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  1. 1. Dr. Edwin B.R. Gbargaye Instructor Department of Public Administration University of Liberia Communication
  2. 2. Four Major Functions of Communication Communication serves four basic functions within a group or organization: 1. Control 2. Motivation 3.. Emotional Expression 4. Information
  3. 3. • Communication acts to control member behavior in several ways. • Organizations have authority hierarchies and formal guidelines that employees are required to follow.
  4. 4. When employees are required to first communicate any job – related grievance to their immediate boss, to follow their job descriptions, or to comply with company policies, communication is performing a control function.
  5. 5. • Informal communication contrasts behavior. • When work group tease or harass a member who produces too much they are formally communicating with the member and controlling his or her behavior.
  6. 6. • Communication fosters motivation by clarifying for employees what is to be done, how well they are doing, and what can be done to improve performance if its subpar.
  7. 7. • The communications that takes place in the group is a fundamental mechanism by which members show their frustrations and feelings of satisfaction. • Communication provides an avenue for expression of emotions and fulfillment of social needs.
  8. 8. • Communication function is also related to its role in facilitating decision making. • It provides the information that individuals and groups need to make decisions by transforming the data to identify and evaluate choices. What if? Why not?
  9. 9. The Communication Process • Before communication can take place, a purpose, expressed as a message to be conveyed , is needed. • It passes between a sender and a receiver. • The message is encoded (converted to a symbolic form) and passed by way of some medium (channel) to the receiver, who retranslates (decodes) the message initiated by the sender. • Before communication can take place, a purpose, expressed as a message to be conveyed , is needed. • It passes between a sender and a receiver.
  10. 10. Definition of Communication • Communication can flow vertically or laterally. • The vertical dimensions can be further divided into downward and upward.
  11. 11. Downward • Communication that flows from one level of a group or organization to a lower level is a downward communication.
  12. 12. • The vertical dimension can be further downward communication .
  13. 13. Upward • Upward communication: flows to a higher level in the group or organization. It’s used to provide feedback to higher ups, inform them of progress toward goals, and relay current problems.
  14. 14. • Upward communication takes place among members of the same work group, among members of work groups at the same level, among managers at the same level, or among any horizontally.
  15. 15. • Some organizational examples of upward communication are performance reports prepared by lower management for review by middle and top management, suggestion boxes, employee attitude surveys, grievance procedures , superior-subordinate discussion and informal “gripe” sessions in which employees have the opportunity to identify and discuss problems with their boos or representatives.
  16. 16. Lateral It includes horizontal flow of information, with people on the same or similar organizational levels, and diagonal flow, with people at different levels who have no direct reporting relationships. The lateral communication is used to speed up information flow, to improve understanding, and to coordinate efforts for the achievement of organizational objectives
  17. 17. Interpersonal Communication • A question is asked; how do group members transfer meaning between and among each other? • There are three basic methods . People essentially rely on oral, written, and nonverbal communication.
  18. 18. Oral Communication • The chief means of conveying messages is oral communication. Speeches, formal one-on- one and group discussions, and the informal rumor mill or grapevine are popular forms of oral communication. • The advantages of oral communication are speed and feedback.
  19. 19. • A verbal usage can be conveyed and a response received in a minimal amount of time. • The major disadvantage of oral communication surfaces in organizations or whenever the message has to be passed through a number of people.
  20. 20. • The more people a message must pass through, the greater the potential distortion. • Each person interprets the message in his or her own way. • The message content, when it reaches its destination, is very often different from that of the original.
  21. 21. • In an organization, where decisions and other communiqués are verbally passed up and down the authority hierarchy, there are considerable opportunities for messages to become distorted.
  22. 22. Written Communication • Written communication include memos, letters, fax transmissions, electronic mail, instant messaging, organizational periodicals, notices placed on bulletin boards, or any other device that is transmitted via written words or symbols.
  23. 23. • Why would a sender choose to use written communications? • They are tangible and verifiable. • Typically, both the sender and receiver have a record of the communication. The message can be stored for an indefinite period of time.
  24. 24. Non Verbal Communication • Every time we verbally give a message to someone, we also impart a non-verbal message. In some instances, the nonverbal component may stand alone. • Example; in a singles bar, a glance, a stare, a smile, a frown, or a provocative body movement all convey meaning.
  25. 25. • Nonverbal communication-includes body movements, the intonations or emphasis we give to words,,, facial expressions, and the physical distance between the sender and receiver.
  26. 26. • It can be argued that every body movement has a meaning and no movement is accidental. • Body language adds to and often complicates, verbal communication.
  27. 27. The Grapevine • The formal system is not the only communication network in a group or organization. • There is also an informal one, which is called the grapevine. And while the grapevine may be informal, this doesn’t mean it’s not an important source of information
  28. 28. • For instance, a recent survey found that 75 percent of employees hear about matters first through rumors on the grapevine. • The grapevine has three main characteristics.
  29. 29. • First, it is not controlled by management. • Second, it is perceived by most employees as being more believable and reliable than formal communiqués issued by top management.
  30. 30. • Thirdly, it is largely used to serve the self- interests of the people within it.
  31. 31. Knowledge Management • KM is a process of organizing and distributing an organization’s collective wisdom so the right information gets to the right people at the right time.
  32. 32. • Knowledge management is increasingly important today for at least three reasons. First, in many organizations, intellectual assets are now as important as physical or financial assets. • Organizations that can quickly and efficiently tap into their employees’ collective experience and wisdom and more likely to “outsmart” their competition.
  33. 33. • Second, as baby boomers begin to leave the workforce, there is an increasing awareness that they represent a wealth of knowledge that will be lost if there are no attempts to capture it. • A third is a well designed KM system will reduce redundancy and make the organization more efficient.
  34. 34. • For instance, when employees in a large organization undertake a new project, they needn’t start from scratch. • KM system can allow them to access what previous employees have learned and cut wasteful time retracting a path that has already been traveled.
  35. 35. Barriers to Effective Communication • A number of barriers can retard or distort effective communication. • This is the highlight of the more important barriers.
  36. 36. Filtering • Filtering refers to a sender’s purposely manipulating information so it will be seen more favorably by the receiver. • Example, when a manager tells his boss what he feels his boss wants to hear , he is filtering information.
  37. 37. • The major determinant of filtering is the number of levels in an organization’s structure. The more vertical levels in the organization’s hierarchy, the more opportunities there are for filtering. • You can expect filtering to occur wherever there are status differences.
  38. 38. • Factors like fear of conveying bad news and the desire to please one’s boss often lead employees to tell their superiors what they think those superiors want to hear, thus distorting upward communications.
  39. 39. Selective Perception • The receiver , in the communication process, sees and hears things in a selective way, based on his needs, motivations, experience, background, and other personal characteristics. • The receiver also projects his interests and expectations into communications as he decodes them.
  40. 40. • The employment interviewer who expects a female job candidate to put family before career is likely to see that priority in female candidates, regardless of whether the candidates feel that way or not.
  41. 41. Information overload • Individuals have a finite capacity for processing data. • When the information we have to work with exceeds our processing capacity, the result is information overload.
  42. 42. • And with emails, phone calls, faxes, meetings, and the need to keep current in one’s field, more and more managers and professionals are complaining that they are suffering overload. • What happens when individual have more information than they can sort out and use?
  43. 43. • They tend to select out, ignore, pass over, or forget information. Or they may put off further processing until the overload, situation is over. • Regardless, the result is lost information and less effective communication.
  44. 44. Gender Styles • Men and Women use oral communication for different reasons. Consequently, gender becomes a barrier to effective communication between the sexes. • Research evidence indicates that men use talk to emphasize status, whereas women use it to create connection.
  45. 45. • That is, men speak and hear language of status and independence, and women speak and hear a language of connection and intimacy. • So, for many men, conversations are primarily a means to preserve independence and maintain status in a hierarchical social order.
  46. 46. • For many women, conversations are negotiations for closeness in which people try to seek and give confirmation and support. • For example, men frequently complain that women talk on and on about their problems. • Women criticize men for not listening.
  47. 47. • What’s happening is that when men hear a problem, they want to assert their desire for independence and control by providing solutions. • Women, on the other hand, view relating a problem as a way to promote closeness.
  48. 48. • The women present the problem to gain support and connection not to get the male’s advice.
  49. 49. Emotions • How the receiver feels at the time of receipt of a communication message will influence how he or she interprets it. • The same message received when you are angry or distraught is often interpreted differently from when you are happy.
  50. 50. • Extreme emotions such as jubilation or depression are most likely to hinder effective communication. • In such instances, we are most prone to disregard our rational and objective thinking processes and substitute emotional judgments.
  51. 51. Cross –Cultural Communication • Effective communication is difficult under the best of conditions. • Cross-cultural factors clearly create the potential for increased communication problems.
  52. 52. • The process of encoding and decoding of messages into symbols is based for all people. • The greater the difference in backgrounds between sender and receiver, the greater the differences in meanings attached to particular words or behaviors.
  53. 53. • People from different cultures, see, interpret, and evaluate things differently, and consequently act on them differently.
  54. 54. Cultural Context • A better understanding of cultural barriers and their implications for communicating across cultures can be achieved by considering the concepts of high-and low-context. • Cultures tend to differ in the importance to which context influences the meaning that individuals take from what is actually said or written according to whom the other person is.
  55. 55. • Countries such as China, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia are high –context cultures. • People from these countries rely heavily on nonverbal and subtle situational cues when communicating with others. • What is not said may be more significant than what is said.
  56. 56. • In these cultures, a person’s official status, place in society, and reputation carry considerable weight in communication . • In contrast, people from Europe and North America reflect their low-context cultures. • They rely essentially on words to convey meaning. Body language or formal titles are secondary to spoken and written words.
  57. 57. • What do these contextual differences mean in terms of communication? • Actually, quite a lot. • Communication in high-context cultures implies considerably more trust by parties.
  58. 58. Cultural Guide • When communicating with people from a different culture, what can you do to reduce misperceptions, misinterpretations, and misevaluations?