Understanding Communication

The importance of effective communication for managers cannot be over emphasized for one specific reason: Everything a manager dies involves communicating. Not some things but everything! A manager can’t formulate strategy or make a decision without information. That information has to be communicated. Once a decision is made, communication must again take place. Otherwise, no one will know a decision has been made. The best idea the most creative suggestion or the finest plan cannot take form without communication.

Managers, therefore need effective communication skills. We are not suggesting of course that good communication skills make a successful manager. We can say, however that ineffective communication skills can lead to a continuous stream of problems for the manager.

How does the communication Process work?

Communication can be thought of as a process or flow. Communication problems occur when deviations or blockages disrupt that flow. Before communication can take place, a purpose expressed as a message to be conveyed is needed. It passes between a source (the sender) and a receiver. The message is encoded (converted to symbolic form) and is passed by any of some medium (channel) to the receiver who retranslates (decodes) the message initiated by the sender. The result is a transference meaning from one person to another.

Communication Process

The transferring and understanding of meaning


The conversion of a message into symbolic form

This model is up of seven parts: (1) the communication source, (2) encoding, (3) the message (4) the channel (5) decoding (6) the receiver and (7) feedback.

The source initiates a message by encoding a thought. Four conditions affect the encoded message: skill attitudes, knowledge and the social cultural system. Our message in our communication to you depends on our writing skills, if the authors of textbooks are without the requisite writing skills, their messages will not reach students in the form desired. One’s total communicative success includes speaking, reading, listening, and reasoning skills as well. Our attitudes influence our behavior. We hold predisposed ideas on numerous topics, and our communications are affected by these attitudes. Furthermore, we are restricted in our communicative activity by the extent of our knowledge of the particular topic. We cannot communicate what we don’t know and should our knowledge be too extensive it’s possible that our receiver will not understand our message. Clearly the amount of knowledge the source holds about his or her subject will affect the message he or she seeks to transfer. And, finally, just as attitudes influence our behavior, so does our position in the social cultural system in which we exist. Your beliefs and values, all part of your culture, act to influence you as a communicative source.

Message: A purpose to be conveyed.

Channel: The medium by which a message travels.

The message is the actual physical product from the source. When they speak the speech is the message. When we write the writing is the message. When we paint, the picture is the message. When we gesture, the movements of or arms, the expressions on our faces are the message. Our message is affected by the code or group of symbols we use to transfer meaning, the content of the message itself and the decisions that we make in selecting and arranging both codes and content.

The channel is the medium through the message travels. It is selected by the source, who must determine which channel is formal and which one is informal. Formal channels are established by ht organization and transmit messages that pertain to the job- related activities of members. They traditionally follow authority network within the organization. Other forms of messages, such as personal or social follow the informal channels.

Decoding: A receiver’s translation of a sender’s message

Feedback: The degree to which carrying out the work activities required by a job, results in the individual’s obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance.

The receiver is the person to whom the message is directed. However, before the message can be received, the symbols in it must be translated into a form that can be understood by the receiver – the decoding of the message. Just as the encoder was limited by his or her skills, attitudes, knowledge, and social cultural system the receiver is equally restricted. Accordingly the source must be skilled in writing or speaking: the receiver must be skillful in reading or listening and both must be able to reason. One’s knowledge attitudes and cultural background influences one’s ability to receive just as they do the ability to send.

The final link in the communication process is feedback loop. If a communication source decodes the message that he encodes, if the message is put back into his system, we have feedback. Feedback is the check on how successful we have been in transferring our messages as originally intended It determines whether understanding has been achieved. Given the cultural diversity that exists in our workforce today, the importance of effective feedback to ensure proper communications cannot be overstated.

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