Long Report about Communication Problems Essay Example
Effective Organization Communication
Effective organizational communication is an integral part of any organizations success strategy. This paper will seek to establish the causes of the disconnect between the workers and management of Woodcraft. It will be based on a case study highlighting the challenges the new CEO of the company faced on a bid to have conducive and productive communication with the members of staff. The paper will analyze secondary data collected by the human resources department of the firm in the annual employee survey. Based on the responses, the paper will suggest possible causes of the problem.
In conclusion, this research will propose possible strategies the organization may employ to restore open communication channels between the employees and management.
According to professor Rahjans, effective organizational communication is essential for the proper functioning and success of any enterprise regardless of how complex it has become in recent times. This paper will focus on the Woodcraft case study to explore the stumbling blocks to effective communication within organizations as well as any avenues that organizations and executives can employ to ensure there is effective communication amongst all stakeholders within the organization.
Communication within the organization occurs in different facets. There horizontal communication as well as vertical communication. Horizontal communication takes place among employees in the same level within the organization. It may be amongst managers, analysts, directors or among subordinate staff. Vertical organizational communication occurs amongst individuals within an organization who are in different ranks or at different levels of the corporate ladder. The latter type of communication, in most organizations is prone to numerous challenges and hitches as this paper will describe later. Other forms of organizational communication include formal and informal communication as well as internal and external communication.
An organization and its employees may use different modes of communication. The traditional and most common methods being memos, notices, face to face meetings as well as press releases. However, with technological advancement, organizations have adopted newer methods of communication for instance emails, teleconferences and skype meetings.
Professor Rahjans, in his paper, maintains that an effective production process and the management of such a process requires members of different functional groups to actively collaborate. Such collaboration can only be attained where there is effective communication. This underscores the importance of communication in the functioning of corporations. According to John Smith, in his Phd thesis notes that communication is the element that brings about the difference between competing organizations in any industry.
This paper will limit its scope of study to Woodcaft and more specifically to the case study presented for analysis. It will aim at researching into some of the cause of the standstill described in the case study and seek possible solutions to ensuring that employees of Woodcraft can easily engage in conversations about their work or on any other topic of interest regardless of their rank or position within the organization. The paper will also present and analyze the information collected from the employees of Woodcraft.
In the Woodcraft case study, the new CEO makes attempts to engage his juniors in informal communications to get their perspective of how their business is operating but the juniors seem to be making concerted efforts to avert any such conversations with the CEO. The workers all looked at their supervisor to have a chat with their manager on their behalf and during morning tea, they even went ahead to divert the topic of conversation from anything work related to rugby. A clear indication of the fact that the employees are frightened of conversations with their superiors.
There are various causes that may trigger junior employees to shy from freely speaking their minds to their superiors. Firstly, it is probable that in Woodcraft, the management and organization culture has created an apparent disparity between the junior and senior staff to an extent that they hardly ever communicate on a casual basis on any issues; personal or professional. In organizations where employees are not treated as equals due to their disparities in rank and seniority, junior associates may tend to keep off any communications with the superiors because it is simply not in their organizations culture.
Further, junior employees may tend to avoid any form of communication with their superiors in instances where they are afraid of victimization. For instance, worker 2 expressly indicates that chatting with the CEO might lead to dismissal of an associate. This could be driven by a past experience of such an expulsion resulting from information a junior employee either consciously or unconsciously passes on to a superior during a conversation either formal or informal. Such an incidence would force junior employees only to opt for formal communication with their seniors and even then, limited to instances when such interaction is absolutely necessary.
The case study also points to a scenario where the junior employees point to their supervisor to engage in any communication with the organizations leadership. This is an indication that the juniors may have been forbidden by the supervisor from engaging superiors in conversations. In most instances, such supervisors forbid their juniors from such conversations in order to conceal their incompetency and shortcomings as the workers may easily bring this to light in the chat with superiors and thus attracting consequences or investigations on the supervisor.
The key challenges from the case study i.e. challenges emanating from ineffective organizational communication include the fact that management in such cases tends to be oblivious of any challenges facing their workers. The subordinates may encounter challenges in execution of their deliverables but since they lack opportunities to engage their leadership, such challenges and issues end up being unresolved. Further, lack of communication creates immense tension within the organization and the juniors may always feel like their working space is invaded any time their leadership tours the facility. Such tension results in fear of the superiors which is not desirable for any organizations progress and profitability.
Most importantly, lack of efficient channels of communication between workers and an organizations leadership often results in low morale and demoralization among the junior employees. This is occasioned by among other things, the fact that they cannot air their issues to relevant organization leaders as and when the issues arise.
Discussion of findings from staff surveys
In this section, this paper will analyze findings from primary data collected from the employees of Woodcraft. The staff attitude survey was undertaken on the whole population of employees at Woodcraft, twenty of whom are in management. The company’s CEO was the only exception to the survey conducted by the organizations human resource department.
In accordance to research ethics, the employees were assured of their anonymity. This would ensure that none of the respondents is victimized based on their responses in the survey and also ensure that the respondents give a true and fair view of the state of affairs at the organization.
The employees were asked to indicate on a scale of 1-5 whether they had clarity of their job descriptions and what was exactly was expected out of them. The pie-chart below is depicts the responses obtained from the respondents.
According to the responses, only five percent of the employees at Woodcraft gave clarity of their job descriptions and any expectations thereof. Fifteen percent have slight idea of what is expected of them in their roles. In total, only twenty percent of the employees have clarity of their job descriptions, the remaining eighty percent are either uncertain or are completely oblivious of what is expected of them.
The second and third questions sought to find out whether the employees were satisfied with the performance evaluation system at Woodcraft. The researcher also sought to find out whether the employees were issued with task without requisite resources for completion of the task which include time and knowledge.
Notably, none of the employees at Woodcraft were completely satisfied with the performance evaluation system at the organization. Sixty percent of the sampled workers expressed dissatisfaction with the performance evaluation system while only a meagre twenty percent somewhat agree with the evaluation system. This is a clear indication of an underlying problem at the organization that if not resolved would result in negative implications to the performance of the organization and even bring about go slows and unrests among the employees.
Twenty five percent of the respondents indicated that they either disagree or somewhat disagree with the statement that they are issued with tasks without adequate resources to execute the tasks. However, thirty five percent of the respondents completely agree that they are issued with tasks that they neither have the time to do or have enough technical or educational capabilities to execute.
When the questions with regards to the employees confidence in the management team; their ease in voicing concerns to the senior managers as well as their input in the decision making process, the respondents gave below responses;
Forty percent of the workers indicated that they have no confidence whatsoever in the intentions of the top management team compared to only less than fifteen percent who somewhat indicated to have some shreds of faith in the intentions of the top management team. Further, sixty percent of the workers indicated that they do not feel comfortable voicing concerns to senior managers which will be further discussed at the tail end of this research. Over seventy percent of the employees at Woodcraft indicated that they have no voice whatsoever in the decision making process at Woodcraft; either their opinion is not sought or they are not provided with a platform to provide their input and insights in key decisions within the organization.
The employees also indicated their distrust for fellow workers with thirty seven percent indicating that they do not trust their fellow workers whatsoever. Only five percent of workers have some level of trust towards fellow employees. Fifty five percent of employees indicated they feel they are not treated fairly at work either completely or to some extent. As a result, only five percent of employees feel committed to the organization compared to sixty percent that do feel committed whatsoever.
Results from Managers Survey
A survey was also conducted among the staff in management. None of the managers indicated that they sought input from employees when making decisions. In fact, fifteen percent of the managers make decisions without consultation with the workers; Forty five percent mostly disagree with the fact that they seek employees input in making business decisions.
Sixty percent of the management staff micromanage the job done by the junior workers. Seventy five percent of the managers at Woodcraft consider themselves approachable while the remaining fifteen percent consider themselves somewhat approachable.
Forty five percent of the managers indicated they consider the work environment at Woodcraft rather political compared to fifteen percent of the managers who disagreed with those sentiments. Forty five percent of the managers feel committed to Woodcraft while forty percent of the management staff are satisfied with their work at Woodcraft.
Rajhan focused his study on the effect on effective organizational communication on employees’ morale. According to him, organizational communication has a direct impact on employees morale. He suggests that if employees feel that they are effectively engaged by management effectively, they in turn get a sense of job satisfaction; trust in the workplace as well as increased commitment to the enterprise.
Rajhan based his study on Vanaz Engineers Ltd, a manufacturing company based at Pune. The study established that effective communication builds cordial relationships between employees; provides an opportunity for employees to participate in decision making in the organization. Effective communication also builds teamwork and a culture of collaboration within the organization. Rajhan concluded that organizational communication plays a significant role in employees motivation and consequently their performance and that of the organization.
Christine Proctor in her thesis sought to establish the relationship between organizational communication and employee attitude, happiness and job satisfaction. Proctors research aims at closing a gap in organizational communication literature by establishing whether or not there is a correlation between employee happiness and attitude to effective communication at the workplace. In her words, “the research contributes to by demonstrating that effective bi-directional communication between employees, supervisors and management improves attitude and happiness within the workplace”.
She focused her study on staff from the enrollment services division at the Southern Utah University. According to the responses provided to her research questions were sufficient for Proctor to reject her null hypothesis and conclude that in deed organizational communication has a direct impact on employee attitude and happiness.
Spaho in his article published in the business intelligence journal suggests that indeed organizational communication is a factor in any organizations success. He indicates that effective communication not only promotes human relationships but also for prosperity of any business. The articles indicates some of the channels that managers use for communication for instance; face to face discussions, meetings, letters, emails and so on. Spaho indicates that effective organizational communication also plays a pivotal role in forging productive relationships with clients and stakeholders and ultimately builds their confidence in the company.
Rho focused his studied on the impact organizational communication has on public and non-profit managers. He compares internal communication to internal communication with a focus on client oriented communication. The core focus of Rho is slightly divergent from this research as it focuses on the impact of organization communication to external parties while this research focus on the impact of organizational communication on internal relationships between staff and management.
Rho uses secondary data for his analysis. The data obtained from the National Administration Studies Project was gathered from a survey conducted on non-profit organization and public sector managers from the states of Illinois and Georgia. The research concludes positive statistical relationship between red tape perception and communication type.
The communication disconnect in Woodcraft is a manifestation of underlying challenges affecting the employees of the company. While this research could not pin-point the particular cause of the disconnect, it concluded on various possible causes as discussed below;
Unclear role descriptions
The responses from the questionnaire point to a scenario where employees at Woodcraft have no clarity in what their roles entail. As such, they are afraid to engage in conversations with management as they may end up in them exposing their redundancy and as a result trigger them being laid off.
Lack of trust of management and fellow workers
The workers at Woodcraft clearly have shreds of trust in their managers and their fellow employees. This may be further worsened by the lack of effective communication between the organizations employees and management. As a result of the absence of trust, the employees are fear any sort of conversations with the managers as they believe that the management do not have their best interests at heart.
The employees, either from prior experience or otherwise, fear that conversations with managers may result in their victimization. This is fuelled by the fact that the organizational trust is low. This is made clear by the fact that the employees pointed their CEO to have any communication with their supervisor.
This is also brought to light by the fact that majority of the employees feel they are not treated fairly at work.
This paper recommends that the human resource department at Woodcraft should embark on ensuring there is a clear role sort among workers of the organization. They also need to communicate the role descriptions to their workers in order to eliminate any doubt with regard to what is expected of them. They should also seek to further delve into the employees concerns that they are treated unfairly at the workplace. This would go a long way in ensuring that the employees feel comfortable with the organization they work for and even be motivated to give it their best.
The management should also encourage their workers to have more communication with them. An open door policy should be considered for adoption in order to ensure that senior staff are reachable at all times. This will create a culture of open communication amongst all employees of the organization regardless of their rank and ultimately boost trust and feedback mechanisms within the organization.
The employees should also be offered channels for anonymous communication. However, the human resources department should formulate a strategy to reassure their workers that they will not be unfairly treated due to information they give. In conclusion, management should also aspire to action/address on any concerns of their employees. This would encourage continuous communication with the firm.
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Proctor, C., 2014. Effective Organizational Communication Affects Employee Attitude, Happiness, and Job Satisfaction. Utah: A Thesis submitted to Southern Utah University.
Rajhans, K., 2012. Effective Organizational Communication: a Key to Employee Motivation and Performance. Interscience Management Review, 2(2,2012), pp. 75-85.
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