‘Communication is the process by which people attempt to share meaning via transmission of symbolic messages’.
This definition of communication emphasises three essential points indicated below:
- Communication involves people- therefore to understand communication, it is necessary to understand how people relate to each other.
- Communication involves shared meaning – It suggests that in order to communicate with each other, people must agree on the definition of terms they use.
- Communication is symbolic gestures, sounds, letters, numbers and words can only represent or approximate the ideas they are meant to communicate.
Importance of Communication
Effective communication is important for managers and administrators for several reasons:
- Through the communication process, management functions of planning, organising, leading and controlling are accomplished. Information has to be communicated to the senior managers to provide a basis for planning. Organising requires communicating with people about their jobs and assignments and of course, the leadership function involves primarily communicating with the group to achieve organisational goals. A lot of two-way communication is required in the job of controlling. Instructions have to be communicated to the subordinates and feedback received from them to apply necessary correctives. Communication is thus required for almost every aspect of managerial and administrative function.
- Managers and administrators have to spend a large part of their time in the activity of communication. They have to undertake a lot of face-to-face, electronic or written communication with their subordinates as well as their clients. They hardly sit alone, even if they do, they are either disturbed by some phone-calls (communication) or are dictating letters, conference minutes, office memos – all activities connected with communication.
One-way and Two-way Communication
Communication is one-way when the senders send the message without expecting a feedback. For example, policy directives to subordinates do not require immediate feedback. On the other hand two-way communication takes place where the receiver sends a feedback to the original communication. Seeking a progress report or inviting a suggestion are examples of two-way communication.
Harold Levit and Renold Mueller conducted experiments on the effects of one-way and two-way communications which are types of communication. We will state below their results without giving details of their experiments:
- One-way communication is faster than the two-way communication as obviously the time of feedback is saved.
- Two-way communication is more accurate. The feedback allows the sender enough opportunity to clarify the doubts of the receiver.
- Receivers are more sure of the contents of the communication when two-way communication is used. They can clarify their doubts.
- Senders can feel attacked by the questions of the receivers in a two-way communication.
- Although less accurate, one-way communication is more orderly than two way communication which appears to carry a lot of noise.