Communication is by far the most complex phenomenon of modern society. Many scientists, including linguists, philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and specialists of other spheres, investigated the communication process in its synchronic and diachronic aspects, its present peculiarities and evolution throughout the history. Some of them even made a contribution by developing the rules for effective communication. However, most of them agreed on the fact that miscommunication was a reason for problems in many situations, starting with the trivial fights between spouses and finishing with slaughterous wars at worst. Although miscommunication within a company may not have a fatal outcome, it still may imply the risks. Thus, considering all the psychological and sociolinguistic factors of effective communication, directors try to choose the most suitable type of information flow structure tending to rely on the correspondence.
Effective communication highly depends on the psychological peculiarities of the interlocutors, i.e. filtering of what a person wants to say and selective perception of the data received, information overload, certain emotions people feel at the moment of a conversation, silence, etc. However, the most significant factor influencing the effectiveness of communication is the language usage. According to Robbins, “Even when we’re communicating in the same language, words mean different things to different people”. The application of the same language does not mean the use of the same meanings of the same words. The problem is particularly vivid within the organizational context. Occupational communication requires quick reactions and swift results. Thus, people of different professions employ jargon during their work to minimize the time of conversation and successfully transfer the necessary information. “Communication includes both the transfer and the understanding of meaning…It must be understood”. The application of jargon may be admissible for those working for a long time in the same company. However, a newcomer may face an insurmountable obstacle integrating into the company’s environment without proper guidance and support.
The Wheel Structure of Information Flow
Among different types of organizational communication the most effective and widely spread is the wheel structure of information flow. The wheel relies on a central figure to act as the conduit for all the group’s communication”. The person in the center is in charge of the distribution and delivery of information to the other members of the network. The convenience of this type is in the fact that one person controls the performance of the rest of group members. Moreover, the members are to report directly to a signified employee, unlike the scheme of the chain formation, where the information has to go through a number of hierarchical levels until it reaches the proper recipient. However, the disadvantage of the type is the lack or absence of communication between the other group members. Apart from that, there is a risk of information overload of the main link of the system as well as collapse of the whole network due to the replacement or elimination of the core element.
The information flow within a company tends to be conducted by means of written communication as it is regarded as the optimum means. The sender and the receiver have a clear record of their correspondence. Thus, the received data is tangible, i.e. a person may perceive the information not only by ear, but also by sight having an opportunity to review the necessary parts repeatedly. Moreover, in case misunderstanding arises between the employees, there is always a verifiable source to refer. On the other hand, writing messages may be a tedious and time-consuming procedure. Apart from that, written messages lack the built-in feedback mechanism that gives the opportunity to enhance the performance and avoid the mistakes in the future. Moreover, misinterpretation of the written messages as well as inability to check the emails, which are gaining their place in the organizational communication all the time, may inflict serious consequences for a company.The problems and methods of communication may create a reason for firing the employees. For instance, a new clerk was dismissed from work due to a mistake that influenced the profit of the company. The newcomer, who was assigned to watch the indices among his other responsibilities, failed to inform his supervisor personally when he noticed the fall. He resorted to the email that contained the information about the decrease. The supervisor could not check the email when needed, which affected the profit of the company. The clerk failed to set the priorities and make a decision regarding the importance of communicating the data in person.
Approach toward the choice of method for effective communication within a company requires serious consideration and evaluation of the organizational structure and peculiarities of business. Directors should bear in mind the problems of various types that may occur while conducting the information exchange between the co-workers. Apart from that, the employees are to be sensible regarding their decisions of whether to communicate the information via email or have a face-to-face conversation despite the requirement for a written communication between the workers. Thus, organizational communication is a sophisticated means that involves each member of a company, presumes awareness and readiness for proper decision-making in order to avoid the potential risks either for the company or for its employees.