Communication in Organization
Meaning and Importance of communication
Forms of communication
Barrier to effective communication
Communication with the public
Communication from outside
Communication is the process through
which information and meaning are
transferred from one person to another
Communication: In general it means
“any act by which one person gives to
or receives from another person
information. In public administration, it
refers to communication within an org or
between one org, and the other.
Communication may be intentional or
unintentional in nature.
The act of communication involves
transmission of the following:
Information regarding decision, advice,
queries, etc about an administrative action.
Importance of communication
1. Allow people to engage in the planning,
organizing, leading and controlling
2. Achieving integration and coordination of
agency goals rules and human resources
3. Able to convey vision, goals and give
direction to others
4. Improve performance
The communication process
There are six elements involve in the
1.Sender- is the person who whishes to relay or
to share particular information and meaning.
Often they are the one who initiate the
communication process. The sender has an
intention to communicate with another person.
Encoding – the process of transforming
information into understandable symbols,
typically spoken, written words or gestures.
1. Channels- the medium or methods used to
transmit the intended information and meaning,
such as by phone or in person
2. Receivers- the person to whom the information
and meaning are sent.
3. Decoding- the process of interpreting and
attaching personal meaning to the message.
4. Feedback-the receiver’s response to the
5. Noise- anything acting as information filter, such
as knowledge, attitudes, and other factors that
interferes with the message being communicated
effectively. It can be of various types a) educational
level, b) experience, c) culture
-The process of encoding and decoding are
potential source of communication errors.
In the translation of symbols to meaning,
knowledge, attitudes, and other factors
can act as information filters and create
noise, anything that interferes with the
message being communicated effectively.
Forms of communication
1. Verbal communication- refers to
words spoken through various channels
2. Written communication-information
and meaning transferred as recorded words,
such as memo, report, e-mail.
3. Nonverbal communication-information
conveyed by actions and
behaviors rather than spoken or written
Forms of communication
1. Verbal communication (refers to words
spoken through various cannels to
convey information and meaning) e.g
face to face, telephone.
Advantage: encourage immediate
Disadvantage: inaccuracies, leaving out
important information, forgetting, noise
2. Written communication (information and
meaning are transferred as recorded word
such as memos, report, letter, e-mail.
Advantage: more accurate as sender take
more time to collect, organize and sent
them to the sender.
Disadvantage: it prevent immediate feedback,
complex and time consuming.
3. Non verbal communication (information
convey by actions and behavior rather
than by spoken or written words.) e.g
It plays a critical role in relation to
unshared understanding and meaning
because it influence the massage sent
and receive [what message I am giving]
Unconscious and subconscious
Categories of communication
1. Formal communication
Usually refers to written communication,
the use of formal communication usually
determines by organizational size,
because as organization grows they tend
to make increasing use of formal
communication and diminish the use of
The other factor is public character; public
organization tends to rely more heavily on
formal communication. This is because:
1. Bureaucratic establishment that depend
on written “official’ documents
2. Organization manages distrust so they
rely on this papers or written word, which
is shared, and binding.
3. Organization makes and maintains
“papereality” that take precedence over
the things and event they portray.
Formal communication may also be regarded
as the messages that follow the hierarchical
structure of the organization such
communication can include directives, on a
new procedure, or manual instruction.
Often message use special jargon for
precision/accuracy, which may create
Flow of communication
Communication flows in three separate
1. Upward communication
Communication flowing from lower to higher
levels of organization, such as progress
report, suggestion, inquiries, and grievances
2. Downward communication
The traditional flows of information from upper
organization level to lower level such as job
direction, assignment or task, performance
feedback, information concerning
3. Horizontal communication
The exchange of information among
individual on the same organization or level
either across or within department
The flow of information, often in matrix
structure. Between individual from different
units and organizational level
Refers to oral communication. It also
includes attitudes, ideas, which can be
transmitted by means of gesture, and
body language. Although it has a place in
organization life, its role is limited and in
any case it is hard to analyze and define.
It deals with more subjects but lack of
authority although it may have considerable
Informal communication may passes between
staff at the same level ranging from how to
get along with the supervisor to the
observation on which rules are and are not
enforced. It often reinforce formal
It takes two forms
1. Gossip chain
The spreading of information by one person
to many others
2. Cluster chain
An exchange in which one person or a
selected few share information with few
Barrier of effective communication
1. Personal barrier (as a result of differing
a) Individual characteristic
It has to do with the personality, back
ground, ethnic, national culture, beliefs,
and attitude even moods. These
elements not only affect how a person
chooses to communicate but cause a
person to misunderstand and even
blackout the message.
It refers to the different uses and
meaning of words, in which it also may
influence the effectiveness of a
message. Some words have numerous
denotations and the meaning a person
or a group attaches to particular words
may differ according to circumstances
and group characteristics.
c) Channel selection
Communication channels can be personal
barrier in that some individual always seem to
lean towards a particular channels even though
more effective channel exist.
it is important to ensure that communication
symbols and signals are consistent. If the
words chosen to communicate a message do
not match the sender body language, the
potential for misunderstanding and confusion
Credibility plays an important role in how a
message is received and understood. If the
receiver doesn’t consider that the sender is
trustworthy and knowledgeable about the subject
being communicated, he or she will likely loose
interest or even reluctant to listen to the message.
Sometimes people may be reluctant to transmit
the information because it is likely to anger the
supervisor and make the supervisor look bad.
Manager needs to be aware of such situation.
a) Power and status
People in the upper position usually
hesitant to listen to those individual at
lower level. It is because they believe
that people at the lower level do not
posses useful information
b) Goal and priority differences
Goal and priority differences among
organizational department or divisions may
influence how effective message is sent.
c) Organizational structure
Finally, the structure of the organization can
dramatically influence the effectiveness of
communication. For example, if the firms
organization does not provide sufficient upward,
downward and horizontal communication then
the quality and quantity of information sharing
could be reduced.
3. Environmental barrier
The factors include noise, information
overload, and physical barrier within the
Overcoming communication barrier
2. Providing feedback
3. Being aware of the cultural diversity
4. Choosing an appropriate channel
5. Structuring the organization for
6. Improving interpersonal relationship
Communication with the Public
Communication between a public
organization and the publics essential to the
agencies effort to achieve its goal.
Government produced a lot of information
and distribute it trough many channels.
Some message are aimed for general
publics, constituent group, legislators,
private sector etc.
It can fall under informal and formal categories
e.g. press release, reports, media interview.
Government communicate to the public
because of several reasons:
1. They want to support or aim to enlighten
people basically for their private activities
e.g avoid contracting AIDS.
2. To publicize and win public popular support.
It may include educational and economic
benefit for certain people. Some have larger
aims to impress people with the importance
of service the agency perform
3. Public agencies publicizes service/ benefit
they make available and the means by which
people can obtain them.
4. Government communicate their laws and
regulation e.g. the car driver and passenger
must use safety belt. Police have lighter
enforcement load if citizen comply voluntarily.
Communication from outside
Government agencies also obtain message from
outside, from legislator, citizen complain, court, other
agencies, private sector, NGOs and other parties.
Most call for response and urgency of action
Informal communication flows across organization
occurs through many ways e.g. police tells
environmental officer about dumping toxic waste,
social worker tells reporter about their new project
The communication system of public
agencies often appears inefficient and
difficult to penetrate. It is because of the
fact that different agencies response
differently in their means to handle public
Some put high priority, others see no need
to respond or are selective to whom they
many agencies use information
technologies to reach citizen for all these
It also refers to any government functions or
process that are carried out in digitall form
over the Internet. Local, state and federal
governments essentially set up central Web
sites from which the public (both private
citizens and business) can find public
information, download government forms and
contact government representatives.
E-government is defined as a way for
governments to use the most innovative
information and communication technologies,
particularly web based Internet applications, to
provide citizens and businesses with more
convenient access to government information
and services and to provide greater
opportunities to participate in democratic
situations and processes.
It emphasizes building good relations among
governments, citizens, and businesses as a
main aspect of e-government.
It also can be defined as:
The use of information and communications
technology in the internal processes of
government and the delivery of government
products and services to citizens and industry
It also refer to any government functions or
process that are carried out in digital form
over the Internet.
Local, state and federal governments essentially
set up central web sites from which the public
(both private citizens and businesses) can find
public information, download government forms
and contact government representatives.
Functions of E-government
1. To promote democratic participation by
providing citizens with more digital connections
such as e-mail and simplifying procedure for
democratic elections such as e-voting
2. To deliver government service to citizens
without any restrictions of time and space by
bringing governmental information on-line
3. To make administrative work more transparent,
efficient and accountable. Transparency – is
defined as openness in laws, rules and procedures
of the government. Through e-government, citizens,
media can assess the performance of their
government in all sectors such as economic, social
and security e.g. through the ministry’s,
department’s web site.
Accountability – means a government and its
institutions must be duty bound to honestly give
account to the public in relation to their
performances in carrying out their activities. Thus
the bureaucrats must be answerable to the people
for the failures of the government they lead.
Through the utilization of ICTs, the major changes
is that the national government find it very
difficult to suppress/hide information because the
public as more aware and demand the
government to be transparent and accountable.
Consequently the condition will lead to the:
1. Less scope for corruption
2. More pressure on officials to perform well
(efficient and effective bureaucrats)
4. Government can act as the center of
information and public services. Additionally,
more information should be provided in e-government.
This information includes regional natural
resources, tourism information, regional income
(original income, block grants, tax income),
regional expenditures (routine expenditures,
miscellaneous budgets, allocation budgets for
regional development, etc.), regional
regulations, infrastructure and public facilities
data, regional development strategies, and all
information concerning public interests
5. It allows citizens to communicate interactively with
the government. They would be able to give opinions,
ask questions, criticize, or make suggestions to
governments and their apparatuses.
From a brief explanation of the concept and the
function of e-government, it is clear that e-government
will improve the efficiency,
effectiveness, transparency and accountability of
regional governments. In other words, e-government
promotes good governance.
Challenges of E-government
Lack of privacy
Lack of motivation
Indirect communication, etc