Communication and its importance in the workplace
Communication can be effectively defined as “the management of the messages with the objective of creating meaning” (Samovar et al., 2011, p.9). Eight major structural components in communication have been specified by Giffey et al., (2009) as sender, message, channel, receiver, response, feedback, environment, and noise.
The role of culture in communications has been stressed by Bronstein (2010), who defines culture as a set of common norms, values and accepted behaviours within the boundaries of a specific group. Specifically, the author convincingly argues that specifications of cultural background of an employee significantly impact the manner in which the employee sends, receives and perceives messages.
In other words, content of the message, choice of communication channels and the nature of delivery of communication messages is heavily influenced by specific characteristics of cultural background of the individual who is delivering the communication message.
According to concentric model of fields of communication introduced by Eunson (2012) different types of communication can be perceived in an interconnected and systematic way in the following manner:
A concentric model of fields of communication
Source: Eunson (2012)
The model states that the different levels of communication can be interconnected in various ways. Specifically, the concentric model of fields of communication divides communication into six different levels and argues that the more levels of communication are utilised in any particular instance, the better the quality of communication would be.
According to Ruesch and Batison (2008) the main barriers to communication include bias, noise, perception, closed-mindedness, and the level of personal stress. However, the main limitation of the article authored by Ruesch and Batison (2008) relates to the fact that the main barriers to communication have been only listed without reflection of the ways in which these barriers have negative implications.
Some authors reason that “human communication is largely about feelings, or about private thoughts people hope to influence other people with” (Thayer, 2009, p.20), and accordingly, subjectivity of human feelings, as well as, and perception of people about other individuals might have great impact upon the quality of communication.
The importance of social media integration in facilitation of communication in the workplaces has been effectively addressed by Thayer (2009), Guffey et al. (2009), Bronstein et al. (2010), Creitner and Cassidy (2012) and others.
Bronstein et al. (2010) associate effective use of social media with gaining competitive advantage in the marketplace. Authors point to the high levels of potential of social media in increasing levels of customer attraction and retention and argue that this potential is not currently being utilised in many private organisations.
Thayer (2009) rightly considers the high level of speed of communication enabled by social media as one of the most significant advantages of social media as effective communication tools. Moreover, specific advantages of using social media in communication by businesses have been found to include its, high level of speed, low level of price, measurability of effectiveness, and retaining control over the communication messages (Guffey et al., 2009).
The role of employee training and development in achieving greater level of integration of social media in the workplace has been stressed by Creitner and Cassidy (2012).
At the same time, main disadvantages associated with the use of social media as a communication platform have been identified by Bronstein et al. (2010) as development of fear atmosphere among some business leaders due to fear of loss of control or lack of comprehension of social media specifications.
Moreover, Pozzi (2009) mentions about additional serious disadvantages or even threats associated with the use of social media for private and professional purposes and these include lack of security, potential misuse of personal data, possibility of becoming addicted to social media and others.
Berg (2010) advises business executives to be engaging their most competent employees in the facilitation of social media for the business. The author rightly states that “social media deserves seasoned and trusted employees” (Berg, 2010). However, it is important to note that this stand has been taken only in relation to social media as means for communication with stakeholders, not solely focusing on communication between colleagues within an organisation.
Brounstein, M., Bell, A.H., Smith, D.M., Isbell, C & Orr, A. (2010) “Business Communication” John Wiley & Sons
Eunson, B. (2012) “Communication in the Workplace” John Wiley & Sons
Guffey, M.E., Rhodes, K., Rogin, P. & Rhodes, K. (2009) “Business Communication: Process and Product” Cengage Learning
Kreitner, R. & Cassidy, C. (2012) “Management” Cengage Learning
Pozzi, A. (2009) “Essays in E-Commerce” Stanford University
Ruesch, J. & Bateson, G. (2008) “Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry” Transaction Books
Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E. & McDaniel, E.R. (2011) “Intercultural Communication: A Reader” Cengage Learning
Thayer, L. (2009) “Communication” Xlibris Corporation