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Communication is the process of passing information from one person to another with the intention of creating a shared comprehension. Organizational communication on the other hand is the conveyance of information within an organizational setting. Communication is essential in every organization because it entails information that plays an important role in effective performance.
Every organization has set a number of objectives in order to be competitive in the ever changing world. In order to achieve the set objectives and to gain comparative advantage, organizations should invest in proper communication procedures and channels. This essay explores the importance of communication in an organization, the types of communication present in organizations, communication systems in organizations and flow of information.
Importance of communication in organizations
Communication is one of the crucial components in every organization and its efficacy is the secret in realizing overall organizational success. Communication can only be considered efficient when the receiver of the information understands the subject and the meaning of the message conveyed. The function helps employees and management to interact with each other in order to align individual goals with organizational goals.
Furthermore, communication helps in the setting and implementation of organizational goals. Communication also helps in the formulation of plans to execute objectives that have been set by an organization. In addition, communication ensures successful and appropriate administration of human resource and other resources. Moreover, the function helps in directing, motivating and building an environment in which employees aspire to contribute positively (Barker, 2002).
Types of communication in organizations
There are two main categories of communication in organizations namely, systematic or formal communication and informal communication. Under formal communication, information is passed from one person to another through official channels that have been set up and approved by the management.
On the other hand, informal communication also called grapevine is the kind of communication based on personal contact. Informal communication does not adhere to specific procedures that are created and mandated by the management of an organization (Barker, 2002).
Communication systems in organizations
The main communication systems in an organization are oral and written systems. Oral communication systems normally involve passing of information through word of mouth which is the main code of communication. Typical channels of oral communication are face to face dialogue, phones and also videos.
Oral communication is known to provide immediate feedback as compared to other forms of communication. On the other hand, written communication is the conveyance of information through written materials like letters, memos and reports. Moreover, written communication systems have an advantage of being tangible and are much easier to confirm if the information received is true or false.
The flow of information in organizations
During the communication process in an organization, the flow of information is likely to develop into varied directions. The directions consist of upward communication, downward communication and lateral communication. Under upward communication, messages are conveyed from bottom to top levels in the organization. Information mostly flows from the subordinates to their superiors.
Furthermore, the information in upward communication involves factors like opinion of employees, attitude of employees and employee grievances. The main disadvantage of upward communication is that information is likely to be changed or distorted during the flow because of the different chains of command.
On the other hand, downward communication runs from superiors to subordinates in the organization. The communication is normally characterized by giving orders, knowledge of communication and widening of thoughts. This kind of communication takes a lot of time hence information can be lost or denied through the different chains of control. Moreover, it often leads to misunderstanding of directions hence a backward link has to be created in order to verify transfer of the right information (Rho, 2009).
Lateral form of communication also known as horizontal communication involves communication between people of the same level in an organization, for instance heads of departments. It is much quicker and effective for information to be conveyed laterally as compared to upward and downward communication because it lacks chains of control. However, lateral communication can be impaired through rivalry and overspecialization of job functions which eventually lead to conflicts and unwillingness to share information.
From the research, it is evident that communication is very important in any given organization hence should be held in high regard for the purpose of achieving overall organizational success. The management of every organization should put in place guidelines and procedures that ensure communication is carried out effectively. Proper communication helps in the coordination of different activities and improves the interpersonal relationship among the people working in an organization.
Due to diverse levels in an organization, it is difficult to choose one particular way of communication. Therefore, different ways of communication are used to ensure that communication is passed from one person to another in the most appropriate and timely manner. Every form of communication has their pros and cons hence a lot of patience and compromise is needed to ensure efficiency.
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Barker, K. (2002). Organizational communication . Retrieved from http://www.efos.unios.hr/repec/osi/journl/PDF/InterdisciplinaryManagementResearchV/IMR5a03.pdf
Rho, E. (2009, October). The impact of organizational communication on public and nonprofit managers’ perception of red tape . Web.