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Formal Communication

Communication is the process through information can be shared, feelings can be shared to one another and feedback can be given. Communication is a very important element, it is the mode of interaction between human beings, and they express their feelings, share information and experiences. Communication has the similar relevance in business organization as well, but business communication is very formal, mostly the business communication has an objective. Business communication is sharing information within or outside the organization for mutual benefit. Communication is important in a business because it will build a team that will help the organization to gain success, the people in an organization need to work in harmony and that is only possible if there is proper communication within the organization as well as outside the organization. The various purpose of communication within an organization is, sharing information, delegating tasks, reporting to the supervisor, boosting the morale of the employees, communicating rules and regulations and many more (Argenti, 2015). 

The various communication channels are informal communication, formal communication, and unofficial communication.

Formal communication channel is used for transmitting information like, goals policies and the procedures of the organization. There is chain of command in the messages that flow vertically or horizontally. It refers to exchange of communication officially, it is a controlled and deliberate process. Important information is passed through formal communication channel therefore the process is done very carefully, any hindrance in the formal communication channel could cause miscommunication and be dangerous for the organization.  Formal communication occurs horizontally, vertically and diagonally. Formal communication is authoritarian in nature, because official rules are followed in formal communication it has an official recognition, the matters discussed in communication channel are highly confidential therefore secrecy is maintained.  It helps in delegation of authority, because of the formal nature of the communication there is no place for grapevines. The message cannot be distorted, it aids in the maintenance of discipline in an organization. Formal communication requires huge cost for its effectiveness, it is time consuming because most of the formal communication are in written form. The reason written communication is used because written communication can be kept for future records, there is very little chance to build labor management relationship, formal communication is either less flexible or not flexible at all, formal communication has legal and official communication, coordination is very difficult in formal communication. Documents used in formal communication can be used as references. Formal communications are routine communication and are generally task related (Argenti, 2015). 

Informal Communication

The formal communication usually flows in upwards, downward, horizontal and diagonal direction, in upward direction mostly the subordinates use the upward communication channel to report to their supervisors the flow of communication is from the lower management to the upper  management. In the downward communication there is a chain of command that flows from the top level management to the middle level management and the to the lower level of management. In the downward communication the supervisor gives task related commands, instructions, important information are passed from the supervisors to their subordinates in this communication channel. Horizontal communication is the channel of communication in which the communication process takes place between the same levels of the employees, working in the same departments or may be in other departments. The horizontal communication takes place for formal communication between the team members or to share important task related information between the employees. The diagonal communication is quite a difficult communication because in this the communication takes place diagonally between different departments and the different levels. For example, the Marketing Manager communicates and coordinates the finance manager for the allocation of funds for various marketing activities. The logistic manager communicates with the finance manager. Formal communication can be in written of oral form but usually organizations use written form because it is more formal than the oral communication and can used as evidence in legal obligations (Argenti, 2015).

Informal communication, it is the process of exchange of information between the employees, these is just a random interaction that does not have an objective like the formal Communication. The Informal communication though not task related but it is not unofficial communication. It is a causal form of communication may or may not be task related, the communication process is often based on exchange or sharing personal information. Informal communication is good for maintain healthy and good relationship among the employees, it builds the team spirit in an organization. Informal communication is among the employees of an organization irrespective of the level of management including the supervisor and subordinate interaction. Too much use of informal communication leads to unofficial communication like the grapevines, it can create conflicts and certain biasness. Informal communication is not that strict in nature but, needs to be controlled because there is a thin line between the informal and unofficial communication. Informal communication is done through oral communication, or sometimes, gestures and symbols are used, like the handshakes, nodding head in agreement, smiling (Argenti, 2015). 

Unofficial Communication

Unofficial communication is the formed when excessive informal communication is practiced within a organization. It is very informal in nature, harms team spirit of the organization, grapevines are informational exchange beyond the set limits, these kind of communication takes place when the rules and policies of the organization is not followed properly, these kind of communication is very flexible and does not usually follow any rules. Grapevines are also called gossips, these kind of communication has no relevance to the tasks and is mostly based on the personal lives of the employees. This kind of communication is either based on assumptions, biases, prejudices, and miscommunication. Grapevines are the main reasons of conflicts between the employees. There is a very deep relationship between the different languages and the culture, languages are often used to maintain and convey the cultural links (Argenti, 2015). 

Communication is more than just the speech and writing. Non-verbal communication forms a very important part in many cultures this is known as auxiliary language or paralanguage. Cultural background defines the paralanguages of the different countries, like the tone of voices, there is chances that miscommunication might occur in cross cultural interactions. Nonverbal communication like the nods mean different in different languages. In many places, people nod to say yes, different people from different cultural background might think that a nod means no. In Japan when someone nods it means they are listening (Moreno & Sznajd, 2013).

In western culture, maintaining an eye contact is considered as a good gesture. In cultures like, Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic and Native American do not take making eye contact as good gesture, it is considered rude and highly offensive. In eastern cultures women are suggested not to maintain eye contacts with men, it is considered offensive.  Certain gestures, like the thumbs up gesture is considered as ‘ok’ sign while in Latin-American culture is a symbol of vulgarism. Touches are considered as a rude behavior while touches in many cultures are acceptable. In Middle Eastern culture, touching a person of opposite gender is considered a bad character (Fish, 2015).

There are many barriers to effective communication both in the verbal and the non verbal forms of communication, barriers might be from the side of the sender of the message as well as from the side of the listener. Some of the barriers of oral communication is language barrier, emotional barriers, people might not be able to share their emotions at times or some of the topics are considered to be a taboo. In an oral communication when the listener does not pay attention or does not have interest in the conversation the communication is ineffective. Differences in the perceptions and the viewpoints often act as a barrier, physical disabilities like hearing and speaking disabilities hider the communication process. Language differences and the difficulty to understand a message is also an barrier to communication (Argenti, 2015). 

Nonverbal Communication

Use of Jargons, Management speaks and euphemisms are barriers to effective communication. Jargons are difficult words that are used in context of a particular subject is not well understood by others, it should be avoided in communication because it might not be understood by the listener or or the reader, it might make the receiver less interested towards the message.  Management speak are also called corporate jargons these are common phrases that are used by the corporate, it is used to impress the listeners, the purpose of Management speaks phrases is to make dull and the boring conversations sound interesting. So of the Management speaks are, Move the goal post, think outside the box, be proactive and not reactive. The repetitive use of these kinds of phrase makes the communication uninteresting and fails to achieve the objective of communication. Euphemisms are mild, indirect substitution of a word that is considered offensive at times.  Euphemisms should be avoided because it might offend people at times, they take the meaning into consideration that was not intended (Chong & Besharati, 2014). 

The barriers of communication can be reduced by using right language according the language of the receiver, the receiver should also be away from all kinds of emotional barriers and pay attention to the message being delivered. Use of Jargons, management speaks and euphemisms, noise is also major barrier, the room used for communication should be free from all such barriers (Chong & Besharati, 2014). 

Conclusion

In an organization, communication plays a very important role, effective communication is needed for coordination between the employees. Communication helps in teambuilding, it improves the interpersonal relation between the employees, supervisors motivates their subordinates. There are mainly three channels of communication, formal, informal or unofficial communication. Formal communication is the most commonly used communication channel. Informal communication is considered important for an organization because, it helps the employees each other in a better way and hence work in harmony. Unofficial communication or grapevines occur when there is excessive use of informal communication and it is very harmful.

References

Argenti, P. A. (2015). Corporate communication. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Banerjee, P., & Singh, S. (2015). Managers' Perspectives on the Effects of Online Grapevine Communication: A Qualitative Inquiry. The Qualitative Report, 20(6), 765.

Berger, J., & Iyengar, R. (2013). Communication channels and word of mouth: How the medium shapes the message. Journal of Consumer Research,40(3), 567-579.

Chen, Y., Tang, C., Zhou, X., Sarcevic, A., & Lee, S. (2013, February). Beyond formality: informal communication in health practices. In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work companion(pp. 307-312). ACM.

Chong, C. W., & Besharati, J. (2014). Challenges of knowledge sharing in the petrochemical industry. Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), 6(2), 171-187.

Ferraro, G. P., & Briody, E. K. (2017). The cultural dimension of global business. Taylor & Francis.

Fish, L. (2015). Informal Communication Systems in the Vietnam War: A Case Study in Folklore, Technology and Popular Culture. New Directions in Folklore, 7.

Mikhelson, S. V. (2016). CULTURAL AND COMMUNICATIVE (LANGUAGE) BARRIERS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS. Philosophy Sciences, (8), 44.

Moreno, R. G., & Sznajder, H. S. (2013). Business communication across three European cultures: A contrastive analysis of British, Spanish and Polish email writing. Ibérica: Revista de la Asociación Europea de Lenguas para Fines Específicos (AELFE), (26), 77-98.

Pruskus, V. (2014). Non-formal Communication: Rumors as a Social Control, Security and Identity Assurance Tool. LOGOS-VILNIUS, (78), 145-154.

Siegman, A. W., & Feldstein, S. (2014). Nonverbal behavior and communication. Psychology Press.

Vilhena, D. A., Foster, J. G., Rosvall, M., West, J. D., Evans, J., & Bergstrom, C. T. (2014). Finding cultural holes: How structure and culture diverge in networks of scholarly communication. Sociological Science, 1, 221-239.

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