Importance of Organizational Communication
Organizational communication is more than a process by which information is exchanged. Critically discuss.
The term ‘organizational communication’ can be defined as the flow of communication within an organization that could be formal as well as informal. With the help of organizational communication, exchange of data, ideas, crucial information, emotions and thoughts take place between the employees and the managers. Effective communication has the ability to enhance the productivity of an organization. If employees are able to communicate with each other as well as with their supervisors, whenever required, they will be able to gain the ability to help the management of the company so that the achieve its goal and objectives. Moreover, in the multicultural organization, effective communication is highly required to avoid the conflict between the employees. However, recent studies have found that in a good number of organizations, organizational communication is highly neglected and this is one of the chief reasons behind the failure of this organization (Bratton 2015).
According to Keyton (2011), organizational communication is not the sole privilege or responsibility of the managers of an organization. This is because organizational communication involves employees of the organizations along with the managers. Hence, if the managers are the one who creates and send the majority of the massages, it is the subordinates who create the meaning of the massages that has been delivered. Several times it has been found that the actual meaning of the massage hared by the sender, be it the manager or the employee, is highly different from the final meaning interpreted. According to the author, the chief power of organizational communication is not in the hand of the mangers but in the hands of the employees. The members in the organizational communication process pose varying degree of power. For instance, individuals who are more valuable or assets of an organization are found to have more organizational power compared to other employees. Employees with higher power try to exercise their power through organizational communication by implementing new policies and rules. Other facts that influence the organizational communication among the employees involve the number and nature of the competition within the organization. Employees who have side jobs or consider working in the organization as a hobby are less competitive compared to the employees who are financially dependent on the organization. Lower competition within an organization results in the lower commitment of the employees towards it. Less is the commitment less will be the participation of the employees in organizational communication
Flow of Formal and Informal Communication
When it comes to organizational communication, ‘organization talk’ within the company plays a major role in enhancing the brand equity of the company. Organizational talk involves forming a linkage between the organizational symbols, organizational reality and cultural context of organizing. In order to gain control over the organizational talk, the organization should implement linguistic artefacts as a tool. Linguistic artefacts in organizational talk include labels, platitudes as well as metaphors. According to Keyton (2011), Level has the ability to promote or stigmatize an individual associated with the company. For instance, one of the most popular labels used in organizations across the world is ‘Leadership”. The mentioned level is considered as a positive level where employees get motivated and are able to enhance their productivity under the leadership of a leader. However, an example of negative or stigmatized level includes “heretics”. This term defines a group of individuals in threatening positions. Metaphors can help the staffs to understand the change, An example of a well-coined metaphor includes "rich flora of experiments". This metaphor brings out an image of a manifold, spontaneous and colourful object which is also unregimented and hard to work across. An example of negative feedback includes ‘Primus inter pares’. This metaphor is used to define the role of sub-municipal committee’s coordinator but failed miserably to convey the appropriate meaning. This tool also has the ability to promote new managerial philosophy as well as values. Both metaphors and labels can be imported from outside the Company. Platitude has the ability to serve as instruments that help the company to control during the time of change by reducing uncertainty. Therefore, managers of an organization should be highly careful before implementing levels, metaphors and platitudes for effective communication within the organization.
According to Bratton (2015), gossips among the employees can impose a high impact on a specific organization. Organizational gossips are defined as the evolution of employee of a certain organization in his or her absence. Organizational gossips are of different types. Credible gossips include gossips that are believable, accurate and truthful. Work-related gossips include gossips that are related to the work life of an employee like his or her job performance and career progress. The above-mentioned types of gossips have both positive as well as negative effect. Positive gossips about an employee not only motives him but also enhances his ability to enhance his productivity. Negative gossips, on the other hand, act as a demoting agent. Not only that rumour about a potential employee can result in the resignation of that employee. As a result of that, the organization will suffer from loss of a potential employee. Gossip, whether positive or negative, influence the power. Gossips shared by an employee to other employees help them to understand the values and rules of the organization. Gossips also serve as a source of information. Along with that gossips also reveals the degree of knowledge of a particular employee about others. Thus gossips provide the gossiper with the power to influence the again the thoughts of others. Moreover, the tendency and behaviour of the employees can also be assessed with respect to the type of gossips they are sharing with their co-workers. Employees who share negative gossip are generally looked down upon by their co-workers. This, in case of negative gossip, the power directly gets transferred from the hand of the gossiper to the listeners. According to the researcher, gossip, is a widely used method of organizational communication, has the ability to enhance as well as negatively impact the reputation of an individual working for an organization (Bratton 2015). Thus having a clear understanding of gossips can help the organizations to capitalize this technique as a widespread genre of informal organizational communication.
Role of Power Dynamics in Organizational Communication
According to Czarniawska-Joerges and Joerges (1988), technology plays a major role in internal organizational communication in this era of modernization. Technologically advanced communicational tools that include smartphones and laptops are used by the managers of the companies to communicate with the employees. While face to face communication can be defined as one of the most effective communicational methods, several organizations find it difficult to gather all the team members for a face to face conversation during an emergency situation. During such crucial moment, advanced communication technology along with internal network or social media platforms helps to create effective communication among the managers as well as the stuff. Communication is considered to be a highly crucial tool for managers to exercise their managerial powers. Organizational communication can be segregated into two types of communication, namely, formal and informal. While formal communication includes memos and commands, informal communication involve quick chats and conversations that are not work-related. According to the author, informal communication sometimes includes gossips. Gossips help the employees as well as the managers to find out work-related information that are can be obtained in an official way. According to the researcher Kurtland and Pelled (2000), a gossiper does not possess enough power to influence the thoughts of his co-workers about a particular employee or organization. The chief reason behind this is the presence of noises. Noises can be defined as the obstacles that interfere the flow of information through an organization. The information provided by a gossiper can get highly distorted due to the involvement of several numbers of listeners till it reaches to the final listen. A positive gossip can get highly distorted by the listeners and reaches to the end listener as a negative gossip. Thus it can be understood that noise highly affects the power of the gossiper. The same issue is faced by the managers while conducting massage through a number of noises. According to a survey, only 20 percent of the original meaning of the massages conducted by the managers, reach the ground level employees properly King and Lawley (2016). Thus, like gossipers, managers also have a very little amount of power on the organizational communication.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that organizational communication gets highly affected several factors. While gossip can be considered as one of the most effective tools for effective internal communication, negative gossip has been found to have a destructive effect on the organizations. Moreover, labels, metaphors and platitudes are found to have several negative effects on the organization. In order to prevent the negative impact of the mentioned factors, the managers should implement rules and regulation to prevent gossips that can hamper the reputation of an employee or the organization. Moreover, in order to minimize noises that distort the information and messages shared by the managers to a great level, social media platforms and modern communication technologies must be used.
Bratton (2015) Chapter 11: Communication. In Bratton, J. Work and Organizational Behaviour 3rd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Czarniawska-Joerges, B. and Joerges, B. (1988) How to control things with words: Organizational talk and control. Management communication quarterly 2(2): 170-193.
Keyton, J. (2011) Chapter 1: Positioning organizational culture. In Keyton, J. Communication and organizational culture: A Key to understanding work experiences. London: Sage.
King, D. and Lawley, S. (2016) Chapter 14: information, communication, and technology. Organizational Behaviour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kurtland, N.B., and Pelled, L.H. (2000) Passing the word: Toward a model of gossip and power in the workplace. Academy of Management Review 25(2): 428-38.