Communication Barriers in an Organisation

Question 1. Identify and critically discuss the communication problems and barriers in the communication scenario depicted in the video clip. (563 Words) According to Dr Robbins’s book on Organizational Behavior 2003, effective communication is summarized as the means of encoding a message from the sender, clearly to the receiver through a channel without the actual message being negatively fragmented in the process. Communication problems and barriers occur when the information is distorted before reaching the receiver, creating conflicting assumptions and perceptions than what was intended (Deborah J.
Barrett, (2002) Diagram 1 below illustrates an example of a communication model. Decoding Decoding Receiver Receiver Channel Channel Encoding Encoding Source Source Diagram 1: MESSAGE MESSAGE MESSAGE MESSAGE FEEDBACK. Sourced from: Stephen P. Robbin (2003), Organizational Behavior, 10th Ed, Prentice Hall, pp 285. Jack demonstrated poor communication skills when addressing the news. His approach is erroneous, failing to ascertain their reaction and sensitivity when he addressed changes. Jack failed capture the forthcomings of the group’s “openness to change” (Anuradha Chawla and E.
Kevin Kelloway 2003) The employees in the scenario feels uncertain regarding the “security of their position, their future roles and responsibilities” (J. Allen et al. , 2007 pp. 359 – 364) and how these changes might bring significant impact to them. In effect of Jack’s misreading body language, tone, and other non-verbal forms of communication exhibiting nervousness and guilt, the group is showing signs of disappointing acknowledgement, It could be from rumours they have heard and relied due to the lack of proper information received. Gray & Laidlaw, 2002) Jack’s inability to create the sense of trust in the management’s decision and effective selling of the benefits of change, (Philip. A, 2005) has made matters worse. Claudia Peus et al, 2009 supported Oreg’s research of co-relations in pointing that affective, cognitive and behavioral resistance towards change exist when trust in the management is nonexistent. Jack’s communique method was antagonistic, choosing bad choice of words in his communique’ which prompted the group to ask about their future state.

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Reeta Raina, 2010 quoted Harris & Nelson’s work in 2008 that key towards quality leadership is conceivably the effective communication flow of a story. The method of Jack’s communication somersaulted the group into a defensive mode, causing them to respond negatively on the received information, prompting the concerned about the enormity of the changes and its impact on their job. The group is portraying emotional interferences by interrupting Jake’s conversation, persistently asking about their job security.
Jake has unintentionally sparked fear in the group, threatening their physiological contracts (Job securities, job commitments, personal commitments, future planning) (Clutterbuck, 2005) The group is adamant to know what the changes are and Jack refused to provide them with reasonable information and to try and counter the negative perception that was piling up. Lack of information is also known as one of the most influential factor of employee’s decision making in the events of change. Empirical investigation conducted by Allen et al. 2007) also suggests that employees who receives judicious, precise, and “useful communication (termed as “quality change communication”) more often than not revealed lower levels of uncertainty and a higher level of openness to certain degree of change. Entering the critical analysis of the video clip, the communication barriers and problems between Jake and the group could best be summarized using the table below. Table 1: The encoded message from Jake, the barriers and problems of communication and the message decoded by the receivers. Information addressed by Jack. Barriers & Communication Problems| Message Received by group. | Jack spoke about “a lot of changes” that is going to take place in an alerting manner rather than an evocative manner, implying that the changes is irreversible. | Lack of Sensitivity to Receiver. Failure to identify the emotional state of the group and the openness in digesting change management. Failed to find the right setting to address the news more effectively. | These changes might imply drastic alteration to their working style, job roles and responsibilities.
The fact that the changes are imminent, they feel like being pushed to the edge, emotions of anger, anxiety, stress and confusion builds up. | Jake announced the news in a provocative, informal manner instead of a suggestive, tolerable and informal approach. He mentioned, “for those of us who’s still around” and “some of y’all wouldn’t agree with” in the video suggesting that these changes might affect the end outcome of the group’s physical and emotional contributions to the company. | Lack of Basic Communication Skills.
Bad choice of words, incepting negative thoughts and perceptions about the looming changes. Speaking in gaps creating the opportunity to negative assumptions and perceptions. Heavy physical movement, misreading of body language, tone of voice, heavy denials. Sending out conflicting messages. | These changes are going to affect their job security in the company. Their contributions towards the company is not appreciated, having not consulted them before changes is being decided. Injustice.
Jake’s contradicting speech suggests there are some information that is being withheld from them, creating uncertainties and doubts of the real truth. | Jake stated and suggested that if the group does not like the changes; they could source for a job elsewhere, giving them no choice but to accept the changes even if it affects them adversely. | Lack of freedom of choiceAntagonistic approach towards addressing the outcome of the changes. Assumptions that these changes have already been decided and it will create a negative impact. Lack of empathetic values| The group believes that hey have no say and their opinions are deemed non- valuable by the management in the implementation of the changes. They feel that they’ve been squeezed to a tight corner without choices or opportunity to fend for themselves if these changes are to have an undesirable effect on them. | Jake addressed that there have been changes which already have been decided by the management prior to him communicating with the group. | Emotional Interference. Failed to protect the rights of the employees| One of the group members asked why the need arise to consult them if the changes have already been decided. Jake gave an excuse of the entailing details of the changes that he wouldn’t want to pre-amp the management in addressing the news. | Lack of informationUnreliable source of informationDistrustful| Jake did not answer the question that was raising heavy uncertainties and negative perceptions of the change. The group is exhibiting signs of disappointment from their faces, and their tone of voice has changed from query to cynical. | Jake informed that there is going to be a formal meeting coming up and most of the decisions that might affect the group will be decided then. Defensiveness| The group is no longer interested in what Jake is explaining. feels that their rights as an employee to know more information about their job security is violated resulting in a defensive mode of action, bringing the matter up with the union | The group is disappointed that their opinions are not appreciated in the changes that is going to take place resulting further confrontational suggestions such as the worker’s union. “Lacking freedom of choice about change usually provokes more resistance than change itself” (W.
Warner Burke et al. , 1996 pp. 25 – 30) Question 2: Critically discuss the impact the communication problems and barriers you have identified in question 1, may have on the perceptions and attitudes of employees in the communication scenario. (528 words) Perceptions and attitudes are behavioral components of individuals’ perceived notions, reactions and sensing of information and how it’s interpreted. (Robbins, 2003) Three main communication barriers and problems identified of how the information was disseminated to the group is the lack of ommunication skills, lack of freedom of choice, and lack of information which co-relates significantly towards the attitudes and perceptions of the employees. Jack inability to deliver the message clearly instigated negative perceptions, signifying signs of adversity. This constructed gaps in which ‘gives room’ to openness of rumors (G. David, 2011) and negative attitudes to cultivate. The employees displayed unfavorable facial expressions, emotional reactions and body language upon their self-perceived evaluations of the information, thus manifesting into defensive and retaliating attitude.
Rupert Eales-White 2004 pp. 235 suggests in his research that there are two gaps in perceptions which are the conscious intent of the leader (Gap1) and the manifestation of that intent (Gap2) This determines the affect of an attitude is adapted when poor communication is at place, referring to the diagram below. Diagram 2 Conscious Intent Subconscious Intent Stress Poor Communication Manifestation Words Tone of voice Body Language Environment Poor Listening Mindset Impact Gap1 (Leader) Gap1 (Followers) Conscious Intent Subconscious Intent Stress Poor Communication Manifestation
Words Tone of voice Body Language Environment Poor Listening Mindset Impact Gap1 (Leader) Gap1 (Followers) Source: Industrial and Commercial Training Volume: 36 Issue: 6 2004, pp. 235, Figure 1. Based from the video clip, the employees are portraying signs of anxiety and fear in losing their jobs. Their psychological contract (Job commitments, personal commitments, organizational commitments and job satisfaction) is threatened. This is supported by Charissa Freese et al. , in her research of 2011, in which she concurred with the research of Turnley and Feldman, 1998; Pate et al. 2000 (longitudinal); Kickul et al. , 2002 on the threats to psychological contracts due to fear and anxiety of “losing the known and tried”(W. Burke et al. ,1996) Lacking freedom of choice in voicing their opinions, the employees feel that Jack and the company has failed to keep their end of the bargain in their relationship that arises from the “mutual obligations between them and the company”, which also have shaped and govern their job attitude, well, normally in the perception of the employees. (Charissa Freese et al. , 2011- pp. 05, quoting Rousseau’s 1995 opinions) Unable to influence the change process from taking place, the employees may also experience frustration, a downward slump such as lower productivity, higher absenteeism and work stress, which are; according to Maria Vakola and Ioannis Nikolaou’s 2005 research, agrees with previous research of Schabracq and Cooper, 2000; Murphy, 1995; McHugh, 1993 that it also contributes to lower motivation and morale, decline in work performance, elevating turnover rates, sick-leave, lower job satisfaction and commitments, poor internal ommunication as well as conflicts. According to Maria Vakola and Ioannis Nikolaou’s 2005 research which elaborated on British Industrial Society Survey 2001, shown that 91 per cent of the 492 human resource and personnel professionals questioned believed stress to be a problem in their organization’s effectiveness. Furthermore, lack of consistent information is a determinant of organization members to be exposed to rumors – reckoned as “one of the greatest dangers during crises – as well as to spreading defeatist declarations”,( G.
David, 2011) George also quoted Czarnecki (2007, 93) in his work, whom believes that essential justifications of internal communication is “avoiding the gap between the unusually high interest of staff members eager to find out what is going on and the small amount of information being disseminated by the organization”. Question 3: (Make Recommendations). Draw up a table and summarize how the problems and barriers you have identified in question 1 could have been prevented.
Table 2: Recommendations| Rationale| Reflect positive, clarity, and congruent verbal and body language cues emphasizing on good communication skills when addressing change or any topic that might trigger selective perception or behavioral resistance. | In communicating, the speakers will subconsciously send body language and verbal cues. Being consistent with verbal cues and body language portrays convincing and truthfulness.
In Deborah’s work on change communication 2002, she quoted Roberts, 1954 pp. 388 who stated; “therefore, the orator must not only try to make the argument of his speech demonstrative and worthy of belief; he must also make his own character look right and put his hearers, who are to decide into the right frame of mind”| Openness for Change and presentation of information. | The degrees of which the employees may accept the news positively from Jack depends on how open are they towards the idea of changes.
The approach should be made progressively rather than antagonistically. In Richa Awasty’s et al. , research in 2011, she quoted Dent and Goldberg’s suggestion that “employees may not be necessarily resisting the change itself, but rather perceived undesirable outcomes of change or the process of implementing the change” therefore the changes are not necessarily of adverse outcome, but perceived to be due to the mindset of the employees at that particular period and the way the information is presented. Identifying Psychological traits, emotions and feelings, avoiding sensitive words that may ignite negativity. | Although professional relationships entail some boundaries when it comes to interaction with colleagues, it is important to demonstrate sensitivity, and to really care about the people you work with. If you don’t care about them, it will be difficult for them to care about you when it comes to working together. | Provide useable, practical information to avoid lack of information to the employees involved in the change. If employees are not given adequate information nor allowed to contribute to the solution of problems, they may revert to being the cause of them, resulting in increased absenteeism, lower productivity and grievances and so on (Hubbards1999, Hargie et al. 1999, Armour 1998). Raina Reeta,2010. | Give opportunity for the employee’s leader to attend and discuss to ensure they don’t feel like they’re lacking freedom of choice in facilitating the changes. | A relative lack of employee participation in such change is likely to lead to more negative attitudes about the change (Reichers et al. 1997). Liz Jones(2008) | Uncertainties. | | * Dysfunctional responses. Ignoring or not responding to a comment or question quickly undermines effective communication. Likewise, responding with an irrelevant comment — one that isn’t connected to the topic at hand — will quash genuine communication. Interrupting others while they are speaking also creates a poor environment for communication. * Lacking Confidence. Lacking confidence can be a major barrier to effective communication.
Shyness, difficulty being assertive, or lack of self-worth can hinder your ability to make your needs and opinions known. Also, a lack of awareness of your own rights and opportunities in a given situation can prevent you from expressing your needs openly. Strategies for Effective Verbal Communication * Focus on the issue, not the person. Try not to take everything personally, and similarly, express your own needs and opinions in terms of the job at hand. Solve problems rather than attempt to control others.
For example, rather than criticizing a co-worker’s personality, express your concerns in terms of how to get the job done more smoothly in the future. * Be genuine rather than manipulative. Be yourself, honestly and openly. Be honest with yourself, and focus on working well with the people around you, and acting with integrity. * Empathize rather than remain detached. Although professional relationships entail some boundaries when it comes to interaction with colleagues, it is important to demonstrate sensitivity, and to really care about the people you work with.
If you don’t care about them, it will be difficult for them to care about you when it comes to working together. * Be flexible towards others. Allow for other points of view, and be open to other ways of doing things. Diversity brings creativity and innovation. * Value yourself and your own experiences. Be firm about your own rights and needs. Undervaluing yourself encourages others to undervalue you, too. Offer your ideas and expect to be treated well. * Present yourself as an equal rather than a superior.
Even when you are in a position of authority, focus on what you and the other person each have to offer and contribute to the job or issue. * Use affirming responses. Respond to other in ways that acknowledge their experiences. Thank them for their input. Affirm their right to their feelings, even if you disagree. Ask questions, express positive feeling; and provide positive feedback when you can. Resources * Beebe et al. Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others 2nd Canadian Edition. (Scarborough, Ontario: Allyn and Bacon, 2000). Some additional ideas have been added.

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