Communication is the lifeblood of an organization. Discuss this assertion by referring to the importance of communication in an organization of your choice. (25 marks)

 

Introduction

Chun (2016) defined organizational communication as the process whereby members gather pertinent information about their organization and the changes occurring within it. Generally organizational communication has two objectives. The researcher chose to focus on the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) as the focus of the assignment. The organization initiated a change to its organizational structure that led various strikes and public outcry and hundreds of employees went on to lose their jobs. On the 15th October 2014 ZETDC undertook an Employee Satisfaction Survey, that is, an inquiry into employee thoughts, feelings, aspirations and in extreme cases, wishes and dreams of the ideal organization (Newsday, 2017).  Questionnaires were distributed widely and randomly for comments and ratings.  Questionnaires were filled in and deposited into boxes, which were strategically located.  An external consultant called “Team Consulting” was contracted to manage the survey and report its findings to Management by 31st January 2015.  The results were made known to Top Management but were never communicated to employees as it was rumored that the findings have damaging comments on the Management Style being used and the problems which were causing demotivation and serious corruption. A lack of communication of the benefits of this organizational structure was also cited as a major hindrance to its smooth acceptance and application (Source, 2018).

 

The primary objective of communication is to inform the workforce about their tasks and the policy issues of the organization. Organizational communication is defined as “transmitting news about the work from organization to employees and through employees.

The second goal of organizational communication is to construct a community within the organization (Yildrim, 2014). Meaningful communication informs and educates employees at all levels and motivates them to support the strategy. This is important as positive attitudes to change are vital in successful change programs, as resistance to change is one of the biggest barriers to overcome. Meaningful communication requires a degree of ‘cognitive organizational reorientation’ (Salifu, 2018) i.e. comprehension and appreciation of the proposed change.

Elving and Hansma (2008) as cited by Kamau (2016) carried out interview research between management and employees during organizational change. The most important conclusion drawn was that the success of the dissemination and adaptation of organizational change significantly depend upon communicative and informative skills of managers at all levels. Although leaders appear to be aware of fast change within organization, communicating that change is difficult Yildrim (2014)) found that along with the role of management on the contribution of the workforce to the impending change, distribution of information and actual communication regarding the need for the change and the objectives of the modification in business organization are also critical.

According to Salifu (2018) communication is essential to effective team performance and communications for any organization is like blood flow in the human body. Therefore any organization that understands the importance of communication uses it in their organizational environment. Since, it ensures coordination of factors of production and most importantly material and human elements of organization as an efficient network of change and advancement. According to Snavely (2001) as cited by Salifu (2018) communication process is initialed through the following means the sender-encoding-the message-the channeldecoding-the receiver- noise and feedback. It is estimated that managers spend over 80% of their day communicating with others. Since most of the basic management process- planning, organizing, leading and controlling – cannot be performed without effective communication.

Effective communications help to establish clear expectations for employees and, perhaps surprisingly, for customers as well. For employees, clear expectations will convey how their performance will impact the company and give them an indication of what they need to do to achieve positive feedback. For customers, clear communication can help manage their expectations about service issues or even about how best to interact with the organization (Chun, 2016).

Effective communication builds strong relationships. Trust and loyalty are key factors in any relationship and both are boosted by communication that is focused on meeting individual needs, conveying important information and providing feedback – positive and constructive. Strong relationships with external audiences also build strong solid communication about products, services and company culture and values (Yildrim (2014).

Open channels of communication can lead to new ideas and innovation in a number of areas. Employees that understand what’s important to their companies can focus on making improvements and spotting opportunities for innovation that can help further success. When employees know their ideas will be sought after, that company leaders will have open minds and be responsive to their feedback, they’re more likely to contribute their ideas. Customers also can be a source of great ideas to help improve products and services (Salifu, 2018).

The more employees know about the company, its culture, its products and services, and its response to any negative issues, the better job they can do of serving as ambassadors to the community, their friends, relatives and other business connections. Employees who feel they have a strong, positive relationship with their employers and trust the information they receive from their employers will be more likely to share that information with others. Employees can be a highly valued and trusted source of information about a company and its products and services (Kamau, 2016).

Effective organizational communication will lead to strong teamwork and the ability for employees at all levels of the organization to work together to achieve company goals. In addition, effective organizational communication will provide employees the knowledge, structure and positive work environment they need to feel comfortable dealing with conflict and resolving issues effectively (Salifu, 2018).

Salifu (2018) identified that the role played by communication during change in the business organizations as essential for successful change management. The employees are the key sources to bring about change in organizations. To encourage employees for desired change, organizations must address the apprehensions and issues related with them. Job insecurity should be decreased and a sense of community should be created so that employees may feel their responsibilities. The need for change and its advantages will motivate the staff to participate in change plan and execute it.

According to Yildrim (2014) investigated the effects of communication strategies on organizational performance.Adescriptive research design was used in this study. 132 questionnaires were distributed employees. The findings of this research showed the importance of both the theoretical level and practical level. It concluded that for any organizational performance to be effective, an open communication environment should be encouraged. Once members of the organization feel free to share feedback, ideas and even criticism at every level it increases performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Salifu, A.R., 2018. The role of Effective Internal Communication in improving Organizational Performance(Doctoral dissertation).

Yildirim, O., 2014. The Impact of organizational communication on organizational citizenship behavior: research findings. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences150, pp.1095-1100.

Chun, M.H., 2016. Relationship of ParticipantsCharacteristics and Organizational Effectiveness on Education Program-Mediating Effect of Communication. The Journal of the Korea Contents Association16(6), pp.394-403.

Kamau, A., 2016. FACTORS INFLUENCING STRATEGIC CHANGE MANAGEMENT ON ORGANAZATION PERFORMANCE. A CASE STUDY OF KENYA POWER THIKA STATION. Strategic Journal of Business & Change Management3(4).

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/11/zetdc-equipment-obsolete/ Mhlanga, 2017

https://source.co.zw/2018/01/zesa-pleads-poverty-as-workers-demand-50pct-salary-raise/

 

 

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