Organizational communication

Organizational communication


Organizational communication is more than a process by which information is exchanged. Many definitions of organizational communication exist, Deetz argues that one way to enlighten our understanding of organizational communication is to compare different approaches. However, for this text, organizational communication can be defined as the sending and receiving of information among interrelated individuals within a particular environment or setting to achieve individual and common goals. Organizational communication is highly contextual and culturally dependent. This is because individuals in organizations transmit messages through face-to-face, written and mediated channels.

Organizational communication is important as it helps accomplish tasks relating to specific roles and responsibilities acclimate to changes through individual and organizational creativity and adaptation and coordinate, plan, and control the operations of the organization through management (Katz & Khan). Organizational communication is how organizations represent, present, and constitute their organizational climate and culture-the attitudes, values and goals that characterize the organization and its members.

Organizational communication largely focuses on building relationships and interaction with internal organizational members and interested external publics. As Mark Koschmann explains, we have two ways of looking at organizational communication. The conventional approach focuses on communication within organizations. The second approach is communication as an organization. Meaning organizations are as a result of the communication of those within them. Communication is not just about transmitting information between senders and receivers. Communication constitutes, or makes up, our social world. Much of our communication involves sending and receiving relatively unproblematic messages and acting on that information.

Communication is a process of exchange data, information, ideas, thoughts, and emotions. It is a two-way process of exchange that involves sender and receiver. A sender is a person who encodes and sends the information and which is then received by the receiver through different communication channels where the message is decoded, information is being processed, and the proper reply can be sent via the same communication channel.

Effective communication plays very important role in any organization. Thing. However in some organization communication, unfortunately, is neglected and is the main issue for those companies who are not performing well. The employees who have poor communication skill in the organization have fewer chances of growth and development, so it is very important and critical. There can be different types of issues for the organizations nowadays (Gopal, Namita, 2009).

Communication might be through diverse processes and methods and the different channel and style of communication. By the channels used for communication, it can be divided into two; verbal and non-verbal communication. In Verbal communication, it includes written and oral communication while in non-verbal communication it includes body language like gesture, pasture, nodding etc., expressions and visuals diagrams or pictures.

The communication process

The goal of communication is to convey information and the understanding of that information from one person or group to another person or group. This communication process is divided into three basic components: A sender transmits a message through a channel to the receiver. The sender first develops an idea, which is composed into a message and then transmitted to the other party, who interprets the message and receives meaning. Information theorists have added a more complicated language. Developing a message is known as encoding. Interpreting the message is referred to as decoding.

The other important feature is the feedback cycle. When two people interact, communication is rarely one‐way only. When a person receives a message, she responds to it by giving a reply. The feedback cycle is the same as the sender‐receiver feedback. Otherwise, the sender can’t know whether the other parties properly interpreted the message or how they reacted to it. Feedback is especially significant in management because a supervisor has to know how subordinates respond to directives and plans. The manager also needs to know how work is progressing and how employees feel about the general work situation.

The critical factor in measuring the effectiveness of communication is a common understanding. Understanding exists when all parties involved have an agreement as to not only the information but also the meaning of the information. Effective communication, therefore, occurs when the intended message of the sender and the interpreted message of the receiver are the same. Although this should be the goal in any communication, it is not always achieved.


The original perspective for understanding organizational communication can be described using a machine metaphor. At the beginning of the industrial age, when people thought science could solve almost every problem, American Frederick Taylor, Frenchman Henri Fayol, and German Max Weber tried to apply scientific solutions to organizations. They wanted to determine how organizations and workers could function in an ideal way. Organizations during the industrial revolution wanted to know how they could maximize their profits, so the classical management perspective focused on worker productivity. The machine metaphor of classical management suggests that three basic aspects should exist in organizations: Specialization, Standardization, and Predictability (Miller). Those who advocated this perspective argued that every employee should have a specialized function, thus, essentially any individual could perform a job if they are properly trained. If one individual fails to do the job, they are easily replaceable with another person since people are seen as simply parts of a machine.

Taylor developed his Theory of Scientific Management from his early days as a foreman in a machine shop. Little did he know how drastically he was going to influence organizations and our notions of working life. Taylor could not understand why organizations and individuals would not want to maximize efficiency. During this time, Weber was also developing his ideas about bureaucracy. He was fascinated with what the ideal organization should look like, and believed that effective hierarchies helped organizations operate effectively. Precise rules, a division of labour, centralized authority, and a distinctly defined hierarchy should be driven by rational thought void of emotion and outside influence (Weber). These qualities would allow organizations to operate in a somewhat predictable manner employees knew what to expect and who was in charge, and management could make decisions based on familiar, relevant information rather than irrational feelings.

Fayol’s theory of classical management focused on how management worked, specifically looking at what managers should do to be most effective. For Fayol, organizational members should be clear who is in charge, and everyone should know their role in an organization. He argued that organizations should be grouped in a precise hierarchy that limits the flow of communication to top-down communication. Theory X is an example of a classical management theory where managers micro-manage employees by using reward-punishment tactics and limiting employee participation in decision-making (McGregor). This theory sees employees as basically lazy or unmotivated. Because of this, managers must closely supervise their workers. Those that do not do their work are disposable parts of the machine. This allows for management to mistreat and abuse their employees, ultimately lowering the very thing they were after greater productivity.

Each organization has unique characteristics and cultural differences such as language, traditions, symbols, practices, past-times, and social conveniences that distinguish it from other organizations. Likewise, they are rich with their own histories, stories, customs, and social norms. Some people try to treat culture as a “thing.” However, organizational cultures emerge through interaction. Members share meaning, construct reality, and make sense of their environment on an ongoing basis. As Morgan states, there is often more to culture than meets the eye and our understandings are usually much more fragmented and superficial than the reality itself.


The main recipe of the success in any organization is the good communication skill in the organization. All type of communication is very important and must be effective in the organization. The level of communication with different people varies from organization to organization. The people must have the adaptability to grasp that level of communication to get the objectives and aims of the organization. The organization must have an effective communication system for the accomplishment of the objectives. Because in this modern era of technologies every organization needs innovation and creativity and the effective communication between the organizations can bring these changes so quickly.


Bratton, J. (2015). Introduction to work and organizational behaviour. Palgrave Macmillan.

Czarniawska-Joerges, B., & Joerges, B. (1988). How to control things with words: Organizational talk and control. Management Communication Quarterly, 2(2), 170-193.

Keyton, J. (2011). Communication and organizational culture: A key to understanding work experiences. Sage.

Hecht, M. L., Warren, J., Jung, E., & Krieger, J. (2005). The communication theory of identity. Theorizing about intercultural communication, 257-278.


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