How to Tackle Ineffective Communication within the Workplace
Written by | Blessing N. Ikiseh | April 27, 2018
Communication can be described as the concept or state of exchanging data or information between entities and communication is an important ingredient to an organizations survival.
Recent literature (Linjuan, 2014; Odine, 2015; Omilion-Hodges & Baker, 2014) described Internal Communication as the important tool for communicating within organizations. Internal Communication is the foundation of all organizations communication strategies because it involves not only the management and the staff alike but also on the effectiveness of the communication within an organization.
Modern organizations have overlooked their internal communication structures, but sufficiently giving more attention to their external communication environment. To ascertain the level of communication effectiveness and ineffectiveness within organizations/businesses, it is paramount to carry-out a yearly communication audit in organizations to ensure effective organizational communication structure to bridge the gap of ineffective communication loophole.
According to Tourish & Hargie (2017) Communication Audit helps organizations to figure out the communication barriers within an organization and proffer strategies to ensuring effective communication channels within organizations. In that, Communication Audit try to find the exact problems associated with organizations internal and external communication environment. Smith (2017) described Communication Audit as a planned research method that identifies organizations strengths and weaknesses of its internal and external communication structures. The structure of an organization’s communication reflects the structure, the growth, and the pattern of the society it serves.
Barriers to Effective Communication
There are so many barriers facing effective communication within organizations -these challenges are known as the barriers to effective communication or environmental factors. Patako and Yazdanifard (2014) affirm that communication is a composite and often a very hard process for managers and employees. However, communication barriers come from both the managers and the employees which hinder or deviate the real meaning of a message and frustrate clear, open and satisfactory communication in the organization. A communication barrier is a factor that hinders the successful receiving or understanding of a message an employee or employer use to pass information, their ideas and message across (Rani, 2016)).
Noise as one of the environmental factors that affect effective communication within organizations is unwanted interference usually associated with the delivery of a message. The barriers that hinder successful communication includes message overload, lack of feedback and physical barriers, etc. Message overload may arise when an individual receives too much of information at the same time. Physical barriers such as the nature of the environment which can lead to environmental factors like noise which the organization have no control over. The lack of feedback or who to report to in certain situations can equally affect effective communication within organizations. For example, noise and the lack of feedback are particularly affecting many organizations.
Strategies for Combating Ineffective Communication Within Organizations
Organizations should form the habit of welcoming feedback. In (Kang & Sung, 2016; Voinea, Busu, Opran & Vladutescu, 2015) literature any organization, manager or boss who is a good listener and entertains feedback will be more likely to have employees who can identify and solve work-related problems. The entertaining of feedback provides employees with an avenue to express their opinions or ideas concerning their needs and challenges which in turn can boost their work morale. This type of attitude shows that the management takes and value their ideas or opinions very seriously.
Organizations should practice the strategy of being transparent or open to communication (read more about the 8 ways of becoming a great listener).
Employees are one of the most internal stakeholders and a strong critic of an organization’s internal policies. According to (Bekele, 2017; Besterci and Hazel, 2014), the focus of any internal communication is the assurance employees have the support of actively participating in organization’s decisions and how they understand it can impact on their work. Bharadwaj (2014) work of literature on the strategy of employee’s participation in the decision-making planning of organizations explains that employees who participate in the decision-making process of organizations creates room for information exchange and show more communication satisfaction. Leaders should embrace the practice of transparent communication (openness and participation). Transparent or transformational leaders will be open to different ideas/opinions of the people and encourage employees to participate in the decision-making process of the organization going forward.
In conclusion, internal communication audit plays a crucial role in identifying the communication weaknesses or strengths of any organization. Communication Audit shows an organization’s drawbacks in the communication structures of both their internal and external environment and seeks strategies to improving these barriers in other to create an enabling effective communication structure/channel within the workplace.
Bekele, T. (2017). The Practice of Internal and External Communication: The Case Study of Development Bank of Ethiopia (Master’s Dissertation).
Besterci, D.M., and Hazel, M. (2014). Communication Audit of Organization: A Employees Embedded within Personnel Recovery Education & Training Center. Communication Audit Report.
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Rani, U.K. (2016). Communication Barriers. Journal of English Language and Literature, 3(2). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304038097
Smith, K. (2015). Ten Steps for Conducting a Communications Audit. Retrieved from https://scholar.google.com
Tourish, D., & Hargie, O. (2017). Communication Audits, in C. Scott and L. Lewis. (Eds.). The International Encyclopaedia of Organizational Communication, 312-321. Chichester: Wiley
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