communication

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communication

the exchange of information in an ORGANIZATION. For organizations to work effectively, it is vital that information be communicated to those who need it. For example, the pay department would not be able to function properly if it were not notified of employees' hours of work. In this sense organizations can be conceived of as systems for exchanging information. Withholding information, i.e. failure to communicate, can be an effective means of exerting power over others in the organization. If a manager is not fully aware of what is going on in the organization he or she may be unable to influence decisions or events.

Often the effective transmission of information is impeded. As a piece of information is passed from top to bottom of an organization it may be modified by the misinterpretation or bias of each individual involved, so that by the time the information reaches its final destination it has a very different content. Effective communication can also be time-consuming, and hence arduous to perform. However, the effort can be worthwhile since those employees who feel they are not fully informed about matters relevant to their job may become demotivated and dissatisfied. As a result performance suffers. There is also evidence that individuals are more likely to respect bosses who they feel keep them informed. In addition to these ‘behavioural’ aspects of communication the process or ‘technology’ of internal and external communication has changed dramatically in the last decade. For example, conventional telephone systems (based on fixed-wired handsets) have been increasingly augmented by the cordless (mobile) telephone and accessories such as VOICE MESSAGING. Moreover, many businesses have integrated their PC (personal computer) networks and telecommunications to take advantage of value-added network services such as ELECTRONIC MAIL, VIDEO CONFERENCING and ELECTRONIC DATA INTERCHANGE. These developments, while enhancing the immediacy and effectiveness of communications, have also facilitated flexibility and mobility, allowing staff to reduce their dependency on being physically present at an office in order to conduct business. See CONSULTATION, EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT, EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION, INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY, COMMUNITY CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL RIGHTS, DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION, INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION HIGHWAY, BUSINESS PROCESS RE-ENGINEERING.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
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