Organizational communication refers to the different channels and forms of communication used to pass messages effectively. With companies having a multitude of employees across varying levels of structure, communication plays an essential role in maintaining contact. All employees must understand each other within the shortest period to improve efficiency and maintain optimum operations (Aamodt, 2010). Therefore, an organization requires the appropriate communication structures, both internally and externally, to adequately represent itselves.
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Types of Organizational Communication
Organizational communication can either be formal or informal in nature. Formally, it involves sanctioned and regular interactions as part of routine activities. This enables management to pass messages down the line or departments to communicate with each other on the company’s crucial matters. This may be undertaken through meetings, performance reviews, or conferences. Informally, such communication includes interactions among employees, not necessarily concerning official company matters (Keyton, 2017). This enables the development of relationships that foster better working environments due to its personalized nature.
On the other hand, organizational communication may also involve vertical or horizontal interaction. Vertical communication may be described as either be upward or downward. Superiors giving directions to their subordinates entails downward communication while subordinates passing information to their managers refers to upward communication. Additionally, horizontal communication relates to the interactions among people on the same job level, including peers. Such communication may be informal and allows individuals to talk freely without fear (Aamodt, 2010). These differences in communication provide the basis for the company’s hierserving, thus serve a purpose to prevent conflicts.
Factors Influencing Effective Organizational Communication
Cultural diversity can impact how individuals can successfully pass messages to each other in a company. Globalization has led to diverse employee pools with unique backgrounds. As a result, the possibility of misinterpretation of messages increases due to these differences (Rogala & Bialowas, 2016). This may lead to confrontations among them caused by misunderstanding based on offensive or improper word choices or notions implied in specific messages. Such cultural differences pose a risk of interrupting operations, causing a rift at different institutional levels. Without adequate training on diversity, some cases may lead to employee exclusion, tarnishing the institution’s image.
Intellectual and Academic Levels
Intellectual and educational levels also affect the ability of people in the organization to communicate effectively. Individuals with higher academic and intellectual capacities tend to possess the same perceptions and understanding of several issues, thus likely to easily understand each other (Eliadis, 2020). However, such individuals may find problems communicating with others with different levels of capabilities. This may create a barrier in instances where critical messages require swift action by either employee. Consequently, this slows down operations, affecting the productivity of a particular section of the company based on such misunderstandings.
Lack of Feedback
The lack of feedback can affect the organization’s communication since individuals may not be aware of any problems with their interaction with others. Feedback plays a critical role in providing the appropriate overview regarding their performance or actions. Employees can understand areas that need improvement to reduce reoccurrence and better their capabilities (Martinez & Hurtado, 2018). Without such feedback, it becomes difficult to gauge competence, especially in upward and downward communication. Therefore, without others’ input, people can continue to make the same mistakes without their knowledge, hence affecting their relationship with others.
Improving Organizational Communication
All employees should be engaged in the communication process to improve efficiency and overall interaction rates. In most cases, top-level management makes decisions regarding the modes of communication used in the institution, failing to consider employee needs and preferences (Shonubi & Akintaro, 2016). However, organizations must employ two-way communication that values the input of all employees. This creates a healthy working environment and culture whereby opinions, views, and criticisms are considered to build loyalty, ultimately increasing employee productivity.
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Additionally, monitoring and evaluation of outcomes of organizational communication enable an assessment of effectiveness. The tracking and measuring of data emanating from this process show the company what works and areas of improvement (Rogala & Bialowas, 2016). This ensures that changes are promptly introduced in poorly performing areas before they pose a significant organizational performance challenge. Additionally, it promotes objective decisions making by the management since the data available provides guidelines for future policy initiatives. As a result, the organization can rely on proven information to improve its internal and external communication mechanisms.
Organizational communication plays an essential role in providing the basis for appropriate models of interactions between employees and stakeholders. The communication types vary with purpose, with vertical communication referring to interactions between subordinates and their superiors while horizontal communication involving messages between peers in the institution. Informal communication enables the building of relationships among employees, while formal communication involves officially sanctioned modes of interaction. Factors such as cultural diversity, differences in academic and intellectual levels, and the lack of feedback affect organizational communication effectiveness. To mitigate these challenges, all employees must be fully engaged in the formulation processes, while monitoring should be regularly undertaken to improve the process.
Aamodt, M. G. (2010). Industrial/organizational psychology: An applied approach (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Eliadis, A. (2020). The five elements of effective organizational communication. Forbes. Web.
Keyton, J. (2017). Communication in organizations. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 4(1), 501-526. Web.
Martinez, L. A., & Hurtado, S. R. (2018). Internal communication issues in the firms: Does it affect productivity? Review of European Studies, 10(2), 1-13. Web.
Rogala, A., & Bialowas, S. (2016). Communication in organizational environments: Functions, determinants, and areas of influence. Springer.
Shonubi, A. O., & Akintaro, A. A. (2016). The impact of effective communication on organizational performance. The International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Invention, 3(3), 1904-1914. Web.