COMMUNICATION IN ORGANIZATION
After studying this chapter, students should be able to
understand the following:
A. Explain Burnout
B. Describe Communication in Organization
This chapter also presents a model of how communication works.
Moreover, it explores specific policies
that give employees access to important company information as
well as those which provide feedback to
Burnout is a pattern of emotional, physical, and mental
exhaustion in response to chronic job stressors. It is
an incapacitating condition in which individuals lose a sense of
the basic purpose and fulfillment of their
Burnout has been described as a state of fatigue or frustration
that stems from devotion to a cause, way of
life, or relationship that did not provide the expected reward.
It is often found in a midlife or mid-career
crisis, but it can happen at different times to different
people. Individuals in the helping professions such as
teachers and counselors seem to be susceptible to burnout,
whereas others may be vulnerable because of
their upbringing, expectations, or their personalities. Burnout
is frequently associated with people whose
jobs require close relationships with others under stressful and
tension-filled conditions. The dangerous part
of burnout is that it is contagious. A highly cynical and
pessimistic burnout victim can quickly transform an
entire group into burnouts. It is important to deal with it
quickly; once it has begun, it is difficult to stop.
I. Symptoms of Burn-Out
Following symptoms indicate that a person is suffering through
• A feeling of
lack-of-control over commitments
• A belief (incorrect)
that you are accomplishing less
• A growing tendency to
• Loss of a sense of
purpose and energy
• Increased detachment
II. Avoiding Burn-Out
Burnout can be avoided by taking the following steps
• Re-evaluate goals
• Reduce unnecessary
• Learn stress management
• Find out where the
stress is coming
from (family, job, etc.)
• Follow a healthy
• Get adequate rest
• Eat a balanced diet
• Get regular exercise
• Limit caffeine and
• Develop other interests
• Acknowledge your
humanity--you have a right to pleasure and relaxation
Social Support at Work & Home:
Social support at home by friends family members and at
workplace by supervisor, colleagues subordinates
etc can be used to avoid the burnout in the organizations.
B. Communication in organization
The transmission of information and understanding through the
use of common symbols is termed as
communication. Communication is the exchange of information
between people; it occurs when one
person understands the meaning of a message sent by another
person, and responds to it. Two forms of
information are sent and received in communications: facts and
are pieces of information
that can be objectively measured or described. Examples are the
cost of a computer, the daily defect rate in
a manufacturing plant, and the size of the deductible payment of
the company-sponsored health insurance
are employees' emotional responses to
the decisions made or actions taken by managers or
other employees. Organizations need to design communication
channels that allow employees to
communicate facts and feelings about specific aspects of their
I. The Communication Process
Communication, a continuous process, is the exchange of
information and meaning between people. It
occurs when one person understands and responds to the meaning
of a message sent by someone else. The
communication process includes five
main components: the information
source, the signal, the transmission, the
destination or receiver, and the noise.
Communication starts with a sender
who has a message to send to the
receiver. The sender must encode the
message and select a communication
channel that will deliver it to the
receiver. In communicating facts, the
message may be encoded with words,
numbers, or digital symbols; in
communicating feelings, it may be
encoded as body language or tone of
Communications that provide for
feedback are called two-way
communications because they allow the
sender and receiver to interact with each other. Communications
that provide no opportunity for feedback
are one-way. Noise means barriers to effective Communication.
Potential barriers include: ambiguous,
muddled messages; semantics; physical barriers; loss of
transmission; failing to communicate; competition
barriers; cultural, linguistic, and diversity barriers; and not
II. Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication is the non-spoken aspects of
communication, such as a person’s manner of
speaking, facial expressions, or body posture, that express
meaning to others. The nonverbal aspects of
communication can especially complicate the task of
communicating internationally. Nonverbal
communication is communication that is sent without the use of
the written or spoken word. This type of
communication is quite powerful because people can communicate
without speaking through the use of
facial expression, body posture, tone of voice, use of space,
and touching. Occulesics are facial expressions
and eye contact that people use to communicate. Kinesics is the
study of bodies through posture, gesture,
head movements, and similar actions. Use of and reaction to
facial expressions and body movement vary
from culture to culture.
III. Barriers to Effective Communication and ways to remove
The complex factors in the communication pose barriers to
effective communication. Individual barriers
include perceptual biases, which function as noise by affecting
how the receiver gathers, organizes, and
interprets information. Organizational barriers to effective
communication include organizational culture
and structure, status differences, and time.
Active listening is a good way to minimize both individual and
organizational barriers to effective
communication. In active listening, the receiver assumes a
conscious and dynamic role in the
communication process through a variety of behaviors and
actions. Both the sender and the message are
targets for the active listener. Cultural differences can
influence active listening.
Feedback is information about some behavior and its effect.
Managers need to provide feedback to
employees about their job performance; they also give feedback
to suppliers and customers about various
matters. Managers often have difficulty giving negative
feedback—just as employees tend to stop actively
listening to negative feedback. Therefore, effective feedback
should be fact-based, timely, and focused on
behaviors. Feedback is another part of communication that is
affected by cultural differences. Supportive
communication is honest, accurate interpersonal communication
that focuses on building and enhancing
relationships. There are number of attributes of supportive
communication, which aims to create an
environment in which people can openly exchange information
A number of interpersonal and intrapersonal barriers effect the
decoding of a message.
Filtering refers to manipulating information so that it will be
received more favorably.
Filtering is most
likely to occur where there is emphasis on status differences and among
employees with strong career mobility aspirations.
Expect more filtering
taking place in large corporations than in small business firms.
With selective perception, receivers see and hear based on their
needs, motivations, experience, background,
and other personal characteristics.
Information overload happens when individuals have more
information than they can sort out and use; they
tend to select out, ignore, pass over, or forget information,
Emotions. When people feel that they're being threatened, they
tend to react in ways that reduce their ability
to achieve mutual understanding.
Language. The meanings of words are not in the words; they are
Employees come from
diverse backgrounds and have different patterns of speech.
Grouping of employees
into departments creates specialists who develop their own jargon
or technical language.
While we speak a common language--English-our usage of that
language is far from uniform.
The problem is that
members in an organization usually don't know how others with
whom they interact have modified the language.
An estimated 5 to 20 percent of the population suffer from
debilitating communication apprehension or
People who suffer from
it experience undue tension and anxiety in oral communication,
written communication, or both.
Studies demonstrate that oral-communication apprehensives avoid
situations that require them to engage in
Of greater concern is the evidence that high-oral-communication
apprehensives distort the communication
demands of their jobs in order to minimize the need for
IV. Improving Communication in Organizations
Working with supervisors and managers, employee relations
representatives can facilitate effective
communications by developing and maintaining three types of
programs: information dissemination,
employee feedback, and employee assistance.
a. Information Dissemination Programs
Information dissemination involves making information available
to decision makers, wherever they are
located. The employee handbook is probably the most important
source of information the HR
department can provide and sets the tone for the company's
overall employee relations philosophy. There
are many other forms of written communication besides the
employee handbook that can be used to alert
employees to important information. These include memos and
1. The employee handbook
2. Written communications: memos, financial statements,
newsletters, and bulletin boards
3. Audiovisual communications
b. Electronic Communications
New technologies have made it possible to disseminate
information that goes beyond the printed word.
Visual images and audio information are powerful communication
tools. A recent technological advance,
teleconferencing, allows people with busy schedules to
participate in meetings even when they are a great
distance away from the conference location (or each other).
Advances in electronic communications (voice
mail and e-mail) have made interactive communications between
sender and receiver possible even when
they are separated by physical distance and busy schedules.
Formal meetings are opportunities for face-to-face communication
between two or more employees and are
guided by a specific agenda. Formal meetings facilitate dialogue
and promote the nurturing of personal
relationships, particularly among employees who may not interact
frequently because they are separated by
organizational or geographic barriers.
d. Employee Feedback Programs
To provide upward communications channels between employees and
management, many organizations
offer employee feedback programs. These programs are designed to
relations by giving employees a voice in decision making and
policy formulation and by making sure that
they receive due process on any complaints they lodge against
managers. The most common employee
feedback programs are employee attitude surveys, appeals
procedures, and employee assistance programs.
e. Employee Assistance Programs
EAPs help employees cope with personal problems that are
interfering with their job performance. These
problems may include alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence,
elder care, AIDS and other diseases, eating
disorders, and compulsive gambling. Confidentiality is an
important component of these programs.
V. The Formal and Informal Communication
a. Formal communication networks
- Networks that are designated by the
structure, charts, or other official documents.
b. Informal Communications
Informal communication flows outside of the firm’s chain of
Companies Foster Informal Communications
The following techniques have been found to encourage informal
communication: 1) emphasizing
informality; 2) maintaining an extraordinary level of
communication intensity; and 3) giving communication
the physical support.
Management by Wandering around:
The communication skill here is not in the
wandering around the office, but in the interpersonal
communication skills you can bring to bear when
you’re speaking with the employees. These skills include paying
attention, making yourself clear, listening
actively, and listening sympathetically.
VI. Levels of Communication
a. Upward Communication
Upward communication from subordinates to superiors provides
management with valuable insight into
how the organization is functioning, and provides superiors with
feedback about whether subordinates
understand orders and instructions. It gives employees an
opportunity to vent their feelings. Upward
communication can be encouraged by social gatherings, union
publications, regular meetings, performance
appraisal meetings, grievances, attitude surveys, a suggestion
system, and open door policy, indirect
measures, and email. Formal, comprehensive programs and upward
appraisals also encourage upward
When communicating with a supervisor, avoid phrases that may
inadvertently signal a lack of responsibility
on your part. Avoid counterproductive body language and
b. Downward Communication
Downward communication is transmitted from superior to
subordinate on subjects like corporate vision
and mission, what the job consists of, performance evaluations,
job instruction, and organizational policies
and practices. This format can help build commitment by keeping
employees informed about what the
organization plans to do. Some firms install open-book
management programs that manage without
concealment, and motivate all employees to focus on helping the
business grow profitable and increasing
the return on it human capital. Open-book management fosters
trust and commitment among employees
by treating them more like partners.
When communicating with subordinates, remember that fairness and
the appearance of fairness are key.
Make sure your body language comes across as open and receptive.
c. Horizontal Communication
Horizontal or lateral communications are messages between
departments or people in the same department.
Managers use individuals or committees to bridge departments and
improve the flow of communication
between them by using liaison personnel, committees and task
forces, and independent integrators.
VII. Communications and HRM
HRM depends upon the effective communications systems in the
organization for its success because all its
functions like staffing , compensating , performance appraisal,
training and development , etc require
communication system for their executions basic purposes that
are served through communication systems
are keeping employees informed using it a s a tool to bring
about positive change and to Influence culture.
Bulletin board, newsletter and gossip are different sources that
are used to disseminate information in the
Employees are provided with the Employee Handbook which serves
many purposes like (1) it helps
employees learn about company at their own pace. (2) Provides
references regarding policies, rules, and
benefits. (3) Ensures HRM policies will be consistently applied.
(4) Creates sense of security and
commitment for employees. (5) Provides information to recruits.
(6) May be interpreted as implied contract.
(7)Should be updated continually but the important thing is that
these purposes can be achieved only if the
employee handbook is Well Organized, Clearly Written and legally
limited. Employee handbook mainly
includes the information both about the employee and employer
for employee it provides information
regarding the job description and for employer it provides
information about the rules regulations of the
organization and different compensation benefits etc related
information to the employees.
VIII. Communication Methods
Inside the organization Employee handbook, Bulletin board,
Company newsletter, Company-wide
meetings, Digital Media etc are used as source or method to
communicate while for the offsite employees
facsimile machine, E-mails, and Internet Phone are used as tools
for communication of information,
incapacitating condition in which individuals lose a sense of the basic purpose
of their work
of information between people; it occurs when one person understands the
meaning of a message sent by another person, and responds to it.
Noise: All factors
that interfere with and distort communication.
Encoding: Process by
which sender puts a message in a certain format to send to the receiver.
about some behavior and its effect.
Decoding: Process by
which the receiver translates the sender's message into an understandable form.