THE EFFECT OF COMMUNICATION BARRIERS ON THE PRODUCTIVITY AND PERFORMANCE OF EMPLOYEES
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
All human interactions are form of communication. In world business today, nothing can be achieved without good communication with employers, employees, clients, suppliers, and even customers. Looking at the most successful business people in the world, one will see people who have mastered the art of communication. Business all over the world today is very challenging. To stay profitable in the highly challenging and competitive global market economy all factors at production (i.e. men, machine and materials), should be wisely managed. Among the factors of production, human resource constitutes the biggest challenge because unlike inputs, employee management demands skilful handling of thoughts, feelings and emotions to secure highest productivity.
Communication has crucial impacts or among work groups in that organizational communication is a channel to pass information and policies. Organizational communication can be broadly defined as communication with one another in the context of an organization. This type of communication, in turn, includes activities of sending and receiving message through various layers of authority, using various message systems, and discussing various topics of interest to the group we belong to or the company we work for. Organizational communication research has mainly been conducted both in the business management field and in the communication field; however, researchers in the public administration field have provided little knowledge about organizational communication and its roles and effects.
Communication applied to all phases of management process. It is the process of transferring information from sender to receiver, who interprets the information in order to achieve organizational objectives. Information, according to Miller, (2002, Roll, 2004) is simply the vehicle by which we attempt to provoke or evoke a human response. Information on its own is quite static and lifeless. It simply exists waiting to be interpreted and have meaning attached by people. In the view of Nabeth et al (2002) information needs interpretation by people knowledge workers in an organization. Knowledge could be associated to objects that can be identified, separated from their initial context and handled in information system. Information system management is largely under a new label Information Technology (Wilson, 2002).
It is a public secret that no two people can ever have the same perception about an event. What one will deduce from a particular scenario is very different from what others can deduce. This is why even in exams, students respond differently though the same teacher taught them. This is a major communication barrier in the workplace. What the management can convey or try to put across to their employees will be based on their perception and how they understand it. What the employee can deduce from the message might be different from what was intended. This will cause misunderstandings and if a conflict of views were to arise, this could lower the levels of productivity in the workplace. The style and effectiveness of communication will influence the way employees communicate. For example, the extent to which they explain detail, how they interact with others when they talk and so on. All this will determine the level of communication in the workplace and the lower the effectiveness, the lower the productivity in the work place.
Nevertheless, what is important about communication is that the receiver must understand the message that has been sent across by asking certain questions; it may be possible to find out if the receiver has actually understood the message. This makes communication to be a two way process in a sense that it prevents the development of psychologically negative attitude among the personnel in an organization. Therefore, a feedback mechanism must be included into a communication process. There is need to avoid an excessive amount of one way communication. (Uwakwe, 2004). It is important to say that communication has been characterized as the stronghold of any organization. Without communication, organizations do not achieve its desired goals. The purpose of communication in an organization is to effect change to influence action towards the welfare of the enterprise.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Many organizations in Nigeria have been faced with an array of problems that seem to be an impediment to the growth of any organization such as, mismanagement of funds and resources, low level of real income, and poor infrastructural facilities to mention but a few. In the view of Okoye (2004), psychologically transmission goes beyond reception of information but understanding and feedback. According to Chudi Oji (2013). In spite of the roles of effective communication in improving organizational performances, it is a pity that some faculties pay lip service to the maintenance of effective communication systems. Change is a gradual and continuous process, giving room for inputs and adjustments. The new innovations, e-classroom, ICT awareness and appraisal methods are good in itself but the medium and level of communication is problematic. It is in this context that this study examined the effect of communication barriers on the productivity and performance of employees.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) what are the ways by which communication barriers affect the productivity and performance of employees?
ii) what is the relationship between communication barriers and the productivity and performance of employees?
iii) what can be done to ensure better communication among employees in any organisation?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study was to examine the effect of communication barriers on the productivity and performance of employees. The specific objective included:
i) to ascertain the ways by which communication barriers affect the productivity and performance of employees
ii) to identify the relationship between communication barriers and the productivity and performance of employees
iii) to survey what can be done to ensure better communication among employees in any organization.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
i) there is a significant relationship between communication barriers and employees’ productivity
ii) communication techniques enhance staff performance in an organisation
iii) There is a significant correlation between communication gap and administrative procedure in an organization.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study investigated the the effect of communication barriers on the productivity and performance of employees and therefore would benefit managers and board of directors of organizations in the course of improving their knowledge will find this study useful in that they will not want to fall into the same unfortunate situation before implementing the solution proffered by this study. It will add to academic knowledge in the area of management sciences.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covered workers of different organisations both private and public organizations. However, this study went a little further to discuss communication in some details.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The attitudes of some workers in different organizations visited partially affected this project and its quality. The issue of not on seat, come back tomorrow and the likes, contributed to the delay of this project. Also, the issue of finance contributed to the delay of this project too.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Barrier: obstacle that prevents movement or access.
Communication: the imparting or exchanging of information or news.
Employee: a person employed for wages or salary, especially at nonexecutive level.
Performance: the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function.
Productivity: the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input