THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF COUNICATION BREAKDOWN IN AN ORGANIZATION: CASE STUDY BUEA MUNICIPALITY
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Communication is stated to be one of the most crucial systems, which is essential to develop in all areas. It does not matter how good the communication system is, how well formed and well developed it is, barriers do occur within the communication systems, whether it is an organization, communication between the family members, social network, institution and so forth. Barriers that take place within the communication systems are very unfortunate and unwanted, every individual wants that his functioning should be implemented in a smooth manner without the occurrence of barriers, for instance, when a person is discussing a vital issue with somebody, or two friends are having a friendly conversation and a doorbell rings or somebody enters then in most cases, it is displeasing. There are number of reasons due to which these barriers take place, most of the barriers carry a reason, for instance, if some important task is going on and a doorbell rings and somebody enters immediately, this might have occurred due to a particular reason and there are also numerous factors which can be physical barriers, such as faults that take place in the telephonic system, internet not working or any barriers which are random (Usman, 1992:12).
The modern world is data-oriented, so management is more concerned with communication with the staff. Communication is therefore a vital tool in an enterprise for efficient management. The need for effective communication has become paramount because it is difficult for most managers to understand why efficiency in an organization is not as certain. Communication, however, incorporates, coordinates and synchronizes the activities of organizations. In an organization, it is necessary to have. This can be done through communication for the harmonization of overall operations.
Communication could be described as a process of passing information and understanding to one or more persons. It is a means by which behavior is modified, change is affected, and information is made productive in order to achieve objectives and goals of organization or associations. In an association, there are different units performing various functions. Thus, communication serves as a linking process by which parts of a system are tied together. Communication provides the links, which bind an association together in order to evolve common understanding Rodgers etal (2002:23).
In his view, Chester (1938:32) says that communication is the means by which people are linked together in a well-structured association to achieve a common purpose. Communication is also defined as the transfer of information, ideas, emotional feelings or views by one person to another in an understanding way, through the use of meaningful words, signs, letters or symbols for the purpose of entertainment or influencing the behavior of the other Umoh (2000:45).
The definitions above form the essential elements of effective communication in an association namely:
A message sender
The message vehicle (noise)
Message receiver (listener)
An understood message or feedback
Both the sender and receiver of any message share a common responsibility. The sender should ensure that his message is such that could be understood. A message could be in the form of an instruction or information. An instruction in the sense that the receiver is told the definite things he is expected to accomplish. Information could take two forms namely: information proper and news. Information proper guides the receiver on what decisions to make while news is of no value for decision making.
However, what is important is about communication is that the receiver must understand the message that has been sent across by asking certain questions, it may be possible to find out if the receiver has actually understood the message. This makes communication to be a two way process in a sense that it prevents the development of psychologically negative attitude among the personnel in national association of mass communication students.
National association of mass communication students is an organized association which is made up of undergraduates in the field of journalism, who decides to come together for special purpose and goals. Once you are admitted in the department of mass communication, you automatically become a member. It is however very pertinent to say that communication has been characterized as the life wire of any organization. It is a veritable tool of effective relationship among people in an association, without communication, associations will not achieve their goals. The purpose of communication in an organization is to effect change, to influence action toward the welfare of the enterprise. Communication is essential for the internal functioning of enterprises because it integrates the managerial functions. Weihrich et al (2005:12). But if reverse becomes the case where barriers hinders the communication flow in national association of mass communication student, off course yes, such association is bound to breakdown and below are the effects it will results to;
It will terminate the goals of the association.
It will charter the plans of the association.
It will bring quarrel among human and other resources in the most attacking way.
It will create a violent environment where decisions will be fought on.
It will disorganize performance.
According to Koontz H. Weihrich (2008:32) 12th edition of management at global and entrepreneurial perspective page 22 defined communications as the process of transferring information meaningfully from one to another. Communication is an essential element of all human interactions: humanity has recorded its history through languages and transmitted its culture from one generation to another. The ability to communicate allows human beings to build societies, organizations and other social groups that contribute to social well-being and survival. Communication represents about 60 percent of the duties of managers. The type is as follows: protection of the Directive, request and instruction. The mix involves not only oral and written communication modes, but gestures, supportive clothes, and other visual signals.
Workplace communication breakdown affects workers at all levels, but it typically begins with management. It is the duty of managers to build and share the structures on which an organization depends to spread key information. They also play a leading role in shaping and maintaining the culture of the workplace, providing an environment in which sharing ideas and concerns can be safe or unsafe. Ineffective communication is both costly and morally destructive, so in the specific instances where it occurs, and also in your systems as a whole, it is important to address communication breakdown.
The breakdown of communication can often be traced to poor management and the consequences of running an operation without a clear mission or direction. If everyone in an organization knows what they’re supposed to do and why they’re supposed to do it, they’re unlikely to come across cross-purposes. Even if workers disagree on how to achieve a desired result, by first agreeing on the outcomes they are attempting to achieve, they can map a path to get back on the same page.
Disengagement and low morale among employees may also play a role in problems with communication. No matter how good the processes are and the ability to explain what is expected of them to workers, if they dislike their work and have no confidence in the company, they are unlikely to follow through and comply with their colleagues. However, if they have the resources and knowledge they need to function effectively, as individuals and as a team, employees are considerably less likely to be disengaged. Interpersonal relationships may also lead to communication breakdowns among staff members. Conflicts of personality can make it hard to work together and share knowledge constructively. Gossip causes bad emotions and a loss of confidence. Workers who think more about their own egos than about the company’s well-being are unable to interact efficiently.
Whatever the cause of communication breakdown is in a company, it is unlikely to meet the goals and continue operating smoothly and profitably unless the underlying issues are addressed. If the managers are ineffective communicators and have a hard time motivating their staff, they will need to either train them in communication techniques or find new managers. If the company’s systems aren’t focused enough to provide clear goals, it’s worth spending time clarifying strategic objectives. And if the staff suffers from chronically low morale, it’s the manager’s responsibility to identify the source of their discontent and constructively address it.
Miscommunication remains a real business issue, considering all the choices available for workplace communication these days, from email to text message to Slack. That’s according to a recent survey conducted from November 2017 to January 2018 by The Economist Intelligence Unit, which includes responses from over 400 senior executives, managers and junior workers in U.S. businesses. Among the highlights of the survey; 52 percent of respondents say that communication breakdowns have led to stress, and 31 percent of respondents say that low morale was the result of poor communication at work. 44 percent of respondents cite miscommunication as the primary cause in failure to complete projects. 37 percent of males define themselves as having a personal communication style, compared with only 27 percent of women. This contradicts the stereotype that women have more relationship-based communication styles. 41 percent of middle managers surveyed said email was still the most effective communication tool. 88 percent of millennial respondents believe poor communication has a negative impact on career growth.
According to the study, poor communication has a tremendous effect on the organization, which states that “unclear instructions from superiors, pointless meetings and other stressors can snowball into larger problems” with widespread effects on the organization. Respondents to the survey say communication barriers are leading to a number of negative outcomes, including: delay or failure to complete projects (44 percent), low morale (31 percent), missed performance goals (25 percent) and even lost sales (18 percent).
But the news from the Economist Intelligence Unit isn’t all bad. It turns out different generations do agree on something: 65 percent of respondents say that face-to-face meetings are a very effective mode of communication—and this number does not vary significantly among generations. But here’s the downside: Only 22 percent say they have these types of meetings every day.
“We are best at face-to-face communication in small groups in real time,” says Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. “Yet globalization and flexible work schedules are distributing people in time, narrowing the window when people’s availability overlaps and they could meet in person. I don’t see that going away.”
Some Organisations do not have a secure communication platform. If there is no companywide platform through which employees can communicate, they are going to find other ways to communicate with one another. Team members have to find ways to communicate with each other, after all. Unfortunately, this often leads to employees using modes of communication that may not be secure. For example, they may send emails to each other containing sensitive information. Not only do the organization risk having sensitive data exposed by allowing employees to find their own ways to communicate with each other, but it makes it more difficult to track productivity.
If the employees have no way to communicate with management, then it is going to be difficult for management to keep track of what their employees are doing and what kind of progress they are making. The employees need a way to communicate with management in order to ask questions, address issues, or simply help keep them up to date. This is especially true for your customer-facing employees. A lack of communication lines between employees and management will make your employees less productive and it will also make them feel less valued since there is no way for them to have their issues addressed. It can hurt the organization in other ways too, for example, if an employee has an idea on how to improve certain inefficiency in your processes, who are they supposed to report this idea to if there are no communication lines with your management?
What are the main causes and effects of communication breakdown in an organization?
1.3.2 Specific Research Questions
What are the obvious barriers of communication in an association?
How does communication breakdown negatively affect the performance of an organization?
Based on the empirical study, what can be done to reduce communication breakdown and improve performance in an organization?
The main objective of this study will be to analyze the causes and effects of communication breakdown in an organization.
- To identify the obvious barriers of communication in an association.
- To examine how communication breakdown negatively affect the performance of an organization.
- To assess how to reduce communication breakdown and improve performance in an organization.
FURTHER READING: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS