Communication is discussed in this paper so that it can enlighten the reader to grasp some ideas on it. Communication is used throughout our life and all human beings and even animals communicate through various forms that they are enabled by nature. Communication is as old as human history and it has developed depending on the culture of the exiting society that was concerned. Apart from what has been various definitions of communication in short we can define it as a process of transmitting ideas, information and attitudes by use of symbols, action, words, pictures, figures from the source to a receiver for the purpose of influencing with objective. In that case communication can be verbal or non verbal. Models and theories that govern communication are reviewed in this paper. Model as opposed to theory is a symbolic way at looking at systems to help us to think about them more lucidly while theory is the body of rules, ideas, principles, and techniques that applies to a subject, especially when seen as distinct from actual practice. So a model is a representation and a theory is an explanation. Communication in the organization is also discussed and its role for the existence of the organization. In the organization communication is as important as the blood in the body of an organism. Communication is also classified to formal and informal. Communication is formal when it follows the proper channels of communication in the organization such as Organization Structure or channel chart and informal when cuts across the organizational structure and it is everywhere in the organization. Channels of communication in the organization is reveled where they refers how the information is transmitted from the source to the destination. There are three channels of information which are downward, upward and hybrid/mixed. In order communication to be effective it needs some characteristics where some of these characteristics are also reviewed in this paper. In nourishing the work various literatures were reviewed during preparation of this work largely on models and theories as propounded by theorists appended below.
Communication is used throughout our life. All human beings and even animals communicate through various forms that they are enabled by nature. Sometimes we think that communication is performed by human being only, this is erroneous assumption. Animals, insects, birds and other organisms also communicate in their forms they have. It is also thought that communication is performed by using sounds or language. This is not; communication for human being is performed by symbols, actions, sounds, words, pictures and figures. For animals and other organisms mentioned above use fewer forms’ including actions, sounds and other forms which may not be known by human beings.
If we try to trace the origin of communication we come to notice that from when human societies were emerging in ancient time communication was there. There were for instance ancient societies like Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Anglo-Saxons, Aztecs, Red Indians and many more that in their daily activities they were communicating. In that case we can say communication is as old as human history. It has developed depending on the culture of the exiting society that was concerned. Communication then is a cultural aspect of any society. Many literatures and even scriptures stipulate that it is communication that enabled human to civilize rapidly compared to other creatures. Researches prove that effective communication is the road map to enhance civilization and development. This paper intends to explore communication as performed by human being and specifically in the organization.
SOME DEFINITIONS OF COMMUNICATION
The word Communication has been derived from the Latin word ‘Communis ” which means to make Common. Wilbur Schramm conceptualizes it as sharing of experiences on the basis of commonness while Mc Quail said communication is the process which increases commonality. Others conceptualize communication as an exchange of facts, ideas, or opinions by two or more persons (Newman & Summer). It is the exchange of information and transmission of meaning (Katz & Khan). Scholars like Aristotle and Plato have termed the process of communication as Rhetoric. From the very beginning communication was seen as a process in which the speaker constructed messages to be transmitted to the receiver to bring about a desired response in his or her receiver.
Communications is all about the giving, receiving, processing and interpretation of information. It is a process of transmitting ideas, information and attitudes by use of symbols, action, words, pictures, figures from the source to a receiver for the purpose of influencing with objective.
TYPES OF COMMUNICATION
Communication can be broadly divided into two categories. These are:
- Verbal Communication
- Non-verbal Communication
It is when words are used as tools of interaction between two or more individuals. It can be oral or written. Researchers have found that, on an average, a person spends 10 to 11 hours every day in verbal communication i.e. speaking, listening, reading or writing. Some common forms of verbal communication are conversations, speeches, letters, newspapers, magazines, cassettes both audio and video, telephonic conversation etc.
When the alarm clock rings in the morning, it communicates to you the message that it is time to wake up. Communication can also occur without words. Our senses, ears, eyes, touch and smell work as codes of communication. You look out of the window, your eyes tell you about the weather outside. When you hold your cup of tea in your hands, the touch tells you whether the tea is warm or not. The smell tells you what is cooking for breakfast. Pictures, images, models, gestures are also nonverbal means of communication. A simple nod of head can convey your ‘yes’ or ‘no’ with a wave of hand you can show your disinterestedness. Eyes can transmit feelings like love, hate, anger, sorrow etc. Artists use their art as a means of communication. A painting is a painter’s medium, a photograph is a photographer’s and dance performance is a dancer’s non-verbal medium of communication. Silent thinking is also non-verbal interaction with oneself. Communication between man and animal is mostly non-verbal. A dog wags his tail and licks his master’s hand; a cat cuddles up to its master to show their love. Non verbal communication between man and his environment is a phenomenon you come across every day but after you don’t notice it. In the summer season, a hot sun and warm wind pass on a feeling of discomfort to you, whereas a sky overcast with clouds transmits a mood of joy. This is communication between you and your environment in a non-verbal way.
THEORIES AND MODELS OF COMMUNICATION
In the years before World War II mass communication was hardly investigated. Scholars from different academic disciplines like history, sociology, looked into the specific role of the mass medium bringing about changes in society relevant to their discipline. Some basic studies were conducted but it lacked focus and direction. Decades later communication was studied in North American Universities where degree programs were offered in mass communication studies.
The entire subject of communication can be studied through two schools of thought:
- The Semiotics School
- The Process School
The Semiotics School
The foundations for semiotics were laid by Morris in 1946, for the theory of languages or symbols. The semiotics school approaches communication as generation of meaning, a mixture of signs, symbols and messages, which the sender wants to convey and expects a specific reaction from the receiver of the messages and the sign itself. This study covers the ways the variety of codes has developed in order to meet the needs of society and culture. The focus of the semiotics school is on the text. He divided it into three areas of general study: syntactic, semantics and pragmatics.
SYNTACTIC: The study of how symbols relate to each other
SEMANTICS: A study of symbol to referent relationship
PRAGMATICS: A study of how symbols relate to the people
The Process school
This school of thought looks at communication as a process, a simple transmission of messages and meanings which the sender wants to convey irrespective of the reaction of the receiver or his interaction. Examples: Works of art, culture and music fall under this category, because messages are not created with any motive, but as an expression of the sender’s feelings or emotions. The receiver is free to interpret the message in his own way. The process school of thought is also called as linear school.
The difference between the two schools of thought
- The linear process schools and their models give the text no more attention than other stages in the process; while the semiotics school of thought attaches primary importance to the text.
- The status of the receiver or reader who in semiotics is seen performing a very important role. The reader ascertains meanings to texts.
The simplest definition of a Model is that is an analogue. Models represent system or processes. They are a symbolic way at looking at systems to help us to think about them more lucidly. Models give us an idea of complicated objects or events in a general way. The most important purpose of model building is to assist in the development of more precise theories. Theories are not models and the most fundamental difference between them is that the theory is an explanation and a model is a representation. A model can be constructed to describe a particular form of behavior of which no theory exists or is inadequate.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle’s Model
This model was developed some 2000 years ago. Aristotle includes in this model the 5 essential elements of communication: Speaker, Speech or message, Audience, Effect and Occasion. Because Aristotle remark that communication is rhetoric, he advises the speaker to construct a speech for different audiences and on different occasion to different effects in order to make it effective and of mutual understanding. Due to this advice the model is most applicable for public speaking.
Lasswell states that in order to understand the process of mass communication one has to understand each of the stages. This model stresses on the effect rather than the message itself. Effect means observable or measurable change in the receiver. It also suggests that any change in the elements will change the effect. Until the 1960’s Lasswell’s questions dominated the scene of Mass Media research who (speaker) -» what message –» channel –» medium –» whom -» audience effect = Communication.
Shannon and Weaver’s Model-1949
This model is also called as the engineering model of communication. It is a clear example of the process school of thought. It is also referred to as the mathematical theory of communication because it provided an approach to the problem in how to send maximum information in a given channel. It introduced the concept of noise for the first time. As engineers during World War II, Shannon and Weaver’s primary concern was to find out the most effective means of human communication.
This is the first of the models to introduce the role of communication in a society or a social relationship. The primary role according to Newcomb is to maintain equilibrium in a social relationship.
Charles E. Osgood & Apos’s Model- 1954
Here communication is seen as a dynamic process where there is healthy interactive relationship between the source and the receiver.
Wilbur Schramm’s Model
Schramm’s first model proceeded from a simple human communication model to a more complicated model that accounted for the accumulated experiences of two individuals trying to communicate and then to a model that considered human communication with interaction between two individuals. In his second model Schramm introduces the notion that only what is shared in the fields of experience of both source and destination is actually communicated, because only that proportion of the signal is common to both of them. The Third model sees communication as an interactive process with both the receiver and the sender acting as encoder, interpreter, transmitter and receiver of signals.
Since the World War II several studies have been conducted in the field of communication. Most of such studies are based on the impact of communication and media on the human society. One of the earliest studies in this category is the Hypodermic / Bullet Theory.
Hypodermic/ Bullet Theory
This theory was based on the principle that media is all powerful and its consumers are passive and naïve. It further stated messages channelized through media are like magic bullets which not only strikes the audience immediately but also influences them to take up the desired action immediately. i.e. Media X 1 X 2 X 3 X 4 X 5.
Two Step Flow of Information
The main authors of this theory were: Paul Lazaefleld, Elihu Katz, Berelson and Hazelduadet. This theory was the first to state that perhaps mass media did not exert the kind of influence on the audience as was generally believed. The audience arrived at decisions not directly under the influence of mass media but more by means of interaction among themselves. This was the finding of a study conducted way back in the 1940’s during U.S presidential elections.
COMMUNICATION USES AND EFFECT THEORIES
Agenda Setting Theory
The 1st systematic study of Agenda Setting was conducted by Malcom McComb and Donald Shaw during the American Presidential Campaign of 1968; the duo focused on the 100 undecided voters of Chappell Hill who were susceptible to the media’s agenda. They made a content analysis of all the media channels used by residents of Chappell Hill; and found an inter-link between the priorities of issues identified by the media and those identified by the group of respondents.
In another study conducted by G. Rayfunkhouse in the 1960s, an attempt was made to study the relationship between public rating of important issues and media content. He also studied the relationship between media coverage and reality. Rayfunkhouse found that the issues to which the public gave a high ranking were also issues which media gave coverage. Similarly he attributed that media coverage did not correspond to reality.
This is also called the limited effects model. Klapper who propounded this theory stated that mass media has limited effects on its audience. It merely reinforces existing values and attitudes. Lazarsfeld and Merton further stated that the Mass media cannot be relied upon to work for changes.
Catharisis and Narcosis Theory
This theory was propounded by Lazarsfeld, Merton and Winn. They argue that the media have a “Narcotising dysfunction”. They state that the audiences are so engrossed or nullified during their exposure to mass media particularly audio video media, that it becomes difficult for them to make logical reactions. It engrosses the audience attention to the extent that it prevents them from taking any logical decisions.
This theory was propounded by Semyour Feshbatch. Feshbatch’s experiments in the lab showed that media content particularly non-violence helps to vent out frustration. He studied the same by setting up two groups of respondents in control and experimental setup. Students of both groups were exposed to verbal abuse; later the experimental group was shown a violent film while the other group was not shown the same. Findings indicated that the experimental group respondents had feelings of less hostility then that of the control group.
Theory of Incidental Effects
This theory was formulated by Aldous Huxley. He stated that media effects were limited to copying of style, mannerism etc. Huxley stated that television could be an effective agent of incidental learning among children.
Cultivation Theory / Cultural Indicators Theory
This theory was formulated by George Gebner. Heavy television viewing tends to induce audiences to adopt perception and values which were constantly portrayed in different programs. This phenomenon was more dominant among heavy TV watchers than those who watched less. E.g. Soaps on television inculcate a picture of affluence all around.
Spiral of Silence Theory
This theory was formulated by Noell Neumann. This theory postulates that individuals have a quasi- statistical sense organ by which they determine their opinion represent the minority point of view. In such a case they remain silent. In her analysis of German elections, Neumann states that individuals hate to be isolated from their fellow beings and thus tend to follow the dominant opinion. Thus mass media shapes: as to which opinion is dominant which impressions are increasing which opinions one can utter in public without fear of being isolated.
The Third Person effect
The theory is propounded by W. Phillips Davison. The hypothesis suggests that people tend to overestimate the impact of mass media on others rather than themselves. Mass communication messages will have greater impact on others than on themselves; due to this perception they take action. Thus people are more influenced by media than they really think they are.
Social Learning Theory
The theory is propounded by Albert Bandura. Many effects of mass media can happen through the process of social learning. Human Beings learn things by observation and model behaviors.
Uses and Gratification Theory
The theory is propounded by Elihu Katz; Denis Mcquail and Michale Gurewitch. This theory studied how the audience utilized the media. Based on audience study a set of gratifications were determined. Cognitive needs (acquiring information), affective needs (emotions, pleasure and aesthetic experience), personal integrative needs (strengthening credibility, confidence, status), social integrative need strengthening (contacts with family) and; tension release needs (escape and diversion).
Normative Theories of Press Authoritarian Theory:
The term was first coined by Sibert which refers to an arrangement in which the press is subordinate to state power. This theory is more relevant to repressive or dictatorial regime where there is press censorship.
Free Press Theory:
It is also known as the Libertarian theory. It is based on the fundamental right of an individual to freedom of expression. The same is seen in the 1st amendment to the American constitution. However, Milton, Stuart and Mill states that Press Freedom cannot be provided unrestrained.
Social Responsibility Theory:
The term was first originated in the Hutchins committee report-1947 that was appointed in the U.S. According to it the press had not fulfilled the informational, social and moral needs of the society. It led to the establishment of regulatory bodies like ‘Press Councils’.
Communist Media Theory:
Also known as the Soviet Media theory is based on the basic tenets and Marx and Engels. It envisages that media should be under the control of the working class. There was no private ownership of the media and was required to serve positive functions in the society relating to information, education, motivation and mobilization. According to this theory media must work under the control of the state.
COMMUNICATION IN THE ORGANISATION
Communication in the organization is the way information gets across from the source (sender) to the destination (receiver) in the organization itself. In the organization communication may or may not need feedback (acknowledgement). In the organization communication is as important as the blood in the body of an organism. There are two categories of communication in the organization. These are one-way and two-waycommunication.
One-way communication denies the facility to make clarification. Once the information is sent there is no required response or feedback. Transmission of messages and meanings is conveyed irrespective of the reaction. These include for instance information on the notice boards, news bulletin, advertisements, lecture method of teaching, work of art, music, culture etc.
The advantage of one-way communication is that it is simple, saves time and money. Also it does not create a room for direct objection, criticism or compromise. The disadvantage of this type is very dissatisfied to the sender and the receiver has no means to send feedback.
This category is built in the two way means of communication. Basically it ensures that the information has received after having feedback. The sender conveys message and expects a specific reaction from the receiver of the messages itself. This communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender. In this category we have telephone call, meetings, panel discussions, etc. The advantage of this is that it needs feedback hence it is democratic. The only disadvantage is time consuming and expensive.
CLASSIFICATION OF COMMUNICATION
Communication is classified in to two ways according to its nature in the organization. It may be formal or informal.
Formal communication is common and widely used in the organization and to large extent it is in the written form; to some extent in verbal form. It follows the proper channels of communication in the organization such as Organization Structure or channel chart. The lines of authority are presented into administration chart. It is found also in the organization constitution on power exercise. Meetings, job description, working schedule and performance appraisal are some typical examples of this communication in the organization.
The advantage of formal communication is; it prefers and refers uniformity. The disadvantage is the delay of information because it is strictly adhere to regulations.
Is the communication that cut across the organizational structure and it is everywhere in the organization. Employers mostly use this widely and very powerful. Sometimes propaganda in one side and gossips, rumor and hearsay in the other side are forms of informal communication. Informal communication can precede information which is formal but due to its nature of delay to follow proper channels; it leaks as rumor or gossip. That is why informal communication is very powerful and preferred mostly in the organization.
Propaganda has been practiced since the earliest days to spread religious or social doctrines. The advancement of mass media like radio, television, newspaper etc. has made it much easier to spread propaganda. Propaganda can be used to spread both truth and untruth. Political propaganda is in widespread use these days. Political parties use it as a weapon of verbal assaults on rival parties. Propaganda can also be used to stir positive response in pubic for a socially beneficial cause. For example national propaganda against illiteracy or medical propaganda against polio or AIDS etc. Propaganda has a mass base which helps it to spread quickly and since it is a planned effort, it works as a strong means of shaping people’s opinion. Propaganda is also put to commercial use. Information is spread about the advantages of buying credit cards or taking loans from banks. You must have seen in the newspapers or watched on television propaganda about various schemes launched by various companies. Whether propaganda is used to spread truth or untruth, it is a masterly weapon of changing people’s opinion. It is characteristically, a planned spread of information and works on the principle of mass-psychology.
Rumor, too, like propaganda is a mass-spread of information. It may be planned in some cases but it generally takes wings on its own. The dictionary meaning of rumor is “common talk, a current story or statement passing from one person to another without any known authority for truth of it.” Rumor spreads through gossip. Therefore, the information spread around is not controlled as it is in propaganda. As the story passes from one mouth to another, it picks up new details which make it more spicy and colorful. Rumor is a rapid means of spreading information because people are willing receivers. Since rumor is an individualized projection of information, it rules out careful monitoring. Hence it often gets out of hand and rolls on mischievously.
The merit of informal communication is that is the quickest and the cheapest method of transmitting and getting information. The demerit of it is the distort of the information as it goes downward. Sometimes it is difficult to manage it especially when it is spread as rumor and can cause misunderstanding.
Channels of Information
This refers how the information is transmitted from the source to the destination. In the organization is the way information is transmitted from one person/management/worker/entity to another. There are three channels of information which are downward, upward andhybrid/mixed channels.
Here information originates from the top to downward the organization. It is effective and used to transmit organization goals and policies through memos and directives, posters and notice boards and annual reports. It also include employees handbook that gives organization regulations and policies.
The organization gives employees chance to send their views, suggestions/problems upward through suggestion box, research, exist interviews etc. Other organizations have open door policy that workers are invited to give their views opinion to the organization. Here channels of communication are followed strictly that is why its nature is branded as autocratic method of communication.
This is the movement of information that can go downward, upward or across. It is the communication that does not adhere to which side the information must go first but in makes sure once the information is released can go in any side of the member in the organization. This channel is subdivided into two channels also; Wheel Communication Method andCycle communication method.
In wheel communication method, communication passes from the source to the either side of the member in the organisation. information flows fom the centre to differet part around as wheel movement. Cycle method of communication happens when information pass from and through any side of the member in the organization.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD COMMUNICATION
In the context that communication is taking place, or when we talk to people in person or on telephone, or when we write a letter or send an e-mail or when we read a book or listen to radio or watch a program on television we are communicating with the world in which we live. Thus communication is an integral part of our life. Sometimes when communication is performed the information sent is either misunderstood or understood incompletely. In both the cases the purpose of communication is defeated. If the case we assume that the communication is not effective. This means there are some qualities or characteristics which enable communication to be effective as some them are discussed below.
One of the most essential characteristics of an impressive communication is Clarity. Communication must be in simple and sound words, so that listeners can grasp it easily. It must be clear thoughts, disorderly and confused mind cannot deliver good and clear information. Sometimes technical terms may be difficult to some people, so it is suggested to use simple language. Uses of examples to explain and support complex scenarios clarify the message to be understood. To ensure effective communication, information needs to be presented in such a manner that it may be easily received by the receiver.
Common frame of reference and environment
The sender and the receiver should interact at a common level of understanding. This is for instance an agricultural scientist, who speaks to the farmers about new techniques of farming in a science loaded language, may not be understood due to the absence of common level of understanding. Common environment promotes successful communication. People with a similar background receive the intended message without any hassles.
Aim or Goal
At every stage of talk or communication, we are advised to put in mind the Aim or Goal. We must make sure to deduce an acceptable stuff by judging pros and cons impartially. Always we must try to communicate with a broad and practical mind.
The information sent must be correct and exact in its approach. Message should be straight forward clear and not contain ambiguity or mistakes. Neither too long nor too short. Some good facts should be included in acknowledging the topic.
Contents of Communication should be of mutual interest to the sender and the receiver. Communication is likely to breakdown with an unwilling receiver because the receiver’s efforts to receive the information will be minimum. For example, if we discuss Indian Stock market with a farmer who is worried about lack of rain in his village, we will fail to make any headway. The farmer, who is the receiver in this case, has no interest in the ups and downs of the stock market. He will make no effort to receive the information. The communication, therefore, will collapse. Common interests, on the other hand, create common understanding. For example when you see your teacher coming towards the class, you simply shout to your class-mates “Teacher” and the class gets the message that you want to tell them that the teacher is coming and they should stop making a noise.
Information intended to be delivered must maintain a logic link to the sender. It shouldn’t put two opposite faces of coin at a same time. It must be delivered in a structured and planned way.
Style of Expressing
If information is delivered orally (by speech) various speech parameters like pitch, tone, intensity must be controlled according to the environment. It must not be too fast or too slow. Light humor at the right time is always accepted. The deliverer must look straight forward and keep a light smile on the face. In avoidance of using words that show arrogance, feel what you say. It is advised to avoid being too formal instead to be natural and practical.
It is believed that 25% confidence and 25% respect is the product of remarkable personality. If you are delivering information through speech, respect from audiences comes automatically, if you have dressed up well. Be neat, clean, ironed and polished irrespective of the fact that you have dressed up formally or informally. Avoid any casual or unethical looks. These habits are hard to develop but once developed, they become hard to give up. Live your life lively because life is very short.
Language is the strongest means of verbal communication. Verbal interaction between the sender and the receiver is easy and effective if they speak a common language. The possibilities of incomplete communication are minimized because words, phrases, idioms, proverbs and their nuances are easily understood.
Other characteristics of effective communication include consensus, concreteness, and completeness.
In this paper we concentrate on communication as human phenomena. We come into glance that communication is as old as human life itself. Communication as we have seen is very important as life to human livelihood. It is obvious that the civilization we see today was accompanied by the role of communication. Also it is inevitable for any organization to exist or function without communication. Although formal communication enabled an organization to function and fulfill its objectives, informal communication has its role and very powerful in the organization too. In order communication to be effective it needs some characteristics that some of them are discussed above. But if any information is passed through the sender to the receiver and feedback is obtained that is obviously effective communication.