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4DifferentTypesofBarriersto

EffectiveCommunication
bySarithaPujariBusinessCommunication

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Fortheconvenienceofstudythedifferentbarrierscanbedividedintofour
parts:
(1)SemanticBarriers
There is always a possibility of misunderstanding the feelings of the
senderofthemessageorgettingawrongmeaningofit.Thewords,signs,
andfiguresusedinthecommunicationareexplainedbythereceiverinthe
light of his experience which creates doubtful situations. This happens
becausetheinformationisnotsentinsimplelanguage.
Thechieflanguagerelatedbarriersareasunder:
(i)BadlyExpressedMessage:
Becauseoftheobscurityoflanguagethereisalwaysapossibilityofwrong
interpretation of the messages. This barrier is created because of the
wrong choice of words, in civil words, the wrong sequence of sentences
andfrequentrepetitions.Thismaybecalledlinguisticchaos.

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(ii)SymbolsorWordswithDifferentMeanings:
A symbol or a word can have different meanings. If the receiver
misunderstands the communication, it becomes meaningless. For
example, the word value can have different meanings in the following
sentences:
(a)Whatisthevalueofcomputereducationthesedays?
(b)Whatisthevalueofthismobileset?
(c)Valueourfriendship.
(iii)FaultyTranslation:
A manager receives much information from his superiors and
subordinatesandhetranslatesitforalltheemployeesaccordingtotheir
level of understanding. Hence, the information has to be moulded

accordingtotheunderstandingorenvironmentofthereceiver.Ifthereis
alittlecarelessnessinthisprocess,thefaultytranslationcanbeabarrier
inthecommunication.
(iv)UnclarifiedAssumptions:
Ithasbeenobservedthatsometimesasendertakesitforgrantedthatthe
receiver knows some basic things and, therefore, it is enough to tell him
aboutthemajorsubjectmatter.Thispointofviewofthesenderiscorrect
to some extent with reference to the daily communication, but it is
absolutelywrongincaseofsomespecialmessage,
(v)TechnicalJargon:
Generally, it has been seen that the people working in an enterprise are
connected with some special technical group who have their separate
technicallanguage.
Theircommunicationisnotsosimpleastobeunderstoodbyeverybody.
Hence, technical language can be a barrier in communication. This
technical group includes industrial engineers, production development
manager,qualitycontroller,etc.
(vi)BodyLanguageandGestureDecoding:
Whenthecommunicationispassedonwiththehelpofbodylanguageand
gestures, its misunderstanding hinders the proper understanding of the
message.Forexample,movingonesnecktoreplytoaquestiondoesnot
indicateproperlywhetherthemeaningisYesorNo.
(2)PsychologicalorEmotionalBarriers
The importance of communication depends on the mental condition of
both the parties. A mentally disturbed party can be a hindrance in

communication. Following are the emotional barriers in the way of


communication:
(i)PrematureEvaluation:
Sometimes the receiver of information tries to dig out meaning without
much thinking at the time of receiving or even before receiving
information,whichcanbewrong.Thistypeofevaluationisahindrancein
the exchange of information and the enthusiasm of the sender gets
dampened.
(ii)LackofAttention:
Whenthereceiverispreoccupiedwithsomeimportantworkhe/shedoes
notlistentothemessageattentively.Forexample,anemployeeistalking
to his boss when the latter is busy in some important conversation. In
suchasituationthebossmaynotpayanyattentiontowhatsubordinateis
saying.Thus,therearisespsychologicalhurdleinthecommunication.
(iii)LossbyTransmissionandPoorRetention:
Whenamessageisreceivedbyapersonafterithaspassedthroughmany
people, generally it loses some of its truth. This is called loss by
transmission.Thishappensnormallyincaseoforalcommunication.Poor
retention of information means that with every next transfer of
informationtheactualformortruthoftheinformationchanges.
Accordingtooneestimate,witheachtransferoforalcommunicationthe
lossof the informationamountsto nearly30%.Thishappensbecauseof
thecarelessnessofpeople.Therefore,lackoftransmissionofinformation
initstrueorexactformbecomesahindranceincommunication.
(iv)Distrust:

Forsuccessfulcommunicationthetransmitterandthereceivermusttrust
eachother.Ifthereisalackoftrustbetweenthem,thereceiverwillalways
derive an opposite meaning from the message. Because of this,
communicationwillbecomemeaningless.
(3)OrganisationalBarriers
Organisationalstructuregreatlyaffectsthecapabilityoftheemployeesas
far as the communication is concerned. Some major organisational
hindrancesinthewayofcommunicationarethefollowing:
(i)OrganisationalPolicies:
Organisationalpoliciesdeterminetherelationshipamongallthepersons
working in the enterprise. For example, it can be the policy of the
organisation that communication will be in the written form. In such a
situationanythingthatcouldbeconveyedinafewwordsshallhavetobe
communicatedinthewrittenform.Consequently,workgetsdelayed.
(ii)RulesandRegulations:
Organisational rules become barriers in communication by determining
the subjectmatter, medium, etc. of communication. Troubled by the
definiterules,thesendersdonotsendsomeofthemessages.
(iii)Status:
Under organising all the employees are divided into many categories on
the basis of their level. This formal division acts as a barrier in
communication especially when the communication moves from the
bottomtothetop.
For example, when a lowerlevel employee has to send his message to a
superior at the top level there is a lurking fear in his mind that the

communicationmaybefaulty,andbecauseofthisfear,hecannotconvey
himselfclearlyandintime.Itdelaysthedecisionmaking.
(iv)ComplexityinOrganisationalStructure:
Thegreaternumberofmanageriallevelsinanorganisationmakesitmore
complex. It results in delay in communication and information gets
changedbeforeitreachesthereceiver.Inotherwords,negativethingsor
criticismareconcealed.Thus,themorethenumberofmanageriallevelsin
theorganisation,themoreineffectivethecommunicationbecomes.
(v)OrganisationalFacilities:
Organisational facilities mean making available sufficient stationery,
telephone, translator, etc. When these facilities are sufficient in an
organisation, the communication will be timely, clear and in accordance
withnecessity.Intheabsenceofthesefacilitiescommunicationbecomes
meaningless.
(4)PersonalBarriers
Theabovementionedorganisationalbarriersareimportantinthemselves
buttherearesomebarrierswhicharedirectlyconnectedwiththesender
andthereceiver.Theyarecalledpersonalbarriers.Fromthepointofview
ofconvenience,theyhavebeendividedintotwoparts:
(a)BarriersRelatedtoSuperiors:Thesebarriersareasfollows:
(i)FearofChallengeofAuthority:
Everybodydesirestooccupyahighofficeintheorganisation.Inthishope
the officers try to conceal their weaknesses by not communicating their
ideas.Thereisafearintheirmindthatincasetherealitycomestolight
theymayhavetomovetothelowerlevel,

(ii)LackofConfidenceinSubordinates:
Toplevelsuperiorsthinkthatthelowerlevelemployeesarelesscapable
and, therefore, they ignore the information or suggestions sent by them.
They deliberately ignore the communication from their subordinates in
ordertoincreasetheirownimportance.Consequently,theselfconfidence
oftheemployeesislowered.
(b) Barriers Related to Subordinates: Subordinatesrelated
barriersarethefollowing:
(i)UnwillingnesstoCommunicate:
Sometimesthesubordinatesdonotwanttosendanyinformationtotheir
superiors.Whenthesubordinatesfeelthattheinformationisofnegative
nature and will adversely affect them, an effort is made to conceal that
information.
Ifitbecomesimperativetosendthisinformation,itissentinamodified
or amended form. Thus, the subordinates, by not clarifying the facts,
becomeahindranceincommunication,
(ii)LackofProperIncentive:
Lack of incentive to the subordinates creates a hindrance in
communication.Thelackofincentivetothesubordinatesisbecauseofthe
fact that their suggestions or ideas are not given any importance. If the
superiors ignore the subordinates, they become indifferent towards any
exchangeofideasinfuture.