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In the process of communication there can be substantial difference between the information that is actually intended to be conveyed by the originator of communication and its recipient. Some part of the information may get not reach the recipient at all, and whatever reaches may be distorted, and may be interpreted by the receiver in a way not intended by the sender of information. Communication barrier is the collective name given to the causes of this loss and distortion of information during the process of communication.
There are many types of communication barriers in an organization. Major ones of these are described below.
Lack of Planning: What needs to be communicated, how, and when is not properly thought out and planned.
Unclarified Assumptions: Leaving out relevant details in the communication assuming that receiver is already aware of it.
Semantic Distortion: Same word or expression interpreted in different way.
Poor Expression of Messages
Communication Barriers in International Environment: The barriers as a result of different languages, culture, etc. Such barriers can exist within a country also.
Poor Listening and Premature Evaluation: The receiver may not absorb or mentally receive the all information sent. One of the major reasons for poor listening is tendency of people to start evaluating the information received even as the other person is talking.
Too Much Impersonal Communication: Frequently communications fail because the speaker is unable to establish personal bond with the listener.
Distrust, Threat and Fear: Communication is a two way process, one gives information as well as receives information. If a person is distrusted or feared, people will avoid giving him too much or right information. Also they will have less credibility in information provided by him.
Information Overload: Too much of information also results in poor communication. Useful information mixed with additional information requires additional effort to separate the two. In addition, right information can get mixed up with similar wrong information and cause confusion and errors.
Other Communication Barriers: These include perception, which causes individuals to mentally filter out and distort information received. The perception itself is affected by any factors such as attitudes and emotions.
Differences in status and power also affect willingness of the individuals to communicate and the nature of information communicated.
There are four main factors or barriers, which will influence the effectiveness of organizational communication, namely :-
1. the formal channels of communication : it's basically due to the distances involved, especially for big diversified organizations and secondly between there are formal rules and regulations governing the flow of information within such organizations.
2. the authority structure : The content and accuracy of communication will be affected by the authority differences among individuals, eg a clerk will probably want to say a lot of things to the company president but when they actually meet and talk in an informal gather, probably neither will have anything other than strained politeness and formality.
3. job specialisation : it gives rise to another phenomena where communication differentiation will prevent members of differentiation will prevent members of different departments from communicating effectively. (those geeks just dont understand us.)
4. information ownerhsip : it is a form of power and individuals who possess certain specific information may not want to share this information with others because it will mean dilution of his power base.
Types of Communication Barriers:
1: Process Barriers: Communication is the process which consists of many elements like sender, encoder, medium, decoder, and receiver. When these elements face any problems or hinder the communication process than lead to communication barriers termed as process barriers. The commonly faced barriers in this area are sender barrier, encoding barrier, medium barrier, decoding barrier, receiver barrier, and feedback barrier. (Dr. Eduardo Bustos, 2011) 2: Physical Barriers: Physical barriers are mostly created because of the distractions in the physical scenario of the communication like distance, telephone call, instant visitors, etc. some common physical barriers are environment, cell phones, noise, distance, and physical disability. (Rahul Pandita, 2011)
3: Personal Barriers: These barriers involve the components of individual’s communication competence and interpersonal dynamics between people who are involved in communication process. There are many personal barriers but some most important are language, religion, ethnicity, authority, ability, and emotion. Language present difficulty in effective communication because of the understanding and comprehension relative to the language of another region that is not known e.g. French person is if going to communicate with a British the language will affect the communication between these two nationals. Religion also is a barrier to understand the concept of person from other religion. Diverse regions consist of different beliefs and attitudes therefore can create barriers at workplace to interpret information the way they feel. Differences in cultures and ethnicity also pose pressures to communicate effectively. Authority level can also sometimes pose pressures because sometimes superiors at workplace do not want to communicate with low level staff and vice versa. Ability to understand and communicate can also differ with respect to individual personality that will give rise to communication barrier. Emotions are also personal barriers because of individual moods and mind to communicate. E.g. bad mood can spoil the communication with an effective partner or peer. (Ben Wakeling, 2012)
4: Semantic Barriers: Semantic barriers occur when there is divergence about the words being employed in communication. These barriers commonly exist based on individuals being from different cultures which hinders between parties concerned in communication to determine a common comprehension of the words and concepts used. Mostly the language gives rise to the occurrence of this barrier. Other sources of semantic barriers transpire when the use of terminology that is mostly specific to a certain field like science or astronomy. It also occurs by using informal vocabulary or statements which can be specific to a specified region or place. E.g. manger of IT department cannot deliver the problem in process to other mangers if he solely relies on the terminologies of his department or field. (Fred C. Lunenburg, 2010)
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