Communication barriers are a major challenge facing most large organization in the modern competitive world. According to Dessein (2002: 3-5), these barriers impede the realization of goals and objectives by these organizations and are a threat to their existence. Large organizations are susceptible to communication barriers due to the complexity of the organizational structure, and the inherent bureaucracy in their operations.
There are different forms of communication barriers, and some of them include lack of trust, noise, inaccurate communication media, and differing status among others.
General Motors Corporation. General Motors Corporation is one company that faces communication barriers in its organizational structure and operations. General Motors was founded in 1908 and gradually grew to be the largest maker of automobiles in the world. However, despite its success in over a century, the company is facing financial problems which are attributable to the global economic meltdown as well as mismanagement. In addition to this, the company has communication problems which are caused by the following barriers to communication;
Differing status. According to Hitt et al. (2005: 527-530), this is a communication barrier which arises due to having different status between employees in the workplace. The employees with a lower status may either despise or fear the ones with higher status, and this hinders communication between the different employee ranks. Higher level employees and lower level employees have problems communicating within the General Motors workplace. This is due to the segregation of the higher level employees from the lower level ones, once they achieve high status.
The lower level employees on the other hand despise their seniors due to the preferential treatment given to them. As a result of this, messages received from senior employees are sometimes ignored or intentionally distorted due to the inherent problems caused by different status. This situation has impeded the effective implementation of some policies and decisions which are given by the top level management. Bureaucracy. This is another factor which impedes effective communication in General Motors.
There are very many procedures and a lot of documentation which is required before a decision made by the higher level management can reach the lower level employees. This situation sometimes leads to distortion of the message, since the many employees who handle the message interpret them differently and sometimes distort them. Bureaucracy also makes the top managers inaccessible to the lower level employees in General Motors, due to the many procedures that they have to go through before they can have access to them.
This makes the upper level management be unable to have knowledge on the problems facing lower level employees. This de-motivates them and causes low performance by the employees. Stress. Stress is a major barrier to communication in the General Motors workplace. Employees are stressed due to the poor financial performance of General Motors, which led to cutbacks, as well as the global recession. Stress makes employees be unable to understand some messages effectively, since most of the time they are thinking of their problems.
This is a major problem In General Motors, and there are inadequate measures that have been taken to help employees cope with this stress. Conclusion and recommendation. General Motors is currently facing many challenges due to its poor financial performance. In spite of these problems, the management of the company should realize that employees are the most valuable assets to any business. In line with this, the management should solve the communication barriers through reducing bureaucracy and preferential treatment given to senior employees.
When employees are treated as equals, they build mutual respect which improves communication in the organization. Finally, the company should provide counselors and psychiatrists to help employees deal with stress since it is a major problem to the organization. Bibliography. Dessein, W. 2002. Authority and communication in organizations. Review of Economic Studies. New York: Blackwell Synergy, p 3-5. Hitt, M. A. , Black, J. S. , Porter, L. W. 2005, Management, International edition. New York: Prentice Hall, p. 527-530.
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