Communication is one of the key aspects that are of great significance in any organization. It refers to the continuous process through which an individual or group conveys information to a second party-recipient. According to Hargie and Dickson, communication refers to the process of sharing information, feelings and meanings through the exchange of both verbal and non-verbal messages (2004, p. 13).
The information can be an idea, thought, data, instructions or even feelings. It is a rather complex process thus requires utmost attention from all the parties involved. Proper communication acts as a strategic resource that enhances not only the maintenance but also the increment of performance (Barrack, 1988, p. 102).
When an organization lacks proper communication, many problems arise. This paper details the problem with poor interoffice communication; gives the problems caused by the same; provides possible solutions for the problems that arise from the phenomenon and gives recommendations for improving interoffice communication.
Understanding interoffice communication
For proper co-ordination and management, most organizations have put in place different offices. Each office has its own responsibility as far as the operation of the organization is concerned. Communication is thus a very important aspect that links the various offices within the organization together.
Developing a community that every employee feels he is part of it enhances the exploitation of the full potential of the employees, which in turn increases their productivity (Berko et al., 2010, p. 54).Therefore, the overall performance of any organization depends on the effectiveness of communication between the various offices.
Interoffice communication can assume different categories. It can be communication between equal status (title) holders within the hierarchy of a given organization. Communication also occurs between employees and their superiors and vice versa.
The communication between superiors and their subordinates may occur in the form of memos, bulletins, as well as direct orders and statements. Other organizations also encourage informal communication between the various offices to enhance a friendly working environment.
Efficient communication is essential to enhance effective co-ordination of the activities within an organization. It requires the transmission of a clear and understandable message from one individual/office to another. The recipient of the message has to listen. According to Bente, listening refers to one’s availability for others as well as what they have to say (2009, p. 592).
Feedback is an important aspect as far as efficient communication is concerned since it ensures a good reception of the message and understanding of the parties involved. This calls for everyone within an organization to be able to transmit a concrete and timely feedback (Mayer, 2010, p. 8). However, research has shown that efficient interoffice communication is yet to be materialized in many organizations.
The problem with interoffice communication
Different individuals have different complex communication techniques, which makes interoffice communication a complex process. Each individual has his/her own communication codes, which can be words, movements, facial expressions and feelings among others. Every person relies on a given combination of the codes to pass information that are unique to their personality.
Behavioral scientists argue that nearly three-quarters of the population are distinct in communication mannerisms from any individual (Bolton R. & Bolton D., 2009, P. 3). Therefore, to understand each other especially in a setting comprised of people from different backgrounds or even geographical settings, one requires a sophisticated decoding process.
This gives room for errors as far as decoding the message is concerned. Skilled effort is required to enhance a fruitful two-way communication in any organization. However, most of the individuals involved in interoffice communication lack the skilled effort.
Some individuals are quick to draw conclusions, judge and exaggerate other than giving the intended information in the most accurate manner. In most cases, this occurs where information needs to go through several people (offices) before reaching the targeted individual or group. Additionally, some people lack accuracy in reporting certain incidences.
They dwell on their own understanding and assumptions instead of reporting what they experienced, saw or even heard. Mayer argues that, “Western man’s most prized ability, to think and to reason, probably causes more difficulty in communicating than any other single factor” (2010, p. 4).
This also comprises the habit of judging others without getting the truth from them. Such habits and shortcomings play a pivotal role in the deterioration of efficient communication in different organizational settings.
Another aspect that contributes to poor interoffice communication is the fear of conflicts that may arise. Most people fear conflict especially the negative impacts that the conflict may cause to their job through the destruction of working relationships. Owing to this, most individuals yield to circuitous communication.
People have been made to believe that they should always suppress conflicts an aspect that may make someone to withhold important information. On the contrary, conflicts are beneficial to any organization because in most cases they end up promoting cohesion within the body. Additionally, conflicts are essential for creative interpersonal as well group activity (Albrech, 2001, p.85).
Due to the fear attached to conflicts, most people give all sorts of excuses to avoid facing a given situation within the organization, which reduces their interaction with other employees within the organization. This propagates poor interoffice communication.
Another problem with interoffice communication is the need to remain within cultural jurisdictions. Most cultures require the community to portray the right personality and be polite. This calls for one to manipulate his/her personality to be able to fit in a certain position or role.
Some office-holders end up manipulating their bosses or even subordinates to achieve what they want either for their own good or for the organization at the expense of the others in the organization (Mayer, 2010, p. 5). Consequently, may individuals end up spending a lot of energy managing or rather packaging their information to suit their need other than stating their true feeling.
This culminates in a series of mixed messages since one’s verbal message contradicts the non-verbal expressions. Research has shown that most recipients receive the non-verbal message as opposed to verbal one. This creates mistrust between the two parties precluding real or rather open communication.
The hierarchy of an organization may also impair efficient communication within an organization. Offices that hold a high position as far as the hierarchy is concerned may cause some intimidation to their subordinates impairing interoffice communication between the offices in question. Consequently, most employees are unable to pass information to their superiors and only remain on the receiving end.
This is evident in most organizational meetings when the people with relatively little power occupying inferior offices portray their increased fear of communication (Haggie & Dickson, 2004, p. 18). This can be manifested by their inability to contribute topics for discussion during such meetings.
Others become more hesitant in what they say in the presence of their superiors. Additionally, most of the subordinates engage in less eye contact when addressing their superiors or even other individuals within the organization.
Problems caused by poor interoffice communication
Poor interoffice communication makes most employees lose their morale at work. This occurs when employers do not listen to their employees.
The employees end up feeling unappreciated. Such a feeling not only lowers the productivity of the employees but also their productivity. In extreme cases, the victims may decide to resign from their place of work at the expense of the employer. When such happens, the profitability of the organization in question reduces significantly.
Poor communication causes lack of unity and cohesion within different parties in an organization. This is due to lack of mutual understanding between different offices.
Consequently, many resources in terms of time and money are wasted in accomplishing certain roles since one is not able to get input or rather ideas from the other parties in an organization (Mayer, 2010, p. 8). Additionally, poor lack of understanding between different individual hinder the efficient co-ordination of the various offices lowering the performance of the organization.
The progress of most organizations is enhanced by the contribution of brilliant ideas from the different offices. In cases where organizations face poor interoffice communication, their performance faces a form of stagnation.
Efficient communication plays a fundamental role in materializing the brilliant ideas of the individuals. Similarly, the process of implementation of the ideas requires efficient communication. Poor interoffice communication results in a slow process of the implementation of certain changes and ideas in the organization.
Most organizations are constantly recruiting new employees to help in actualizing their goals. Once in the organization, the recruits need to get acquainted with the operations of different offices. Poor interoffice communication may hinder the new employees from understanding the culture of the organization.
They may fail to feel connected to the normal operations of the organization even after the induction process. In effect, it slows the process of achieving not only the short term but also the long-term objectives of the organization.
Unnecessary conflicts may arise due to poor communication. Misunderstandings, assumptions and exaggerations are the root causes of most conflicts within many organizations. Conflicts may cause the development of sour relationships at the place of work, which have a negative impact on the productivity of the organization in question.
Conflicts also cause stress among the victims lowering their efficiency in the performance of their duties (Bente, 2009, p. 593). In the extreme cases, the victims of conflict may leave their job at the expense of the well-being of the organization.
The establishment of teamwork in an organization requires mutual understanding between the parties in question. Poor interoffice communication impairs the development of mutual understanding employees thus preventing the establishment of efficient teams.
In most cases, lack of teamwork hinders the contribution of certain individuals in activities of the organization. This translates to inefficient utilization of the human resources of the given organization.
To curb poor interoffice communication, an organization would need to train its employees on the key communication skills. This calls for the management to mobilize the resources that are essential for holding training sessions for the employees. Employees need to learn the communication skills that they require to enhance efficient communication while handling different individuals in the work place.
Most individuals lack efficient listening skills that can only be acquired through training. In addition, the training helps the employees to learn how to handle different types of people in different situations.
Through training, the different office-holders are able to acquire the skills on how to interpret or rather decode some non-verbal messages used by different people in different circumstances. This enhances mutual understanding of the different types of people within an organization.
Interoffice meetings can also be a tool for eradicating poor interoffice communications. These meetings can be in the form of coffee meetings or other informal settings. Such meetings enhance the interaction of people especially when they are engaged in a common activity. The interaction helps the different parties to know more about each other, which is essential in boosting communication when in the formal setting.
They also help in driving out the fear the most employees have concerning their superiors thus paving way for effective communication between them. In other instances, interoffice meetings enable the employees to understand various aspects about the operations in other offices. The knowledge they acquire helps them to come up with ways of enhancing the communication processes between distinct offices.
Establishment of feedback systems is essential in enhancing efficient interoffice communication. A good example of a feedback system is the suggestion box. Such a system enables efficient communication within the different offices within an organization.
Due to the recent technological advancements, organizations can even create an internet-based interaction system whereby different offices are required to give their suggestions as well as respond to the concerns of other offices i.e. if the office is concerned.
Such a system motivates the development of new methods of establishing, sustaining or even terminating relationships between different individuals/offices within an organization. Six argues that advanced information and communication systems not only facilitate but also change the potential for development of as well as maintenance of interpersonal communication (2005, p. 183).
The management of any organization should encourage its employees not to give much attention to the traditional concept of hierarchy whereby subordinates should only wait for orders from their superiors.
This encourages free but formal communication between offices with different titles as far as hierarchy is concerned. It also creates acceptance of one’s position enabling him/her to communicate freely with other individuals of different ranks.
People should also work at improving their self-awareness. One of the key aspects that an individual should posses is the ability to pay attention what their emotions. This prevents the delivery of mixed messages that contributes to poor interoffice communication. Self-awareness also helps an individual to do away with poor communication habits that cause lack of efficiency in interoffice communication.
An example of poor communication habits is the failure to listen to what other people have to say. Additionally, failure to give timely and satisfactory feedback is a poor communication habit that requires one’s effort to change.
Organizations should come up with a standard method of communication especially in the formal setting. For instance, a regular newsletter acts a means of answering most of the questions that most individuals within the organization might have.
This reduces the chances of individuals getting false answers to their questions from unknowledgeable colleagues. The global technological advancement especially in the field of information and communication has brought about several online services that most organizations can employ in establishing a standard channel of communication.
Communication provides explanations on several undesirable aspects within an organization such as misunderstandings, conflicts as well as approvals. Every organization should come up with a communication strategy or rather system to enhance efficient communication within the various offices based on the organization’s set goals and objectives.
In this essay, the problem with interoffice communication has been discussed in detail. People have different ways of expressing themselves an aspect that paves way for error in decoding their intended message. Additionally, some people fail to give truthful facts or rather information due to their assumptions and exaggerations.
Most organizations have not trained their employees as far as communication skills are concerned thus most people have habits that propagate poor interoffice communication. The problems that poor interoffice communication causes to an organization have also been discussed.
For instance, it impairs teamwork; hinders employee motivation; increases the number of conflicts and prevents the organization from getting brilliant helpful ideas from its employees. These problems lower the productivity as well as the profitability of the organization in question.
Some of the possible solutions for the problem include holding training sessions for the employees to equip them with the necessary communication skills and developing a feedback system among others.
The employees should be able to interact with different people without causing any alarm as far as communication is concerned. For the success of any organization, the management should ensure that there is a standard communication system to address the formal matters.
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