Communication is fundamental to the existence and survival of humans as well as to an organization. It is a process of creating and sharing ideas, information, views, facts, feelings from one place, person or group to another.  Communication is the key to the Directing function of management.

A manager may be highly qualified and skilled but if he does not possess good communication skills, all his ability becomes irrelevant. A manager must communicate his directions effectively to the subordinates to get the work done from them properly.

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Process of Communication

Communications is a continuous process that mainly involves three elements viz. sender, message, and receiver. The elements involved in the communication process are explained below in detail:

1. Sender

The sender or the communicator generates the message and conveys it to the receiver. He is the source and the one who starts the communication

2. Message

It is the idea, information, view, fact, feeling, etc. that is generated by the sender and is then intended to be communicated further.

Browse more Topics under Directing

3. Encoding

The message generated by the sender is encoded symbolically such as in the form of words, pictures, gestures, etc. before it is being conveyed.

4. Media

It is the manner in which the encoded message is transmitted. The message may be transmitted orally or in writing. The medium of communication includes telephone, internet, post, fax, e-mail, etc. The choice of medium is decided by the sender.

Learn more about Types of Communication here in detail.

5. Decoding

It is the process of converting the symbols encoded by the sender. After decoding the message is received by the receiver.

6. Receiver

He is the person who is last in the chain and for whom the message was sent by the sender. Once the receiver receives the message and understands it in proper perspective and acts according to the message, only then the purpose of communication is successful.

7. Feedback

Once the receiver confirms to the sender that he has received the message and understood it, the process of communication is complete.

8. Noise

It refers to any obstruction that is caused by the sender, message or receiver during the process of communication. For example, bad telephone connection, faulty encoding, faulty decoding, inattentive receiver, poor understanding of message due to prejudice or inappropriate gestures, etc.


(Source: businessjargons)

Importance of Communication

1. The Basis of Co-ordination

The manager explains to the employees the organizational goals, modes of their achievement and also the interpersonal relationships amongst them. This provides coordination between various employees and also departments. Thus, communications act as a basis for coordination in the organization.

2. Fluent Working

A manager coordinates the human and physical elements of an organization to run it smoothly and efficiently. This coordination is not possible without proper communication.

3. The Basis of Decision Making

Proper communication provides information to the manager that is useful for decision making. No decisions could be taken in the absence of information. Thus, communication is the basis for making the right decisions.

Learn more about Barriers of Communication here in detail.

4. Increases Managerial Efficiency

The manager conveys the targets and issues instructions and allocates jobs to the subordinates. All of these aspects involve communication. Thus, communication is essential for the quick and effective performance of the managers and the entire organization.

5. Increases Cooperation and Organizational Peace

The two-way communication process promotes co-operation and mutual understanding amongst the workers and also between them and the management. This leads to less friction and thus leads to industrial peace in the factory and efficient operations.

6. Boosts Morale of the Employees

Good communication helps the workers to adjust to the physical and social aspects of work. It also improves good human relations in the industry. An efficient system of communication enables the management to motivate, influence and satisfy the subordinates which in turn boosts their morale and keeps them motivated.

Types of Communication

1. Formal Communication

Formal communications are the one that flows through the official channels designed in the organizational chart. It may take place between a superior and a subordinate, a subordinate and a superior or among the same cadre employees or managers. These communications can be oral or in writing and are generally recorded and filed in the office.

Formal communication may be further classified as Vertical communication and Horizontal communication.

Vertical Communication

Vertical Communications as the name suggests flows vertically upwards or downwards through formal channels. Upward communication refers to the flow of communication from a subordinate to a superior whereas downward communication flows from a superior to a subordinate.

Application for grant of leave, submission of a progress report, request for loans etc. are some of the examples of upward communication. Sending notice to employees to attend a meeting, delegating work to the subordinates, informing them about the company policies, etc. are some examples of downward communication.

Horizontal Communication

Horizontal or lateral communication takes place between one division and another. For example, a production manager may contact the finance manager to discuss the delivery of raw material or its purchase.

Types of communication networks in formal communication:

  • Single chain: In this type of network communications flows from every superior to his subordinate through a single chain.
  • Wheel: In this network, all subordinates under one superior communicate through him only. They are not allowed to talk among themselves.
  • Circular: In this type of network, the communication moves in a circle. Each person is able to communicate with his adjoining two persons only.
  • Free flow: In this network, each person can communicate with any other person freely. There is no restriction.
  • Inverted V: In this type of network, a subordinate is allowed to communicate with his immediate superior as well as his superior’s superior also. However, in the latter case, only ordained communication takes place.

2. Informal Communication

Any communication that takes place without following the formal channels of communication is said to be informal communication. Informal communication is often referred to as the ‘grapevine’ as it spreads throughout the organization and in all directions without any regard to the levels of authority.

Informal communication spreads rapidly, often gets distorted and it is very difficult to detect the source of such communication. It also leads to rumours which are not true. People’s behaviour is often affected by rumours and informal discussions which sometimes may hamper the work environment.

However, sometimes these channels may be helpful as they carry information rapidly and, therefore, may be useful to the manager at times. Informal channels are also used by the managers to transmit information in order to know the reactions of his/her subordinates.

Learn more about 7 C’s of Communication here in detail.

Types of Grapevine network:

  • Single strand:  In this network, each person communicates with the other in a sequence.
  • Gossip network: In this type of network, each person communicates with all other persons on a non-selective basis.
  • Probability network: In this network, the individual communicates randomly with other individuals.
  • Cluster Network:  In this network, the individual communicates with only those people whom he trusts. Out of these four types of networks, the Cluster network is the most popular in organizations.

3. Unofficial Communication

There is also an unofficial way of communication. Unofficial communication refers to employee communication outside of the workplace on matters unrelated to work. Friendly meetings, dinner outings, and social gatherings among employees are examples of unofficial communication channels. The management must be aware of the existence of such a channel and the information flowing through it.

Barriers of Communication

The communication barriers may prevent communication or carry incorrect meaning due to which misunderstandings may be created. Therefore, it is essential for a manager to identify such barriers and take appropriate measures to overcome them. The barriers to communication in organizations can be broadly grouped as follows:

1. Semantic Barriers

These are concerned with the problems and obstructions in the process of encoding and decoding of a message into words or impressions. Normally, such barriers result due to the use of wrong words, faulty translations, different interpretations, etc.

For example, a manager has to communicate with workers who have no knowledge of the English language and on the other side, he is not well conversant with the Hindi language. Here, language is a barrier to communication as the manager may not be able to communicate properly with the workers.

2. Psychological Barriers

Emotional or psychological factors also act as barriers to communication. The state of mind of both sender and receiver of communication reflects in the effective communication. A worried person cannot communicate properly and an angry recipient cannot understand the message properly.

Thus, at the time of communication, both the sender and the receiver need to be psychologically sound. Also, they should trust each other. If they do not believe each other, they cannot understand each other’s message in its original sense.

3. Organizational Barriers

The factors related to organizational structure, rules and regulations authority relationships, etc. may sometimes act as barriers to effective communication. In an organization with a highly centralized pattern, people may not be encouraged to have free communication. Also, rigid rules and regulations and cumbersome procedures may also become a hurdle to communication.

4. Personal Barriers

The personal factors of both sender and receiver may act as a barrier to effective communication. If a superior thinks that a particular communication may adversely affect his authority, he may suppress such communication.

Also, if the superiors do not have confidence in the competency of their subordinates, they may not ask for their advice. The subordinates may not be willing to offer useful suggestions in the absence of any reward or appreciation for a good suggestion.

Communication Channels

Communication channels are the means by which people in a company communicate and interact with one another. Without the proper communication channel, it is exceedingly difficult for employees to align with the business objectives and goals, as well as drive innovation and progress in the workplace.

Along with Formal and Informal Communication Channels, we also have a few different types of channels used in business organizations. They are as follows:

  • Digital communication channels –

To reach and engage their staff, most firms use digital communication platforms. They include a variety of online tools that employees utilize to stay in touch with one another and stay up to date on corporate news and developments. This form of communication channel is thought to be the most effective of all.

A few examples are social media, intranets, employee collaboration software, project management tools, feedback software, etc.

  • Face-to-face communication channels –

Face-to-face communication is still vitally crucial in the workplace, despite the fact that electronic forms of communication are gaining over. It is still crucial since many situations require nonverbal communication (body language, gestures, signs, facial expressions, etc.).

  • Written communication channels –

Within corporations, this sort of communication is nearly extinct. However, textual communication is still required when communicating critical policies, letters, memos, manuals, notices, and announcements to employees. But, for external communications with the customers, retailers, distributors and other individuals, written communication is still the most effective.

A few examples are emails, live chat, text messages, blogs, newsletters, written documents, etc.

Models of Communications

The communication process is divided into three standard models: linear, interactive, and transactional. They are useful because they simplify the fundamental structure of communication and can help us understand it not only verbally, but also visually. Most importantly, they identify the many communication pieces and act as a form of a map to explain how different portions of the communication process are interconnected.

  • Linear Model –

In this model, a sender encrypts a message and sends it to the recipient via a channel. The message is decoded by the receiver. There could be obstacles or background noise in the communication process. Also known as  Straight-line communication, it is most common in mainstream media such as television, radio, and newspapers. There is no way to get immediate feedback in this model.

  • Interactive Model –

The Interactive model is similar to the Linear model, except it includes feedback. The feedback concept was introduced to the model, which gave a closer simulation of interpersonal human interaction than was previously known. Interactional models follow two channels in a more dynamic perspective of communication. After receiving the message, the receiver encodes and transmits a response to the original sender, who has now become the receiver. A common example of this model is a telephonic call.

  • Transactional Model –

In the Transactional Model, the receiver and sender can both perform the same roles at the same time, as messages can be sent back and forth at the same time. People generate shared meaning in a more dynamic process in the transactional model. To create common meaning, there must be some overlap in realms of experience. In other words, if people are to communicate at all, communicators must share at least some degree of cultural, linguistic, or environmental commonality.

Verbal Communication

Vocal communication is accompanied by auditory signals produced by a vibrating organ, such as the larynx in mammals’ throats. The vocal communication is the process through which speakers’ express emotions by changing the nonverbal components of their speech, and listeners use nonverbal aspects of speech to infer the speaker’s emotional experience. This comprises aspects of the voice such as intonation, stress, volume, speed, and accent interference. We use vocal communication to frame our message more effectively. This form of communication, as well as voice features such as pauses and focus stress, are used to build a structure that allows the listener to follow your message.

  • Intonation – Intonation defines how the pitch of your voice increases and falls during a speech. A shift or variation in pitch can have an impact on the meaning of what we say.
  • Stress – Stressing is the process of emphasizing a word or statement in order to bring attention to it. Stress syllables and words are said louder, for a longer period of time, and with a higher pitch. When the speaker is monotone, these crucial cues are missing, and the message becomes puzzling.
  • Pauses – The pause allows the speaker to gather his or her thoughts before making the final argument. This allows the audience to stay up with you while also giving them time to process what you just stated.
  • Focus Stress – The listener’s attention is drawn to a certain word or phrase when there is focus tension. The employment of focus stress is used to clarify, emphasize, or demonstrate the difference.
  • Pace – Pace is the rate at which you speak. The pace might be rapid, slow, or moderate, and it can fluctuate throughout. It is claimed to vary the tempo, quickening up at times and then slowing down depending on the scenario and the significance of the context, in order to keep the audience’s attention.

Nonverbal Communication

Non-Vocal Communication is the technique of transmitting meaning without the use of written or spoken words. Non-verbal communication refers to any communication between two or more people that involves the use of facial expressions, hand motions, body language, postures, and gestures. These non-vocal cues can provide insights, supplementary information, and significance in addition to spoken communication.

Non-vocal elements such as unspoken symbols, signs, and signals to express meaning are examples of verbal communication. Non-vocal elements such as body language, gestures, facial emotions, and eye contact are examples of nonverbal communication.

  • Signals

Signals are movements that are used to express to others one’s wants, desires, and feelings. Signaling is a type of expressive communication. The primary goal of signals is to change a single environmental aspect in order to attract attention and convey meaning.

  • Signs

Signs do not belong to any specific language, although they are found in practically every region of the world. The primary distinction between a sign and a signal is that a sign (such as traffic lights or a police officer’s badge) has inherent meanings, but a signal (such as a scream for aid) is only a means through which extrinsic meanings can be formulated.

  • Symbols

The symbol has been defined as any device that can be used to create an abstraction. Symbols are visual representations of an event, activity, object, person, or location that can be used to convey information about that event, action, thing, person, or location. Symbols can be used to communicate in both receptive and expressive modes. The more closely a symbol resembles what it represents, the more tangible it is.

  • Icons

An icon is a visual representation of an application, a capability, or another concept or distinct thing that has meaning for the user. Icons are typically thought to be dense collections of linked and unconnected symbols.

  • Gestures

A gesture is a movement of the hand, arms, or other bodily part meant to express or accentuate something, most often while speaking. Gestures can also develop a communication lexicon that is more or less unique to each culture.

  • Proxemics

Proxemics is the study of how people from diverse cultures use time and space, as well as body positions and other elements, to communicate. The proxemics is the study of what people express by standing closer or farther apart. Standing very close to someone to whom we are about to disclose something private is one example. Another example is backing away from someone when we feel our personal space is being infringed upon.

Mass and Public Communications

The process of developing, sending, receiving, and analyzing messages for large audiences via vocal and written media is known as Mass communication. Print media, outdoor media, digital media and the Internet, social media, films, radio, and television are all examples of these mediums. The method through which media companies develop and disseminate messages to large audiences, as well as the process by which those messages are sought, used, interpreted, and influenced by the audience, is known as mass communication.

When a person or a group of individuals meet and begin sharing information with an audience or give a presentation on specific themes to deliver a message, this is referred to as public communication. Public communication can be defined as the act of sharing information with the general public. Public speaking events, conferences, seminars, and press conferences are all instances of public communication.

Control of mass communications

In serving the people, public communicators are not totally free to follow their own whims. In several nations, national authorities have complete control over all broadcasting, and in some areas, print and cinema media are strictly regulated by the government. Written and visual communications may be subject to censorship and limits under local law.

Effects of mass communications

Mass communications are capable of creating learning and changing attitudes and opinions in their listeners, with the depth of the learning and changes restricted by the situation’s connected elements. Some people believe that the overall impacts of mass communication are safe for both children and adults. Many sociologists believe that mass communication influences attitudes and behaviour. In the voting behaviour of so-called undecided voters, the influence of newspapers, journals, and television in shaping political opinions are fairly well recognized. Advertising firms well-versed in television tactics have been introduced into the political arena to organize campaigns and promote their customers’ images.

FAQ on Communication

Q: List the measures to improve communication effectiveness?

Answer: Measures to improve communication effectiveness are as follows

  1. Communication of Clarification of the idea.
  2. Communication should be according to the needs of the receiver.
  3. Consulting others before communication.
  4. Awareness about the language, tone and body postures and gestures.
  5. Convey information useful to the receiver.
  6. Ensure proper feedback.
  7. Follow up communications.
  8. Be a good listener.
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