, high-fives, pats on the back, shaking hands and broad smiles are some of the simple ways that we emotionally connect with one another. Use of incorrect terminologies or mis-spelt words may lead to incorrect conveying of information. External communication also takes such forms as customer and supplier Web sites, news releases, and advertising.
In reporting to the operations manager, for example, the note-takersa€™ supervisor communicates upward. Share your personal insights with each other, then choose techniques for improving this barrier, to present to the larger group. Conversely, when the note-takersa€™ manager needs to give direction to note takers, she will use downward communication. If the note-takersa€™ manager and the copiersa€™ manager must get together to prepare a joint report for the operations manager, theya€™ll engage in lateral communication. If a person is career focused he or she will have a more pressing need to create stronger business communication than someone who isna€™t as concerned about advancing.



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