Organisational Communication (Byte Size)
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Organisational Communication (Byte Size)

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In this course, we introduce theoretical frameworks of communication which can be applied to people in organisations. Also we establish the importance of communication at all levels and within all areas of organisations. "Why don't you people communicate?" is far too often the exasperated outburst from customer to supplier, from supplier to customer, from subordinate to manager, from manager to subordinate and from colleague to fellow colleague. If the most common saying for failure is one of "I was never told", perhaps the next most common saying would be "But I was never asked!".

The problem with organisations is that they consist of more than one person. Without them there would be perfect linkage between operations; the sort of ideas given by theorists such as Fayol would be faultlessly carried out via principles such as unity of command and direction. Agreed goals could be worked towards unerringly.

There would be a sharing of perfect knowledge on product and technical information. Customers would provide unambiguous specifications; suppliers would provide goods and services which exactly fulfilled these requirements. The results of actions undertaken would be effortlessly carried back and further action taken as appropriate. There would be clarity of understanding of thoughts, feelings and emotions.

However, often this doesn't happen by the very nature of ourselves as human beings, the tasks which are to be accomplished in the work situation, and in our increasingly complex living environments.

We can, therefore, look at communication as being an enabling factor which allows us to perform the work of the organisation. We can look at effects on and barriers to this process. Clearly it is extremely important for us to understand how these might arise, if we are to take a determined look at improving organisational effectiveness and efficiency. We also consider how organisational structure impacts upon the flow of information required for co-ordination, decision-making and awareness.

But, does communication go further than this? Is it good enough to just remove barriers? Such corrections may be seen as somewhat limited in scope; certainly barrier removal is an essential requirement but at the same time, communication can be used to positive effect in the organisation. Thus, for instance, we consider its use as an intrinsic element of the organisation's identity when we consider the communication of culture.

The term communication covers a vast field of study. There are many books you can consult on specific skills such as report writing, presentations and interviews and body language. Our aim here is to cover basic concepts which offer insights into the world of communication at work. We include communications theories and models, barriers to communication, formal and informal communication and communicating culture.

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • explain what organisational communication means and its importance as a function of management.
  • identify types and examples of verbal and non-verbal communication. 
  • demonstrate an understanding of the basic features of some models of communication.
  • analyse barriers to communication and recognise them in case study situations.
  • explain how communication occurs within formal organisation structures.
  • explain the role of communication in decision-making and its relation to centralised and decentralised systems.
  • discuss the advantages of both formal and informal communication networks in the organisation.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the communication of the organisation's culture.