Business free essay: Successful Communication
Effective communication is one of the most important prerequisites for desirable organizational performance. Effective communication facilitates smooth flow of information in horizontal and vertical directions. Vertical communication is the flow of information between the staff and the leaders. Horizontal communication is the flow of information among workers or between working teams (Kramer, 2014). Effective communication is vital to an organization since it influence the extent to which the workers are aware of their responsibilities and the goals and objectives of an organization. More importantly, effective communication enhances job satisfaction and better performance and among workers. Effective communication is also enables organizations to build good relationships with external stakeholders such as the customers and suppliers (Kramer, 2014). The effectiveness of communication processes within an organization is influenced by the ability to incorporate or to give consideration to the influential organizational and communication concepts into the communication structure.
Important Organizational and Communication Concepts
Details about the importance of, and how to engage in, active listening should be incorporated in a communication structure of an organization. Listening plays a significant role in facilitating communication effectiveness in organizations. Ultimately, active listening helps in enhancing working relationship among workers, between the management and the staff and between the internal and external stakeholders (Stacks & Salwen, 2014). Active listening entails giving full attention to the person who is speaking without making unnecessary interruptions. An active listener shows genuine interest to what the speaker says and remains non-judgemental. Findings derived from empirical studies have shown that active listening enhances the ability to understand spoken information. Apart from that, the previous studies have shown that active listening enhances the ability to understand non-verbal and implied clues such as facial expressions and body language (Stacks & Salwen, 2014).
Also, active listening facilitates encourages the speaker to continue. An encouraged speaker does not withhold important information. In addition, active listening makes them feel that they are being valued. Active listening, therefore, should be considered when making a communication structure. In order to enhance active listening within an organization, both the leaders and the workers should be briefed about its importance through both formal and informal channels. In case of a need, the managers and workers should be provided with training on active listening (Stacks & Salwen, 2014).
Formal and Informal Communication
Business communication can be classified as either formal or informal. Formal business communication is usually done through pre-determined channels and the extent to which it can stretch is restricted. Formal communication usually occurs in meetings or through electronic and paper-based communications. Sending letters to the workers is an example for formal communication (Kramer, 2014). A good example is the case of UNISON, a big trade union with headquarters in London. At UNISON, for instance, the members are informed about new policies through formal communication. The new policies are both written down on papers and passed to the members during meetings or they are sent as soft copies to the members through electronic channels such as email (Kramer, 2014).
Conversely, informal communication does not follow any pre-determined channels and it can stretch in all directions. When the supervisors discuss work and emerging problems among themselves or with the supervisors as they proceed carrying out the assigned duties, they engage in informal communication. At UNISON, the members engage in informal discussions of the established policies (Kramer, 2014). The formal communication is important since it provides an opportunity for organizational stakeholders to exchange important information in a way that ensures that documentary evidence is maintained. The written communication acts as a reference that can be relied on for a long time. In the same vein, informal communication is vital since it enables the organizational stakeholders discuss issues in a way that saves time and resources. Also, informal communication makes the workers feel as if they are being valued and supported (Kramer, 2014). Given that both formal and informal communications are vital components of organizational communication, they should be incorporated in the communication structure.
To enhance formal communication within an organization, the formal channels for communication should be established first (Kramer, 2014). In case formal communication will be done via email, all the involved stakeholders should open email accounts. In case formal communication will be done in meetings, the meetings should be scheduled in advance. In case of a need, the leaders and workers should be provided with training on how to engage in formal communication. The best approach to facilitate informal communication in an organization is to encourage open talk among workers and between workers and leaders in informal settings (Kramer, 2014)
Conflict resolution is one of the activities carried out frequently by leaders in organizations. A conflict resolution process entails finding a solution to a disagreement occurring between two or more parties. Conflicts, especially the severe ones, can limit the ability of organizational stakeholders to engage in effective communication. Due to the differences involved, the conflicting parties tend to withhold important information (Cornelissen, 2014). For instance, two workers in the same team may not effectively exchange important information about work procedures. Effective conflict resolution process is important since it helps to eliminate such communication problems after the differences between the disagreeing parties are solved (Cornelissen, 2014).
An effective conflict resolution process is undertaken in five main stages. First, the mediator should engage the conflicting parties to determine the causes of conflict. Second, the mediator should look beyond the conflict to determine whether there are other fundamental causes of the conflict. The third step is to ask each of the conflicting parties to propose solutions to the problem (Cornelissen, 2014). The fourth step is to come up with solutions that all the conflicting parties will support. The last step involves making the conflicting parties agree to one of the available solutions to the disagreement. In case of a need, the mediator can ask the parties to write a contract about the agreed solution (Cornelissen, 2014).
Organizational culture influences the nature of communication within organizations in various ways. Organizational culture simply encompasses the history of an organization and the collective beliefs, behavioural norms, principles and values held by internal stakeholders of the organization. The nature and history of communication in a firm is part of organizational culture. The behavioural norms of the internal stakeholders have a direct impact on effectiveness of communication. Behavioural norms are simply unwritten rules that guide behaviours of humans (Heath & Bryant, 2013). In some firms, for instance, the workers are expected to communicate with the leaders directly and promptly in case they encounter challenges when undertaking the assigned responsibilities. In some cases, the leaders are expected to inform the workers about planned changes prior to implementation. Although such rules are unwritten, failure to follow them can lead to adverse impacts (Heath & Bryant, 2013). As such, communication structures in organizations should allow for the application of behavioural norms.
In some organizations, the workers and managers attach higher value to effective communication than in others. The management can value formal communication more than informal communication (Cornelissen, 2014). Some skills valued by organizations encourage communication. For instance, corroborative, interactional and communication skills encourage openness and good flow of information between organizational stakeholders. The communication history of an organization is very important when designing a communication structure. An organization, for instance, can have a history of emphasizing on formal communication between the management and the employees (Cornelissen, 2014). The means of communication that the internal stakeholders are used to is also important. For instance, the workers can be used to informal communication through email or through letters. When designing communication structure, such components of organizational culture should be considered (Cornelissen, 2014).
In order to effectively incorporate aspects of corporate culture in a communication structure, the person implementing it should take time to determine and understand the components of organizational culture that have been influencing the nature of communication in the organization. Precisely, the person developing the structure should focus on learning about the behavioural norms and communication values of the organizational stakeholders and communication strategies adopted in the organization. The communication structure should be designed in a way that fits in the overall organizational structure.
Communication structure should be designed in a way that it suits the leadership strategy or style adopted in an organization. The leadership styles common in organizations are participative leadership, authoritative leadership, task oriented leadership and bureaucratic leadership. Most large business organizations adopt bureaucratic leadership styles. In such organizations, it is difficult for the top managers to engage in direct communication with the workers frequently (Gillis, 2011). Consequently, the communication between the top leaders and the workers mainly involves exchanges of written messages through channels such as emails and letters. Also, communication between the top leaders and workers in such organizations is mainly formal in nature. The top managers, for instance, write down rules and procedures that workers are required to follow (Gillis, 2011). However, it is essential to note that in a large organization, different leadership styles can be adopted at different levels of command. For instance, the top leaders can adopt bureaucratic leadership while the team leaders adopt participative leadership (Gillis, 2011).
The structure of communication where participative leadership is adopted is significantly different from the structure of communication that suits bureaucratic leadership. In participative leadership, leaders work closely with the workers and guide them where necessary. The aim of the leader in participative leadership is to empower the workers so that they can perform optimally (Normore, 2016). Participative leaders, therefore, engage in direct, informal communication with the workers. In participative leadership, therefore, the need to communicate using written messages between leaders and workers reduces. Unlike in the case of bureaucratic leadership, participative leaders focus more on giving unwritten rules to the workers. Also, participative leaders focus more on using demonstrations that enable workers to understand the procedures they should follow than asking the workers to follow written procedures (Normore, 2016).
Some leadership strategies allow flow of information between the workers and leaders more than others. In authoritative leadership, for instance, limits the flow of information from the workers to the leaders (Normore, 2016). As such, a communication structure designed to facilitate good flow of information from the workers to the leaders may not work well in cases where authoritative leadership is adopted. Such a structure is suitable in cases where leadership strategies such as participative leadership and charismatic leadership are adopted. Participative and charismatic leadership strategies encourage the workers to communicate openly to the management and even participate in decision making processes (Normore, 2016). In this regard, the nature and components of a communication structure should be designed in a way that suits the leadership strategy adopted. When developing a communication structure, the best way to incorporate leadership strategy concept is to assess the leadership style that is prominent in each level of command in an organization. The communication structure should be designed in a way that fits into the existing leadership style in each level of command.
Organizational structure influences the nature of communication within organizations. Organizational structure refers to the way tasks in an organization are allocated, supervised and coordinated in order to achieve specific objectives and goals. Specifically, organizational structure encompasses the design and arrangements through which responsibilities, authority and power are passed down a chain of command established in an organization (Miller, 2009). Organizational structure influences how communication flows between different stakeholders in an organization. The most common organizational structures in organizations include the flat structure and the functional structure (Miller, 2009).
In a functional structure, an organization’s management is divided into various portions according to purpose. Precisely, a functional structure is one in which there is one top leader, the CEO and managers of different functional departments. Each department focuses on its own function. Workers report to, or communicate with the departments they worker for, although they can work for different departments (Miller, 2009). The departmental heads report to the CEO. In a functional structure, the employees hardly engage in direct communication with the top leader or the CEO. Also, there is little flow of information across departments. The flow of information across departments is restricted by the fact that different departments work separately. Thus, the communication structure in a functional structure should give concentration to the communication within departments and between departmental heads and the CEO (Gillis, 2011).
Conversely, a flat structure is one in which the management is made up of one top leader and only one of a few assistant leaders. In a flat structure, the workers are not restricted to engage in direct communication with the top leader. Also, there is free from of information between the workers and external stakeholders such as customers and the media in a flat structure (Gillis, 2011).
To implement the concept of organizational structure effectively in an organization, the communication structure should be designed in a way that fits into the existing organizational structure. For instance, the communication structure in an organization with a flat structure should be designed in a way that allows free flow of information between the workers and the leaders, including the top leader or the CEO (Gillis, 2011).
In conclusion, communication effectiveness is an important factor with a significant impact on organizational performance. In this regard, organizations should give consideration to both organizational and communication concepts that influence effectiveness of communication when designing communication structures. Among the influential concepts, as explained in this paper, are active listening, leadership strategies, formal and informal communication, organizational culture, conflict resolution and organizational structure. The nature of each of those factors varies between organizations and thus, a communication structure should be tailored to meet the unique needs of the targeted organization.
Cornelissen, J. (2014). Corporate Communication: A Guide to Theory and Practice.
Washington DC.: SAGE.
Gillis, T. (2011). The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication: A Guide to
Internal Communication, Public Relations, Marketing, and Leadership. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
Heath, R. L., & Bryant, J. (2013). Human Communication Theory and Research: Concepts,
Contexts, and Challenges. California: Routledge.
Kramer, M. W. (2014). Managing Uncertainty in Organizational Communication. London,
Miller, K. (2009). Organizational communication: Approaches and processes (5th ed).
Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage learning.
Normore, A. H. (2016). Handbook of Research on Effective Communication, Leadership, and
Conflict Resolution. New York, NY: IGI Global.
Stacks, D. W., & Salwen, M. B. (2014). An Integrated Approach to Communication Theory
and Research. New York, NY: Routledge.
Scholarlywriters.com is among the cheap essay writing companys in the world . We offer free essays like Business free essay: Successful Communication