Communications (chapter4)


Meaning, individual perception and communications, effective communications network, Organizational communications, and the grapevine, improving communications process, the linking pin, communications breakdown, barriers to communications



Communication is the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information. For this, the person who wants to send message uses means like load speaker, telephone, letter, email, gesture, color, facial expressions, etc.

Individual perception and communications

The perception of individuals involved in communications have greater role to understand the communications.  Some examples, given in the below table will clear this.

When a person from the USA does this It means When the something is done by a person from It means
Stands close to another while talking The speaker is considered pushy Italy The speaker is behaving normally
Looks away from another The speaker is shy Japan The speaker is showing difference to authority
Extends the palm of her hand The e speaker is greeting the other party by offering a handshake Greece The speaker is insulting the other party
Join the index finger and thumb to form “O” Okay Tunisia I will kill you


Effective communications network

A network is the connection of sender of the message to the receivers of the message. There is no doubt that communications should be effective in the sense that the receiver must understand the message sent by sender in the same sense quickly.



Media Method Richness Feed back
Oral media Face to face talk highest fastest
Telephone conversion Decreases the richness than face to face Decreases the feedback level than face to face
Written media Addressed documents Decreases the richness than telephone conversion Decreases the feedback level than telephone conversion
Unaddressed documents low slower

One can design face-to-face communication network in various shapes like Circle, V Shape, U Shape, Wheel, etc.  If it is electronics communications then different types of network will be LAN, WAN, MAN, etc.

Organizational communications and the grapevine

In the organization, there can be formal communications and informal communications. Formal communications mean the communications mode and style is defined.   Formal meetings, formal letters, formal expressions, are formal communications because organizations makes rule and regulations about their procedures.

There are informal communications, besides formal communications. Many times people talk about each other but this cannot be the subject of formal discussion in the meeting and written procedures to make decisions. Grapevine is an example that organizational people talk, and write. Grapevine may carry the message of honesty, integrity to financial irregularities, love affairs, bias decisions of the authorities, etc. Though they are not formal, but plays very important role to upgrade the image of the organizations and degrade the degrade it.

Improving communications process

Managers must be sometimes sender and sometimes receiver. For the effective communications process how he/she should receive and how should send is a matter of great significance. The table below presents this.

Communication Skills for Managers as Senders Communication Skills for Managers as Receivers
u      Send clear and complete messages.

u      Encode messages in symbols the receiver understands.

u      Select a medium appropriate for the message AND monitored by the receiver.

u      Avoid filtering (holding back information) and distortion as the message passes through other workers.

u      Ensure a feedback mechanism is included in the message.

u      Provide accurate information to avoid rumors.

u       Pay Attention to what is sent as a message.

u       Be a good listener: don’t interrupt.

n   Ask questions to clarify your understanding.

u       Be empathetic: try to understand what the sender feels.

u       Understand linguistic styles: different people speak differently.

n  Speed, tone, pausing all impact communication.

n  This is particularly true across cultures.

n  Managers should expect and plan for this.


The linking pin

When an organization member plays two different roles then communication overlaps. A union leader is the member of the employees and sometimes works as members of board of directors.

The linking pin model is an idea developed by Rensis Likert. It presents an organization as a number of overlapping work units in which a member of a unit is the leader of another unit. In this scheme, the supervisor/manager has the dual task of maintaining unity and creating a sense of belonging within the group he or she supervises and of representing that group in meetings with superior and parallel management staff. These individuals are the linking pins within the organization and so they become the focus of leadership development activities.

Communications breakdown,

Communication breakdown refers to failure in exchange of information. It may be because of language barrier, lack of clear information, time pressures, emotions and distraction.


Barriers to communications

There are a number of ways that people go wrong when communicating.

  1. Perceptual Barriers: This is made in the mind. One Nepalese tries to speak in English with American assuming that he cannot speak Nepali.
  2. Language Barriers: this is due to language weakness and ambiguous language.
  3. Physical Barriers: this is due to means and technology.
  4. Physiological Barriers: this is due to physiological conditions, like hunger, pain, etc
  5. Psychological Barriers: this is due to attitude, concentrations, boredom, frustrations, etc.



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