BBA Business Communication Study Material Patterns of Communication Page.1
BBA Business Communication Study Material Patterns of Communication Page.2
After studying this chapter you are able to understand: Introduction, Factors Influencing Organizational Communication, Patterns of Communication, Limitations of Communication Patterns.
- Communication in an organization is a complex process.
- All communication is based on human relationships.
- Every organization endeavors to organize its communication system in its own way.
- Psychologists and management experts have, in recent years, done exciting research on organizational communication.
- There are many factors influencing organizational communication, the main ones being the formal authority structure, job specialization and information ownership.
- The main patterns of communication or communication ‘nets’ are ‘wheel/Y’, ‘circle’ and ‘all channel’.
- Each of these patterns has it own limitations.
In the previous chapter we have discussed the formal and informal channels of communication in an organization. Both formal and informal channels work side by side or, in other words, run parallel to each other. Quite often they get mixed up or cast their influence on each other, making it quits a job for the manager to get to the actual position and take a decision. While on the hand there are clear orders or directives or memos sent along the vertical lines of communication, on the giving edge to the information meant to be sent across. It shows that communication is a complex process indeed.
It is, therefore, of paramount importance that an organization develop a pattern or communication so as to improve its effectiveness. Developing such a pattern is not all. It cannot compensate for poor management ideas. But it must be noted, and indeed all mangers realize, that poor communication, or inability to develop an effective, fruitful system of communication may lead to dismal failure of management. The only way to make sure that the management succeeds in implementing its ideas or achieving its goals is to carefully consider the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of communication and evolve its own system of carrying them out. This is primarily a question of human relationships as they develop and are encouraged to develop in an organization. Modern communication experts and management specialists have been seriously studying these relationships and communication patterns emerging in different types of organizations.
The Basic Question
The primary or basic question before the researchers in these studies has been to show the impact of two-way communication in which messages could travel in either direction to two colleagues on either side or a one-way communication system dominated by a single person on the behavior of the people. In a two-way communication, system dominated by a single person on the behavior of the people. In a two-way communication, people are free to communicate all around and the pattern does not favour one member over another. It is an open, highly participative, democratic organization involving all members in decision-making. The one way communication system does not leave much scope for this kind of participation and is very much like an autocratic structure. Naturally human relationships cannot be the same in both these types of communication systems.
The communication system of an organization is generally influenced by these four factors: the formal channels of communication, the authority structure of the organization, job specialization, and what lesikar has called “information ownership”
- Formal channels of communications: As has been observed in the previous chapter the formal channel of communication is controlled by managers. It is mostly directive or restrictive in nature and does not leave much scope for free flow of information. Its advantages and disadvantages have been discussed earlier.
- Authority structure: The organization’s authority structure has a similar influence on its communication system. Status and power difference play an important role in determining who will communicate with ease with whom. The content and accuracy of the communication will also be influenced by the place of the people in the organization. For example, conversation between a general manager and a clerk will, in all probability, be strained by politeness and formality.
- Job specialization: Job specialization usually encourages and facilitates communication within the specialized or differentiated groups. Members of these specialized groups share the same line of thinking, use the same jargon, set similar goals and adopt similar styles. But at the same time, communication between highly specialized groups is very likely to be inhibited.
- Information ownership: This term means that individuals own or possess unique information about their specific jobs. For example, a plastic surgeon in super specialty hospital may have found a particularly efficient way of cosmetic nose correction or a chef in a big hotel may have come upon a new recipe. Such information is a form of power for the person possessing it as it gives him an edge over others. He may not like to share his knowledge or particular skill with others. As a result, completely free flow of information does not take place, although the ownership can be shared.
Keeping in mind the above mentioned factors and the varying ways in which organizations communicate within their hierarchical system researches like Leavitt and Shaw done very interesting experimental studies and isolated some patterns of communication. Given below are the most important patterns of communication or ‘communication nets.’
(a) Wheel/ Y
- Three-person wheel communication pattern.
- Four-person wheel communication pattern.
- Five-person wheel communication pattern.
- Five-person ‘Y’ communication pattern.
These are somewhat centralized patterns, suitable for simple tasks as they promote faster problem solution with fewer errors, they ensure the best job performance. But, at the same time, it has been observed, they also show lowest job satisfaction and low flexibility to changes. There is a sort of inbuilt rigidity in these types of communication pattern.C
- Four person circle communication pattern.
- Five person circle communication pattern.
(c) All Channel
- Four person all channel communication pattern.
- Five-person all channel communication pattern.
When the task is complex, decentralized patterns-circle and all channel-have been found more efficient. They are more satisfying to group members in both simple and complicated tasks as in these types of communication ‘nets’ or patterns they enjoy more freedom, acquire different angels of vision and are enthused to put in their best.