Miscommunication in the Workplace
Factors, Effects, Preventions, and Solutions
By definition, communication is a two way process that needs four components to make it successful. First, the message must have a sender as the source. Second, the channel through which communication will be sent must also be there as means to send the message. Third, the receiver should also be present as the destination of the message itself. Lastly, an encoding process must of course be there as well otherwise communication itself will be null and void. Feedback is then given by the receiver turning this element as the new sender and the old sender takes the position of the new receiver. This goes on until a conclusion is reached and communication is then terminated by both parties. All four components must work together or else it is highly possible to have miscommunication (Emery, 2012).
In a workplace, proper communication is a must. Those who are involved in the communication must have the ability to speak clear and concise. There should also be empathy but at the same time assertiveness. Self-monitoring should be there and the skill of listening must be ever present. No matter what the size of organization is, important information is delivered in multiple departments and personnel in order for the entire company to work properly. Information is handed over through a chain of command allowing everyone to receive the messages and thus the instructions that need to be done (Psychtest AIM Inc., 2012).
In relation to what is stated, every organization's goal in terms of delivering messages properly is to have open communication. However, those who are in offices are often given full workload. This fact hinders them to hear out the different concerns that the lower level personnel may have regarding how the organization is being handled. Thus, delayed actions from any concerns are often the results of this lack of time to communicate. Disharmony then is created in the workplace (Pazcoguin, 2013). Businesses then must be able to find a solution to make their employees learn the right way to communicate. This can then ensure that their communication tactics will be good enough to avoid dissatisfaction and misunderstanding between employees from all levels. This also allows better understanding between the employees themselves and the organization and possible the other stake holders who are very well affected in the harmony within the business (Brewer & Holmes, 2009).
Factors that Causes Miscommunication
It was stated above that one possible factor that could cause miscommunication in the workplace is the workload of the officers. But other factors might also cause this problem. Another example would be the usage of terminologies within the workplace. For instance, terms that denotes the possibility or the likelihood to occur, like the words such as never, usually, probably, are often associated to terms that denotes something will definitely happen or occur, like the words soon, tomorrow, right away, ASAP. The receiver then may make sense or understand a message differently than how the sender intended for it to be understood (Brewer & Holmes, 2009). The receiver may feel that he/she is being manipulated by the sender during the conversation. This then becomes a feeling of uncertainty in what should be the result of the discussion (Frankel, 2003). Thus this creates confusion and may lead to low productivity, poor motivation or the lowering of morale, sales loss and many other undesirable outcomes (Brewer & Holmes, 2009).
Problematic talk can also be a source of miscommunication in the workplace. This refers to the differences in how an individual tries to communicate that are often misunderstood by those who receive the information from that individual. Researches that are focusing on this problem often times break down the issue in the level of interpersonal practices in communication norms. Mismatches in communicative and discursive practices are then found within different groups. The link between this practices and miscommunication is often clearly seen (Stubbe, 2010).
Miscommunication problem can also be related to issues in terms of organization politics and ideologies. Failure to communicate in this context is...
Messages are utilized to establish interpersonal relations. Intergroup interactions are also affected. Thus, the way how employees relate to each other are influenced greatly by the way they communicate. What was established can either be changed or maintained. Yet, this most frequently done by those involved in the subconscious level and may not be recognizable by those who are not directly affected by the issue (Stubbe, 2010).
The organizational structure of the company itself might also become the cause of miscommunication. Here, communication only becomes a human factor that can cause the problem in the organizational structure. However, communication here can also be the key into solving the said issue (Stubbe, 2010).
Of course, some other reasons might be the cause of miscommunication. All of them would be impossible to mention in this paper. All that were stated above are the most common reasons that could disrupt proper communication in the workplace. It would be best to focus in the four issues first in order to identify quick and lasting solutions for the problem. Other factors may come to light upon dealing with these primary causes. The solution that will be discussed later on may also work for these unidentified factors. If not, solving the issues at hand may pave the way to finding the concrete answer on how to fully stop miscommunication in the workplace.
It as already mentioned earlier that some of the primary effects of miscommunication are low productivity, sales loss, and low morale among employees. It is time now to dissect each of these effects in order to fully understand how they will influence the overall performance of the organization. It must e noted though that all that will be discussed will be based on the fact that miscommunication is identified as the primary reason why these effects happened. In reality though, other factors may also be present.
For an employee to learn and improve on his or her job, the employee must be able to rely on communication. Discourses become ways of training especially in the understanding of complex processes (Filliettaz, 2011). True that basic training are given to those who are newly hired, but for some of the more complex operations a worker must be able to seek out help from other employees who have more experience in the matter. Being unable to communicate or not having the means to do so will force the employee to rely on self experience and thus a trial and error method may become the last resort. This process then will cut the possibility of good output in half and will most likely slow down the process of the gaining experience of the new employee (Filliettaz, 2011). This loss of precious time, coupled with miscommunication can have a major impact in the organizations productivity (Brewer & Holmes, 2009).
Sales loss on the other hand can become a direct result of the previously mentioned effect which is low productivity. However, again, miscommunication can also directly become the cause of sales loss in terms of giving dissatisfaction to the stake holders of the organization. Customers may also become displeased upon the performance of the organization if so ever the employees have the lack of ability to properly communicate due to the ambiguity of the terms they use in the workplace (Brewer & Holmes, 2009). This dissatisfaction of the stake holders and the customers could very well be associated in the loss of sales for a specific product or service the organization is offering. This then affects the whole organization since loss of sales means the probability of the company to be in a tight financial situation will be high.
Lastly, low employee morale can be directly associated to the previous two effects. If an employee feels being manipulated due to miscommunication then the end product of the conversation may not be what is intended to happen. The employee then must be able to find ways in order to try and solve the problem on his or her own level (Frankel, 2003). However, companies must also be aware of how to solve this for their employees, otherwise there might even be more miscommunication in the process (Brewer & Holmes, 2009).
These effects are severe in the point-of-view of those who are in charge of the organization. However, often times they do not see miscommunication as the reason behind these effects. Even though it was mentioned that other factors might also be present to cause the said issues, miscommunication could very well be the root of it all. Addressing it then must become the priority of those who are in charge to prevent further damage to the organization.
Preventions and Solutions
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