Communication and Workplace Alliance

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Communication is important in daily practices because it facilitates social harmony. Good contact is needed in the workplace not only for social reasons, but also for the achievement of goals (Turner, Qvarfordt, Biehl, Golovchinsky, & Back, 2010). It provides a platform for activities critical to an organization's functioning, such as giving instructions, receiving feedback, reporting progress or emergencies, and interacting with coworkers to create a conducive work environment (Conrad, 2014; de Vries, Bakker-Pieper, & Oostenveld, 2010b; Hamer, 2005; Wang, 2011). This is only possible with good contact. Workplace settings are usually structured such that there is the management and the employees in the top down strategy. Communication patterns are thus set by the management whose communication style may ruin or build the comfort and levels of trust in the workplace. This is so because all management functions require vertical communication and the perception of the employees regarding how information is disseminated influences the productivity of the workplace (Conrad, 2014; Kinnick & Parton, 2005).

Research Questions

Seeing that communication is quite crucial for the success of a team, this study_x0092_s objectives will be to identify the existing communication in the workplace. To determine the factors that hinder the communication process and finally to establish strategies that could be implemented to improve communication. In the process of achieving these objectives, this research will answer the following questions:

What are the effects of bad communication in the workplace?

How can communication be improved in the workplace?

Literature Review

Communication Process

Hamer, (2005) says that since time immemorial, people have devised ways to get through and communicate to others, making communication the fibre that ties together a society. The workplace be it an office or an organization is composed of individuals who congregate to achieve an objective common to them all. As such devising ways to communicate properly and efficiently is the stepping stone to the success of a workplace (Merz, 2014). Communication involves sending and receiving, understanding and transmitting feedback where necessary (Guo & Sanchez, 2005).

Additionally, Guo & Sanchez, (2005) conquer that accurate decoding of the message sent leads to effective communication. They advise that feedback should be given room for a communication process to be effective. In their opinion, feedback enables the description and assessment of the communicator and also informs how a conversation should be carried enables managers to detect then respond to changes.

In view of competence in communication, (Keyton et al., 2013) affirm that competent communicators should be in a position to effectively express negative emotions. They should organize their work around the observed communication behaviors.

Figure 1: The Communication Process (Ergen, 2010; Guo & Sanchez, 2005)

Communication Channels

Communication channels have been widely studied in the business and communication fields. According to Hamer, (2005), these channels take many forms such as verbal communication in a one on one conversation, over the telephone or through teleconferencing. However nonverbal cues such as kinesics, facial expressions & oculesics, proxemics, and paralanguage may pass information when used un/consciously (Ergen, 2010; Keyton et al., 2013; Wang, 2011). Ergen, (2010) adds that since their impact is higher compared to the spoken language, they are subject to accurate interpretation hence should be used carefully.

On verbal communication, Ergen, (2010) states that written language that is technologically aided such as emailing, instant messaging and social networking tools have become very common in the formal settings such as the workplace. His sentiments coincide with those of Turner et al. (2010) who confirm that technology has positively impacted communication, creating flexibility and allowing creativity and better decision making (Merz, 2014; Wang, 2011).Turner et al. (2010) assures that instant messaging, chatting, blogging and online social networks have been deemed valuable. However, this does not eliminate face to face conversations in order to share ideas and solve problems (Wang, 2011). Emphasizing this, De Vries, Bakker-Pieper, & Oostenveld, 2010a) also add that information from personal sources is likely to be trusted and sought after rather than relying on the impersonal sources availed by technology such as the internet.

The study of Turner et al. (2010) appreciates the incorporation of technology to assist in communication. It also recognizes the use of all the communication tools mentioned by other studies. In addition, their work highlights the strengths and weaknesses of these tools and also provides an insight into the preference of communication tools to be used for work related issues. According to them, face to face conversation is highly preferred because of both the verbal and nonverbal competence. The disadvantage of phones is seen in the absence of nonverbal signaling and interruption of recipients_x0092_ business at the time. Emailing is rather popular as it does not interrupt other people activities.

Like others, Keyton et al. ( 2013) further iterate the importance of verbal communication in the workplace. Their work highlight assumptions made on verbal communication, the first being that it should be functional both conceptually and operationally to bring about an outcome. This communication should be directed by goals in order to achieve predetermined results. Verbal communication at the workplace should be seen as an interactive process that involves other people too, to aid in the realization of our collective goals. Also, verbal behaviours should be learnable and socially created, should be observable and understandable. He concludes by inferring to the most used workplace verbal behaviours: explaining, listening, discussing, sharing information, asking & answering questions and seeking & giving feedback

Barriers to Communication

Effective communication is hindered by several factors. Hamer, (2005) attributes that these barriers emanate from components of the communication process. She lists differences in culture, age, gender, socioeconomic background and hierarchy at the workplace as the major barriers cultural. Her work advises managers at the workplace to find ways to harmonize communication between these different groups. Educating on cultural competence and communication differences between genders are the best shot to overcoming these barriers. These, efforts she says this will build trust and integrity and also introduce reward to keep employees morale up (Hamer, 2005; MacKenzie, 2010; Thomas, Zolin, & Hartman, 2009).

In agreement with Hamer, Ergen, (2010) groups these barriers into personal and environmental just like other studies (Guo & Sanchez, 2005). According to him personal barriers depend on the nature of the individuals in the workplace such as gender, age and cultural differences while environmental are the characteristics within which the workplace is situated such as distance, managerial philosophy, absence of employee reward schemes and globalization that has resulted in multicultural team (Guo & Sanchez, 2005). Reducing these barriers will contribute to the achievement of effective communication. He also seconds solutions proposed by Mallet and adds that allowing interaction with employees and managers from other organizations allow mentoring, sharing and learning all which aim to improve communication.

Delecta & Raman, (2015) and Carbaugh, (2007) also contribute to the studies that include cultural differences as a barrier to communication. They pay special attention to beliefs, norms, stereotyping, ethnocentrism and misunderstanding as for the major cultural barriers at work premises. Misunderstandings arise because uncertainty and anxiety inflicted by cultural variation. Since norms also vary across culture, it is difficult to identify what is/not acceptable in the different cultures. It is also imperative to be culturally competent in order to successfully interact with people from other cultures (Carbaugh, 2007; Delecta & Raman, 2015).Stereotyping leads to labelling and judging of people based on assumptions which bar cross-cultural interactions. Rating others based on one_x0092_s culture leads people to alienate other groups which hamper communication (Carbaugh, 2007; Delecta & Raman, 2015). To overcome these barriers, language diversity should be embraced by teaching other languages, training on cross-cultural competence should be provided, and managements should implement mutual benefit policies (Delecta & Raman, 2015; Ergen, 2010; Hamer, 2005).

Organisational Communication

The management style influences the communication standards (Ergen, 2010). Opening channels of communication is very critical as it cultivates trust and positive attitudes among employees when they feel involved culminating into business growth and should be monitored (Thomas et al., 2009). He acknowledges the presence of grapevine and realizes that both formal and informal communication should be accommodated in an organization (Ergen, 2010; Frohlich, Whittaker, & Jones, 1994).

(Hamer, 2005) emphasizes that employees have been always free in communicating among themselves, a little restraint being observed among interdepartmental employees. This supports the notion of grapevine identified by (Ergen, 2010; Frohlich et al., 1994).Between the management and employees, free and casual communication is almost non-existent since only matters pertaining business initiate conversations between them and this breaks the communication channel. Since employees need to be heard and listened to, their ways of getting through to the management culminate into slowdowns, absenteeism delays apathy and carelessness in carrying out duties. This creates a window for the management to consider implementing upward channels of communications to ensure employees are listened to (Hamer, 2005). Low morale and poor job performance have largely been attributed to unclear communication. Strategies such as creating room for criticism, listening carefully, reacting to content rather than the manner it is expressed, avoid commanding and targeting audience using words rather than nonverbal cues these efforts would lead to mutually rewarding work and social relationships (Conrad, 2014; Ergen, 2010; Hamer, 2005)

Similarly (de Vries et al., 2010a) points out the role of communication style adopted by leaders in holding together employees and establishing healthy relations. Their findings are supported by other studies such as (MacKenzie, 2010; Thomas et al., 2009) Friendly communication has been shown to yield satisfaction as opposed to dominant and aggressive communication styles. Knowledge sharing is paramount because it initiates communication and also inspires new ideas. The willingness of a team leader to share information stirs the team workers eagerness to do the same with each other (MacKenzie, 2010; Thomas et al., 2009). Human-oriented leadership was characterized be verbal ingressiveness on the leaders_x0092_ part and leaders who express themselves and are also open to employees_x0092_ input while charismatic leadership allows argumentative, verbal nonaggressiveness, assurance and precision during communication. Task-oriented leadership constitutes the components of the prior leadership style except that it is also characterized by verbal aggressiveness (de Vries et al., 2010a)

The literature review outlines the communication process, highlights the communication style common in organizations and also points out possible barriers and provides ways of overcoming them. However previous research only gives general possibilities regarding poor communication. This paper will provide the details of chain reactions that are experienced due to bad communication. Also since networks of people have preferred ways of handling communication and interactions and workplaces are such networks, this paper will seek and present opinions from involved parties rather than from communication experts. It will present authentic and first-hand information different from solutions that are provided by people not involved in a situation.

Research Methodology


The research will assume a qualitative research methodology based on the nature of the data I intend to collect during the research.


Surveying will be used for data collection where sheets with open-ended questions and single answer multiple choice questions will be used to retrieve information relevant to the research. The open-ended questions will give room for respondents to freely and openly give their input free. A slight difference will be included in questionnaires served to different departments. I will on individual returning of questionnaires to ensure none is left out. On participating members will be required to indicate _x0092_NP_x0092_ on the questionnaires issued to them but still return them (Hamer, 2005; Wang, 2011).

Direct interviews will be used to gather information randomly from employees and from the top management to know the structure of the workplace and the communication strategies and styles they use while running the place. The interview sessions will be recorded for analysis. Observation will also be used for data collection (Hamer, 2005; Wang, 2011)


The management, employees, and associates of Synarc System the study sample for this research. Synarc Systems is an Architectural Firm. Four directors form the top management; there is a Chief Financial officer, numerous office staff in different departments. Synarc has a base of clients whose construction projects are handled by these companies. It liaises with specialists such as quantity surveyors and engineers to complete its assignment. It also works with suppliers of the various building materials. It recruits contractors who carry out on the ground works with the help of contractual handymen

Ethical Issues

Participants will be briefed and informed on the purpose and scope of research. Privacy and confidentiality of the information divulged by the participants will be assured and contributions not shared with other people and participants will be required to leave out their names when answering the questions. The contents of interview transcripts or the answered forms will be made available on request from participants(Wang, 2011).

Time Scale

The research is planned to take a period of ten months beginning from June 2017 and ending in Feb 2018. Below is a table to show how the tasks will be distributed across the research period.






2017 OCT



2017 DEC

2017 JAN

2018 FEB

2018 Authorization from Synarc Familiarization

with the participants Observation of operations Questionnaire

issuing and collection Interviewing Data analysis Report write up Communicating results to Synarc/Vote of thanks


Table 1: Costs in £


Carbaugh, D. (2007). Cultural Discourse Analysis: Communication Practices and Intercultural Encounters. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 36(3), 167_x0096_182.

Conrad, D. (2014). Workplace Communication Problems: Inquiries by Employees and Applicable Solutions. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 105_x0096_116.

de Vries, R. E., Bakker-Pieper, A., & Oostenveld, W. (2010a). Leadership = Communication? The Relations of Leaders_x0092_ Communication Styles with Leadership Styles, Knowledge Sharing and Leadership Outcomes. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(3), 367_x0096_380.

de Vries, R. E., Bakker-Pieper, A., & Oostenveld, W. (2010b). Leadership = communication? The relations of leaders_x0092_ communication styles with leadership styles, knowledge sharing and leadership outcomes. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(3), 367_x0096_380.

Delecta, J. R., & Raman, G. P. (2015). CROSS CULTURAL COMMUNICATION BARRIERS IN WORKPLACE. International Journal of Management, 6(1), 976_x0096_6502.

Ergen, E. (2010). Workplace Communication: A case study on informal communication network within an organization.

Frohlich, D. S., Whittaker, S., & Jones, O. D. (1994). INFORMAL WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION: WHAT IS IT LIKE AND HOW MIGHT WE SUPPORT IT? Human Factors in Computing Systems, 131_x0096_137.

Guo, K. L., & Sanchez, Y. (2005). Workplace Communication. University of Miami, 77_x0096_110.

Hamer, B. M. (2005). COMMUNICATION WITHIN THE WORKPLACE. University of Wisconsin-Stout, 1_x0096_50.

Keyton, J., Caputo, J. M., Ford, E. A., Fu, R., Leibowitz, S. A., Liu, T., _x0085_ Wu, C. (2013). Investigating Verbal Workplace Communication Behaviors. Journal of Business Communication, 50(2), 152_x0096_169.

Kinnick, K. N., & Parton, S. R. (2005). WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION: What The Apprentice Teaches About Communication Skills. Business Communication Quarterly, 68, 429_x0096_456.

MacKenzie, M. L. (2010). Manager communication and workplace trust: Understanding manager and employee perceptions in the e-world. International Journal of Information Management, 30(6), 529_x0096_541.

Merz, J. (2014). The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin. International Journal for Professional Education, 80(3), 1_x0096_60.

Thomas, G. F., Zolin, R., & Hartman, J. L. (2009). The Central Role of Communication in Developing Trust and Its Effect On Employee Involvement. Journal of Business Communication, 46(3), 287_x0096_310.

Turner, T., Qvarfordt, P., Biehl, J. T., Golovchinsky, G., & Back, M. (2010). Exploring the Workplace Communication Ecology. CHI 2010.

Wang, E. S. (2011). Masters of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies. Gonzaga University, 1_x0096_42.

November 09, 2022

Sociology Economics


Communication Workforce

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