CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION
In recent years, management consultants and researchers have been paying increasing attention to the importance and impact of the flow of communication in organizations. Numerous research works have been conducted on this issue and the findings have been shocking. The style and the manner in which communication flowed in organizations can make or break an organization, and it can have a dramatic impact on the ability of an organization to implement its strategies. In fact, the flow of communication is today considered among the most important and crucial factors that organizations consider when setting up their vision and future strategies. The de-layering of organizations and the breaking down of hierarchies in order to achieve more flat and less vertical organizational structures is only one of the trends relating to the flow of communication in organizations today. Enhancing reporting systems and styles is also another factor that aims at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. Such changes are not going unnoticed.
Need for the Study
The need for this study is initiated by the fact that major strategic changes are taking place in leading organizations today, and these changes are based on the development of communication system in order to achieve stronger presence in the markets, more competitiveness and a more power leadership style. Today, every organization in any country or market has to consider the flow of communication and the issues related to it as a major topic for consideration and study.
Research Problem Purpose of the Study
The objective of this research is to study the importance of efficient and effective communication systems, and to address the various obstacles that may undermine the flow of communication in organizations.
Hypothesis I: Efficient flow of communication in any organization is based on reducing the layers and structures of bureaucracy inside an organization.
Hypothesis II: Small obstacles to communication in the system can accumulate and cause major strategic problems for management.
Key Variables: Speed of communication, direction of communication (vertical or horizontal), availability of information.
Time needed for reports from source to target.
Direction in which reporting and information travel.
Number of departments in which reports travel.
Number of people who have access to data base and reports.
Number of people who have access to reports.
Security restrictions on information.
Number of delays / causes of delays / effects of delays.
CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW
The so commonly heard phrase, “communication is lousy around here” might sound to be the complaint of a whining employee, but by all means it should be considered as a warning signal to management because it reflects a deeply rooted problem, not only in organizational behavior, but also in the way in which the organizational structure is operating towards the achievement of organizational objectives, goals and strategies (Communication, p.1). A frustrating system is one in which the flow of communication is neither efficient nor effective. This results in “cynicism, confusion and fear” (Communication, p1.). Flow of communication in any organization has to take into consideration the basic communication needs of management as well as employees. Most conventional systems tend to focus on the information needs of management but neglecting those of employees. Today, the flow of communication should focus on the information needs of employees such as how they are affected by new policies and strategies, how they are doing in their jobs, what role they are playing in the organizational system, and what the expectations that they should meet are (Communication, p.1).
In his article, “The study of language in organizations”, Pierre Cossette argues that one of the major obstacles facing the flow of communication in many organizations is the manner in which language is used. He argues that even when communication systems are very well designed on paper, in practice, the use of appropriate language can make a big difference, either enhancing or impeding and distorting communication. The importance of language in communication systems, Cossette argues, is further increased by the fact that language is closely and deeply related to culture. Hence, it is important to base the flow of communication in an organizational system on a language that is friendly and understood by employees, otherwise, mishaps and misunderstandings are very likely to arise, creating stress, frustration, and failure to achieve knowledge and learning (Cossette, p. 4).
According to Stein, Bentley and Wanta, “information may be disseminated through multiple channels and may be dependent upon a myriad of tools and practices used to convey various messages to publics” (p.1). This definition of the flow of communication implies that communication systems are not only based on internal channels but also on external ones that have to be taken into consideration by management. The authors further argue that the need for communication has increased dramatically as a result of the increasing number of mergers, acquisitions, and downsizing strategies, all which have multiplied the information needs of employees in organizations. These increased needs naturally demand increased efficiency in communication systems, an efficiency without which these organizations are suffering increased stress, crises, and conflicts. Upgrading and widening the scope of the manners and styles of communication in these organizations is the only way through which these problems can be avoided (Stein, Bentley & Wanta, p.1).
“Communication.” www.hocinc.com/communication.htm. January 2001.
Cossette, Pierre. “The study of language in organizations; a symbolic interactionist stance.” www.findarticles.com November 1998.
Stein, A. , Bentley, C. & Wanta, W. “News for newsrooms: A study of employee communications practices used by newspaper editors.” International Academy of Business Disciplines, March 1998.