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Ineffective Communication Between Managers And Employees English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 4515 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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2.0 Introduction

This chapter further explains on the factors that caused ineffective communication between managers and employees. This section focuses on the theories, the expansion of the theories to the present theoretical framework and used in the research and the justification for the present model. It also contains several literatures adopted from past researches regarding the study which include their arguments, definitions and findings on their research.

2.1 Definition of Communication

Figure 1. The communication process.

The word communication is derived from the Latin word, communis, which means common. Communication is an act of transmitting information and messages by talk, gestures, writing and etc (Hoffmann, 2010). Furthermore, in-depth explanation, is a person to person, two way verbal or nonverbal interaction that includes sharing information and feeling between individuals or in small group that establishes trusting relationship, it is known as interpersonal communication (Hubbley, 1994). Besides, through interpersonal communication we can learn how to pronounce words correctly, how to speak properly in some certain situations and how to communication in daily life (Murphy, 2008). Moreover, Figure 1 reflects the definition and identifies the important elements of the communication process (Cheney, 2011).











According to the Figure 1, the most basic elements in every communication are the sender and the receiver. The sender is like a switch, who initiates the communication. In an organization, the sender is a person who has a need or desire to convey an idea or concept, and mission or task to others. The receiver is the individual to whom the message is sent. The encoding is the process of selecting words, symbols, or gestures with which to compose a message. The message is the outcome of the encoding. The message is sent through a medium, such as face-to-face communication, telephone call, e-mail, or written report. Next, is to decode the received message into meaningful information. The noise is anything that distorts the message. Finally, feedback is the message from the receiver to the sender, once the receiver responds to the sender’s message, the sender are able to determine whether the message has been received and understood.

Moreover, the quality of communication is determined by the elements in the communication process; hence, once there is any one problem is these elements, it can reduce communication effectiveness (Keyton, 2011).

2.2 The Nature of Communication in Organizations

According to Miller (2003), organization can be defined as a group of people in which activities are coordinated in order to achieve both individual and collective goals. Besides, Miller also states that, communication is a process that is transactional and symbolic. Hence, the symbolic and transactional process used by a group of people in order to achieve both individual and collective goals, is organizational communication (Burkeen & Franz, 2008). Communication pattern within an organization is influenced by the organization’s structure (Lunenburg, 2010). Furthermore, the structure of an organization should provide for communication in three distinct directions: downward, upward, and horizontal (Lunenburg & Ornstein, 2008). Due to this study is the communication between managers and employees, so we just focus on downward and upward communication.

2.2.1 Downward Communication

The downward communication can be defined as the flow of transmit information from upper level management to lower level management. In an organization, managers communicate downward to employees through issuing command, directions and policy directives.

According to Canary (2011), there are five general purpose of downward communication. The first one is the implementation of goals, strategies, and objectives. It states that managers transmitting new strategies and goals provide information about specific targets and expected behaviors to employees. The next one is job instructions and rationale. This purpose let the employees know how to do a specific task and how the job relates to other activities of organization. Then, the third purpose is about procedures and practices. There are some important information that employees have to know, such as policies, rules, regulation, benefits, and structural arrangement. The forth purpose is the performance feedback. Departmental progress reports, individual performance appraisals, and other means are used to tell departments or individuals how well they are doing with respect to performance standards and goals. The last purpose is socialization. It is an attempt to get a commitment, a sense of belonging, and a unity of direction among employees (Lunenburg & Ornstein, 2008).

In other words, in an organization, the downward flow of communication acts as a medium for directives, instructions, and information to employees (Lunenburg, 2010). However, due to a great distance in formal organization hierarchy and the sender communicate downward to receiver; the receiver may receives distorted message (Tourish, 2010).

2.2.2 Upward Communication

The upward communication is opposite with downward communication, which is the information transmit from the lower level management to the upper level management. An upward communication help manager to determine whether the employees have understood information or not and also help employees to meet their ego needs (Lunenburg, 2010).

According to Canary (2011), there are five types of information communicated upward in an organization. The first information is problems and exceptions. This kind of information from the employees makes the managers aware of difficulties. The second type of information is suggestions for improvement. The employees are running the task, so they are able to provide ideas for improving task-related procedures. The third information is performance reports. The employees submit periodic reports for the managers, and this report will inform managers what employees had done in a specific period. The forth type of information is grievances and disputes. This information is important for an organization in order to maintain a good relationship between the managers and employees. The last type of information is about financial and accounting information. This is formal information that the managers need to know.

Furthermore, feedback is included in upward communication. Feedback is one of the critical elements in communication process, and particularly so in interpersonal communication between manager and employee. The feedback can help managers to observe and determine the success or failure of messages being sent to employees (Richmond & McCroskey, 2005).

2.3 Factors Influences Ineffective Communication

2.3.1 Listening Factor

In the communication process, listening is very important in decoding information because the receiver aurally receives the message from the sender (Burkeen & Franz, 2008). Hence, effective communication involves parties to speak and listen well in the communication process. However, here is a quote by Mark Twain: “If we were supposed to talk more than listen we would have been given two mouths and one ear.” According to this quote, it obviously states that listening is important than speaking. Besides, Dr. Bolton states that 70 percent of people waking moments are spent in communication, of that 70 percent, 45 percent for listening but 30 percent for talking.

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In addition, there are some researchers try to define listening in several ways, such as listening is one of the communicative phenomenon that is enacted “in-relationship” (Halone & Pecchioni, 2001). Next, listening is the ability to completely understand the perspective and intent of the message from sender (Huseman, Lahiff and Penrose, 1991), and the use of elaboration and interest management to focus on the message being received (Imhof, 2001).

In communication skills, listening, the “most used, least trained”, is not only important to complete a mission successfully with a leader’s understanding of information, but also have to know the needs and expectations of others (Kinni, T.D., 2005). Furthermore, according to Boyd (2004), most of us are good in talking but have trouble in listening and there is one true quote by one sage: “The only reason we listen is because we knew we get to talk next.”

Listening accounts for half of the entire communication process. In fact, listening and hearing is not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. However, listening is a selection activity which involves the reception and interruption of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning (Don Clark, 2008).

Furthermore, in listening, there are 2 main categories, passive listening and active listening. According to Don Clark (2008), passive listening is little more than hearing. Listening to music, story-telling or television are passive listening as the receiver only have little motivation to receive the message carefully. In the other hand, active listening is listening with the purpose, such as getting information, obtains directions, understand others, solve problem, and so forth.

Hence, it is also important to come to an understanding of the relevance that listening has in an organizational and communicative context. There is another study shown that people in the office spent 45 percent of the hours in listening in the course of one work day (Huseman et al., 1991). Moreover, the listening is one of the important and more important than other administrative and communicative abilities for the managers (Cananry & Cody, 2003).

Moreover, Erven (2008) stated that listening is difficult. Typically receiver can receive 400-600 words per minutes while listening, but sender only can transmits about 125 words per minutes. In this statement, 75 percent is free when listening and the free time often sidetracks the receiver. Hence, receiver will think of other matter while they listening to another issue and due to some of the information may lost in between then the communication of the involve parties will be affected.

In addition, listening requires participation and attention (Dresner, 2005). A good listener has to suspend own gray matter and tune into what is being say, forming a response in their head and just acting as if they are listening. Moreover, information overload may also affect the effectiveness of communication. Indeed, too much information makes it very difficult to listen with full attention. According to Erven (2008), physical distraction is the physical things or environment that gets in the way of communication such as noisy environment or outdated equipment and so on. For example, a noisy factory will make most of the employees having difficulty in listening and understanding the manager speaking due to the reason of they not manage to listen to the manager clearly and effectively as well as the troublesome sound system that use in the factory.

In summary, listening may affect communication directly and indirectly by giving effect to the listener and in order to tackle the particular factor. The sidetrack thinking, information overload and physical distraction should be minimize or eliminate in order to having an effective communication.

2.3.2 Language Factor

In the study of effectiveness communication, factor of language is a syntactically organized system of signals which communicate thoughts or feelings (Wikipedia, 2008). There are several researchers defined the language. By the study of Hresko (1996), language may be defined as “code for communication, communication itself, the basis for acquiring information, and an indication of cognitive development.” Sapir (1963) stated that language is the key to the heart of a people. The other definition of language is from the perspectives of social functions and psychology: “Language is used for phatic communication; for ceremonial purpose; as an instrument of action; to keep records; to convey orders and information; to influence people; to enable self expression; and to embody and enable thought” (Sapir, 1963). In the other hand, according to Kathi (2000), people with emotional and/or behavioral disorders may cause these functions of language cannot operate successfully.

Moreover, language skills included semantics, morphology, syntax, word finding, prosody, kinesics, proxemics, and pragmatics (Thomas, 1992). Hence, language is a critical for social interactions in order to be successful interpersonal relationships and life achievement (Aiken & Martin, 1994).

In general, different language, vocabulary, accent, dialect and choice of word are the classification of the factor. According to Jenkins et al. (1984), the quality of communication is influenced by the choice of word and vocabulary that senders use. Essentially, there are about 500 English basic words that are used every day and these 500 words have over 10,000 different meanings. Furthermore, due to language is represented by symbol; the meaning of the symbol may be distorted.

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Besides, another element in language factor that influences the effectiveness of communication is accent. As far as we know, accent transmits at the same time with oral expression. For instance, mother tongue and native language rules had change the accent of English (Barbara Christensen, 2008). Furthermore, some of the managers and employees not manage to deliver their intended message to others by using the correct accent and language rules when they converting their message from mother tongue to different language, especially English (Foss et al., 2002).

Furthermore, linguists point out that the role of language in creating and conveying culture and advertisers, politicians and all those trying to influence opinion, use of language very carefully to fulfill their aims (N/A, 2008). Besides, language can become a better predictor for successful negotiating social skills and social competencies (Rogers-Adkinson, 1995). In addition, due to the social competency and language skills are enmeshed, linguistic competence may be a requisite factor for social competence (Bates, 1974). However, according to Kathi (2000), language may contribute to unsuccessful social interactions or even hamper the acquisition and exchange of ideas and information.

In the organization, the issues of language skills are very important in horizontal communication with informal information flow (Marschan et al., 1997). In addition, Marschan et al. (1997) stated that employees cannot only smooth in their mother tongue and poor in speaking selected company language. However, according to a case study in Kone, selected company language as English has not eliminated the communication problem and underlying the formal organizational structure had a shadow structure based on other languages rather than English.

2.3.3 Individual Factor

The factor that causes ineffective communication between managers and employees will be individual factor. There are several elements in the individual factor, such as perception, gender, skill and ability, and stereotyping. First of all, perception can be simply defined as the ways we see other as well as the way other see us. This mental image impacts how other interpret the behavior of other (Bruce et al., 2003). According to Martin (2001), in the same event, but different person will have different mental perception, hence occur barrier. Besides, the relationship also can influence the perception. For example, communication downward from upper level management may be perceived differently than from horizontal communication such as peer, this kind of perception is known as distorted perception (Viviani, 2002).

Other than that, gender of the individual factor also affects the degree of effectiveness in communication between managers and employees. As we know, the gender only can be divided into male and female, furthermore, male and female have their own communication style. According to LaFrance et al. (2003), the empirical evidence show that women smile more than men. Besides, women disclose more information about themselves in conversation (Dindia & Allen, 1992) and prefer other talk to them in more freely and warmer way (Hall, 1984). Moreover, women exerted greater influence when communicating in a more indirect manner compare to men (Burgoon et al., 1975). However, in job interview, the corporate executives will persuade by and preferred to hire men who communicated in a highly competent manner rather than women who communicated in a highly competent manner (Buttner & McEnally, 1996). Therefore, different set of communicating ways should be apply in male and female in order to maintain effective communication network with other.

Moreover, individual factor also can be subdivided into the elements of skill and ability. For instance, people always learn from others social behaviors, and then modifying and practicing them in order to obtain good results, for a simple example, the children learn parents’ daily behaviors. Thus, we have to learn the skill for communicating with other (N/A, 2008). To explain, the receiver who are poor in communication skill most probably cannot get the meaning of the message sent by the sender if the sender also have the problem in choice of words and arranging those words in grammatically correct sentences. In addition, the knowledge of receiver can caused ineffective communication, and also, information with lack specification from sender will make receiver to receive an unclear message (N/A, 2008).

Furthermore, stereotyping is another subdivided element in individual factor. Stereotyping can be defined as it causes people to act as if they already know the message that is coming from the sender, as if no message is necessary because “everybody already knows” (Erven, 2008). According to Thompson et al., (2000), stereotyping will affect people’s impression of targets and the way they communicate about these targets, thereby the audiences have a barrier to get the information. There are at least two classes of factors may affect stereotyping. The first class of factors involves the cognitive processes affecting impression formation. By the study of Bodenhausen et al., (1987), stereotyping is activated and applied by people themselves when encountering a target belonging to a salient out-group. Then, they interpret ambiguous data in line with stereotype (Correll et al., 2002). In fact, stereotype-consistent information is better than stereotype-inconsistent information (Fyock & Stangor, 1994). Moreover, the second class of factors is that the application of widely-shared communication principles. According to Haslam et al., (1999), stereotyping is mutually shared cultural within group and by other in-group members. For example, Toyota car is better than Proton car. In order to achieve effective communication, stereotyping should be avoided.

2.3.4 Technology Factor

Nevertheless, technology factor also may affect the effectiveness of communication between managers and employees. According to Webb (2008), technology is often seeing the driver of improved communication by using high-tech gadget such as internet, handset software and so forth in transferring messages. There are several factors included in technology factor that will influence the quality of communication, such as email and cell phone.

It has long been clear that email is very simple communication system (Mackay, 1998). In organizations, the computers are used to conduct the work in the way of using email. According to Whittaker and Sidner (1996), email is the source of many different office tasks and it serving the workplace when the work is delegated. Nowadays, email is much more than an ordinary application for computer users at work and it has become a habit in the workplace (Bellotti & Smith, 2000).

For your information, some organizations realized that poor communication skills always magnifies by the technology (Frazee, 1996). By this statement, most of the employees are not taught how to be effective electronic communicators (Nantz & Drexel, 1995) and the workflow and employees of productive time influence by the less-than-useful email message (Frazee, 1996). Furthermore, according to Frazee (1996), the receivers only get no more than 35 percent of all messages for them to act on the information. Besides, information incompetence is a serious problem for a company but electronic messaging is growing at an increasing rate, such as email (Davenport, 1997).

Another element in technology factor is the mobile phone. In the early era, the mobile phone was known as a “rich man’s toy” (Katz, 1999). But nowadays, most of people are carrying their mobile phone with them at most of the time unless they within close reach with other (Ichikawa, 2005). According to Ling (2004), teenagers have created cultural trends of using mobile phone. As we know, the mobile phone have several communicate function, such as the basic function is phone call, the most popular function is short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), and the most innovative third generation (3G).

In general, most of us often use mobile phone to communicate with friends. In addition, the using to mobile phone to communicate with other is also known as virtual communication. According to Duarte and Snyder (1999), managers and employees in new economy firms always communicating across distance, functions, and time zones virtually, that mean without meet with each other face-to-face. But technology itself will create noise and discard as much as it melds minds, such as signal not stable. Moreover, due to the technology is improved rapidly, so we should not minimize the using of technology in our daily communication.

2.3.5 Other Factor

In the communication process, the main element is the message. Hence, the message itself may influence the effectiveness of the communication between managers and employees. The message could be much or less and clear or unclear. According to Robert Bacal (2008), the degree of clear of the message has a significant impact in communication process. To illustrate, the receiver will not understand the unclear message from the sender, in the other hand, the sender also will not understand the unclear message from the receiver, such as feedback. By the study of Robert Bacal (2008), the reason that cause unclear message is the receiver being unclear to the sender and the sender did not arrange the message well before transmit to the receiver. Furthermore, the unclear not only influence the effectiveness of communication, but also can damage the whole communication process.

Besides, disability is also one of the factors that may influence the effectiveness of communication. In this study, the disability in communication can be divided into three, one is the vision impairment, second one is dumb, and another one is hearing loss. Vision impairment is also known as blind, and hearing loss is also known as deaf. The vision impairment can be defined as limitation of side vision, abnormal color vision, or presence of double vision in one eye (Colenbrander, 1994). The blind still can talk, but he or she cannot recognize some of the nonverbal elements in the communication process. The second one is dumb, can be defined as the person who cannot speak. The dumb always use sign language to communicate with other. In this statement, the person who don’t know the sign language, who cannot communicate with dumb, although sign language is one of the nonverbal communication. Besides, the hearing loss also undergo some barrier in the communication process. According to Hong Kong Special Administration Region (2008), hearing impairment has different stage, such as in the stage of mild, moderate, moderate-severe, severe and profound impairment. The deaf still can use visual to receive the message, such as sign language and lips language. Therefore, the disability person still can communicate, but in a different way from normal one.

Moreover, the use of medium in the communication process, as mentioned in Figure 1, also may affect the effectiveness of communication. The medium of communication such as speaking, writing, singing, screaming, shouting, and so on, will reflect different feeling to the receiver (Sabolic, 2003). For example, like greeting of “Hello” is more suitable in oral channel rather than writing or screaming.

Finally, the feedback is one of the factors may affect the effectiveness of the communication process. Feedback is for managers to determine the employees’ acceptance and understood of the message (Porter, 1985). If the feedback does not occur, the whole communication process will become a one-way communication, as mentioned before. Hence, in communication process, although feedback just a response of receiver, but it is very important in order to have effective communication between managers and employees.

2.4 Chapter Summary

In this Chapter 2, I have analyzed the different factors that affect the effectiveness of communication between managers and employees. A literature review on each variables (DV: Communication, IV: Listening, language, individual, technology and other factor) is done in this chapter.

In dependent variable, communication is a process of transmit message from sender to receiver; in organization, exist upward and downward communication.

In independent variable of listening factor, receiver and environment are the crucial elements in affecting the effectiveness of communication. In language factor, different language, vocabulary, accent, dialect and choice of word are affecting the effectiveness of communication. In individual factor, perception, gender, skill and ability, and stereotyping are affecting the effectiveness of communication. In technology factor, using of email and mobile phone to communicate will caused ineffective communication between managers and employees. In last, the other factor, such as message, disabilities, medium of communication and feedback also can affect effectiveness of communication.


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