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  1. 1. CAPE 2007 U1/P2 #3 COMMUNICATION3a) Using examples from organizations that you have studied, evaluate FOUR major methods ofcommunication that exist between management and staff. [17 marks]b) Suggest FOUR major causes of poor communication between management and staff. [8marks] a) Communication is the passing of information among people or different groups.Communication is only effective if the receiver understands the message and the sender knows ithas been understood. Four major methods of communication between management and staff arenoticeboards, staff meetings, video conferencing and interviews. The first major method of communication existing between management and staff is anoticeboard. This is a form of written communication. Additionally, this is an example of oneway communication. One way communication exists when there exists no feedback to thesender. Noticeboards are usually used in large organizations as it is seen as the best medium inwhich management can communicate with its huge staff. Noticeboards have its advantages anddisadvantages in bringing about information from management to staff. The main advantage of anoticeboard is the ease of distribution and the fact that information may be well structured. Thisis a benefit since the intended destination (staff) may immediately understand what is required ofthem and work can be started immediately upon receiving the message. On the other hand, anoticeboard may have the severe limitations of lack of feedback and low worker morale. Byusing noticeboards, managers would not be aware if the message reached the intended audienceand if in fact it was understood. This can lead to costly decisions being undertaken and may bedetrimental especially to the firms in competitive environments where there is no room for costlymistakes. Also, workers may feel a sense of isolation from top management as there is no face toface contact and may lead to low morale. This is disadvantageous since it can lead to lowerproductivity, higher absenteeism rates and lower quality. According to Marslow, if these lowerorder needs which are social are not met, job dissatisfaction/low motivation arises. Secondly, a staff meeting is another major method of communication existing betweenmanagement and staff. Staff meetings are a form of oral communication and gives way todissemination of information between management and staff. Staff meetings may be beneficialmainly because it can be questioned quickly. The advantage of this is that workers are able toclarify any doubts or misunderstanding that may arise before they embark on doing the taskincorrectly. It further prevents any unnecessary costly decisions from being undertaken.Additionally, with this form of two way communication, workers may feel motivated as theymay feel that they are part of the organization and may be reflected by increased productivity,increased quality and consequently, increased profits. However, staff meetings may be affectedby noise. Noise is anything that prevents messages from reaching its intended destination oralters the content of the message. An example in this case can be physical noise from the factory
  2. 2. or passing traffic. Being subject to interruption by noise is a disadvantage because it may lead tomisunderstanding of information and possible conflict within the organization. Thirdly, a major communication method existing between management and staff is videoconferencing. Video conferencing is a form of electronic media. It may best be used by anorganization that has many different firms in different locations e.g. multinational companies.The main advantage of the use of this electronic medium is the fact that it ignores geographicalboundaries. By ignoring geographical boundaries, information can be effectively passed on to theintended destination quickly and with the advent of technological advancements in this modernage, video conferencing may be in high definition (HD) which may actually strengthen thecommunication between managers and subordinates. However, video conferencing is subject todisadvantages as well. The biggest disadvantage of video conferencing is the fact that it reduceshuman contact which is a major contributor to a sense of isolation in the organization. By feelingisolated, workers may have low worker morale and demotivated and may be reflected by lowerproductivity lower quality and lower profits according to the productivity-quality-profitabilitylink put forward by Deming. Lastly, a major method of communication that can exist between management and staff isan interview. An interview, simply put is a primary method of gathering information/researchfrom an individual through a series of questions. This may best be seen between the marketingmanager and market researcher where the manager asks questions based on the dynamicstructure of the market and consumer demand for a good. An advantage of this form of two waycommunication/oral communication method is the fact that there may be an easier mutualunderstanding between manager and subordinate on the topic being and room for clarification isalways there. However, an interview may be disadvantageous since it may be time consuming,and if unproductive, valuable time would have been wasted.b) Four major causes of poor communication between managers and staff are:  Physical factors such as noise in a factory, passing traffic, may cause the message to be distorted in some way or another.  If the channel of communication is too long, then the message would take a long period of time to reach the subordinates and if the message is very important, the length of time taken to act upon it may prove to be too late.  The use of technical terms or jargons may actually lead to difficulty in interpreting the intended message and is misinterpreted; it may be costly to the firm.  If the message is not clear, then it will be difficult for the receiver to interpret hence leading to poor communication.