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Barriers of Communication

Barriers to Effective communication When the message of the sender does not go across to the receiver or goes across only partially we say that there is a communication gap. For communication to be effective the receiver must correctly interpret the senders message. Often however communication is ineffective because of breakdowns that can occur at any stage in the communication process. It is therefore imperative to understand some of the important barriers of communication and how to avoid them in order to make communication more effective. Kinds of barriers Physical Psychological Linguistic Cultural Mechanical. Physical barriers The three physical barriers that are commonly encountered in the communication process are : Noise, Time and distance and faulty instruments. Noise or disturbance acts as a barrier to communication Cross Connections Bell Rings in the classroom Radio Atmospheric noise Trumphet, band, etc.

Time : For Instance if a businessman wants to talk to a man in London whose office is closed due to
the different time zones of the 2 countries.

Distance: It is difficult to communicate between 2 people who are seated far away from each other. Defective Instruments: When the instruments of communication have a defect in them the
communication process becomes difficult or impossible. eg. Defective computers, telephone, failure of electric power etc. There are also some human physical defects such as stammer, bad hearing and a bad handwriting. Psychological BarriersCommunication Today- Rueban Ray Information Filtering: The process by which a message is altered thru the elimination of certain data as the communication moves from one person to another in the organization is information filtering. As subordinates and superiors communicate they know the information will be used for 2 purposes

to help management control and direct the firm and - to evaluate the worth of their performance.

Managers often discover that the information that has been provided is often filtered as it progresses thru the chain of command. Even the president may filter information before it goes to the Board of directors or is communicated to subordinates. Psychological Barriers Lack of trust and openness Jealousy Preoccupation/ Inattentiveness

Barriers of Communication
Hearing what we expect to hear/ Abstracting eg. An employee who has been reprimanded quite a
few times by a certain superior may even interpret a compliment by that superior as a negative statement. Perception Set differences: A fixed tendency to interpret information in a certain way is a ;perception set . Differences in past experiences, educational background, emotions, values, beliefs, and many other factors affect each persons perception of a message or of words. The word management may provide an entirely different image in the minds of 2 people. Different perceptions often lead us to confuse facts with inference.

Faulty transmission and poor retention: When communication passes thru various levels in the
organization successive transmissions of the same message are decreasingly accurate. In case of oral communication 30% of information is actually lost in each transmission. Poor retention is another problem. Employees tend to retain about 50% of information only, whereas superiors retain about 60%.

Allness and closed mind: Fear of superiors, fear of losing the job, fear of being laughed at. Misunderstanding: When people communicate they communicate feelings, facts, opinions and
values. When one person communicates his opinion and the other understands it as a fact then misunderstanding results. Eg. Indians are the most tolerant people in the world is an opinion. Halo Effect Premature Evaluation Undue reliance on the written word. Status block Effect of emotions.

Specialist Language: Technical personnel and special groups tend to develop a special and peculiar
technical language of their own. This increases their isolation from others and builds a barrier. It hinders communication with persons not in their speciality because of the receivers ignorance of that language. Faulty Translations: Every manager receives various types of communications from superiors, peers, subordinates and he must translate information destined for subordinates, peers and superiors into language suitable to each. Hence the message has to be put into words appropriate to the framework in which the receiver operates or it must be accompanied by an interpretation which will be understood by the receiver. This needs a high level of linguistic capacity. Linguistic Barriers

Semantic barriers: Semantic barriers are obstructions caused in the process of receiving or
understanding of the message during the process of encoding and decoding ideas and words. These barriers arise from the linguistic capacity of the parties involved. Words are the principal communication instrument but a common difficulty with words is that each word has several meanings. For eg. The oxford dictionary records an average of 28 separate meanings for each of the 500 most used words in the english language. Badly expressed message: lack of clarity, poorly chosen and empty words and phrases, careless omission and bad organization of ideas. Eg. Words having the same meaning complement/compliment, bear/bare, council/counsel, seen/ scene.

Barriers of Communication
Unclarified Assumptions: Though a message may appear to be clear to the receiver the underlying
assumption may not be clear to the receiver.

By-passed instructions: Instructions given by a superior often get bypassed as something else. Sir Winston Churchill said when the American and British chiefs met , the British bought in a memo and proposed that they should table it by which it meant that they should discuss it right away. The Americans protested that the matter was too important to be tabled( by which they meant shelved) and the argument got heated till the members realized that they all wanted the same thing. Cultural Barriers: When the sender and receiver of a communication come from different cultural
backgrounds a cultural barrier is errected and messages are misunderstood. For eg. It is quite common for men and women in European countries who know each other to lightly kiss each other on the cheek as a form of greeting. In Japan the accepted form of greeting is bowing. A misunderstanding is likely to arise if the European form of greeting is applied in Japan. By culture we mean the behavioral characteristics typical of a group of people. Cross cultural barriers are erected by different national and religious backgrounds , different value systems, differences in language and literature and even different perceptions of time. In the U.S. if a person waits for 30 minutes outside office it is considered as disrespectful and not valuing a persons time. The same practice in India is common Chalta hai Attitude. Regarding status symbols, consider a managers office in India and in the U.S. spacious, well furnished and located on the top floor; this conveys an aura of prestige. In France , managers are likely to be located in the midst of their subordinates in order to control them. Organizational / Mechanical Barriers Mechanical Barriers are connected with the technical impediments in the way of communication within a company. They comprise barriers arising out of organizational structure, where responsibility and authority are not properly assigned. If channels are not clear, if there are dead ends, blocked passages and bottle necks, communication is chaotic and non-existent. Types: Status Barrier: The status/ position of a person acts a barrier in communication. What Mr. Hoslett calls the status relationship and Dawar the Status Block Wrong Choice of Media: If a sales manager gives a long winding narration of results this quarter no one will be able to concentrate after a while. On the other hand if it is made through presentations, tables and graphs its impact is bound to be greater and more effective.

Organizational Policy: If the policy is not supportive to the flow of communication in different
directions, communication flow will not be smooth and adequate. Organizational Rules and Regulations: This prescribes the subject matter to be communicated and the channel through which communication can take place. If the rules and regulations are very stringent not giving enough freedom to the employees it may cause delay in communication or work against the willingness of the people.

Complexity in Organizational Structure: when a number of managerial levels exist communication


gets delayed, chances of it getting distorted and filtering points are more. Organizational facilities provided for smooth adequate , clear and timely flow of communication like meetings, conferences, complaint boxes and suggestion boxes etc, if not properly provided fail to make effective communication

Barriers of Communication
Lack of Planning: If the message is not properly organized or composed, or time of delivering the
message is wrong then it can act as a barrier in communication. PERSONAL BARRIERS: These can be of two types: Barriers in superiors Barriers in subordinates. The Barriers in superiors can be further subdivided into 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Attitude of superiors Insistence of proper channel Fear of challenge to authority Lack of confidence in subordinates Ignoring communication Lack of time Lack of awareness.

Barriers in subordinates: 1. Unwillingness to communicate 2. Lack of proper incentive. *******************************************