Communication is sending and receiving of information, thoughts between two or more persons by using verbal or non-verbal communication, body language with a view to understanding. It is the bedrock of pleasant ground and good relationship between the communicator and the receiver. Kotler (1977) defined communication “as a process consisting of a sender transmitting a message through media to a receiver”.
However, organizational communication refers to organizational-related communication skills for effective and participating communication across business and organizational settings. In an organization, communication plays a vital role in its normal function. All tasks require communication of some sort at some level. Dwyer (1991) states that “communication is a process of transmitting information, ideas, thoughts, opinions and plans between various parts of an organization. Thus, one can note that communication enables managers to perform basic functions of management in an organization which include planning, leading and controlling”.
Communication skills whether written or oral form the basis of any business activity. Human beings communicate consciously through our choice of words and body language. Without credible communication and a lot of it, employee hearts and minds are never captured. According John Kotter, the very success of an organization is built upon effective communication.
Communication establishes relationship between the superior and the subordinate and the quality of relationship revolves around the nature of communication. As blood flows, it pumps oxygen through the body to sustain life, likewise communication is the lifeblood of each organization. Effective communication in an organization brings in a lot of positive effects and these may include employee trust, relationships, clarity, collaboration, motivation, source of information, planning, socialising and productivity within an organization.
Communication is regarded as the lifeblood of an organisation as it serves as the foundation of every face of a business. Therefore, it can be said that effective communication is the building block of an organization. It encompasses both “official” communications that include memos, guidelines, policies and procedures. Poor communication within an organization can lead to disastrous effects. It is tremendously important that an organization foster an atmosphere of openness and create systems that will lead to the freest flow possible of, not only information, but ideas, feelings and a sense of shared purpose. Importance of effective communication in an organization can be clarified with the following arguments.
Employee Trust- (Smith 2018) pointed out “that a clear, open, effective communication can create a sense of transparency in an organization, which builds trust between levels of employees. She went on to say that keeping employees in the dark can result in resentments, tension, and a feeling of low job security, but strong communication can help them feel valued and trusted. Open communication can reduce feeling of uncertainty and cluelessness about the state of the company, which makes for a more positive work environment and staff who feel secure and safe”.
Relationships- effective communication is essential to building relationships between staff members and between levels of employees, both on a professional and social level. An atmosphere of open communication makes it safe for employees to express their ideas, as a result, an organisation will have the benefit of its staff’s combined experience in coming up with innovative solutions. Communication prevents employees from feeling isolated, builds team work and creates a more collegial atmosphere in the organization. When relationships are strong, employees are better able to trust one another and work together more effectively.
Clarity – in an organization, confusion and ambiguity can create negative feelings and a tense atmosphere. By making roles and responsibilities clear to every staff member, this gives employees the information they need to get their jobs done and this is particularly important when its employees are dispersed or come from different backgrounds. Communication reduces misunderstandings and cuts the costs associated with mistakes. Smith (2018)
Collaboration – effective communication can help the company’s employees to collaborate effectively, which will make for a more productive team overall. Smith (2018) also points out that “when a company has multiple departments who are working on a different facet of the same project, communication can streamline the process and improve the result. When the employees talk openly to each other, they can communicate potential issues, requirements and feedback that can make the result stronger. Communication can ensure that everyone is on the same page and prevent problems down the road”.
Motivation – effective communication is vital inside the company because employees can be better motivated and more efficient by it. Loewy (2002) states that communication keeps the foundation of motivation. It helps organizations to know how a job is being performed and to improve performance if it is not up to standard. Communication is one of the basic features of management. It is instrumental in raising the morale of the employees.
Sources of information and attitude development – communication acts as source of information and helps in the decisions making process and helps in identifying the alternative course of action. Communication also helps in building people’s attitude. A well-informed person will always have better attitude than a less informed person. Different forms of communication like magazines, journals and meetings will help the employees for different attitudes.
Socializing and aid in control by the management – in the current business scenario, no business can survive in isolation. Socializing is very important, and communication is the tool that helps in socializing. Apart from the other functions of management, communication also helps in the controlling process of the subordinates and it helps the subordinates to know about the policies of the organization.
Sharing of ideas- effective business communication helps the company to convey its ideas, lead, guide, persuade and motivate its employees. By communication skills a company can solve the conflicts between employees or managers. Success of business depends on effective communication within an organization, and all management problems stem from ineffective communication.
Communication helps in the planning process. All the essential information must be communicated to managers to make plans for achieving organizational goals. For example, operational employees may notice the need for more personnel in as far as production is concerned. Hence, they would have to communicate such to the manager thus plans could be made on recruiting another staff. Therefore, one can note that communication serves as a foundation of planning.
Productivity increases when there is effective communication in an organization. For example, in a business organization by encouraging employees or suggesting ideas on how they could improve performance enables creativity and innovation.
In summary, the importance of communication can never be over emphasized. Communication is the lifeblood of all organizations. The success of a business enterprise is directly proportional to the level of communication maintained by it. Within an organization, effective inter-personal relationships are possible only if communication skills are cultivated. Good communication skills place an organisation at the correct position in the society. The image of an organization depends on its ability to communicate with the society around it. Thus, communication skills help in establishing, running, producing and marketing of products by commercial establishments. A worker will not be able to turn out a good product and customer will not buy a product however good it is, until each is convinced to do so through effective communication.
Dwyer, J. (1991) The Business communication handbook, 2nd edition MBC, NSW Australia
Loewy, D. (2002) Business communication programme: California State University, Fullerton
Smith, E. (2018) The importance of communication in the organization structure, https://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-communication-organizational-structure-24390.html
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