- Status consciousness: people in the upper areas of organization’s hierarchy How to search new jobs in Ethiopia. those who have more status & power, may be hesitant to listen to those individuals lower in the hierarchy, feeling for example, that people of lower status & power do not possess any useful information. By the same token, people of lower status & power may be reluctant to share information because they believe that people with higher status & power will not listen. Subordinates are afraid of communicating any unpleasant information to their managers. They may be afraid that they might displease their superiors by telling them unpleasant facts. Or they may fear that unfavorable communication may adversely reflect upon their own competence. The subordinates also find it difficult to offer proposals for the improvement of the organization, for such proposals are not usually encouraged.
- Sender credibility
People react more favorably when a communicator has high credibility – when they respect, trust, and believe in the communicator and the message is taken much more seriously and accepted at face value. That means, a sender’s credibility plays an important role in how a message is received and understood. If the receiver does not consider the sender trustworthy or knowledgeable about the subject being communicated, s/he will most likely be reluctant even to listen to the message. For example, if you learn that your tutor has no educational background about business communication, you may feel that he/she has little knowledge concerning the area of management and, thus, place little weight on anything he/she tells you concerning the subject. Likewise, a sender may limit what s/he communicates to a receiver who is not considered trustworthy. For instance, if an employee offers an idea for a more efficient way to perform a job & his supervisor takes credit for it, then the employee is more likely to withhold future information from the supervisor, as he will probably not trust the supervisor with such information.
- Information overload
Information overload refers to the condition of having too much information to process. The implication is that individuals can effectively process only a certain amount of information. An example would be if your professor gave you too much information, too quickly, concerning a term paper’s requirements or if a manager gave an employee too much information at one time about a report’s requirements. In either situation, the receiver probably does not receive the entire message. Managers need to be aware of potential for information overload & to make appropriate adjustments.
- Cultural barriers
The cultural differences can adversely affect the communication effectiveness, especially for multi-national companies and enterprises with multi-ethnic workforce.
When communication is expressed under tension or nervousness, its effectiveness can be changed considerably-usually disadvantageously, yet in some instances, advantageously-by increasing mental and physical energy and alertness.
- Snap reactions
When a receiver feels little will be gained by listening or reading carefully, the communication is almost certain to be ineffective. The possibility that the giver has a new idea, fact, or point of view doesn’t occur to the receiver. Frequently this condition exists in communication between two persons in conflict or when one person is short- tempered.
Another barrier is making and acting on unjustified assumptions. Everyone makes assumptions about a working environment and the people in it. But when a high- or a low-level assumption is made without checking the facts, trouble and communication breakdown can take place. It is well to be alert to the assumptions made, and the reader should not assume that the receiver understands what she or he has been told. That assumption is one of the biggest causes of communication failure. Mutual understanding must not be taken for granted.
- Degree of motivation
When communicating, people have various motives-to persuade, to tell, to entertain, and to reinforce ideas. The enthusiasm displayed and the interest shown definitely conditions the communication. When it is planned to appeal to the assumed motives of the participant, it usually is more effective.
- Differing backgrounds
Differences in background can be one of the major communication barriers to overcome. Age, education, gender, social status, economic position, cultural background, temperament, health, beauty, popularity, religion, political belief, even a passing mood can all separate one person from another and make understanding difficult. To overcome the barriers associated with differing backgrounds, avoid projecting your own background or culture onto others. Clarify your own and understand the background of others, spheres of knowledge, personalities and perceptions and don’t assume that certain behaviors mean the same thing to everyone.
In the above discussion we have seen general barriers to effective communication in organizations and out side of the organization. In the following section, our discussion focuses on the specific barriers attributed to managers and subordinates.
In the previous section you have studied the general barriers/obstacles to communication. In this section you will be introduced with those factors that affect communication related to the manager and subordinates.
- Communication barriers attributed to managers
The following are barriers to effective communication that are caused by the managers.
- The supervisor’s wrong attitude and behavior in listening. Many managers do not listen employee’s criticism with an open mind. They do not give the speaker attention by giving appropriate verbal and nonverbal feedback, which affect the communication process.
- Judgment on preconceived ideas, “no news is good news”. Managers do not allow time for the complete message to be transmitted and understood. There is premature evaluation of subordinate’s message and ignore it.
- Self defense regarding one self and actions. They may not want to accept their weakness or failure to do something.
- Superiors often resist becoming involved with the personal problems of their subordinates. This is especially true of autocratic leaders. Personal problems have impact on performance. Superiors must develop listening skills as well as a sincere and sympatric attitude towards worker’s problems. If they fail to do so the relationship employees and managers will not be smooth which intern affect the communication process and their performance negatively.
- Many executives feel that they are too involved with daily problems and responsibilities. By engaging themselves in every routine activities, managers may not provide adequate time for listening fully to their subordinates’ ideas, reports, and criticisms, which intern affect the communication process.
- Obstacles to effective communication attributed to subordinates
Like managers, subordinates also act as an obstacle to communication process because of the following reasons.
- The subordinate doesn’t have the freedom to interfere upon his superior’s time because most mangers follow a closed-door policy. Most subordinates hence feel that they count nothing / little in the eyes of their bosses.
- Neither the facilities available nor the rewards offered to the subordinates for upward communication is not equal to those messages flowing downward. Employees may be de-motivated and as such care little about the information they transmit.
- Communications from subordinate to managers is not prepared with as much care as those that move down.
- Poorly expressed messages-which are the result of disorganized ideas, clumsy sentence structure, applying the wrong word or phrase, and needless repetition.
- Fear of misinterpretation. Employees may become emotional and prejudiced; their feelings may mix freely with their facts, creating further barriers to objective communications. A sense of fear between a worker and his/her boss will occur if the elements of goodwill and rapport are absent in the daily work environment. Fear prevents the worker from telling the whole truth to the boss.
- Fear of distortion. Unless superiors are particularly receptive, subordinates generally prefer to withhold or temper bad news, unfavorable opinions and reports of mistakes or failure.