Communication Gap: Effect On Organizational Performance


The essential nature of communication is beyond debate in a world bound together by interdependence. Over the past centuries, much have been said and written about the subject communication, its effectiveness, pitfalls and the impact of each situation on organizations. Recent researchers indicates that employees work more effectively and will greater commitment, and job objectives and to objectives of their work, group and the entire business enterprise.

Writing of letters to friends, speaking to someone through a telephone conversation in another location, sending of telegram of the conveyance of intention in a message be it radio, telephone, newspaper etc can better be described as communication. Whether the organization is involved in Engineering, accounting, legislating or selling the managerial functions which include, creating, organizing, planning, motivating, communicating and controlling must be carried out.

Communication is like, to communicate is to be alive and to be alive is to communicate. Belmokwu (1992:pg 46). This peroration, as hyperbolical as it might sound, can hardly be adjusted an over statement. This is so because of the pervasiveness communication in human existence. Communication subjects with nothing, it is this pervasiveness of communication that has with the development of man, anima and the element developed in to a major area of study as well as a formidable social force.

Rather than trying to ask illustration to depict were and when communication is not at work. One would rather ask to “identify” any organization or setting in which communication is not at work. That is proves to be difficult if not futile is perhaps the best illustration impact of communication on society. Communication is every moment thing because it pervades our very existence our very routine of living.

At this point, one hardly need to descent to the level of asking, what is communication? This is hardly worth the while, because every being has at least experiences communication at one stage or the other. Communication gaps to Adulthood and from adulthood to either fatherhood or motherhood.

Koonts and O’Donnel have this to say communication is the means by which organizes activities is united, a means by which social systems, whether we are considering a church, family, a setout troop or business enterprises. The transfer of information from one individual to another as absolutely and change is effected, information is made productive and goals accrued. Communication by its very nature is a two way process, a co-operative and collaborative ventures. It is joint effort, a mutual experience, an exchange, between two parties, a sender and receiver. In another word, the communication experience is incomplete until the receiver is able to respond to the message of the sender through a process known as feedback it is the passing of relevant information to the person who need to know or who is in a position to use that because it affect his work.

Dias defined communication as the transfer of information and understanding from person to another. It is a way of reaching others with ideas, thoughts, facts and values. It is a bridge of meaning among people so that they can hare what they feel and know.

Bernard (1960: pg 204) a prolific and a celebrated author really gave communication a serious thoughts and analysis. The function of executives, we stated that the first executive function is to develop and maintain a system of communication. This shows that pertinent information, facts, feelings, ideas must be communicated before any meaningful organization can be accomplished is mostly dependent upon communication for its progress. When managers both in the public and private establishment were asked how much of hid working day is spent on communication, the replied ranged from about 85 to 99 percent.

Communication is the way management communicates gets it job done. The ability to communicate is the most important of all the skill a manager must develop. What is the responsibility of an organizational Chairman on communication? An interesting summary of an organization chairman or manager responsibilities is contained in a policy bulletin of the organization through it subordinate for the manager of chairman to be a good communicator, he must have the skill of speaking and listening effectively, reading meeting, talking things over, informally in interviews and in personal elation and writing effectively.

According to Metalf H.C and lyndily F. Urwick (1985:pg 40). A cross cultural study on communication involving some advanced countries, such as USA, Japan and Britain to mention a few, it was discovered that communication breakdown was the simple greatest barriers to organizational performance. Inefficient communication in an organization is symptomatic of an organization chain when the managers in an organization are friendly, have a guiding work report, communication tends to be very good. When the member of the organization engages in mutual distrust, resentment, gossips or when there is a feeling of `incompetence and insecurity there is bound to be communication breakdown. All the key function of an organization such as planning, organizing, dissecting, controlling, motivating depends on effective communication for proper execution.

The role of communication in organization is highlight by the fact that an empirical study it is discovered that white color employee communicate 755 of the time. Good communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all levels o an organization. Employers who invest time and energy into delivering clear lines of communication will rapidly build up level of trust among employee leading to increases in productivity, output, and morale in general. Poor communication in organization will lead to unmotivated of the staffs; it is good for managers to build on communication.

For an organization to bridge communication gap, they should do the following.

  1. DEFINE GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS: Managers need to deliver clear, achieve goals to both terms and individual, out lining exacting what is required on any given project and ensuring that all staffs are aware of the objectives of the project.
  2. CLEARLY DELIVER YOUR MESSAGE: ensure your message is clear and accessible to your intended employees. To do this, it is essential that you speak plainly and politely getting your message acres clearly without causing confusion or offence.
  3. CHOOSE YOUR MEDIUM CAREFULLY: Once you have created your message you need to ensure its delivered in the best possible format. Take time to decide whether information delivered in a printed copy would work better than an email or if a general memo will suffice.
  4. KEEP EVERYONE INVOLVED: Ensure that lines of communication are kept open all times. Actively seek and encourage programs reports and project updates. This is particularly important when dealing with remote staff.
  5. LISTEN AND SHOW EMPATHY: Communication is a two way process and no company or individual will survive long if it does not listen and encourage dialogue with the other party.

Directing require effective communication from the management therefore, all goods leaders, encourage effective communication by having established channels (formal and informal) means of transmitting information to people when the leader set the pace for open communication by encourage sub-ordinates to be frank by soliciting information and sending out feedback he set a good organization almate.  In all organization, effective organization channel is required to transmit rule and regulation in the condition of service. It is also required in dealing with the employer regulation agencies and the general public.


There are two types of communication

  1. Verbal communication
  2. Non-verbal communication
  3. VERBAL COMMUNICATION: This is a type of communication that involves two or more people, it is a communication that is done and feedback is gotten immediately without delay. Verbal communication is used during interview conference etc.
  4. NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION: This is a type of communication with written notes, signs, gesture. It is communication that does not require talking rather it requires demonstration.


Frank Livesey (1988: pg 34) stressed that management use of communication fulfill many purpose. The purpose of communication in an organization gave been classified into five broad areas by there as follow:

  1. BECOMING INFORMED OR INFORMING OTHER: This is the basic purpose of routine, day to day communication event. Communication provides a means of affirming the joint purpose of organization members so that the entire member will work together complementary objectives. When decisions values been, there will be implemented and reflected in organizational operation only after member involved have informed.
  2. DIRECTING OTHER OR BEING DIRECTED OR INSTRUCTED: An organizational manager function of directing the combination of person and materials toward goals requires that communication occurs between the administration and the human and physical resources within his authority.
  3. EVALUATING ONE’S OWN INPUTS OR ANOTHER OUTPUT OR SOME IDEOLOGICAL SCHEME: The dynamic nature of a functioning organization demands that constant levitation can be made of the activities in order that progress towards the desired objective can be evaluated. Thus, complete communication process is necessary with feedback particular important feedback tells the effect of communication or action.
  4. INFLUENCING OTHERS OR BEING INFLUENCED: Motivation must be present as one of the elementary forces in providing for a dynamic organization. Any motivation force not inherent in an individual are provided and then stimulated through communication.
  5. SEVERAL INCIDENTALS, NEUTRAL FUNCTIONS: May communication within organization context have no direct connection with accomplishment of the objectives of the management. However, as auxiliary or contributing communications, they may contribute in directing to organizational objectives and directly to organizational satisfaction of individual needs that are capable with management goals.

The grapevine simply refers to an unofficial way of sending news. Most organization concerns have informal communication network often collect the grapevine which consist of the passage of unofficial information, mostly by the word of mouth. In every organization, there is strong desire of information concerning the organization and its people and this information is rapidly transmitted between persons who know and trust one another.

The grapevine thrives on such information, which may not be available to everybody within an organization because it is confidential or the available formal line of communication within the organization are not adequate to disseminate it. Grapevine can also be encouraged where the information is such that could be formally disclosed.

Information moves faster in the grapevine especially if it is on matter that directly affects employees, welfares such as wages, recruitment, promotion, retirement, disciplinary measures and so on. The major problem with grapevine is rumour suffice it is to make a brief elucidation on what rumour is all about.


It is not an overstatement to say that the standard of an organization’s co-operate image and efficiency is directly related to the standard of its communication systems and their operation. All communications have to be originated, produced transmitted, received and understood. Each communication is intended to provide information or evoke action, the main aspects of communication, which need to be considered are therefore:

  1. The source of the communication i.e. the sender.
  2. The content of the communication.
  • The process by which the communication is transmitted, e.g. mail handling, distributions etc.
  1. The destruction of the communication i.e. the recipient.
  2. The understanding of the communication by the recipient.

As earlier shown communication may be written, oral, and visual and systems must be designed to cater for a variety of each kind. Although communication is now a highly specialized field involving a vast range of equipment and technology from the simple portable type writer to computer terminals like satellite systems. The system installed in any organization should meet the specific needs of the organization so as to give maximum effectiveness at minimal cost.

The method by which a sender reaches a receiver with a message is known as communication process. A communication process quoted by Knoonts Harold and O’ Donnel Cyril (1976), communication begins with the sender (may be as administration, supervise or an employee) who has an idea, which is then encoded in a way that can be understood by the receiver or employee; the sender can also communicate through facial expressions or gesture. The information with then be transmitted through a media that links the sender memoranda, computer, telegraph, telephone. The telephone facilitates the transmission of gesture and visuals.

The next step is to decoder, and this is the means the message is understood. Some may put in their best to understand but cannot exactly do this and this changes the very reason why we communicate. A directive from top management has to go through the above before a bahavioural change which does not only depend on understanding but also on motivation and leadership will come about. The last step is not complete unless it is understood. The understanding is in the mind of the receiver gives a positive feedback with regard to what the message was all about.

The feedback can also be observed by means of an instructor seeing his subordinate carryout his or her instructions and orders effectively. (it is the desired action required by the sender). Feedback is a check on how successful it has been in transferring intended message. Research has shown that if the context of a message is complete, the use of more than one medium is complete, the use of more than one medium is perperalle and where persuasive is needed, face to face contact is more effective.


It has been rightly said that much unhappiness and even conflict between person and the organizations is caused by failure to communicate to converse or to talk to our fellow human beings.

Communication gap is often cited as being at the root of practically all the problems of the world. Expressing a similar view: Hicks said, perhaps it is true as some one has suggested that the heart of the entire world’s problem at least of men with each other is man’s ability to communicate as well as the things he is communicating.

Many organizational administrations do very poor communication job because they do not care. Some assume they have possible attitude, but actually thy tell a worker only when they are completed to do so, not minding that everyone brings personal experiences, values, attitude, motivates, assumption, beliefs, tradition and opinion into his or her work life. It is these back ground factors, which affects people’s perception of communication that is the attitude of the action in a communication process.

The following are some of the barriers to communication:

  1. STERCOTYPING: This is when the language use is full of “class word” that group similar objects, events and persons based on similarities. For example the ward house ca mean anything from a mud hut to a castle within its description as much as it is true that the use of word greatly simplifies reality, making it easier to talk and about, also making us ignore the differences that exists among the item that we have grouped together.
  2. BY PASSING: This occurs when the sender and receiver of a message give different meaning to the world that was used. This problem often occurs when person engage in communication have different background and experiences with a particular symbols being used.
  3. COMMUNICATION OVERLOAD: Employees, employers might receive more information than they can adequately process. This does not enhance effective as much information as he or she can process.
  4. INATTENTION TO THE MESSAGE: Almost every body including the researcher are guilty of not listening carefully to a lecturer or speaker etc or not concentrating on what we read. We spend most of our time evaluating the ender of the message instead of evaluating what we are hearing or reading. The receiver pay less attention to message being communicated and as such no message is communicated.
  5. LACK OF PLANNING: Many a times, people start telling and writing without prior thinking, planning and starting the purpose of the message so as to know the channel that it will follow.
  6. POOR TRANSMISSION AND RETENTION: The more a message is transits from one person to the other, the more its losses it accuracy. Poor retention of information is another serious problem of communication.


According to Billy, Goetz E. (1990: pg 51) it will be improper if we fail to consider some method of flow of communication while reviewing literature on communication upward, downward, written, oral, visuals and many others. All organization, not only permits but insist on voluntary cross wise or horizontal channel of communication at all level to speed up information and improve understanding crosswise relationship exists between personnel on one division. Direct communication between them substitutes for making a message flow the chin or command upward through one or more superiors, horizontally across a level of organization and hence downward to the particular recipient. Organization find it very different to operate this because the communication time would be inferior. The proper safeguard to crosswise communication rest on the understanding between superiors that are:

Crosswise relationship will be encourage subordinates will refrain from making policy commitment beyond their authority.

The good time user among administration sends many more hours on their communication up than on their communication down.

Management unilateral approach to employee’s communication has long oblivious to objective observers. A well designed programme can help subordinate tell management ways to improve their own job as well as the organization over all effectiveness.


The upward communication flow travel from the subordinate to supervisors and continues the organization hierarchy. The information is summarized for the consumption of head of department who take action within the scope of their authority. They in turn, move this information upward from one level at which point it is summarized for their action and for transmission to general office.

Some of the difficulties encountered by upward communication are:

  1. They are usually subjected to delay and filtering.
  2. Each level is reluctant to make a problem upward, because to do so is considered on admission of failure, therefore each level delays the communication in an effort to decide how to solve the problem. If the problem cannot be solved, the message may be filtered so that higher management receives only part of the information.
  • Administrations are involved with other issues when they receive undesirable feedback. Many organizations have run into problems because they did not pay attention to useful upward communication.

A typical means for upward communication besides the chain of command include: suggestion system, appeal and grievance procedures, complaint system, counseling session, the grapevine group members.



This is the flow of information from higher to lower authority. This is used more by theory X administrators (academic) then theory Y administration.

In downward communication, management has its disposal a multitude of elaborate technique and skilled staff assistance. Typical types of downward oral communication instructions, speeches, meeting, use of telephone, written downward communication are memoranda letters, handbooks, pamphlets, journals etc.


Final and Singer (1997) examined in culture, language, cultural competence and effective communication. While language and communication systems are part of culture, language has often been used as a proxy for culture, the over lap between language and culture is only partial. For example, Spanish speakers come from a varies of countries with distinct cultures indeed, the Spanish that is spoken varies by country of origin.

Research carried on language competence by (Collins et al 2002), show that, it is important, therefore, to recognize diversity within language groups and within broad statistical categories such as “Asians” or “Hispanics “when thinking about communication barriers between patients and doctors.

According to (Fortier 1998) The growth of the culturally and linguistically diverse population has led to many effort to encourage or ensure that health care systems respond to the distinct needs of culturally and linguistically different patients by becoming “Culturing competence”. However, most definitions are derived from one competence as “a set of congruent behaviors, attitude and policies that come together in a system agency or amongst professionals and enable that system agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross cultural situations.

In the finding of Brach and Frase (2000) they discover that effective communication between patients and physician who are cultural and linguistically different “implies the employment of strategies to provide culturally competent health care. Effective communication means that all participants in the communication comprehend and understand the content of the communication. Beyond the minimum effective communication implies subjective feeling such as trust, empathy and mutual satisfaction with the communication. In the case of patient physician verbal communication during a clinical encounter, this is the focus of this report. Articulate all thoughts related to the encounter, leaving no question and thought unexpressed.



This study is based on soviet media/communist theory which is one of the four normative theories of the Marx and Engel that the ideas of the ruling classes are the ruling ideas. Lenin thought of private ownership as being technological means of information must be controlled for enjoying effective freedom of press.

The theory advocated that the solo purpose of communication was to educate that the great masses of workers and not to give out information. The public was encouraged to give feedback as it was the only way the organization would be able t cater to its interest. This theory encourages a relationship between the ruling classes with those they are ruling. It allows everybody to say something or express their own opinion in their process of giving their feedback.

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