Reasons of miscommunication leading to lesser productivity in an organization Nguyen Nam Khanh B0902385 Abstract Communication is a process beginning with a sender who encodes the message and passes it through some channel to the receiver who decodes the message. Communication is fruitful if and only if the receiver interprets the messages sent by the sender with same meaning. If any kind of disturbance blocks any step of communication, the message will be destroyed.
Communication is more important in an organization. Cause miscommunication would lead to several problems to the organization especially, productivity. This paper would find out what reasons of miscommunication on an organization leading to ineffective productivity. Keyword: Communication, organization, productivity. 1. Introduction Communication is always a very important role in personal life. In fact, it is said to be the backbone of living. The meanings of communication may be very different.
Communication consists of all the processes by which information is transmitted and received. The subject matter may include facts, intentions, attitudes etc. and the chief purpose of communication is to make the receiver to understand what is in the mind of the sender. Communication is very crucial and unavoidable since we have intentions, which we want to pass across to another person, group or even to the external world. Communication provide evidence that people is living.
Because one must like to communicate with people around him or her to share experience, ideas and feelings. In an organization, communication is inevitable and indispensable and can have huge impacts on how the organization works as a whole. Communication in an organization is about sharing ideas, information, opinions, and plans from person to person, department to department and inside the organization to external world. As far as we know, an effective communicate organization can get many benefits, uch as: increasing productivity, improve efficiency, cut costs, improve morale, and decrease turnover, etc. Besides that, miscommunication or ineffective communication usually has negative effects. For examples: souring relations, leading to poor performances and felt on the productivity, and ultimately the outcome. Therefore, to get those benefits and avoid further negative effects, we need to find out why miscommunication takes place. 2. Interpersonal communication process According to Robert N.
Lussier (Springfield College), communication is a process in which consist of a sender who encodes a message and transmits it through a channel to a receiver who decodes it and may give feedback. The communication process consists of four steps. Step 1: The sender encodes the message and selects transmission channel Step 2: The sender transmits the message through a channel Step 3: The receiver decodes the message and decides if feedback is need Step 4: Feedback 3. Organization communication
In order to know more what reasons lead to miscommunication in workplace, we must know more about organization communicate so that we can answer the question. An organization refer to when people come together to work in pursuit of common goals, they establish a hierarchy of authority in other to achieve the common goals, they also in the process divide tasks according to members area of specialization so that the human resources within the organization can be properly harnessed to achieve the set objectives. According to Robert N.
Lussier (Springfield College), communication in an organization generally is the compounded interpersonal communication process across and organization. Therefore, any of communication barriers between individual personal in an organization would affect the performance of the organization. 4. Interpersonal communication barrier There are many barriers could affect the interpersonal communication process, which may lead to miscommunication, which leading to limited, ineffective productivity in an organization.
Each different stage of the communication process could have different barriers. For example, in the first stage of the process, which the sender encodes and selects a channel to transmit the message, there are barriers such as perception, information overload or channel selection barrier. Perception is generally how each individual interprets the world around him. All generally want to receive messages, which are significant to them, any message that is against their values is not accepted.
Information overloads which happen when peoples are surrounded with a pool of information and cannot control this information flow else, too much information is as bad as too little because it reduces the audience’s ability to concentrate on the most important part of the message, the information is likely to be misinterpreted or forgotten or overlooked. As a result, communication is less effective. Another barrier involves while the sender selecting a channel to communicate. Using an inappropriate channel can result in missed communication.
Beside, communication barrier can also take place in other stage of communication process. Such as noise barrier in stage 2, noise interferes with message transmission which is anything distracting the receiver and causing message understanding errors. In stage 3 of communication process, barriers such as trust and credibility, not-listening barrier and emotional, may occur. People who not trustworthy will find difficult to communicate. Not listening usually involved when people is not paying attention, they just hear but not listening.
In addition, emotional barriers happen if the receiver does not have mood to be objective and to listen. Furthermore, the last stage may have the filtering communication barrier, which people likely to alternating or distorting information to project a more favorable image. Beside the barriers that occur during the communication barrier, there are also many factors cause barrier. For example, different in gender: the different between men and women conversation style becomes a barrier, different in cross-cultural communication: differences in culture can cause barrier to communication. 5.
Non-cooperation, no participation in workplace If there is not a cohesive relationship among employees and managements, some of them will not readily to cooperate. Some employees have higher qualification than others do, so they think they are better than others are. It leads to a distance among employees. That distance would prevent a clear Non-participation is also an factor leading to miscommunication. Participation in workplace or usually in a team working on a project often leads to a better understanding of potential problems because ideas are shared more openly between members of an organization.
In a study of 493 employees (Kivimaki et al. , 2000), the result show that participative communication was the strongest indicator of innovation effectiveness and patents produced. Cooperation, participation, open discussion encourage member of an organization or a project team to have a desire of seeking information needed to understand contrary views, so that better knowledge, expertise, and problem solving can result. Cooperation and participation help building trust among employees in an organization or among team members of a project team.
Therefore, they can establish common goals, and resolving project specifications. It is best employed in the project team’s formative phases, so that its positive effects on team building may be used to leverage productivity and innovation ( Smith, 2001). 6. Miscommunications and misunderstandings in the workplace due to generation gaps People’s attitudes are influenced by the familial and cultural experiences of their childhood and those values are brought into the workplace. In an organization, there are usually have multiple generation participating.
Each generation have different characteristic. According to Mark Hirschfeld, principal in the human capital consulting group at SilverStone Group in Omaha, Neb “The way we grew up earns us the right to see the world the way we see it. ” Furthermore, according to Amy Hirsh Robinson, principal at workforce consulting firm Interchange Group in Los Angeles: “Millennials think Generation X managers are jaded, bitter, abrasive, not interested in them, hoard their knowledge, and don’t delegate”, and “Generation Xers think Millennials are too needy for attention and are emanding and overly confident,” says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy, a nonprofit think tank in New York City. Members of Generation X also say, “Millennials don’t have a good work ethic, job-hop and live off their parents. It may not be true, but that’s the stereotype. ” Therefore, the misunderstanding between generations in workplace is unavoidable, thus leading to miscommunication. To overcome the generation gaps in an organization, all employees of the organization should spend more time to hang out, participate and get to know others.
Therefore, employees in different generations can found their similarities in others, thus know other better, which reduce chance of miscommunication. 7. Organization structure Organizational structure is seen as the hierarchy through which a group, business or organization of people collaborate to achieve a set of objectives and common goals. The ways these hierarchical structures interact with each other affects the measurement of effectiveness in that organization. All organization, depend on its own side would have different communication technique, and different communication network.
In large organizations where flow of information is downward, feedback is not always guaranteed. Organizations with a flat structure usually tend to have an intricately knitted communication network. Tall organizations generally have too many vertical communication links; as a result, messages become distorted as they move through various organization levels. 8. Different position of employees in an organization structure. People in different position of an organization hierarchy communicate with others, there is a possibility of miscommunication.
Generally, employees at lower position would like to take about anything that their boss might interest in. They also very cautious when sending message to their boss. Member in different position in an organization have different chance to be criticized. Usually only lower position employees are given criticized from managers. Similarly, people of higher status may twist messages by refusing to discuss anything that would tend to weaken their authority in the organization such as allow employees to criticized them.
In other words, they may want to maintain the significance of their status. This tendency is beneficial neither for the employees nor for the organization. Limiting oneself to a particular department or being responsible for a particular task can narrow one’s point of view so that it differs from the attitudes, values, and expectations of people who belong to other departments or who are responsible for other tasks. Various studies considered the role of communication in superior-subordinate relationships (Hatfield and Huseman, 1982; Richmond and Roach, 1992; and Waldron, 1991).
Eisenberg, Monge, and Farace (1984) found that greater levels of agreement on rules of initiation and termination for communication between supervisors or subordinates led higher evaluations of each other. Similarly, according to Wexley, Alexander, Greenawalt, and Couch (1980), managers who were more cognizant of subordinates’ work attitudes tended to give them more evaluations that are positive. Also, greater congruence by subordinates toward attitudes of managers led to increased satisfaction with supervision administered by them. 9. Message transmission channel To communicate in workplace, there are many variety channels.
However, each of the channels to transmit the message in an organization has different weakness. Face-to-face communication usually is the most suitable standard because it can provides immediate feedback, transmits information from both verbal and non-verbal cues, and conveys the emotion behind the message. Although, other channels such as telephone or other interactive electronic media can provide immediate feedback even people in a long distance. However, it is lack of they do not provide visual non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, eye contact, and body movements.
Through memos, letters, and reports, written communication can be personalized, but immediate feedback is lost along with the visual and vocal non-verbal cues that show the meaning of the message. According to a study by using questionnaire that is give to the Fortune 200 companies, show that 66% reported miscommunication most often occurred in oral/spoken communication, followed by 40% responses indicating written communication, and 10% individuals noting nonverbal body communication. When asked specifically, 47% of respondents identified e-mail as the media responsible for the most miscommunication. 0. Culture difference Miscommunication because of culture difference usually happens in a multi-national organization or global virtual team working on a project, which members are, located in different countries face cultural differences that can affect the overall success of the group’s performance. It includes language barrier and different culture understanding. According to (Smith, 2001) National differences tend to align themselves with the intrinsic cultural influences of the nationalities of the persons within the group. Most nations prescribe either to an individualism or collectivism identity. By cultural differences between geographic regions, team members cannot communicate through face-to-face. Therefore, important tonal and body language cues were missing. For example, some body language sign would have different meanings in different country or culture. For that reason, miscommunication is sometimes unavoidable. It has a negative effect on relationships and communication between team members. Furthermore, no matter in what culture we find ourselves communicating, the task is to grasp, through noticeable and invisible clues, others’ intentions behind their encoded signs.
All cultures have classification systems of value, and competent management communicators need to be sensitive to the distinctive gradations of other’s classification systems. As Van Gennep has pointed out, “every ordered society necessarily classes not only its human members, but also the objects and creatures of nature, sometimes according to their external form, sometimes according to their dominant psychic characteristics, sometimes according to their utility as food, in agriculture or in industry, or for the producer or consumer.
Nothing entitles us to regard any one system of classification, say the zoological system of totemism, the cosmographic system, or the occupational system (castes) as prior to the others. ” (qtd. in L_vi-Strauss 162) 11. Lack of trust Trust is the belief that somebody/something is good, sincere, honest, and will not try to harm or trick you. Lacking of trust in communication among employees would lead to miscommunication in an organization. Depend on the different kind of an organization; there are different ways, different channels to employees to communicate. Therefore, there are many different way to building trust among employees.
In each transmission channels of communication, there are different advantages and disadvantage. According to The Media Richness theory by Daft et al. (1987) suggests that computer-based communication media may eliminate the type of communication cues that persons use to express trust, warmth, politeness, and other interpersonal affections. So that employees are difficult to building trust with other. In other hand, according to the SIDE theory discussed by Walther (1997) contends that electronic media communication is no different than face-to-face interaction in terms of social information exchange.
Furthermore, we can see that in an organization, if the management do not trust the employees, then they do not believe all of the thing that employees report. So the manager will have to double check all the work, which leading to time consuming. In the other hand, if employees lack trust in manager, they will start questioning all of the decision or opinions of the manager. These lead to communication breakdown and ineffective in productivity of the organization. 12. Negative effect of miscommunication to productivity
As communication is defined as a process of transmitting, sharing information, ideas, knowledge, and understanding among peoples. So, miscommunication means that misunderstanding and people cannot achieving common goal. The problems caused by miscommunication can be critical even for the peace of the World. According to Huffington Post in 2010, even NATO in Afghanistan has been blamed miscommunication in the fire incident. In organizations, managerial communication with its methods and levels of communication are in a key role achieve people act and perform as the organization needs.
Miscommunication can take place in everyday life and easily corrected by a new communication. But the bigger the communicated issue is, and the more it cause needs of change in people’s behavior, the more important is to avoid miscommunication. The time used to correct all serious misunderstanding can be vital for the time reaching the assigned target. We can have a look back into the case of Toyota. Toyota has issued some recalls ranging from floor mats to faulty accelerator pedals to rusted out spare-tire carriers.
According to their former Chief American Spokesman Jim Olson, the core of the issue was miscommunication. Furthermore, Jim Olson said: “there was a clear division between Toyota’s decision making and execution teams. ” Jim argues that this slowed the company down and prevented communication and planning within Toyota. The results were obviously not only devastating to the family members of those hurt or killed in accidents caused by these problems but also devastating effect on the future business and reputation of Toyota.
Miscommunication can take place at anytime, anywhere, in any organization, from business company to a public hospital or from a factory to the government. For example, in a hospital doctor team is diagnosing for a patient, if miscommunication occurs among the doctor team, it not only added stress and confusion, on top of an already delicate situation. One Doctor would give his diagnosis and then the other Doctor would give a completely opposite diagnosis. It was as if the two doctors did not come together to discuss and compare notes.
This miscommunication led to confusion and eventually if the patient being in critical condition, resulted would be far more worse. Good communication is the backbone of any organization. As an organization grows bigger and becomes more complex, there is more opportunity for miscommunication to spread within. It can have a damaging effect on not only an organization but also external world. So we all know that miscommunication in an organization not only affect the productivity of the organization or time-consuming to correct the failure but also have vital effect on outside the organization. 3. How to reduce negative effects of miscommunication There are many disadvantage of miscommunication, but there are also many way to prevent miscommunication in an organization. Most of miscommunication in organization comes from personal miscommunication among members of the organization. In order to reduce personal miscommunications, missed expectations, frustration, confusion, disappointment, anger, and many other emotions by doing some of the following things in mind when we are attempting to communicate. Firstly, if you want to have an easy, clear, ommunication, you should choose your words carefully; try to use not complicated words or those words that have so many different meanings. Secondly, make certain your body language and facial expressions are matching with your message. If a manager tells his/her team they did a good job and he/her rolls the eyes as saying it, they are going to believe that facial expression rather than the words. They will believe what they see every time over what they hear. Furthermore, people in an organization should give trust to others. Trust is the foundation stone when dealing with people.
When trust exists in an organization or in a relationship, almost everything else is easier and more comfortable to achieve. Try to keep promises. If you cannot keep one, explain what is happening in the situation without delay. Feedback is communication to a person regarding the effect their behavior is having on others. You need to find a way to share concerns without making the person you are talking to feel threatened. Finally, if miscommunication occurs, try to solve the problem as soon as possible to prevent further damages. 14. Conclusion Communication is an important role in any organization.
And communication process is a process, in which the message is encoded by sender then sent through many different channel to receiver. However, during all of stages of communication process, many factors can occur and affect to the message, which lead to miscommunication. As far as we know, most of reasons of miscommunication in an organization leading to communication breakdown and further is ineffective productivity. Most of the reasons leading to miscommunication in an organization are from personal miscommunication among employees or member of the organization.
It could be miscommunication because of perception or information overload, or because of noise or the way people chosen to communicate, or different in culture or, lacking of trust between employers or employees and management, which lead to employees not willing to cooperate or participate. Furthermore, we know that an organization structure is a reason leading to miscommunication. Different organization structure has different weakness, such as a tall organization generally have too many vertical communication links, which the message would be modified, change, or lost during the process.
Communication has a vital affect to the organization especially the organization productivity. If an organization have a good communication process among employees, the process of sharing ideas, information, knowledge and opinions is faster, more accurate, It not only lead to effective productivity, saving more time and resource of the organization but also reduce the chance of vital negative activities. However, if an organization have problems in communication process among people, which lead to miscommunication and ineffective productivity or more critical failure.
The negative effects of miscommunication not only have an effect on an organization itself but also the outside world such as customers or other organization. Finally, miscommunication in an organization is unavoidable, but the organization must know what to do to reduce the chance of miscommunication as well as it negative effects. Reference Miscommunication in workplace, Sources, Prevention, Response- David Snowball December 1, 2011 How to avoid miscommunication- Rex C. Houze, Founder ; President Improving Performance ; Results Communication, and miscommunication in corporate America: evidence from fortune 200 firms by Nitham M.
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