People in Business

Improving Organisational Structures: Communication

Improving Organisational Structures: Communication


Business Studies A Level - CommunicationCommunication is the flow of information from one individual to another.

Within business, fast and effective communication is vital for work delegation, feedback, and business control. It also prevents misunderstandings and reduces the chances of conflict arising.

Formal versus informal communication

Formal communication is information which travels through official channels within a business. For example, from a superior to a subordinate or even between co-workers. This information is job related and tends to be written, electronic or spoken.

Informal communication is information that travels through informal channels within a business. Often called the ‘grapevine’, this is usually spoken and can be work related or non-work related. It also refers to information being leaked to the media about certain illegal or unethical practices.

Communication also travels in different directions.

Horizontal communication travels between co-workers at the same level.

Vertical communication can travel top-down, so orders from superior to subordinate, or bottom-up, so feedback from subordinate to superior. If there’s no room for feedback then this is labelled one-way communication. The danger with this form of communication is that if the employee misunderstands what’s required they can’t ask for any guidance.

Nowadays most businesses agree that it’s important for communication to be multi-directional. By involving the employees they feel valued which improves their motivation and productivity.

Communication can also be labelled as:

      • Quantitative: this includes data and numerical information like finances or sales figures
      • Qualitative: this is composed of language and can be either written or spoken. When spoken face-to-face, this form of communication also involves non-verbal communication which can be misleading or misunderstood.

Channels of communication

Communication involves a transmitter (or sender), represented by the sender, encoding a message. The transmitter can choose which communication channel they wish to use. The message is then received by the receiver who decodes the message and acts as necessary.

Business Studies A Level - Communication ModelNowadays there’s a wide range of communication channels to choose from. Which channel is chosen will depend on a number of factors including location, deadlines, and what the message is conveying.

Communication channels include:

– face-to-face
– telephone
– e-mail
– facsimile (‘fax’)
– online-conferencing
– letter
– memorandum
– text
– advertising
– notices
– in-house publications

If a business doesn’t think that it’s communication channels are efficient enough then it should consider the following:

– using simpler language
– making the communication chain shorter
– encouraging the use of feedback
– using a larger variety of media
– making the whole organisation aware that there are communication issues

Communication breakdown

This is when a message fails to reach the recipient or the message being sent is misinterpreted. Communication breakdown can occur due to:

Business Studies A Level - Communication Breakdown– too much technical jargon

– a second language being used (in other words, not their mother tongue)

– bad use of grammar

– information overload

– geographical or time problems

– communication channel being too long

– message being ignored

– technological breakdown

Technological breakdown is a particularly prominent issue as computers and smart phones are the main channels of communication nowadays.