Communication in Organizations: Flow of Information in Organizations

Abstract

This report seeks to address the concept of information flow within organizations. In many companies the strategic decisions face a number of challenges in relation to insufficient resources, poor communication, and uncooperative staffs who are deemed to compromise the integration of information stored in different locations. In essence, information is a message that has meaning to an organization; it determines the performance of an organization. It enables firms to set and satisfy the demands of the marketing environment through following proper strategic goals to create value to their stakeholders and customers (Schwartz, 2009). Moreover, information enables an organization to share its strategic decisions and goals in all levels of management: strategic, tactical, and operational level. Communication as a process of conveying information between a sender and a receiver is an important form of information flow. As information is an integral part of organizations, this paper analyses the communication within organizations in regard to information exchange, HRM roles, and factors affecting communication, benefits of good communications, and causes and effects of poor communication.

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Introduction

The business environment in which organizations operate today is always changing, and it is becoming more and more complex. Organizations, both private and public, feel increasing pressures that force them to respond quickly to changing conditions and to be innovative in the way that they operate. In essence, making decisions may require considerable amounts of relevant data, information, and knowledge. Processing these, in the framework of the needed decisions, must be done quickly, frequently in real-time, and usually requires some proper flow of information within the organization.

According to HR Magazine (2009), essential communication, from Human Resource perspective, stresses the open relations between the organization and employees. This results to goals being realized, which in turn improve the company’s performance. In a multi-cultured scenario, developing and maintaining rapport for business relationships highly rely on the proper use of language and knowledge on various communication styles.

Therefore, the scope of this research is to analyze and present the various aspects of communication and the basic implications for organizational sustainability.

Information Exchange

All organizations including global manufacturing and services organization have some function to perform. Organizations exist in order to achieve objectives and to provide satisfaction to its members. Organizations enable goals and objectives to be achieved that could not be achieved by individuals on their own. Through co-operative action, members of an organization can provide a synergistic effect. Co-operative action is achieved through proper relationships among the employees and their supervisor, which in turn enhance information exchange. As much as good interaction exists between members of an organization, Rasmussen (2008) outlined several rules that may apply in the process. These include: information related to performance should be conveyed in a face-to-face manner, information about work group should be generated from the respective supervisor, and more general information about the firm needs to come from the executive.

Types of Communication

Effective communication can be achieved through a proper incorporation of communication forms. Since an organization is made up of people, rules, and procedures, people are deemed to understand information in different ways. This can be through visual communication such as diagrams, graphs and charts, verbal communication, or even tactile communication. No matter how information is assimilated, the communication process involves thought, encoding, medium selection, decoding, interpreting, and feedback. An organization should take the opportunity of the various communications channels like the internet so as to convey information in a more cost effective manner.

Therefore, if there is a high priority message, communication must take the three mentioned forms. This is to ensure that information is received and interpreted in a correct way. Rasmussen (2008) asserts that most people hear something several times in order to understand and store it in their mind. More so, patterns of communication play an important role in information dissemination. Firstly, vertical communication is concerned with movement of information from upper to lower levels of management and vice versa. This pattern is commonly applied when instructions and policies from decision makers are to be conveyed to subordinates. Secondly, horizontal communication involves the communication between two people of the same level or status. This increases productivity, as everyone knows what everybody else is doing. Thirdly, diagonal communication is concerned with the communication from top management of one department to subordinate of another department and vice versa. It is essential for the corporate information integration.

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However, there exist some informal communications such as the “gossip”. Most organizations underrate such communication channels. Also known as grapevine, gossip is fueled by sudden stop in the flow of communication. The grapevine usually carries work related information, much of which might be quite accurate. This form of communication can fuel employees hence poor level of productivity. In order to control office gossip the management should exercise the following concepts: do not ignore the grapevine, address complains, keep workers informed, do not give rumors a chance to start, and practice an open law policy.

Role of HRM in the Flow of Information

Employees rely on the HRM department to address the various work related issues. It the obligation of HR leaders to ensure that effective communication is adhered to in all the departments and thus keeping the staff proficient, focused, and productive. In order to improve the corporate performance, the HR role involves creating a more robust strategic communication plan that focuses on the organizational strategy and goals and outlines the forms of communication and information centres for different audiences (HR magazine, 2008). Thus, the major points to reflect on are:

  • Top down communication should be incorporate to develop employee confidence
  • Encourage employees to go directly to the manager if they are confused
  • Do not talk ‘at’ but communicate with employees. Be sensitive to workers’ emotional concerns.
  • Estimation and evaluation of the communication plan should be set through results tracking and milestone setting.

In essence, good employee-organization relationships in regard to HR role ensure that an organization achieve its goals. The goals of the organization may be persuaded in accordance with an underlying ideology, or philosophy, based on beliefs, values and attitudes. This ideology determines ‘culture’ of the organization and provides a set of principles which govern the overall conduct of the organization’s operations through effective communication.

Communication Factors

Managing communication channels within a company is mostly compromised by barriers such as prejudgment, language, cultural differences, stereotyping, emotions, and lack of interest. This calls for a proper communication plan that ensures that effective information flow is guaranteed. A communication plan should address the purpose, receiver, time, medium, message, and subject of the information. In light of this, communication needs to be:

  • Fast: message should be conveyed to the receiver as soon as possible. If a message takes longer to reach the receiver, there is high chance of distraction.
  • Factual: information should be straight forward, truth preserving, and accurate. Lack of good information may delay the problem solving process.
  • Frequent: sender must be thoroughly informed about the relevance, reliability, validity, and accuracy of the information to be conveyed. Conducting research is a significant strategy in meeting the end (Rasmussen, 2008).

Importance of Good Communication

The management of organizations has changed dramatically due to advancement in technology, globalization, new opportunities of doing business, and the changing customers’ needs. Moreover, good communication, both internal and external to the organization has major on the organization’s performance. These include workplace change front and center, in which workload distributed in various locations can be integrated through communication networks. Further, information systems and networks enable employees located in remote locations to communicate effectively while performing collaborative duties hence accomplishing the strategic position of a company (HR Magazine, 2008). In this light, good organizational communication is a concept that actively incorporates employees in decision making, encourage trust, and improve productivity.

Advantages of Good Communication

As much as effective communication improves the overall organizational productivity, individual communication skills is an essential part of organizational communication. Thus, the benefits of good communication skills are: improved productivity, fewer grievances, better problem solving, better staff relationships, enhanced creativity and efficiency, and greater personal satisfaction.

In order to realize these benefits, an individual or rather an employee needs to observe the following concepts (Schwartz, 2009):

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  1. Empathy: this involves acting as someone else in regard to what he/she sees or perceives. This can be through listening to others’ viewpoints and trying to assimilate their thoughts.
  2. Feedback: It is important for the recipient of the message to acknowledge the receipt of the message. This prevents any misunderstanding between the to parties.
  3. Nonverbal Signals: elements such as facial expression and gestures enhance the understandability of the message.

Causes and Results of Poor Communication

Poor communication is an issue that affects many organizations and it results to lack of cooperation and employee motivation. In order to realize the meaning of information, everybody within an organization set up need to be informed on the r4elevance and accuracy of the message being conveyed in so as to achieve the required goals. In essence, differences in perception, prejudgment of information, stereotyping, and lack of interest are some of the causes of poor communication.

Moreover, in this globally changing world which is enriched with much information, workers still lack the essential information that is needed to carry out organizational duties. This is as a result of poor information flow within the levels of organization. In addition, the way in which employees exchange information can be a cause of bad communication. On persons idea may mean a totally different thing to someone else, hence the differences in understandability (Cete, 2009).

Therefore, poor communication can result to the following problems:

  • Loss of time: this is due to the longer hours taken to decode and interpret information.
  • Loss of business: an organization may loose trust from clients and stakeholders.
  • Loss of people: misunderstanding cuts down the potential customers and productive employees.

In real sense, poor communication costs business a lot of money. Most of this is hidden because of lack of accountability; poor communication is mainly not reflected in the books of account (Wikie, 2006).

Conclusion

The concept of good communication is an important aspect of organizational operations because it builds an environment that is enriched with loyalty and trust. For an organization to realize the importance of collaborative work there is a need to develop a communication plan that depicts the nature of the organization, the organization culture, and its mission. In turn, employees are much interested in information that is concerned with their job description, goals of their work, strategies, and the methods that help them fit in the organization (Rasmussen, 2008). In essence, this paper has discussed the concept of information flow within an organization, taking into consideration the types of communication, the role of HRM, importance of good communication, and causes of poor communication.

References

Cete, R. (2009). Communication and Flow of information In Organizations. Web.

HR Magazine. (2009). Effective Organizational Communication: A Competitive Advantage. BNET. Web.

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Rasmussen, J. (2008). The Communication Circle. Creating Quality Newsletter. Web.

Schwartz, E. A. (2009). Clear Communication: The Benefits and How to Achieve Them

Wilkie, H. (2006). We’d Better wake up to the High Cost of Poor Communication. Web.

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