CommunicationEffective communication is important bothwithin an organisation and externally.Effective communication improves businessefficiency.
What is communication?• Communication is about passing messagesbetween people or organisations. Messagesbetween a sender and receiver take place using amedium such as email or phone.• One-way communication is when the receivercannot respond to a message. Two-waycommunication is when the receiver can respondto a message. This allows confirmation themessage has been both received and understood.
Types of communication• Internal communications happen within thebusiness.• External communications take place betweenthe business and outside individuals ororganisations.
Types of communication• Vertical communications are messages sentbetween staff belonging to different levels ofthe organisation hierarchy.• Horizontal communications are messagessent between staff on the same level of theorganisation hierarchy.
Types of communication• Formal communications are official messagessent by an organisation, eg a companymemo, fax or report.• Informal communications are unofficialmessages not formally approved by thebusiness, eg everyday conversation or gossipbetween staff.• A channel of communication is the path takenby a message.
Effective communicationCommunication makes a big impact on businessefficiency. Effective communication means:• Customers enjoy a good relationship with thebusiness, eg complaints are dealt with quicklyand effectively.• Staff understand their roles andresponsibilities, eg tasks and deadlines areunderstood and met.• Staff motivation improves when, forinstance, managers listen and respond tosuggestions.
Barriers to effective communicationA balance needs to be struck in communicationbetween management and staff.• Insufficient communication leaves staff in thedark and is demotivating.• Excessive communication leads toinformation overload, eg when staff findhundreds of messages arriving in their intrayeach day.
Barriers to effective communication• Communications fail when a message isunclear or the receiver does not understandtechnical jargon. Selecting the right medium isimportant. Messages may never be received ifthey are sent at the wrong time or to a junkemail folder.• The result is inefficiency and higher costs, asmore resources are needed to achieve thesame result.
Barriers to effective communication• Training staff to select an appropriate mediumand send clear, accurate, thorough messageswill improve the quality of communications,especially if there is an opportunity forfeedback.
Impact of ICTAdvances in ICT and telecommunications mean ithas never been easier or cheaper to send messagesby email or text. Senders can check that a messagehas been received and understood.The danger is that this will lead to informationoverload and staff will have to spend hours readinghundreds of electronic messages.Staff training that emphasises the need to limitcommunications can help avoid the inefficienciesassociated with information overload.
Impact of ICT• Home working and inexpensive call centreslocated overseas.• Automated stock ordering where items arereordered to ensure shelves are always full.• Less paper work reduces administration costs.
Impact of ICT• E-commerce where products are traded andpaid for on the internet.• E-commerce opens up international marketsto firms as overseas customers can viewproducts for sale online.• A business can develop links with customersthrough email newsletters.
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