Managing Barriers to Communication – Essay Example

The paper "Managing Barriers to Communication" is a wonderful example of an essay on journalism and communication.
Effective communication is very essential for the success of the operations within an organization. The process of transmitting a piece of information from one individual to the other is very complex and if enough precautions are not taken, the process can be marred with many errors. A substantial proportion of the problems that arise at work places are due to poor communication from the top management down to the low-level employees. Barriers to effective communication are those factors that hinder proper dissemination of information. There are several barriers to this kind and managing them requires a proper understanding of their roots.
1. Physical barriers
Physical barriers to effective communication are caused by the environmental conditions at the given organization that hinder effective sending and receiving of information. These are obvious barriers and include walls, background noise, and the distance between the different parties that need to communicate (Smoke, 2005, p.23). There will a barrier to communication between members of staff located in different buildings. It would be inconvenient for staff to abandon his daily chores to pass a message to another staff in a distant building. Noise at a work place can physically attract the attention of the recipients of information and affect communication. The use of faulty communication devices also poses a challenge to the communication process. Besides, the lighting system in a work place can also affect communication that is characterized by reading and writing as the encoding and decoding processes respectively.
Management of these barriers to communication involves elimination of the causal factors of each and adopting modern procedures. The first management mechanism is to adopt new communication technology in the operations of the organization. The use of e-mails, voice messaging, fax or and phone calls will minimize errors resulting from these factors. Improving on the infrastructure within the organization is a proper way of ensuring good lighting system in the organization. The problem arising due to noise can be managed through developing organizational culture that condemns the vice. The employees will then be required to adopt this culture. It would also be appropriate to employ more support staff to assist in the physical delivery of materials within the organization
1. Cultural barriers
Cultural barriers to effective communication occur in a multicultural environment. The differences that are witnessed across the cultures are likely to lead to miscommunication or misinterpretation of a concept. The culture provides different ways of understanding and interpreting the world. A system of communication in one culture could have different implications in another culture. Different cultures recognize different behaviors during communication (Marcella & McGowen, 2010, p.61). Looking at one straight in the eye or being very close during conversation may have positive implications on the communication process in one culture and have a negative implication on another culture. Different cultures also provide different emotional display during the conversation. Some cultures will hide their emotional feelings during arguments while others will openly portray their emotions.
Managing cultural barriers to effective communication in a multicultural environment requires a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of the different cultures in a given environment. A manager needs to understand and acknowledge the ‘basic values, motives, aspirations, and assumptions that operate across geographical lines’ (Jenkins, 2007). A typical work environment will be characterized by these cultural diversities and thus the managers need to accommodate the cultures. Besides, there is a need to develop a standard organizational culture that should be adopted by every employee. This will minimize errors in information passage after every employee has been acquainted with the desired organizational culture.
2. Language barriers
Language barriers are also referred to as semantic barriers and are caused by the ambiguous nature of the languages we use. It stems from principles similar to the cultural barriers to effective communication. There are words in one language that can have different meanings and yet there are others that may not have proper definite meaning (Smoke, 2005, p.24). It also occurs among individuals that speak different languages. This would call for a translator but the translation process is likely to create further complications and the final information received may be significantly different from what as encoded.
Just like in the management of cultural barriers, a manager needs to understand the different meanings and implications of words and select the words that are appropriate in a given situation. There is a need for learning and a thorough understanding of the different languages that are likely to be common in a given organization (Marcella & McGowen, 2010, p.61). A manager who is to carry out an activity in some remote area that requires unskilled laborers in the rural areas need to hire a subordinate who speaks the native language to lead this team in the field.
3. Gender barriers
Gender barriers occur due to the differences that are believed to exist between communication styles in females and those in males. It is believed that these two categories of individuals differ in their preferred communication styles. Physical proximity during communication is perceived differently in females and males (Daniels & Daniels, 2004, p.80). The emerging gender differences in communication are still subject to research with various developments registered each time. A proper management mechanism is to keep updates of the most recent developments and apply the communication style that is appropriate to each of the category of the employees.