Q.1. What do you understand by ‘Communication’? Discuss the importance of business communication.
“The single most significant characteristic of the human race is the ability to communicate. Discuss.
Ans. The word communication is derived from the Latin word ‘Communis’ which means in common’.
Thus, communication means sharing ideas, opinions, facts, and information in common. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Communication means “the imparting, conveying or exchange of ideas, knowledge, etc., whether by speech, writing or signs”. The word communication can be defined as follows:
In the words of Newman and Summer, “It is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons.” According to him, in any communication process, two or more persons are involved. . Communication is always a two-way process.
Louis A. Allen defines communication as, “the sum of all the things one person does when he wants to create understanding in the mind of another. It is a bridge of meaning. It involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening, and understanding.” Accordingly, the essence of communication is understanding through the process of telling and listening. Louis A. Allen stressed oral communication.
Characteristics or Nature of Communication
(i) It involves at least persons: Communication involves at least two persons, a sender, and receiver. The sender is called a communicator and the receiver of the message is known as a communicatee. A person who speaks writes, or issues some instructions is the sender, and the person for whom the communication is meant or who receives the message is the receiver communicatee.
(ii) Message is a must: A message is the subject matter of communication, e.g., the contents of the letter or speech, order, instructions, or suggestions. A communication must convey some message. If there is no message there is no communication.
(iii) Communication may be written, oral or gestural: Communication is generally understood as spoken of written words. But in reality, it is more than that. It includes everything that may be used to convey meanings from one person to another, e.g, movement of lips, or the wink of an eye or the wave of hands may convey more meaning than even written or spoken words.
(iv) Communication is a two-way process: It involves both information and understanding. Communication is not complete unless the receiver has understood the message properly and his reaction or response is known to the sender. Understanding is the end result of communication but it does not imply agreement.
(v) Its primary purpose is to motivate a response: The primary purpose of communication is to motivate a response or human behavior. There is no doubt that motivation comes from within but communicators can also motivate people by good drafting of the message, proper timing of communication, etc. To create understanding, communication should be relevant to the situation. It must always be remembered that communication is a means of motivating and not an end in itself.
(vi) Communication may be formal or informal: Formal communication follows the formal channels provided in the organization structure. For example, the Managing Director communicates with the departmental heads, says Finance Manager, the finance manager will communicate to deputy Finance Manager, the deputy finance manager with accounts officer and so on. In simple words, informal communication, there is no direct communication between the Managing Director and the accounts clerks.
Informal communication flows from informal channels of communication that are not provided in the organization’s structure. These channels develop among members because of personal contacts through working with each other.
(vii) It flows up and down and also from side to side: Communication flows downward from a superior to subordinate and upward from subordinate to superior. It also flows between two or more persons operating at the same level of authority.
Importance of Communication
In the opinion of Chester Bernard, “the first executive function is to develop and maintain a system of communication.” He called communication the foundation of all group activities. In the words of G.R. Terry, “it serves as the lubricant fostering for the smooth operations of management process”. The importance of communication can be judged from the following :
(i) Basis of Decision-making and Planning: Communication is essential for decision-making and planning. It enables the management to secure information without which it may not be possible to make any decisions. The quality of managerial decisions depends on the quality of communication. Further, the decisions and plans of the management need to be communicated to the subordinates. Without effective communication, it may not be possible to issue instructions and orders. Effective Communication helps in the proper implementation of plans and policies of the management.
(ii) Smooth and Efficient Working of an Organization: In the words of George R. Terry, “It serves as the lubricant, fostering for the smooth operations of management process”. Communication makes possible the smooth and efficient working of the enterprise. It is only through communication that the management changes and regulates the actions of the subordinates in the desired direction.
(iii) Facilitates Co-ordination: Management is the art of getting things done through others and this objective of management cannot be achieved unless there is the unity of purpose and harmony of effort. Communication through the exchange of ideas and information helps to bring about unity of action in the pursuit of a common purpose. It binds the people together and facilitates coordination.
(iv) Increases Managerial Efficiency: Effective communication increases managerial efficiency. It is rightly said that nothing happens in management until communication takes place. The efficiency of a manager depends upon his ability to communicate effectively with the members of his organization. It is only through communication that management conveys its goals and desires, issues instructions and orders, allocates jobs and responsibilities, and evaluates the performance of subordinates.
(v) Promotes Co-operation and Industrial Peace: Effective communication creates mutual understanding and trust among the members of the organization. It promotes between the employer and the employees. Without communication, there cannot be sound industrial relations and industrial peace. It is only through communication that workers can put in their grievances, problems, and suggestions to the management.
(vi) Helps in Establishing Effective Leadership: Communication is the basis of effective leadership. There cannot be any leadership action without effective communication between the leader and the led. Communication is absolutely necessary for maintaining man-to-man relationships in leadership. It brings the manager (leader) and the subordinates (led) in close contact with each other and helps in establishing effective leadership.
(vii) Motivation and Morale: Communication is the means by which the behavior of the subordinates is modified and change is affected in their actions. Through communication workers are motivated to achieve the goals of the enterprise and their morale is boosted. Although motivation comes from within, yet the manager can also motivate people by effective communication, e.g., proper drafting of the message, proper timing of communication and the way of communication, etc.
(viii) Increases Managerial Capacity: Effective communication increases managerial capacity too. A manager is a human being and has limitations as to time and energy that he can devote to various activities. He has to assign duties and responsibilities to his subordinates. Through communication, a manager can effectively delegate his authority and responsibility to others and thus increase his managerial capacity.
(ix) Effective Control: Managerial function of control implies the measurement of actual performance, comparing it with standards set by plans and taking corrective actions of deviations, if any, to ensure attainment of enterprise objectives according to preconceived and planned acts. Communication acts as a tool of effective control. The plans have to be communicated to the subordinates, the actual performance has to be measured and communicated to the top management and corrective action has to be taken or communicated so as to achieve the desired goals. All this may not be possible without an efficient system of communication.
(x) Job Satisfaction: Effective communication creates job satisfaction among employees as it increases mutual trust and confidence between management and the employees. The gap between management and the employees is reduced through efficient means of communication and a sense of belonging is created among employees. They work with zeal and enthusiasm.
(xi) Democratic Management: Communication is also essential for democratic management. It helps to achieve workers’ participation in management by involving workers in the process of decision-making. In the absence of an efficient system of communication, there cannot be any delegation and decentralization of authority.
(xii) Increases Productivity and Reduces Cost: Effective communication saves time and effort. It increases productivity and reduces cost. Large-scale production involves a large number of people in the organization. Without communication, it may not be possible to work together in a group and achieve the benefits of large-scale production.
(xiii) Public Relation: In the present business world, every business enterprise has to create and maintain a good corporate image in society. It is only through communication that management can present a good corporate image to the outside world. Effective communication helps management in maintaining good relations with workers, customers, suppliers, shareholders, government, and the community at large.
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