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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

top managers.

A. Burnout

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 burnout

A feeling of lack-of-control over commitments

A belief (incorrect) that you are accomplishing less

A growing tendency to think negatively

Loss of a sense of purpose and energy

Increased detachment from relationships

II. Avoiding Burn-Out

Burnout can be avoided by taking the following steps

Re-evaluate goals

Reduce unnecessary commitments

Learn stress management skills

Find out where the stress is coming

from (family, job, etc.)

Follow a healthy lifestyle

Get adequate rest

Eat a balanced diet

Get regular exercise

Limit caffeine and alcohol

Develop other interests (hobbies)

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 feelings. Facts 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

policy. Feelings 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 jobs.

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 listening.

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 these barriers

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 about issues.

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, etc.

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 in us.

􀂾 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

oral communication.

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 communication.

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 newsletters.

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.

c. Meetings

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.

􀂾 Retreats

􀂾 Informal communications

d. Employee Feedback Programs

To provide upward communications channels between employees and management, many organizations

offer employee feedback programs. These programs are designed to improve management-employee

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.

􀂾 Employee attitude surveys

􀂾 Appeals procedures

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 organizational

structure, charts, or other official documents.

b. Informal Communications

Informal communication flows outside of the firm’s chain of command.

􀂾 How Excellent 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 nonverbal mannerisms.

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,

Key Terms

Burnout: An incapacitating condition in which individuals lose a sense of the basic purpose and fulfillment

of their work

Communication Exchange 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.

Feedback:: Information about some behavior and its effect.

Decoding: Process by which the receiver translates the sender's message into an understandable form.

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