Communication as a process can determine whether a manager in an organisation will be successful in performing his or her duties or not. Managerial functions of planning, organizing, leading and controlling will be achieved only if the manager develops an effective communication structure within and without the organisation. Effective communication will lead to good relationships and performance of an organisation whereas ineffective communication might lead to its failure.
It is the communication that helps managers to carry out their job descriptions. Therefore adopting excellent communication system is crucial. As he plans, he will have to communicate his plans to those under him for implementation. The subordinates as well will need to share ideas among themselves and to report back to their seniors. This process’ success need proper and well- structured communication system, without which there would be confusion and thus the failure in meeting organisation’s goals.
In setting up effective communication system, the manager will thus study the communication goals for every stimuli and ensure its encoding, selection of channel through which it will be transmitted suit the goals. Also, he has to set a clear channel through which feedback is received, analysed and appropriate action taken. Without an effective and efficient communication system, the manager will waste a great deal of his time. Thus, we can say that “effective communication is a building block of successful organisations”. In other words, communication acts as organizational blood.
In building an effective communication structure within an organisation, the manager must take into account the direction certain communications would take. There are different ways in which information can be disseminated within an organisation. These include:
i. Downward communication – This is passing message from higher level to lower level in an organisation. This flow mainly involves giving orders, broadening of ideas and communicational knowledge.
ii. Upward communication – This flow of information is where a message is passed from those ranked lower in the organisation structure to their superiors. It allows subordinates to pass feedback, which maybe include opinions or expression of problems that need their attentions. Thus an effective and efficient upward communication system will help manager in monitoring the day to day running activities of the company.
iii. Lateral communication – Employees in organisation need to communicate among themselves. Through this they foster team work and avoid duplication and overlapping of tasks. Lateral flow is the communication among people in the same department. Organised lateral flow will not only help the manager to create harmony within the teams under him but will also help team members to build trust and social appropriately within the company. With this, the company will be a place where employees feel wanted and thus motivate them to unleash their full potential in whatever they do.
iv. Diagonal communication – No one department in an organisation an island, all departments must work together for the organistion to achieve its set goals. The work of the manager is therefore to create linkage on which they operate without any conflict. This is only possible with a clear communication system. Thus an effective lateral communication should be set in any organisation.
v. External flow – This is the communication with those out of the organization. This occurs when the organisation is transacting business with other organisations or when it is connecting to community around it. Corporate communication thus must be coherent with organisation’s aspirations and goals.
As communication flow in and without the organization, its importance can be summarised as follows:
a) Through communication the organisation members get information for decision-making process. This helps in identifying and assessing alternative course of actions. Without proper system of communication, it will be difficult for the managers to carry out their plans.
b) It is through communication the employees feel motivated. They get information and clarification about the task to be done, the manner they are performing the task, and how to improve their performance if it is not up to the mark.
c) Communication also plays an important role in altering individual’s attitudes, that is, a well-informed individual will have better attitude than a less-informed individual. The manager should therefore build mechanisms of moulding employee’s attitudes. He can do this through written (magazines, journals) and oral communication (meetings) modes.
d) Human beings are social being and we do this through communication. In fact nobody can survive without communication. The managers thus should create conducive environment that fosters communication among employees. However, in case there arise disagreements, mechanisms of solving them should be in place.
e) Communication also assists in controlling process within an organisation. It helps controlling organizational member’s behaviour in various ways. The manager therefore should set principles and guidelines that the members of the organisation should adhere to. They must comply with organizational policies, perform their job role efficiently and communicate any work problem and grievance to their superiors. Without such structure of communication, there would always be conflicts and these might render organisation unmanageable.
An effective and efficient communication system requires managerial proficiency in delivering and receiving messages. A manager must discover various barriers to communication analyse the reasons for their occurrence and take preventive measures to avoid those barriers. Thus, the primary responsibility of a manager is to develop and maintain an effective communication system in the organization which will ensure employees’ and other interest group’s communication satisfaction.