CAPE 2006 U1/P2 #3 COMMUNICATION3a) Discuss THREE principal barriers to good communication in an organization. [9 marks] Communication is the process by which information is passed on from one individual toanother in an organization. Barriers to communication are anything that distorts or prevents theoriginal message from reaching the receiver/destination. Firstly, one principal barrier to good communication is the ambiguity of messages. If amessage is ambiguous, this means that it may have more than one way in which it can beinterpreted by the receiver(s). Messages that are unclear may lead to costly decision making bymanagers and this is especially disadvantageous to firms operating in highly competitivemarkets. By making bad decisions due to ambiguous messages a firm may spend money forunnecessary reasons which could have been better spent elsewhere. Secondly, another principal barrier to good communication is the use of inappropriatemedium for the dissemination of information. This can be seen in the organization where, forexample, information in the form of graphs and statistical information may be passed along thethrough the medium of the telephone. This is clearly an inappropriate medium of communicationsince the best medium for such information may have been through visual presentations.Inappropriate use of medium may again be detrimental to the organization since it may very wellhamper with the quality of goods and services produced especially nowadays where consumersare more quality conscious. Lastly, a third barrier to good communication is the length of the channel ofcommunication. Long channels of communication is a recipe for disaster since the originalmessage may become distorted or even adulterated due to noise that may exist in theorganization. Noise is anything that alters the content of the original message. In long channelsof communication, the message may take a very long time to reach its destination and dependingupon its importance, it may very well costly to the firm if it is not acted upon.3b) Explain ONE way in which EACH barrier discussed in (a) above might be overcome. [6marks]One way in which each barrier can be overcome is: Ambiguous messages can be overcome by the use of clearer vocabulary so as to reduce the uncertainty among receivers and effectively leading to the right decisions/jobs to be undertaken. The use of inappropriate medium can be overcome simply by using the best medium for the respective information to be carried through. Large quantities of statistical information should be passed through visual presentations such as PowerPoint and not the use of probably, a telephone.
To overcome distortion and late reply of messages because of long channels of communication can simply be done by keeping the channel of communication as short as possible.3c) Describe TWO important features of: [8 marks] i) The Formal Communication Network: the formal communication network is one which is recognized by the organization. This follows the structure of the organization. An example of this may from a senior manager to a junior manager. In addition to this, formal communication networks can be either vertical or horizontal. E.g. workers from different departments on the same hierarchical level communicating with each other. ii) The informal communication network: An informal communication network firstly is not part of the organization structure but nevertheless exists since people cannot be stopped from communicating with each other. This method of communication is often referred to as “grapevine”. A second feature of an informal communication network is the fact that managers view the communication with suspicion since they see this as a means of gossip against management. An example of an informal communication network is meetings in the staff dining rooms at times of break.3d) Outline TWO advantages of face to face communication over written communication.[2marks] Face to face communication gives way for clarification if message is not understood at first whereas most times, written communication leaves no room for clarification (one way communication). Also, face to face communication may lead to the possible motivation of workers as they may feel accepted in the organization. This fulfills their social needs as indicated in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. On the other hand, written communication often leads to a feeling of isolation among workers leading to low worker morale.