Communication in Organizations: McQuail, Erven Essay Example
Communication in Organizations: McQuail, Erven Essay Example

Communication in Organizations: McQuail, Erven Essay Example

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  • Pages: 33 (8902 words)
  • Published: June 16, 2018
  • Type: Case Study
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For any organization to build its status in the corporate world and with its stakeholders, effective communication plays a cornerstone function. Communication departments play key roles in the management of internal and external communication. They are vital in the sharing of knowledge and decisions with employee as well as stakeholders. Further, effective communication forms the biggest link between the organization, its stakeholders and the general public.

Effective communication can be defined as an interactive process that involves the design of ideas, message, and information as well as their dissemination with an attempt to realize change in a person’s behaviour and/or to persuade him/her to act in a particular or predetermined manner (Okwo, 1995). On his part, Nzerem (1996) views effective communication as the proc


ess of encoding and decoding messages or information. In this case, a medium (sounds, gestures, books, graphics and other media) is usually engaged.

McQuail (2000) on his part sees effective communication as a process of increased commonality or sharing of information between participants on the basis of sending and receiving messages. For communication to be termed effective, Fielding (2006) sees it in terms of organizational set up which should be done through downward, sideways (lateral) or upward communication. To him, effective communication would not only ensure that products and services are of the best quality, but also that staff would generate new ideas, adapt to changes and work cohesively in understanding the organizational objectives and work to achieve them.

Clark and Delia (1979) believe that there are three basic objectives in any communication; instrumental objectives which pertain to the communicator’s goal, interpersonal objectives which relate to formin

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and maintaining relationships with other people and identity objectives which deal with image formation of not only the individual but also the organization. This means therefore, effective communication is important both to the employee and the organization.

Communication can also be viewed as a process of effectively conveying information, expressing thoughts and facts, the demonstration of the effective use of listening skills as well as the depiction of openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts (Daly, 2003). Based on the fact that the act of communication is for a purpose - it is aimed at influencing, persuading, modifying and changing the behaviour of individuals- the expectation of feedback always follows the conveyance of information.

Such feedbacks enable communicators to establish if the information was actually passed and whether it was effective or not. This corroborates Erven (2001) who sees effective communication as being when the original sender gets the desired effect on the receiver. At its best, effective communication minimizes misunderstanding between sender and receiver. On the contrary, the absence of the desired effect on the receiver or the occurrence of unexpected effect can be referred to as ineffective communication.

In corporate organizations, communicating effectively is regarded as the processes companies employ in the communication of all its messages to its major constituencies. It has major roles such as:

  • encoding and promoting a strong corporate culture;
  • a coherent corporate identity;
  • an appropriate and professional relationship with the media
  • quick and responsible ways of communicating in times of crisis
  • minimizing conflict escalation. In addition, it defines the communication of an organization with its stakeholders and how it brings a company's values to life.

In a nutshell, effective communication in corporate

organizations can be defined as the products of communications such as use of memos, reports, letters, websites, community engagement as well as social and environmental initiatives that a company sends to its publics (internal or external), (Glover and Rushbrooke 1983). Communicating effectively would be perceived therefore as encoding or exchanging information and signals in such a way that the receiver can comprehend or grasp mentally the intention of the sender to be able to act on that information and provide feedback that the message received is the message intended.

Once this is done and feedback is received on both sides (sender and receiver) then, we can say that effective communication has taken place. As already stated, effective communication is of principal importance to corporate organizations. It goes without saying that within the process of accomplishing their respective production and social functions, individual members of groups have to communicate with each other. In addition, groups need to communicate with other groups within organizations. To this end, the communication employed is both formal and informal (Kraut et al. 2002).

Crosscutting through all spheres of life, effective communication is essential in organizations for managerial effectiveness. In this regard, parastatals are of no exception since managers spend a lot of time interacting with other members of staff for purposes of achieving various organizational objectives. In the past, managers spent a large portion of time and company resources communicating in different ways such as meetings, face-to-face discussions, memos, letters, e-mails, reports among others.

DeFleur (1995) notes that in our sophisticated information- technology led age, communication is handled through satellites, computers and news media with worldwide reach, but still word of mouth is essential

in effective communication since signals and symbols accompanying face to face interaction add value to the sent messages. This is particularly so now that service workers outnumber production workers in many organizations and research as well as production processes are calling for augmented collaboration and teamwork between workers in different functional groups (Kraut et al. 2002).

Corporate Communication- Case of Kenya Literature Bureau Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) is a state owned corporation established under the Kenya Literature Bureau Act chapter 209 of 1980from the originally existing East African Literature Bureau. KLB’s vision is to be the preferred publisher of quality reading materials and a mission of publishing quality educational and knowledge materials at affordable prices, promoting local authorship and providing shareholder value .

KLB is mandated to carry out several activities key among them being; to publish, print and distribute reading material, acquire copyrights, rights and licenses and promote encourage and assist Kenyan authors while maintaining quality authorship. According to Kenya government report on performance contracting 2009- 2010, KLB was ranked second best parastatal nationwide, first by the Ministry of Education and third best Semi autonomous Governmental Authority (SAGA). In terms of business performance KLB hit the 1 billion mark in 2008 operationally.

KLB is committed to effectively and efficiently serve the customer with courtesy, integrity and fairness and believes in effective and timely communication and keeps all channels of communication open to all. Regular feedback is encouraged regarding its products and service delivery. About communication, KLB strongly believes that effective communication can be used to manage change and ensure prompt delivery of services as it includes feedback mechanisms. Owing to the fact that it is a main

stream publishing house in East and Central Africa, effective communication is of great importance in its’ operations.

This study aims at determining the factors that affect effective communication in corporate organisations, with K. L. B as the case study.

Statement of the Research Problem

Effective communication is the driving force behind successful operations in organisations. An organisation that is to thrive well in the current business world needs to employ a strong and efficient communication policy as well as a strategy, which will see it, form a strong corporate identity, cater fully for the information needs of the internal and external publics and to partner with media.

A particular organisation will have a communication style and its members will make sense of the world by drawing on their understanding of communicative codes and conventions. These members will employ certain gestures, expressions, forms and images conversant to them as they communicate effectively. It is worth noting that communicating effectively was looked at in this research from four perspectives of non-verbal, visual, oral and written communication.

It is worthwhile to note that, slowed communication within an organization will raise uncertainty amongst the publics and this in turn cripples growth of the organisation. KLB is mandated to carry out several activities key among them being; to publish, print and distribute reading material, acquire copyrights, rights and licenses and promote, encourage and assist Kenyan authors while maintaining quality authorship. KLB is committed to effectively and efficiently serve the customer with courtesy, integrity and fairness and believes in effective and timely communication and keeps all channels of communication open to all.

Regular feedback is encouraged regarding its products and service delivery. About communication, KLB

strongly believes that effective communication can be used to manage change and ensure prompt delivery of services as well as it includes feedback mechanisms. Owing to the fact that it is a main stream publishing house in East and Central Africa, effective communication is of great importance in its’ operations. Effective communication thus, is mainly the vehicle that will take KLB to greater levels of making high profits.

This study aims at determining the factors that affect effective communication in corporate organisations, with K. L. B as the case study. The KLB’s 2005 – 2009 strategic plan recognizes the importance of maintaining a competitive profile of the publishing industry within the country as well as employing a strategy anchored on new products development, high quality of products, service delivery and effective institutional support processes and systems.

An analysis of the strategic plan further reveals that much emphasis has been laid on; business review, new products, regional markets, customer service delivery, human resources and development and finance. The contextual analysis of the internal performance lays emphasis on market management, leadership and governance, human resource technology and organizational culture. The current strategic plan (2010- 2015) is much more comprehensive and detailing five main objectives to be achieved in the said period of operations.

The focus of this research is on the second objective that states that KLB will improve on quality of products, services and increase productivity levels by collecting and studying market feedback, tendering of new production equipment, introducing appropriate reward mechanisms for stakeholders and customer service training for staff. As much as the topic of communication is incorporated in the corporate department of KLB, effective communication steers all

operations of an organisations.

The two strategic plans have not clearly defined issues regarding communication and strategies to be employed to achieve the required high business performance among the objectives stated within the two documents. Proper and adequate attention needs to be put on the subject of effective communication in order to strengthen research needs in effective communication It is against this background that the study endeavoured to establish weather occasional books shortages in the market, delayed delivery of customer orders lengthy unapproved list of books from K.I. E and delayed production of some books among other problems are linked to effective or ineffective communication strategies employed by the staff of K. L. B.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to survey the factors affecting effective communication at Kenya Literature Bureau. Having explored the potential of communication in contributing to the growth of an organisation, the findings of this research will immensely assist members of the society to understand the importance of effective communication in corporate organisations.

Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study was to assess the extent to which good communication skills affect effective communication within corporate organizations; The following specific objectives were used:

  • To establish the structural barriers that hinder the efficient flow of communication at KLB;
  • To establish the factors that affect (both positively and negatively) effective communication at KLB;
  • To identify he most preferred medium/media of communication in KLB and access their ability to enhance effective communication at KLB;
  • To examine the relevance of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used to enhance effective communication within KLB;
  • To establish the physical and psychological distractions

among employees that affect effective communication within KLB.

Research Questions

The research shall be guided by the following questions:

  • To what extent do structural barriers affect effective communication at KLB?
  • To what extent do good communication skills (clarity of messages, language command, good listening skills and adequate feedback) affect communication within corporate organizations?
  • What is the most preferred channel of communication within organizations?
  • Do modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) enhance effective communication within corporate organizations?
  • Do physical and psychological distractions among employees affect effective communication within corporate organizations?

Justification of the Study

Major organizations put emphasis on the importance of communication within all development initiatives. For purposes of broadening the scope and extent of services, many organizations are employing communication as an effective marketing tool. The day-to-day interaction of an organization with its stakeholders, employees and other interested groups within the community always need effective and robust communication mechanisms. Leading organizations have their own communication team with efficient communicators who are responsible for communication function with various national and international organizations.

To this end, many organizations have put in place fully-fledged communication departments that employ communication experts. In some other organizations communication tasks are incorporated in other departments such as corporate affairs and marketing. It is vital to underline that effective communication plays a major role in formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of project of activities in corporate organizations. In addition effective communication is vital in the sense that it helps organizations market their missions and values to clients as well as stakeholders.

In essence, communication also plays an important role in influencing employees’ loyalty to the organization as well as boosting its external image to the external world.

In Theoretical terms, effective communication in corporate organizations upholds relations between managers and stakeholders. In addition, the media as well as other channels play key roles to stakeholders in providing them with information. Such information enables them to develop perceptions of these organizations.

With the understanding that communication plays a vital role in organization, a survey of the factors that affects its effectiveness was indispensable. This study therefore aimed at investigating the major factors that affect effective communication and their relative impact at Kenya Literature Bureau. The results of the study will contribute immensely to the already existing body of knowledge on effective communication and its practice in corporate organizations in Kenya as well as bridge the knowledge gaps in the field of effective communication within corporate organisations.

They will also help such organizations, whether private or governmental to formulate relevant and valuable policies that shall enhance specialized training in communication management so as to reap the fruits that emanate from effective communication. Specifically, the findings of this research should benefit the following groups of people and institutions: Government Institutions: Ministry of Information and Communication: The findings could be used to formulate policies regarding effective communication at the work place.

Managers of Organizations: Chief Executive Officers may use the findings of the research in formulating communication policies in their organizations. Corporate Affairs and Communication Directors and managers may use the findings of this research in the day to day running of their work to enhance their job performances and achievement of set organisational objectives. Higher learning Institutions: Lecturers, Instructors and tutors may find the need to incorporate the findings of this study in designing and planning for detailed

and specific short and long term courses for the management cadres of different organizations.

Human Resource Departments: The findings would help this department in planning to cater for training needs of all employees in effective communication at different levels. NGOs: It will help these organizations to seek funds for training in the field of communication. Parents: Interpersonal skills would help in parenting especially the teenagers and enhance overall family communication.

Theoretical Framework

This study is based on information theory of communication. The theory looks at how information can flow from its source to its destination with minimum distortion and errors.

The theory that would inform this research is the mathematical/information theory of communication developed by Claude Shannon in 1948, Shannon (1948). With the advancement of research and theory, the impact organizations have on the way employees communicate and the positive/negative impact of such communication on organizations has been explained (Morgan, 1986; Redding, 1985). Information Theory/Mathematical Theory of Communication Technically, communication is viewed from the information theory standpoint (Shannon and Weaver, 1949).

According to Shannon a mathematician, who worked as an engineer at the Bell Laboratories, communication is a mechanistic system. Shannon’s motivation arose from the need to design telephone systems to carry the maximum amount of information and how to correct for distortions in the lines of communication. He introduced the concept of channel within the communication process. He examined signal to noise ratio. Shannon explained that for communication to be complete and well understood, the noise ratio has to be lower compared to the signal ratio.

Shannon also introduced the concept of measuring the amount of information in a message, which he calculated mathematically. To Shannon, the amount of

information in a message is a measure of surprise and is closely related to the chance of one of several messages being transmitted. A message is informative if the chance of its occurrence is small; in contrast, a message that is very predictable has a small amount of information. He noted that if entropy rate exceeds the channel capacity then there were unavoidable and uncorrected errors in the transmission.

He also showed that if the sender’s entropy rate is below the channel capacity then there is a way to encode the information so that it is received without errors (The Exploratium 1996). Shannon adopted his theory to analyze human written language. He showed that it is redundant, using more symbols and words than necessary to convey messages. The information theory looks at how information can flow from its source to its destination with minimum distortion and errors. In corporate communication, one needs to apply this approach with some alterations to make the analysis less technical and mathematical.

As stipulated by Shannon, noise affects the incoming signal and may largely interfere with the received signal. In corporate communication noise emanates from physical and psychological barriers and distractions, semantics, voice projections, symbols among other factors (Infante 2003). In this study it shall be necessary to identify what constitutes noise and ways of overcoming noise. This message is transmitted along a channel (media) to a receiver.

The receiver then interprets the message. Usually, the channel has bandwidth. This bandwidth affects the level of information that can be transmitted through such a channel. In this accord, bandwidth is a measure of communicative capacity. In current contexts, downloading data through the Internet by

use of a modem is affected by bandwidth. It is worth noting that the information theory model does not take into consideration the influence of contexts and environments on communication. On the contrary, it is based on the assumptions that all communication travels from point to point.

That is from a source to a receiver or from more than one source to more than one receiver. In this case contextual influences are regarded as noise, rather than extraneous information. It goes without saying that early management theories were based on the assumptions that in the process of communication, managers play dominant roles in directing the work of employees. In relation to the body of knowledge that relates to managerial theory, the manager’s role was reduced to giving clear and firm instructions.

Good and interpersonal skills and minimal psychological distractions enhance effective communication at KLB. . Poor communication skills and psychological distractions enhance ineffective communication at KLB.  The study focused on KLB as a corporate organisation. The focus was on the topic of effective communication within the two strategic plans periods: years (2005- 2009) and (2010- 2015). The study will be carried out between the months of April and June 2011. The study mainly focused on the said period of time because it has seen KLB experience its greatest growth businesswise and in human resource and technology wise.

The geographical scope of this research focused on KLB’s internal publics (the staff) since the rest of the publics are spread regionally to east and central Africa and time and financial constraint would not allow the larger coverage. The current formal documentation at KLB does not show evidence of existence of

a communication policy and strategy guiding effective communication at KLB. The shortcomings experienced by the study were inadequate documented information regarding effective communication at KLB.

The research therefore borrowed from works studied during literature review and library research, which were different from KLB’s setting. The study therefore experienced the challenge of contextualizing the content to the Kenyan (at KLB’s) local setting. Depending on the state of psychological destructions, some questions in the research tool were as termed noise particularly with the senior management and could have elicited some untrue answers since they were the parties directly involved in the organisation’s policy formulation.

As earlier noted, this research covered mainly the internal publics of KLB, which in one way or the other could have had a demeanour to the study. It is therefore recommended that other studies in future be established to cover the external publics and other spheres of communication.

Definition of Key Terms

The following terms were restricted to the definitions and explanations as given or as used in this research. Bandwidth: Range of frequencies used to transmit signals or data. Communication channel: refers to the means by which the message is transmitted.

Communication process: refers to the process of sending and receiving messages with attached meanings. Decoding: retrieving and understanding send messages as intended Encoding: Sending clear messages Entropy: Measure of the rate of transfer of information in a particular message Effective Communication: refers to the accuracy of communication send received and decoded and embraces feedback. Efficient communication: refers to the cost of communication. Feedback: refers to the process through which the receiver communicates with the sender by returning another message.

Noise: refers to anything that interferes

with decoding of messages by the receiver Physical distractions refer to any aspect of the physical setting in which communication takes place that interferes with affects the communication process.


In this section of the research, a review of the related literature on the subject under investigation is presented. There shall be a systematic identification and analysis of documents containing information related to the study problem.

The review involved textual analysis of reports as well as documents by various authors that focus on factors enhancing effective communication in organizations. This literature review develops a framework within which the researcher shall work and interpret findings in this study. Mugenda (2008) elicits that models and frameworks by writers are used to illustrate the various subtopics drawn from the objectives of the study. Upon the review of related literature the researcher shall attempt to establish the existing gaps to be filled in this study. The review is divided into four key sections amongst others.

These include introduction, organizational communication, the concept of effective communication and factors enhancing effective communication. Incorporating Effective Communication in Business In this century, communication has attained a paramount position in all sectors of the global economy. As a result, many academic discourses have concentrated on its use in corporate organizations. Its importance in the application of marketing techniques in the corporate industry has been underlined. Presently, effective corporate communication is indispensable in the success of every business.

As a result, major companies have identified its effect globally thus business giants worldwide like Standard Chartered, Barclays and British American Tobacco have employed effective communication strategies through their public relations departments and have greatly reaped of its fruits

and continue to soar high up in the business world. Cees Van Fombrun (2007), view corporate communication as activities of managing internal and external communication aiming at creating favourable starting points with stakeholders of the company.

Effective communication promotes business growth as well as the competitive edge of any organization (Sriramesh and Vercic 2009). Whereas the study of organizational communication is not new, it is only recently that it has been recognized as a field of academic study to a larger extent. This has mainly been in response to the ever-increasing needs and concerns of business. To this end, that all organizations, not just business organizations, have effective communication needs and challenges has been well underlined.

According to Kraut et al. (2002), proponents of organizational communication training recognize that managers should be trained to not only be effective speakers but also to have good interpersonal communication skills. Caputo (2003) emphasizes on the need to harness effective communication skills to pass the intended messages through words or signals. Managers should ensure the accessibility of information as it flows freely within the organization. This can only be realized when information is communicated effectively to all the employees.

Thus the ability of all parties to communicate and transfer the necessary information meaningfully and resourcefully is vital for effective communication. In the light of this, it is worth noting that the communication process of any organization influences its position in the current ever-dynamic corporate world. This is particularly so since communication is inevitable for each and every business process. The growth of an organization is enhanced by the effective exchange of information and knowledge with the internal groups as well stakeholders.

Whereas Communication

is arguably enshrined within the management processes of major organizations, its effectiveness is enhanced by a number of factors. These factors that rotate around the message being conveyed, its sender, the receiver or even the medium employed (Erven, 2001). Such factors can be broken further into micro-factors; this study shall endeavour to investigate. One main factor that contributes to effective communication is clarity of messages in the communication process. To state the message firmly and correctly, the sender needs to make the content and the metacommunication congruent.

There has to be adequate grasp of key communication skills on the sender and the receivers’ parts,(Glover and Rushbrooke 1985). Clarity of messages reduces noise that interferes with messages. Noise can be divided into three types of interferences according to Bunnow (1999). These are external, internal and semantic interferences. Whenever messages are not clear, the sender leaves the receiver without clarity of his/her intention. The causes of unclear messages may be confusion on the thinking of the sender, or semantics among other factors.

Caputo (2003) has emphasized that the use of voice, gestures and symbols, words and sounds to enable communicators do their work effectively (verbal and non verbal cues). They assert that, if our voice is a primary index of our personality the sound of the voice can either add or reduce the effectiveness of the message on the audience. Most effective communication experts blend the elements of speech (tone, vocal, quality, pitch and pace) into seamless tapestry to come up with very effective messages (ibid).

Psychological state of mind of both the encoder and decoder is another key factor that contributes to effective communication. People, groups, events or things

can be oversimplified conceptions, beliefs and opinions and it can replace thinking, analysis and open mindedness to new situations in organizations. As such employees in organizations can overlook messages on assumptions that they already know the meanings of such messages. Greene and Burleson (2003, p. 137) state that psychological discomfort may arise from people lacking some social skills.

This may emanate from inadequate exposure and lack of a role model to emulate. This group therefore becomes challenged in effective communication. They see psychological problems as a source of deterioration of social skills that in turn hamper effective communication. Environmental stressors also do add to this state. In addition, the choice of channel is crucial in the transmission of various messages. Correct channels enhance the effectiveness of communication. To this end, the sender should be sensitive to characteristics of the message whilst choosing a channel (Erven, 2001).

Allocution in organisations is a major factor that contributes to ineffective communication. McQuail (2000) notes that here; information is distributed from a centre simultaneously to many peripheral receivers, which in turn give rise to limited opportunity for feedback. Inadequate feedback is reason enough to term the communication process ineffective. The language employed in communication determines its effectiveness. Language in communication is a medium and for it to be effective it has to be shared and understood by the members in the communication process.

In this regard, the choice of language determines the perceptions of messages by receivers. Proper use of gestures and symbols enhance communication. Baltes et al (2009), recognize the importance of using gestures and symbols in special instances where for instance one want to communicate with the hearing impaired people.

There could be employees of this special kind and effective gesture communication should be employed. Hand gestures are extensively employed in human non-verbal communication. Another major factor enhancing communication is presence of feedback.

This is underlined by the fact that feedback indicates how the message sent was decoded and perceived by the receiver. Further, feedback makes communication two-way without which communication is rendered ineffective. Organizations should also ensure that members of staff have good listening skills and interpersonal skills since poor listening skills hinder effective communication.


Communication within an organisation is seen to take four perspectives namely; skills, techniques, systems and attitudes (Harlow 1967).Whether effective or not, communication is at the heart of many interpersonal problems faced by managers in organizations. Infante (2003) observes that organization members perform communication activities to reduce uncertainty of the environment. There are four main communication media namely; speech, written communication visual communication and non-verbal communication. An organization does carry both internal and external channels of communication. Using the internal channels of communication, they can employ the downward, upward or lateral mode of communication.

The choice of mode to be employed in communicating defines the unique effectiveness of the communication style of the organization (Glover and Rushbrooke 1985). The downward mode entails communications of instructions from seniors downwards. Through this mode, most communication is written and presented officially. Oral communication is embraced mainly when senior members of staff want to praise, blame or reprimand. In the downward mode, the same channel is used as subordinates pass reports, suggestions and complaints up the hierarchy. This mode can only be enhanced if effective feedback is embraced.

Inadequate feedback can only create discouragement and limited communication.

Lateral channel consists of information flow within departments and interdepartmentally. This encourages practical liaison between the departments. It promotes cooperation (ibid). These three modes may fail to pick up adequately in corporate organizations and this detours effective communication. Employees, impatient for information tend to break away from strict lines. The conversation in the corridor or the quick telephone call offers short-term communication convenience at such a point.

In the long run, rumours and grapevine find entrance into an organization and can be damaging to effective communication (Glover and Rushbrooke 1985). Rumours and gossip commonly termed as grapevine form the fourth and informal mode of communication. Researchers have found out that 90% of the informal information that circulates within an organization bears some truth. Though perceived with a negative connotation the grapevine (which exists in many organizations) can form faster and quicker orientation for new staff joining an organization.

It can also serve managers to benefit their own ends by depositing counter information to the existing information so as the information is adopted it lays ground for future discussions, as employees would have slept over the information. (ABE and RCC 2008) Having noted the above, employees are required to communicate effectively. Studies conducted globally indicate that organizational top management, almost consistently, are of the view that the most important skill for managers is good communication skills (Barrett, 2006), although they may do this at the expense of their subordinates and the organization as a whole.

Past studies have revealed that managers spend most of the day (70 to 80 percent of their time) undertaking communication tasks (Eccles & Nohria, 1991). Presently, the emergence of internet based communication and cell

phones means that managers spend even more time communicating. In this regard, the amount of time spent by managers communicating lays emphasis on the importance of effective communication.

Official communication trickles down from top line management to the lower cadre staff. The downward mode of communication is the one mostly adopted. Official communication at KLB takes the form of letters, memos, meetings and electronic mails. Other communication documents do exist in the form of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) per department. Communication is also contained in the Scheme of Service guidebook, which guides the employee on issues of human resource and work appraisal.

The Strategic Plan (2010 – 2015) carries the plan of action for activities that KLB is currently carrying out. The SOP manual at KLB is fundamental to its communication processes as it clearly outlines all key operations carried out in each department and this helps employees not to depart from the norm as well as keep organizational coherence. The nine objectives outlined in the SOP enable KLB to achieve high performance status as well as organizational synergy which is an advantage to successful and profitable businesses. Other forms of communication take place in formal and informal meetings. During the induction process for new employees, communication process and avenues are introduced to new employees.

Some members may be informally inducted about what happens at KLB through stories from older members of the organisation through what terms as corporate stories. According to Wood (2003) corporate stories serve the main function of socializing new members into the culture of an organisation. When these stories are told over and again, tinduction process for new employees, communication process and avenues are

introduced to new employees. Some members may be informally inducted about what happens at KLB through stories from older members of the organisation through what (Wood 2003) terms as corporate stories. According to Wood (2003) corporate stories serve the main function of socializing new members into the culture of an organisation.

When these stories are told over and again, they help foster feelings of ties among employees and this and ideal communication would be like. Communication would be effective. In this case, the sender understands the context as well as the receiver (target audience). Consequently, he/she selects the right medium (channel) and sends a clear message. On his part, the receiver decodes and understands that message precisely as was intended by the sender. The receiver responds to the sent message through feedback to the sender. This qualifies to be termed effective communication. Effective communication embraces an array of approaches. Whatever the case, communicators have to do so clearly to eliminate ambiguity. The receivers’ needs are a key factor in designing messages.

At the onset of communication, t he sender should be in a position to put into account the needs of the recipients, for instance what time is needed to accomplish the task, how much workload does the receiver have, tone used, content, structure of the communication among other needs. The language needs of the receiver have to be put into account. The sender needs to understand fully the audience of the messages. Another approach that may be employed to communicate effectively would be to use the ABC Approach (ABE and RCC 2008). This approach emphasizes accuracy, brevity and clarity in every communication. The other approach to

effective communication is the use of the Seven Cs. It is more developed and looks at seven attributes of messages whether verbal or non verbal.

The Seven Cs are, clear messages, concise, correct, courteous, complete, consistent and convincing. Listening and feedback form two complementary skills that enrich effective communication further (ibid).


Communicating effectively can be affected both positively and negatively. The positive factors do enhance communication whereas negative factors hinder effective communication. In reality, a number of factors enhance effective communication as elicited in the diagram below. Although the factors can be viewed from different angles, this study narrows down the major explicit ones. In this regard, can be adapted; to illustrate what happens when various factors enhance effective communication. These factors straddle across the sender or the receiver(s). Factors enhancing effective communication, adapted from Leadership Communication: A communication Approach by Barret, D. J 2006, p 4 Senders of messages such as managers and communication officials should communicate clear messages. They should also communicate through the right channels (media). External factors such as physical barriers and interruptions should also be curbed during the communication process. In this case, the effectiveness of the intended communication is enhanced.

On their part, receivers of messages ought to possess good listening skills. They should also be devoid of language barriers or cultural stereotypes. Such factors, including presence of feedback, enhance effective communication. It is imperative to note that all the factors elicited above do not work entirely individually and are related to both sender and receivers concurrently. In this accord, is a simplified model and the interplay of the various factors may be complex in reality. Barrett (2006)

elicits that complication in communication stems from interruptions in transmission. This is irrespective of whether they are caused by the sender or the receiver.

Factors such as the context in which the information is sent, the surrounding noise, the medium (media) chosen; the choice of words as well as the image of the speaker among others determine the success of conveyance of the meaning intended to the receivers. To this end, the foundation of effective corporate communication involves learning to: deal with any interruptions, appreciate contexts, and understand recipients, select the right media and to issue clear messages that convey the meaning to specific receivers as predetermined. Clarity of Message The clarity of messages is of profound importance in the process of effective communication. Often, communication in corporate organizations is either ambiguous or vague.

In the backdrop of this, various staff might poorly decipher the messages issued within the communication processes of such organizations (Bugental et al. , 1970). This phenomenon can be termed as miscommunication resulting from muddled (unclear) messages. Another factor contributing to unclear messages is the use of two or more conflicting channels. Semantics is however the major cause of unclear messages. It causes managers to either communicate in incomprehensible ways or to give contradictory feedback (Laplante & Ambady, 2002). The words chosen, how they are used, and the meanings attached to them affect how members of staff comprehended them. This stems from the fact that a word may mean different things to different people.

For example, organizational jargon such as increased productivity; efficiency and performance contracting are examples that might mean one thing to a manager and something different to a junior member of

staff (Lunenburg, 2010). In this regard, managers should emphasize contextual meaning in ensuring that all the issuance of clear messages is buttressed. Interpersonal Communication Skills Interpersonal communication involves both the senders and receivers of messages. The skills required to make this process effective are learnt. They need to be deliberate. Attitude towards self is critical to the success of excellent interpersonal skills (Wahlstrom 1992). Positive self-regard yields high interpersonal skills.

Employees with low self-regard minimize communication with others because of negative voices that play within them. Messages of mistrust to their surrounding and colleagues misguide them and this can easily culminate into some form of conflict which detours effective communication. Skilful active listening to messages is another component of good interpersonal skills. Research indicates that we spend more time listening than engaging in any other form of communication behaviour. We speak at the rate of 100- 150 words per minute for average speakers. We listen at the rate of 450 – 600 words per minute. The difference between the two speeds allow for lag time, which allows us to internalize messages (Pelt 2000).

We listen at 45%, speak at 30%, read at 16% and write at 9% (Wahlstrom 1992). One can therefore purpose to listen effectively as long they deal with distractions and withhold judgment. For one to be termed a person with good interpersonal skills, one needs to listen for enlightenment (ibid). Keeping eye contact is seen as a way of keeping the non-verbal cues of communication alert both for the sender and the receiver. One needs to be certain about the body language acceptable within a certain context. Infante (2003) observes six motives for engaging

in interpersonal communication and for this study only three apply and these are: control, inclusion and relaxation. Absence of Physical Distractions and Interruptions

Effective communication is enhanced by the absence of physical distractions and interruptions. There are various causes of physical distraction in an organization. These include telephone calls, unexpected visitors, physical distances, walls, radio static etc. Although many employees take physical barriers for granted, it is important to remove them. This is as a result of the immense impact they pose to the effectiveness of communication in organizations. Whereas wall can be physically removed other interruptions such as telephone calls and unexpected visitors can be removed through laid down instructions in the work place.

The organization can also utilize ppropriate choice of media to reduce the physical distance between employees (Lunenburg, 2010). Absence of Cultural Stereotyping Dealing with cultural stereotypes is paramount in enhancing effective communication. Allport (1958) defines stereotypes as overgeneralizations of the characteristics and/or behaviors of a group that are applied universally to individuals of that group. It has been established that stereotyping is a major hindrance to effective communication (Leonard & Locke, 1993). In this regard, since tribal, racial and sexual stereotypes have negative impact effective communication, they are barriers that managers have to endeavour to overcome.

In order to promote effective interethnic/interracial communication, it is paramount to consider others as individuals while still being aware of general cultural norms (Leonard & Locke, 1993). The Healthcare Manager: Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Selecting the fitting channel of communication is paramount within the process of effective communication (Guo, 2003). Channels can be defined as the means through which messages are transmitted. Channels are divided

into two types-verbal and nonverbal.

With technological changes, the use of the various types of channels of communication has seen dynamic changes. Verbal communication includes dialogues that offer mostly immediate feedback. In organizations, verbal communication includes meetings. Choice of face-to-face meetings can have immense effects on the effectiveness of communication. In this case, sufficient information is transmitted, employees can transmit their emotions and immediate feedback is enabled. On its part, written communication comes in handy when one has to describe technical details. With the advent of electronic mail and computer based communication, written communication has seen unprecedented improvement in efficiency (Lunenburg, 2010).

According to Daft & Lengel (1984), communication channels have varying information richness as illustrated. The use of computer-aided communication has increased rapidly in the last two decades. This has revolutionalized the way communication takes place in organizations. Studies have shown that electronic mail has increasingly become the preferred computer based channel of communication by many organizations (Lunenburg, 2010). This is born out of the fact that e-mail allows messages to be generated easily. In addition, messages cannot only be saved but can also be sent to many recipients concurrently. Readers can also choose which messages to read first and those to read later.

It is worth noting that there are various problems that are posed by e-mail messages. These include overloads of information, transmission of computer viruses as well as spamming. Electronic mails also have the inability to transmit emotions. As such, recipients can easily misinterpret the tones of the message and generate misunderstandings. To counter this, experts have gone an extra mile to develop icons to designate the emotions of senders in e-mail messages (Peck,

1997). Training on internet based communication has been suggested to reduce the detriment on emotionally charged messages and disrespect (Extejt, 1998). Such training has been termed netiquette. It bars e-mail messages from being more than 25 lines.

In addition, senders are encouraged not to use-mail for sensitive issues. On its part, nonverbal communication can be defined as the sharing of information without the use of words. Nelson & Quick (2003) elicits that the basic forms of nonverbal communication are: kinesics, proxemics, facial/eye behaviour and paralanguage. Kinesics is concerned with use of body language to transmit messages and meanings. Proxemics is the study of the use of space in social interaction and its significance. Although facial and eye behaviour is an important form of nonverbal communication, it may have different meaning to people with diverse cultural backgrounds.

The other form of nonverbal communication is paralanguage. This is concerned with the quality of voice, volume, pitch and rate of speech. Non-verbal cues can affect the effectiveness of the communication process. Different people will interpret such cues differently based on their own perception (Lunenburg, 2010). A manager needs to know whether verbal or non-verbal communication should be used before deciding which channel to settle on (Lunenburg, 2010). To this end, selecting a befitting channel of communication is one the most important parts of the communication process. Various channels of communication result in the transmission of information of different volume and diversity.

Further, understanding the symbolic meaning and the richness of the information in messages is essential in understanding the suitability of a channel of to be used to communicate effectively. Semantic Noise - Removing Language Barriers The efficient use of language

is vital in enhancing effective communication. On the other hand, cross-cultural communication research has revealed that language is a major communication barrier. This is a result of distortion in communication, delay or failed transmission especially for people of diverse language backgrounds. In some countries limited skills in English inhibits some business ventures as well as inter-corporate cooperation. Language barriers have been found to hinder close personal ties between employees.

In some cases, they can bar employees from seeking advice from managers. It also hinders employees from promptly accessing vital information and slows down the decision-making process (Andersen & Rasmussen, 2002). As such, managers should endeavour to remove language barriers so as improve the effectiveness of communication in their organizations. Presence of Feedback Within the communication process, feedback is termed as the response to the sender’s attempt to send the message (Erven, 2001).

Feedback is vital in determining whether the message was received in the form it was intended. It is worth noting that the receiver of the original message determines the hoice of the channel for the feedback. To this end, the receiver may choose a channel for feedback that immensely differs with the original channel used by the sender. Krauthammer International (2001) in a study of European corporations found out that the majority of company executives have inadequate capacities for handling feedback from members of staff. For these managers, only 14 percent sought feedback from staff during communication processes. For the rest, a large majority of 47 percent elicited that managers only sought their opinions sometimes. Those who indicated that their opinions were sought very seldom or never at all were 32 and 7 percent respectively.


the same study, it was found out that only 42 percent of the feedback obtained was utilized. For a quarter of the managers (26%) the feedback obtained was actually acknowledged but that no resultant action was taken. Whereas feedback is often underestimated, ensuring that it is effectively used is one sure way of enhancing effective communication. Poor Listening Skills Listening is an essential skill for managers in corporate organizations (Barrett, 2006). Erven (2001) elicits that poor listening skills is an important barrier to the effectiveness of communication. Manager should have one of the important listening skill-they should be prepared to listen.

Managers should be prepared to lock out other organizational and personal problems to concentrate on the immediate problems. During the communication process, listeners should search meaning from what the speaker is saying. Many listeners are prone to interrupting the speaker- an indication of poor listening skills. To this end, listeners should wait until the speaker finishes the message before passing their evaluation and judgment. Active listening is essential to the effectiveness of the communication process. It enables the speaker to give the best of the intended message (Erven, 2001).


While performing specific study operations researchers employ techniques to enable them collect data and establish replicable verifiable truths about a case, phenomena or topic. This is summed up as methodology according to (Kothari 2oo4). A researcher selects methods, which includes selecting and constructing research techniques. In research methodology, the processes employed document reasons for using particular methods or techniques rather than using other methods (Mugenda 2008). Through research techniques, the researcher performs operations such as observation, recording data and analysis of data using clearly

defined steps. Research Methodology

Therefore, one can state that, research methodologies entail the systematic use of methods and techniques; to help solve a research problem. The methodologies are important since they help achieve systematic verifiable truths about the problem under study. They also help present the problem under study logically (Kothari 2004). Research Methodology can be grouped in various ways depending on the approach that a researcher takes. It may be based on type of data and method used to collect the data (Mugenda 2008). Kothari 2004 notes that the key categories are conceptual versus empirical, quantitative versus qualitative, fundamental versus applied and finally descriptive versus analytical. Social scientists thus have classified research mainly into qualitative and quantitative.

Quantitatively research seeks to quantify social phenomena by collecting, analyzing and interpreting data whereas qualitatively research seeks to refer to a variety of approaches conducted in natural settings to find out some scientific truths. Surveys employing extensively descriptive research were the basis of this research. This is due to the ex post facto nature of descriptive research since it terms things the way they are. It will further enable the researcher discover certain causes and report about the variables under study. Analysis of already existing data at KLB will aid the research in terms of making critical evaluation decisions. This research will thus employ mainly quantitative methods and minimally use qualitative methods of research.

Research Design

A research design outlines the processes that help collect data and analyse it (Kothari 2004). On his part, Mugenda (2008) views a research design in terms of conceptualization of the problem under study bearing in mind the methods to be used in collecting

and analyzing data. He identifies descriptive, correlational and experiment based research designs. This study shall employ a descriptive survey. A descriptive survey is chosen since it can be used to establish a range of issues affecting employees (Mugenda 2008). This is very relevant to KLB since it has quite a substantial number of employees. In descriptive surveys, an attempt to describe the relationship between variables, the testing of hypotheses and development of generalizations principles or theory that have universal validity is made.

In a descriptive survey, the researcher does not manipulate the variables nor decide who receives a treatment for events to happen; hence in surveying the factors that affect effective communication at KLB; this was one of the best designs (Best & Kahn 1993). In addition, descriptive survey can produce statistical information and aspects of corporate communication of interest to policy makers and managers (Borg & Gall 1989). Since it will target a category of employees, the proposed study will fit within the cross-sectional sub-topic of descriptive survey design. A Questionnaire shall be the used together with library review of organizational communication materials at KLB to collect data required for this study.

Target Population

The study shall cover the 6 departments and two support units at KLB. A total of 24 respondents shall be drawn from KLB’s 215 work force.

To this end, at least 10 percent of staff departmentally together with their respective assistant departmental heads shall be chosen to take part in the study. The office of the Managing Director operates with two key units (Legal Affairs and Audit) with unit heads who are regarded as Heads of Department. The process of selecting a number of

individuals or objects from a population such that the selected group contains elements representative of the characteristic found in the entire group is called sampling (Orodho & Kombo, 2002). Simple systematic sampling procedures will be used to select the sample sizes of KLB’s employees to be used for this study.

The technique entails direct selection of elements from the sampling frame (Mugenda 2008). Table 2 shows this list that will be used as the sampling frame with listing total employees departmentally arranged hierarchically from the senior most member of staff in the Department to the junior most staff. Thus the first kth element who is the head of department will be chosen, where; k= N/n – k= 214/24 (Mugenda 2008).

A sampling frame will be developed to contain the 215 permanent employees of KLB. Kasomo (2006) says a sample of 10-20% is best for descriptive survey and using it, the researcher will sample the 215 employees of KLB. Two major approaches help researchers determine the sample ize, firstly, to specify the precision of estimation desired then to know the exact sample size necessary and secondly by use of the Bayesian statistics . The study utilizes the first approach since it can give a mathematical solution (Kothari 2004).

An optimum sample shall be used since it fulfils efficiency, representativeness reliability and flexibility required in a scientific study (Kothari 2004) systematically the six assistant heads of departments will be selected. The other respondents per department will be selected using random numbers where each member stands an equal chance to be chosen. Staff identification numbers instead of names will be used at this stage to avoid any biasness.

By using the sample

the study will embrace inference with emphasis laid on statistical assumptions so as to enable the researcher generate valid conclusions (Mugenda 2008).


The validity of instruments represents the degree to which a test measures what it purports to measure. According to Barrow and Millum (1989) it is also the degree to which instruments reflect adequacy or appropriateness. Therefore a questionnaire is said to be valid when it has the ability to measure the parameters intended. To ensure the validity, the researcher shall give the research instruments for appraisal by the supervisor and shall pay heed to the comments given.

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