The Role of Communication Processes in the Management of Government Parastatals


The term communication has many meaning. In this vain, it denotes the meaning and media of passing information. It could be through the telephone, television or telegraph. Thus Koonts and O’Dannel (1983:688) asserted that communication may be looked upon as the means by which social inputs are fed into social system, it is also the means by which behavior is modified, change is effected information is made productive and goals are achieved.

Dike (1988) affirmed that communication is a study of the way in which the exchange of message occurs, the purpose of such message attains its objectives. In the word of Allen T.S Sinha and Mugah (1922:446) affirm, communication as the sum of all the things one person does when he wants to create an understanding in the minds of others. Flippo (1982:419) viewed communication as the act of imparting ideas and making oneself understood by others. He further asserted that managing is getting things done through others, a task which requires the manager to communication with other people. Benard (1938:63) asserted that communication is a means by which people are linked together in an organization to achieve a common purpose.

Appleby (1981:74) explained the concept of communication as the means whereby people in an organization exchange information regarding the operations of an enterprise. He further said that it is the exchange of ideas, facts and emotions of two or more people by use of words, letter and symbols.

Communication was also defined by Mc Ferland (1979:565) as the process of meaningful interaction among human beings. He further noted that the meaning of communication process should be extended to include computer and system approaches which as aids to greater accuracy and rapid process of information.

Communication further on the terms, Ejiolu (1984) stated that the biggest threat to co-operation if fear and fear melts in the face of knowledge-knowledge comes with communication.

In business management, ideals, objective, Instruction, Suggestion have to be exchange among the management staff for the purpose of planning, execution or operating the business policies.

This exchange of facts, ideals, opinions or emotion by two or more persons pointed communication by Sinha and Hugal (1922:446) form the above definition expressed, one could say that there are many varied definition of the term communication.


Communication involves a process. This fact is vividly brought out by Leonard J. Kazmier who asserted information and understanding are passed to the receiver and knowledge of its effect is passed back to the sender in the form of feedback. Almost everybody in an organization is involved in this process, which is an important element in the attainment of organizational targets.

The third stage is transmission of the message as encoded. In the forth stage, the reception stage initiative is transferred to receives who intended to receive the message. At this stage if it is oral communication, the received needs to be good listener. The fifth stage is decoding stage, during which intent of the communication is decoded. The receiver takes meaning from the symbols encoded y the senders. Understanding is a key to the deciding process; sender will always want their receivers to understand what they send. This implies that the receivers must make out what were intended by the sender, otherwise communication is lost. In the sixth stage, in which change occurs in the receiver’s attitudes or actions, the receiver act in response to the communication. The receiver may decide to perform the act assigned, store the information received or remain indifferent to it, in which case communication is lost. When the desired effect occurs in the receiver’s behaviour successful communication has taken place when an unintended effect occurs, bi-communication has taken place.

However, the reaction of the receiver to the massage he receivers, is a function of his perception of the message. There is the feedback sender in the organization always want their receiver to accept their communication among member. Similarly, they want same feedback because it establishes the basis for unproved understanding. There can be no assurance of any kind that communication has taken place, unless there is some type of feedback to the sender in the form of acknowledgement that the message has been received (Davis Keith, 1982).

Feedback is essential for effective log term working relationship. It Koontz, O’Dannel and Weih rich viewed that one can never be sure if a message is properly and effectively encoded transmitted, decoded and understood unless it is confirmed by feedback in any information system to check communication effectiveness Plipl (1992) communication is a very important subject to any manager.

Managing is getting things done through others, a task which requires the manager to communicate with other people both traditional and behavioral managers are interested in developing good communication.

The former wishes to assure that orders are understood and that the downward channels are open. Behavioral inclined managers would add the value derived from knowing subordinates attitudes and feeling towards the job, firm supervisor and environment.

Not only would they emphasize the importance of establishing numerous upward channels of communication they would attempt create an ‘open’ organization members.

Inefficient communicate which is marked by communication breakdown in any organization is symptomatic of faulty corporate chain. When the managers in an organization are friendly, and have good working report, communication tends to be very good. When the members of the organization engage in mutual distrust resentment, gossips or when there is a feeling of incompetence and insecurity, there is bound to be communication breakdown.

Aonnel and Wechrch (1983) asserted that all the key functions of an organization, planning, organizing, directing and controlling depend on effective communication for proper execution. He further affirmed that the role of communication business is highlighted by the fact that in an empirical study it was discovered that white-collar employees communication 70% of the time. This only involved the formal means of communication listening reading and writing. Directing requires effective communication by having established channel (formal and informal) means or transmitting information to people. In all enterprise, effective communication channels is required to transmit company policies programmes rules and regulations. It is also required in dealing with the general public. The effect of communication in an organization can be measured in terms of attitude and performance for it affects the moral of the employees and their attitudes towards organizational leadership and consequence productivity. Nwachukwu (1988) viewed that good management recognizes the fact that it has to transmit skills and knowledge to those in the organization through its direction, control, organizing ability, decision-making and coordination techniques. He further wrote that the quality of communication skill possessed by a manager determines his degree of accomplishment. The primary function of management is the management of relations between the institution and its environment in the overall good of achieving optional performance of the primary task of the organization.

Plippl (1970:385) however outlined the two key functions of communication in management as follows:

  1. It provides a vehicle by which measures one can implement a plan of action co-ordinates towards a common goals.
  2. It provides a means by which members of an organizational can be motivated to execute the plan willingly and enthusiastically. Therefore, improved communication is needed because employees must be motivated to participate in arriving at decision. Also improvement relevant matters and control of information flow.

In every organization, many communication signals will be sent through formal and informal designed channels. Integral part of communication structures are the channels through which the words, numbers, pictures and actions are to flow between the sender and the receiver. Communication has a number of channels, which flow downward, upward or horizontally.


This downward communication channel flows from the authority of top levels (top managers) to the lower levels of lower managers and subordinates in the organization. Senior executives send their instruction to junior worker through this direction. A key aspect of downward communication through the chain of command is the reaction of subordinates to those they judge to be great personal interest to the boss.

According to Bruse (1974:144) among the various commands, polices, practices and suggestions that come from above, subordinates give priority to those most in keeping with their perception of the character, personal motivation and style of their boss. It also indicates why the same message is communicated well through one boss but fail to come through from another.

The effectiveness of communication changes in relation to each boss’s personal interest in a particular situation. Despite this aspect, effective downward communication demands that employees act in the best interest of the company not just in the interest of the boss.

There are other means of carrying information downward according to Edwin Flippo which include:

  1. The chain of command.
  2. letters to employees.
  3. Information racks.
  4. posters and bulletins.
  5. Employees hand book.
  6. Annual reports
  7. Written memorandum.
  8. News letters

The company union can also be very helpful in communicating important information. Though the grape line is an informal means of communication, it can be used effectively to provide actual information.

The methods can be very effective when used by mangers but excessive and exclusive use can equally be potentially damaging.


In formal organization also flows upwards. An upward flow of information is also necessary to help management co-ordinate the diverse organization activities. Subordinate cover their information and opinions about the organization to their boss through this channel. The channel is essential for efficient operation of an enterprise, as management will come to know the attitudes of the manager through it. The upward flow of information as can be seen provides data and reports necessary for management. It also include suggestions and complaints which when considered, will cause the business to run smoothly than would have been the case without these complaints and suggestions. Management should therefore not neglect the use of upward communication. It does not only provide data, but also provide feedback, and control information regarding what has happened at various points of performance. By providing feedback, it completes the downward communication, since management will be able to know the reaction of employees to certain instruction or order given.

The upward channel is only effective when there is good work environments, which allows free expression of opinions by workers. This is when Koontz and O’Dannel stated that effective upward communication requires an environment in which subordinates feel free to communicate. Management of any organization should try to structure the organization so well that there is that environment where junior workers interact with one another and also with their superiors without any fear.

Effective management of upward communication requires a superior to reinforce his statements by encouraging disclosure with consistent actions when subordinates exposes themselves freely, the superior must act in such a way they will final the situation rewarding or at least not threating, sometimes the superior must act contrary to his inclinations. But an expression of hostility or impatience would be perceived by subordinates as a threat or penalty and would seal off disclosure in the future.

When there is the right atmosphere for upward transmission of information, a lot of benefits accrue to the organization, it reveals how well ideas, policies and work rules have been accepted, it also helps management in its decision-making processes.

Willians Bscholn (1962) stated five important contribution of upward communication channel.

  1. It provides management with information.
  2. It helps relieve work pressure and frustration
  3. Serves as a measure of downward communication
  4. Enhances employees sense of participation
  5. And suggests more rewarding uses of future downward communication.

There are in addition to the subordinate chain of command, channels for the upward flow of information which include special meeting, prievance, procedures, complaints, systems, questionnaires, open-door policies and exist interviews. The union and prapevine are also channels for this type of communication.


The horizontal communication channel also known as love rail across wise or diagonal channel is a direction of essential for efficient function of business enterprise or any organization. Fayol pointed out the following the line of authority could prove to extremely time consuming when immediate action is required. If a superior wants to exchange official company information with another superior the normal chain of command requires that information flow upward through all the levels to the highest manager, than down again to the intended superior. This cumbersome approach not only increases the time span, but could also cause a series of changes in the original information.


The purpose of communication in an organization is to effect change and influence action towards the welfare of the organization Koontztal (1983:689).

He further viewed communication as essential for the internal functioning of organizations because it integrates the managerial functions. Specifically, communication is needed to establish and disseminate goals of an organization, to develop plans for their achievement, to organized human human other resources in the most effect and efficient way to select, develop and appraise members of the organization, to lead, direct, motivate and create a climate in which people want to contribute and to control performance.

He also observed that it is essential for the external functioning of the organization because it is through information exchange that managers become aware of the needs of customers, the regulation of government and concerns of community. It is through communication that any organization becomes an open system interacting with its environment.

The importance of communication among other thing is to provide the employee with a sense of familiarity and security in his job in carrying day-to-day operations; every employee needs some good information. It is through communication that the superior will pass on directive information to his employees, with regards to individual appraisal. The superior/manager through the use of passing information makes every employee how his/her contributions to the enterprise activities. This includes information about employees’ personal safety.

The idea of providing information or personal safety is important because recruitment and training cost for replacement.

Communication also helps to define thee hierarch in an organization. It intimates people, it help them to understand each other very well. Thus communication is the most important function of any manager. This is because all other managerial functions which include planning; organizing, staffing, directing, controlling, co-coordinating cannot be effectively carried out without communication.

Therefore, an effective communication system in any organization helps in all aspects of dealing with the human factor, from recruitment to retirement.


There are many barriers to formal organizational communication. That is why Sellowetal (1982:60) aare of the opinion that there seems to be so many barriers of communication coverage at the same goal.

However, many managers do very poor communication job because they do not care about it, some assumes they have positive attitude, but actually they tell a worker only what they think is necessary or they communicate only when they are compelled to do so, not minding that very one brings personal experience, value, attitudes, motives, assumptions, trading and expectations in his working life.

Overloading deals with the question of how much information should be allowed in the system. Too much communication bogs down the entire system.

Barriers due to organization structure with many enterprise organization, especially large organizations are intricate, with several layers of supervision. In such a situation, communication is bound to breakdown at some points on the long chain.

Other barriers to information could be traced to factors such as differences in perception, in hastening ability, age old people see things differently from the young group, lack of definite plans in the organization and lack of definite plans in the organization and lack of reading or writing ability especially in written communication.


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