What is Communication?
Communication is the transformation of information from one person to another person to fulfill common interests. It is the exchange of facts, opinions, ideas, suggestions, emotions, and other information from one person to another.
The exchange of information can be done from person to person, one place to another, one group to another, one organization to another. Communication can be verbal or non-verbal. To complete the communication at least there must be a sender, a piece of information, and a receiver.
Communication is essential to impart an understanding of the subject matter of the information. In other words, it is the transfer of meaning and understanding between people through verbal and non-verbal means in order to affect behavior and achieve results.
It is one of the important functions of management. It is the function of every manager. In the realm of management, it is commonly referred to as organizational communication. A manager has to make necessary communication with his subordinates to implement a plan and to get feedback on the achievement of work.
Many scholars defined communication in their own ways, some of the important definitions include:
- Newman and Summer – Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions, or emotions by two or more persons.
- Rickey W. Griffin – Communication is the process of transmitting information from one person to another.
- Koontz and Weihrich – Communication is the transfer of information from a sender to a receiver with the information being understood by the receiver.
Communication is continuous till the existence of the organization. It is the basis for organizational function. It has been playing an important role to implement managerial functions.
Managers provide instructions, guidance, and suggestions to subordinates to implement plans and policies. And subordinates provide information on the achievement of work and problems faced in the process of performing work to the management through the means of communication.
Thus, communication is the process of transmitting information from one person to another in a clear and meaningful manner. In business organizations, it is essential to maintain coordination among the group force and their efforts. Ultimately, it helps to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
Characteristics of Communication
It is the exchange of information from one person to another. It helps to maintain coordination among all the mechanisms of the organization and gain common goals.
The following are the important features of communication:
Minimum Two Persons
In communication, there must be at least two people. One is the sender and another is the receiver. The sender delivers messages and the receiver receives the messages. They exchange information of common interest with each other. However, in mass conversation, there may be more than two persons.
Two Way Process
For the effectiveness of the information, there must be a two-way process in the communication. Where the sender sends messages to the receiver, there must the provision of feedback from the receiver.
In the management hierarchy, the information on direction, guidance, and instruction is communicated from the top level to the subordinate level. The subordinates communicate the information of achievement of work and difficulty in the performance to the upper level. It is essential to get feedback on the direction.
Communication is a pervasive managerial function. It is the function of every manager.
The top-level manager communicates to the middle-level managers, the middle-level manager communicates to lower-level managers, the lower-level manager communicates to operating-level employees, and vice versa. It is essential to get feedback on performance to be achieved.
Complete and Rational Process
It is a rational and complete process. It is a transmission of understanding from the sender to the receiver. A receiver processes a response only when he is able to understand the subject of the message.
An effective communication system must be clear, complete, and rational. An unclear and incomplete message becomes worthless and confuses the receiver. Therefore, complete and rational communication is an important need from the human relations perspective.
It is the continuous function up to the existence of an organization and its performance. It is also said that “if there is no communication, there is no functioning of an organization”.
A manager communicates to subordinates and other authorities of the organization in a continuous way to know about the problems and achievements of workers. In this way, the connection among workgroups is essential to maintain continuity in the regular functions of the organization.
Oral or Written
It is maybe in oral and written form. Generally, managers are communicated either orally or in writing. When messages are important and carry evidential or formal information, it is appropriate to use written means. And, for general and regular information, it is sufficient to use oral means.
In addition, the use of signs, hints, and symbols is also a means of communication. These means are used in exceptional situations.
Formal or Informal Communication
On the basis of nature and system, it may be either formal or informal. Formal message flows through formal channels of the organization. These means are used to communicate official information within and outside of an organization.
Related: Formal Vs. Informal Organization
Informal communication flows through informal channels, which are not defined by the management. The informal groups on the basis of their mutual relation, interest, like, and purpose develop these means.
Basis of Action and Coordination
It is the most important element of action and coordination. Managers provide direction to subordinates through the use of communication means. It helps to implement plans and policies in practical operation.
Besides, it contributes to maintaining coordination among workgroups to develop the concept of team spirit. In conclusion, it is one of the most important means for the effective implementation of plans, maintaining coordination, and attaining organizational goals.
Types of Communication
Communication has mainly four popular types. They are:
- Formal communication is the professional and structured way of exchanging information, typically used in business or academic settings. It follows established rules and protocols, such as official meetings, reports, and emails.
- Informal communication is the casual and spontaneous way of sharing information, often used in social interactions or non-professional settings. It involves everyday conversations, chats, and informal emails, where language and tone may be more relaxed.
- Interpersonal communication refers to the exchange of information between individuals on a personal level. It involves face-to-face or one-on-one interactions, where people express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through verbal and non-verbal cues.
- Visual communication utilizes images, graphics, and visual elements to convey information. It includes signs, symbols, charts, graphs, and visual aids, making it easier to understand complex concepts quickly and effectively.
Purpose of Organizational Communication
Here is a short list of the major purposes or objectives of communication in the organization.
Effective communication within an organization provides the necessary information and data for making informed decisions. It ensures that the right information reaches the right people, enabling them to make timely and accurate choices.
Communication promotes the smooth flow of information across different departments and levels within an organization. It helps to align tasks, clarify responsibilities, and ensure everyone is on the same page, thereby enhancing the overall functioning of the organization.
By sharing information, goals, and objectives, communication enables coordination among various teams and individuals. It helps in synchronizing efforts, avoiding duplication of work, and ensuring that everyone is working towards a common goal.
Employee Motivation and Morale
Effective communication fosters a positive work environment, where employees feel valued and engaged. Clear and transparent communication nurtures trust, boosts morale, and motivates employees to perform their best.
Overcome Resistance To Change
Change is inevitable in organizations, and effective communication helps to manage it successfully. By providing explanations, addressing concerns, and involving employees in the change process, communication helps overcome resistance and ensures a smooth transition.
Maintain Public Relations
Organizational communication plays a crucial role in maintaining a positive image and relationships with stakeholders, including customers, investors, and the general public. Through clear and consistent communication, organizations can build trust, address concerns, and enhance their reputation.
Networks of Communication
Mainly there are 4 types of communication networks found in the workplace.
- Wheel Network: In this network, the leader acts as a central figure who gathers and disseminates information to all members. It is an authoritative structure where subordinates have no authority to communicate with each other.
- Chain Network: The chain network follows the vertical chain of command in a hierarchical organization. Communication flows only between immediate superiors and subordinates. Information is transmitted sequentially from upper levels to lower levels and vice versa.
- Circle Network: The circle network operates in a horizontal or sideward manner. Individuals can communicate only with the person to their right or left. It offers more channel options for communication and allows members to interact and share information within the immediate circle.
- All-Channel Network: In the all-channel network, there are no formal restrictions on communication. All members can freely communicate with each other, sharing ideas, views, and suggestions. This informal structure promotes open communication, without the leader holding exclusive control over the flow of information.
Process of Communication
For the completion of communication, there are certain necessary steps or elements to consider. In the communication process, there must be at least one sender, one receiver, and some material, that is the message. The required elements to consider are:
- Sender: The sender is the individual or entity initiating the communication process by creating and sending a message to the intended recipient(s).
- Encoding: Encoding refers to the process of converting the sender’s thoughts, ideas, or information into a suitable form, such as words, symbols, or gestures, to transmit the intended message.
- Message: The message is the information, idea, or content being conveyed by the sender. It can be in various forms, including verbal, written, or non-verbal.
- Medium: The medium is the channel or means through which the message is transmitted, such as face-to-face conversation, email, telephone, or social media.
- Receiver: The receiver is the individual or group for whom the message is intended. They receive and interpret the message.
- Decoding: Decoding is the process by which the receiver interprets and understands the message sent by the sender, converting it back into meaningful information.
- Feedback: Feedback is the response or reaction from the receiver to the sender’s message. It provides confirmation, clarification, or additional information, completing the communication loop.
- Noise: Noise refers to any interference or disturbance that disrupts the smooth transmission or reception of the message, potentially affecting its accuracy or clarity.
Importance of Communication in an Organization
Communication plays a significant role in the smooth functioning and achieving the organization’s desired goals. Communication’s importance but not limited to can be pointed out below:
Communication fosters coordination among different departments and individuals within an organization. It ensures that everyone is working towards the same objectives, avoids duplication of efforts, and promotes synergy among teams.
Good communication provides the necessary information and data required for making informed decisions. It facilitates the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and feedback, enabling managers to make sound judgments and take effective actions.
Increased Employee Engagement
Clear and transparent communication creates a positive work environment where employees feel valued and engaged. It promotes open dialogue, encourages teamwork, and boosts morale, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction.
Smooth Conflict Resolution
Effective communication helps in resolving conflicts and addressing issues promptly. By encouraging open and honest conversations, misunderstandings can be clarified, grievances can be addressed, and relationships can be maintained harmoniously.
Building Trust and Collaboration
Communication builds trust and strengthens relationships within an organization. When employees feel that their voices are heard, their opinions are valued, and information is shared transparently, they develop a sense of belonging and loyalty towards the organization.
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