Importance of Business Communication
An effective business communication strategy is an important element that any business organization strives to achieve in order to not only satisfy their customers but also enhance their competitive edge in the market. It also enables customers to recover their initial outlay and make profits faster. Most companies have adopted advanced technologies that guarantee: after-sale support; high profit margins; professional turnkey results; and high customer satisfaction (Business Communication LLC, 2010, p.2).
Many firms have adopted UMTS and GSM technologies (that employ multimedia applications and large-scale capacity voice) to enhance communication with their customers. However, security remains a key obstacle to effective business communication especially with respect to unlimited peer-to-peer wireless networks.
Thus the need to implement enhanced security measures cannot be understated since devises used in wireless communication are increasingly being employed to relay information from the business organization to clients and vice versa (Business Communication LLC, 2010, p.2).
I used both primary and secondary sources during my research. I consulted a number of journals that discuss impediments to effective business communications within an organization. I also interviewed several employees working at Rawaj International FZ-LLC on the subject matter.
Successful organizations are those that promote effective business communication among staff. Most of the United Arab Emirate business organizations have made efforts to promote cross-cultural communication among western expatriates and Arabs at workplace.
This is because most of the staff in these firms comprise of workers from diverse backgrounds, religions, and nationalities and who assume a broad approach to effective communication with each other so that they can have a common purpose and identity as they collaborate in achieving the goals of the organization. There are number theories that explain the nature of business communication amongst workers from diverse backgrounds (Willemyns & Hosie, 2011, p.246).
For instance, communication accommodation theory (CAT) postulates that workers usually adjust their mode of communication-in terms of dialect, accent, and formality-when they interact with their peers at workplace. On the other hand, the social identity theory (SIT) gives credence to interpersonal communication where a worker identifies himself to a particular group via distinctive attributes such as emotional attributes, skills and bodily traits.
Thus, SIT that can be used to understand the nature of communication among workers from diverse social units within the organization (Willemyns & Hosie, 2011, p.246). By using certain from the social identity theory, CAT assumes that the form of business communication used by workers from diverse units have social signs that relay not only the details of information (real words uttered), but also information in relation to social and personal identity of the orator (Willemyns & Hosie, 2011, p.247).
Intergroup processes are highly influenced by the intercultural communication among these groups at place of work. Majority of studies have shown that intergroup behaviour emerges when social identity prevails. Thus, communications usually rely on the status of the out-group or in-group interactants as opposed to their traits.
If the interaction occurs within the framework of an intergroup orientation-for example among workers from diverse backgrounds-, adjustment process can achieve an identity role. This implies that interpersonal communication at place of work not only depends on the personal traits of talkers, but also on social unit partisanships for instance status or cultural setting (Willemyns & Hosie, 2011, p.247).
The strategies employed in communication accommodation have been effective in alleviating barriers to effective business communication amongst workers from diverse background in UAE. CAT originated from the communication tactic of speech approximation. The key approximations include divergence, convergence and maintenance.
With respect to CAT, convergence occurs when workers adjust their nonverbal trait, speech or dialogue patterns to imitate their interactant to reduce social disparity. For instance, when two individuals meet up, they usually turn out to be alike with respect to language use, accent, intonation, vocal intensity and speech rate. CAT relies on the SIT and similarity-attraction approach to explain the incentive for convergence.
The similarity-attraction approach postulates that when workers within the same social unit have diverse attributes, they are more likely to consent to each other. Thus, interactants are likely to be attracted to each other by adjusting their mode of behaviours to match those of their peers.
In addition, CAT relies on the social identify approach to explain that workers usually unite to indicate that they are members to the same social unit. An interactant may stress his dialect or accent to show that he is a member of a particular social unit (Willemyns & Hosie, 2011, p.248).
On the other hand, divergence takes place when a member of a particular social unit draws attention to their communicative differences. CAT postulates that effective business communication may be hampered when a worker deviate to indicate social disparity between his social group and the others.
For instance, workers with a superior accent may deviate when talking to another worker with a local accent by stressing their high-status accent to signify that they are members of a different social unit (Willemyns & Hosie, 2011, p.248). Thus, in-group communication is one way to enhance business communication amongst workers from diverse background in UAE companies.
It is important that these workers relate with their peers not only as cultural out-group members but also as individual who deserve respect. Thus, business organizations need to use accommodative communication approaches to reduce the negative impact of out-group membership on business communication at place of work (Willemyns & Hosie, 2011, p.254).
My study was based on a sample of employees working at Rawaj Company. I sampled 80 employees and asked them to outline factors that limited their abilities to discharge their duties effectively at workplace. My study revealed that 80% of the participant attributed poor communication strategies as the main impediment.
RAWAJ International FZ – LLC
Company profile and organization structure
Rawaj International FZ-LLC is a public relations (PR) firm based in UAE. The public relations firm was founded about a decade ago by Lale Ansingh and is based at Dubai Media City (Rawaj, 2009, p.6).
The company offers a number of local, regional and international creative communications solutions to its customers in corporate; government; political tourism and hospitality; cultural and educational sectors. There are a number of communication programmes customized to meet individual customer needs. They include: communication management; research and counseling; media relations; crisis management; and community management (Rawaj, 2009, p.1).
Business communication challenges
Am an employee at Rawaj International FZ-LLC and I have discovered that our company too face has several communication problems among its staff. For example, our firm uses static announcement- a one-way, top-down memo- to relay information from senior managers to other members of staff. These memos usually have a passive tone because they are edited by the CEO.
This matrix of communication is archaic since it disregards the fact that workers behave like consumers when processing information and consider numerous sources before making a decision. Nowadays workers do not give credence to the announcements made by the CEO because they seek opinion of their supervisors about the announcement.
In addition, the swift rise in the number of communicating channels-blogs, Web sites, message boards, social networking sites- has also complicated the communication approaches at our firm (p.2). Internal e-mails and messages are usually passed over to the press secretly and later used by rivals to discredit the firm (Aguirre, Hannegan, Neilson & Staub, 2007, p.2).
There are a number of steps that the management can take to improve communication strategies within the company. For example, the CEO should not regard communication as auxiliary to the change process. On the contrary, he should consider it as a vital factor interlaced with change management. Thus the task of relaying information within the company should not be assigned to the corporate communication team but all leaders must participate actively in relaying information within the company.
In addition, the CEO must be pragmatic when evaluating the powers and weaknesses of the company’s corporate communication team. Moreover, supervisors must be trained about the importance of effective communication within the organization. They should be informed that relaying information within the firm is also part of their duty.
The training module should offer supervisors an opportunity to ask senior mangers questions. They should also be trained on their specific role they are expected to play regarding in-house communications. A reword system should also be put in place to reward supervisors and other staff members for their efficiency as communicators (Aguirre, Hannegan, Neilson & Staub, 2007, p.3).
When using other communication platforms such as blogs, social sites and messaging systems, it is vital that the information conveyed be precise and to the point. The platform used for relaying message should offer clear direction so that employees are able to express them in their own manner so that information is harmonized.
The senior manager should replace the one-way, top-down mode of communication with a concrete communication approach that includes all employees (Aguirre, Hannegan, Neilson & Staub, 2007, p.5). This will help the management to discern the effectiveness of the message relayed to the targeted group.
Aguirre, A., Hannegan, C., Neilson, G., & Staub, C. (2007). Navigating the Network: Communications That Create Lasting Change in Today’s Dynamic World. Chicago: Booz Hamilton Inc.
Business Communication LLC. (2010). Telecommunication. Web.
Rawaj. (2009). Rawaj International FZ-LLC: Company Profile. Web.
Willemyns, M., & Hosie, P. (2011). Communication and Social Identity Dynamics in UAE Organizations. International review of Business Research Paper, 7, 245-256.