Session 19 : Communication

Communication encompasses the transference of information and understanding the meaning of it. Communication acts to control member behavior in several ways. It 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 it is subpar. It provides a release for the emotional expression of feelings and for fulfillment of social needs. It facilitates decision making.

Process of communication

The steps between a source and a receiver that result in the transference and understanding of meaning are;

  1. the sender
  2. encoding
  3. the message
  4. the channel
  5. decoding
  6. the receiver
  7. noise
  8. feedback

The sender initiates the message by encoding a thought. The message is the actual physical product from the sender’s 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 expressions on our faces are the message. The channel is the medium through which the message travels. It is selected by the sender who must determine whether to use a formal or informal channel. Formal channels are established by the organization and transmit messages that are related to the professional activities of members.

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. The message is decoded to make the receiver understand the message. Noise represents the barriers of communication. Feedback loop is the final lap of communication. It is a check of how successful we are in transferring the message.

Types of communication

Communication can be divided based on the direction and based on medium inwhich communication is passed.

Direction of communication: they are downward, upward and lateral communication. Communication that flows from one level of a group or organization to a lower level is downward communication. For instance, boss communicating to the subordinates. Upward communication happens when the information flows to higher level in the group or organization. Example would be grievance redressal mechanism, employee feedbacks. When communication takes place among members among members of the same work group , among members of work groups at the same level, among managers of the same level or among any horizontally equivalent personnel, we describe it as lateral communication.

Medium: oral communication is in the form of speeches, formal one to one, group discussions, informal rumor (grapevine) and so on. Written communication includes memos, letters, fax, e-mail, instant messaging, whatsapp, and other social media means.

Nonverbal communication involves anything other than verbal. It can be glance, a smile, frown, a provocative body movement, emoji and so on.

Organizational communication

The difference between interpersonal communications from organizational communication is the nature of formality and the topic of the message. Some of the types of organizational communication involve formal small group networks, grapevine, computer-aided mechanisms used by organizations to facilitate communication and evolving topic of knowledge management.

Formal small group networks: this can include hundreds of people and a half dozen or more hierarchical levels. There are three types of formal networks. They are; chain, wheel and all channel.

Chain rigidly follows the formal chain of command. This wheel relies on a central figure to act as the conduit for all group’s 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. It is 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.

Grapevine: it is the organization’s informal communication network. It has three main characteristics; it is not controlled by management, second, it is perceived by most employees as being more believable and reliable. Third, it is largely used to serve the self-interests of the people within it.

Computer aided communication: this involves E-mail, instant messaging, intranet and extranet links, video conferencing.

Knowledge management: the process of organizing and distributing an organization’s collective wisdom so the right information gets to the right people at the right time.

Barriers of effective communication

They are;

Filtering: A sender’s manipulation of information so that it will be seen more favorably by the receiver is filtering

Information overload: a condition in which information inflow exceeds an individual’s processing capacity.

Communication apprehension: Undue tension and anxiety about oral communication, written communication or both.

Other than that, emotions, perceptions, language, gender differences, cultural impacts are also barriers.


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