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ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION: PROCESSES UNDERLYING COMMUNICATION SUCCESS AND FAILURE Essay Example

  • Category:
    Management
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    4
  • Words:
    2282

Introduction

Effective external and internal communications are essential aspects that contribute to the productivity and profitability of organisations. Internal communication helps in informing workers of developments that influence them in their workplace. External communication, on the other hand, is essential as it facilitates cooperation and collaboration with different stakeholders. In the contemporary world, change is inevitable. However, successful implementation of change largely depends on effective organisational communication. Noticeably, survival events in organisations are typically linked to failing or ineffective communication while growth events are linked to direct, efficient and timely dissemination of information. While good communication is likely to be part of good organisational management and structure, ineffective communication leads to bad management and structure. The first part of this paper describes and evaluates a real-life example of successful organisational communication and details the aspects that promoted effective communication. The second part of the paper describes and evaluates a real-life example of ineffective organisational communication and details the factors that caused the failure in communication. The paper culminates with a coherent conclusion and feasible recommendations for effective and improved communication.

A RealLife Example of Successful Organisational Communication

Successful reorganisation and restructuring of organisations necessitate proper preparation, support services, good planning, and effective communication skills. Organisational managers always encounter difficulties while changing how organisational units operate. However, with brilliant communications, managers are able to address the challenge of a restructure. While working for a governmental organisation as an intern, I realised how effective communication to the stakeholders prevents resistance to change and facilitates successful implementation of change. The organisation had implemented novel IT systems that needed the management to change the internal structures of firm. Several departments were integrated an aspect that triggered the layoff of several personnel. The restructuring prompted more efficient, streamlined and centralized entity that needed the employees to adapt and adjust to changes. With the new Information Technology systems, new working methods were introduced with several roles scrapped, hence the need for layoffs. Despite the negative effects of the change, the employees welcomed and accepted the change devoid of resistance. This is because the management practised effective change communication that centred on addressing the issues of workers and provided a humane touch. Particularly, the management ensured concrete, multidirectional and continuous information flow that provided the employees with clear understanding of personal implications the change had.

The Factors that Promoted the Effective Communication

Effective communication is considered a precursor to enhanced productivity and profitability in organisations. Lack of or ineffective communication is considered a big problem for firms that endeavour to survive in the modern ever-evolving marketplace. According to Turner (2013), poor communication is categorised among the top factors that affect change in most companies. Therefore, the necessity to get information correct is a critical success factor for organisations. This implies that workers are no longer locked-in lifer subject to control-command management. In fact, they are informed, flexible and less likely to stomach superficial communications drivel. Effective communication allows everyone who is a stakeholder in a firm to comprehend the strategy, direction, performance and operational context of a firm.

With respect to the above scenario, the changes were accepted and implemented successfully because of effective communication. The management treated the stakeholders as part of the owners and allowed them to take part fully in the implementation of the change. The management communicated the strategic direction of the firm. Although the change instigated fear to employees, the management was able to combat it through honest, open and encouraging communication. Open communication developed employees trust in those in the top management. According to Plessis and Mabunda (2016), effective communication is a key enabler of change. The key aspects that promoted effective communication during the change process include openness, feedback, active listening, enhanced relationship between the receiver and the sender, understanding of the audience and the impacts the change had on them. Ramsay and Renaud (2010) confirm that the type of communication utilised in a firm holds an impact on employees’ commitment and attitudes. In this perspective, organisations must ensure that they understand and control the temperament of their internal communication.

One of the major factors that promoted the implementation of change is the understanding of the emotional state of the receiver as well as that of the sender. This helped in eliminating problems in the communication process. The receivers, who were the employees, avoided evaluative judgement an aspect that prevented distortion of communication. The employees created a climate that promoted acceptance, understanding and trust. The management also provided responsive feedback that allowed them to engage the employees in a constructive dialogue that in turn led to the attainment of a common ground in communication. The management utilised formal channel of communication, authority structure, and job specification while transmitting the intended information. The formal channel instead of informal channel led to the acceptance of the change. Through the formal channel of communication, the management endorsed and controlled the communication. These channel included staff meetings, newsletters, reports, memos and other forms of written communication. Another crucial factor that facilitated the effective communication of the organisational change was authority structure. According to Aswathappa (2005), organisational structure holds akin impact on effectiveness of communication. Power and status disparities in an organisation assist in determining who would comfortably communicate with whom. With respect to Max Weber’s bureaucracy theory, communication should be top-down whereby the information flows from the top managers to those in the lower levels. However, this theory does not support feedback from the employees. More so, the accuracy and content of communication is also impacted by disparities in authority. In this regard, the management integrated a top-bottom and bottom-up communication approach. This approach helped in reducing strained formality, politeness and fear. The integration of both upward and downward communication followed the critical theory of communication. The critical theory of communication balances the human interests within an organisation and the corporate interests.

Another factor that promoted effective change communication was job specialisation. The employees were separated depending on their nature of jobs and those that needed to be laid off were engaged in separate form of communication. These specialisation facilitated communication among different groups of employees who were affected by the proposed change. With job specialisation, there were less conflicts an aspect facilitated effective communication.

A RealLife Example of Ineffective Organisational Communication

Prior to the integration of several departments including the customer service unit and operations department in the governmental organisation where I worked as an intern, our head of department never involved us, the employees, in decision making. The HOD discussed little with his subordinates and imposed instructions without taking into consideration the views of the employees. I recall feeling very frustrated by the fact that we as his subordinates had no power to air our views or make even trivial resolutions. We had to run to him to seek for permission and he would at times ignore our call. He resented the idea of the employees running to him for ideas and consultations. He would not listen to us and most of the times he would reprimand us and chase us away. We felt demoralised an aspect that increased employee turnover with most employees seeking for greener pastures.

The Factors that Caused this Failure in Communication

From the above scenario, it is evident that poor communication can trigger poor work relations besides creating unconducive work environment. The environment created by the head of department affected the commitment and engagement of employees. According to Turner (2003), one component in attaining the commitment of employees is by ensuring that there is an effective, all-embracing and efficient process of communication. Apparently, attaining engagement and commitment of employees is viewed as a crucial prerequisite factor in attaining the objectives of an organisation. Effective communication is a crucial success factor. According to Brien (2015), commitment entails a personal relationship with fellow workers and the employer that is achieved following frequent interactions. Commitment is founded on the social exchange theory in which people support each other in terms of emotion and information.

With regard to the scenario, the employees were demoralised an aspect that contributed to their increased turnover. The increased turnover was as a result of ineffective communication from the head of department. Particularly, the HOD failed to listen to his subordinates. Poor listening or lack of it led to numerous problems such as misunderstandings, missed prospects and conflicts that emanated from the misunderstandings. Active listening is crucial to effective communication (Subramanian, 2006). When managers fail to listen to the views and opinions of their subordinates, the subordinates becomes demotivated, hence reduced performance. Another major factor that contributed to ineffective communication is misperception of the head of department. The head of department would give quick instructions verbally and when asked to clarify the instructions, he would assume that the employees were quick enough to get the instructions right. Evidently, perception plays a crucial role in communication and it affects both feedback and transmission (Spaho, 2013). The misperception or inaccurate perceptions led to erroneous interpretations of the message.

Lack of consultation and involvement of the employees besides inadequate feedback contributed to ineffective communication. The manager also lack trust and confidence in his subordinates an aspect that made him not to consult them. Given that the Head of Department used quick verbal communication to relay his instructions to the subordinates, we can deduce that he used inappropriate medium to relay crucial information. In this regard, inappropriate medium acted as a major factor that contributed to ineffective communication. Hostility towards the subordinates was another major factor that led to information failure. Evidently, the HOD would reprimand his subordinates when they sought clarity. Besides hostility, bureaucracy in the sense that the HOD made his decisions and instructions final also increased the ineffectiveness of communication. The employees found the information provided to them by their HOD unclear, ambiguous and hard to understand since the HOD refused to elaborate and simplify the instructions. There lacked a feedback loop. The head of department created an atmosphere of fear that promoted reduced employees’ performance as well as increased turnover. With respect to the scenario, information ownership also contributed to ineffective communication. The head of department did not share information adequately with his subordinates. The head of department possessed unique knowledge that he refused to share with the subordinates. Similarly, the employees who possessed unique skills and knowledge could not share their knowledge too with others because of fear created by their HOD.

Recommendations

Communication is a means of attaining productivity in organisation. Communication links people together and facilitates attainment of common goals. According to Dupe (2015), organisational communication improves labour and human relations. Therefore, it is important that organisations improve their communication and prevent ineffective communication, which negatively affects the organisational productivity. With respect to the scenario about ineffective communication, the organisation needs to embrace a culture that supports effective communication and information sharing. The organisation should embrace a leadership that fosters participation and involvement of employees in decision-making. The organisation should also acknowledge and appreciate employees who share their skills and knowledge. With respect to human relations theory, satisfaction of individual employees in a firm, drawn on the assumption that participating, satisfied and self-actualised individuals are more productive is paramount. More so, the organisational leadership should desist from owning information and instead share it with their subordinates. The leadership in the organisation should practice active listening, develop trust amid themselves and their subordinates, understand the character and communicational needs of their subordinates. The leadership should desist from using monologue but instead embrace collaboration. The communication should not be one-directional but multidirectional. Simple words and language should be used when communicating and leaders should avoid using language for purpose of show off or for impressing others (Bolarinwa, 2009). Communication should follow formal channels and effective authority structures. Important information should be communicated with maximum appeal. In general, communication should be relevant, specific and structured to match the purpose, situation and audience.

Conclusion

Communication entails the art of transmitting information from one individual to another. Without communication, there cannot be interaction. Communication is important in organisations as it helps them in attaining their objectives and goals. Organisational communication informs employees about their roles as well as the policy issues of their firms. This type of communication helps in transmitting information about work to workers and via workers. With respect to human relations theory, organisational communication helps in constructing a community within the workplace. However, communication can either be ineffective or effective. Effective communication entails active listening, trust development, open communication, effective and accommodative authority structure and formal communication channels. Ineffective communications emanates from bureaucracy, poor listening, information ownership, inappropriate communication medium, misunderstandings and misperceptions. To promote effective communication, organisations must ensure that information is specific, relevant and structured to match the audience, purpose and situation.

References

Aswathappa K (2005).Human Resource And Personnel Management. India: Tata McGraw- Hill Education.

Bolarinwa, J.A.(2009). Organisational communication for organisational climate and quality service in academic libraries. Library Philosophy and Practice, 1-5.

Brien, A.(2015). Turnover intention and commitment as part of organisational social capital in the hotel industry. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 14, 357- 381.

Dupe, A.(2015). Organisational communication, the panacea for improved labour relations. Studies in Business and Economic, 10 (2), 1-16.

Plessis, T., & Mabunda, T.(2016). Change management in an academic library in the knowledge economy. http://sajlis.journals.ac.za doi:10.7553/82-1-1596.

Ramsay, J., & Renaud, K.(2012). Using insights from email users to inform organisational email management policy. Behaviour & Information Technology, 31 (6), 587-603.

Spaho, K. (2013), Organisational communication and conflict management. Management, 18 (1),103-118.

Subramanian, S.(2006). An open eye and ear approach to managerial communication. Vision, 10 (2), 1-10.

Turner P. (2003).Organisational Communication: The Role of the HR Professional :UK