Importance of communication (purposes)

Business studies study module
  1. To give and obtain information

For an organization to run smoothly there should be proper flow of information within the business and also between the firm and outsiders e.g. the manager may inform members of staff about a planned meeting. Similarly the business may receive a letter of inquiry from a customer

2.To clarify issues and points

Through proper communication the organization is able to clarify confusing issues from within and without the firm for example in cases where there are many managers. It would be necessary to clarify the responsibilities of each manager.

4.To enhance public relations

Good/efficient communication enables the business to create a more positive image and a favorable reputation of itself to outsiders and overcome prejudices and negative attitudes that people may have against the business.

5.To start and influence Action

Proper communication enables the business to get new ideas make plans and ensure that they are implemented in the desired way.

6.Improving customer service; Good communication helps in reducing errors providing customers with desired feedback and assisting in handling inquiries more efficiently

7.Giving instructions; Through proper communication management is able to get work done by issuing instructions (procedures and orders)e.g. a supplier may be instructed when and where to deliver the goods ordered.

8.To give Reassurance; Information is needed to reassure people that their performance is good e.g. an employee may feel better is he/she is served with a “will done”memo or a “customer of the year” award.

9.Confirming arrangements; Through communication arrangements are confirmed for example confirmation of meetings conferences or details of transactions

10.Co-ordinating departments of the firm; Charges in one department are communicated to other departments that have a direct bearing to those changes e.g. when sales increase the sales department informs the production department so as to increase production proportionality

11.Modifying behavior of persons within or outside the organization; Through effective communication persons are trained and counseled and as a result their behavior knowledge and attitudes change

Communication process

Communication is a process that involves interchange of information and ideas between two or more people. Communication therefore is a circular process i.e communication may lead to some reaction which in turn may generate further communications or feedback. This flow can be illustrated as below:

  1. Sender –this is the person who writes, speaks or sends signs (symbols or signals) and is the source of the information.
  2. Receiver – this is the person to whom the information or the message is sent.
  • Message – this is the information that is transmitted from the sender to the receiver. It may be spoken, written or in the form of symbols.
  1. Feed back – this is the response to the sender’s message. A message is said to have been understood if the receiver provides the desired feedback.

Lines of communication

Communication can be classified according to either the levels of the communicating parties or according to the nature of the message.

According to levels-This can either be:

I) Vertical

ii) Horizontal

iii) Diagonal

Vertical communication

This is where messages are passed between a senior and her/his juniors in the same organizations

Vertical communication can be divided into two parts

-Downward communication

-Upward communication

-Downward communication-

This is a communication process which starts from the top manager to her/his juniors. This can be informed of:

  • Training juniors
  • Evaluating performance
  • Delegating duties
  • Solving the problems facing workers
  • Inspiring and motivating the juniors(giving rewards)

-Upward communication-This is a communication process that starts from the juniors to the seniors and maybe in the form of:

  • Submitting reports
  • Giving suggestion
  • Submitting complaints a grievances
  • Making inquiries

ii) Horizontal communication (lateral communication)

This is communication between people of the same level (rank) in the same organization e.g. departmental heads in an organization may communicate to achieve the following:

  • Co-ordination and harmonization of different activities.
  • To create teamwork within the department.
  • To exchange ideas in order to develop human resources.
  • To reduce goal blindness among different departments.
  • To create a sense of belonging among department heads thus acting as a motivating factor.

One of the major characteristics of this type of communication is that there are less inhibitions. The people involved are more open and free with each other than in the case of people with different ranks.

iii) Diagonal communication

This is communication between people of different levels in different departments or different organizations e.g. an accounts clerk may communicate with a sales manager of the same organization or of different organizations. Diagonal communication enhances team work.

  1. b) According to nature of message

This can either be;

  1. i) Formal communication
  2. ii) Informal communication

Formal communication

This is the passing of messages or information using the approved and recognized way in an organization such as official meetings, memos and letters. This means that messages are passed to the right people following the right channels and in the right form.

Formal communication is also known as official communication as it is the passing of information meant for office purposes.

Formal systems of communication are consciously and deliberately established.

Informal communication

This is communication without following either the right channels or in the right form i.e. takes place when information is passed unofficially. It is usually used when passing information between friends and relatives hence it lacks the formality.

Informal communication may also take the form of gossips and rumor-mongering.

Informal communication usually suppliments formal communication as is based on social relations within the organization.

Note: Both formal and informal communication is necessary for effective communication in an organization.

Essentials of Effective communication

For communication to be effective it must be originated produced transmitted received understood and acted upon. The following are the main essentials to effective communications.

i) The sender/communicator

This is the person from whom the message originates. He/she encodes the message i.e. puts the message in the communicative form.

ii) Message

This is the information to be sent. It is the subject matter of communication and may contain words, symbols, pictures or some other forms which will make the receiver understand the message

iii) Encoding; This is the process of expressing ones ideas in form of words, symbols, gestures and signs to convey a message

iv)Medium/channel;  This refers to the means used in communicating. This could be in the form of letters, telephones and emails among others.

v)The receiver; This is the person for whom the message is intended. The receiver decodes the message for proper understanding.

vi)Decoding; This is the process of interpreting or translating the encoded message to derive the meaning from the message

vii) Feed-back; This refers to the reaction of the receiver of the message. This maybe a reply /response which the receiver sends back to the sender.

The above can be represented in a diagram as shown below;


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