MAZIWA DAIRIES LTD
Maziwa Dairies Ltd. processes and distributes milk and milk products. Ngure, the proprietor of the business inherited the business from his father. He is conversant with details of buying, advertising and depot management.
Each one of his depot managers and branch staff meet once every two weeks to review progress on operations. Ngure visits each depot every 2 to 3 days each week to work and supervise the branch managers.
Ngure is worried about communication and the level of motivation among the employees of the enterprise. He feels that at the fortnightly meetings he had held, all his mangers and staff listened carefully, but judging from their actions, he has begun to wonder whether they had understood what he said. Ngure has noted that many o his policies were not being strictly followed,. For instance, in the stores, he often had to re-write advertising messages, while in some of the depots, the employees were talking of joining a workers union.
Managers and employees were quoted as saying that they did not know the intentions of their employer. They believed that they could do better if they had an opportunity to communicate with Mr. Ngure and his assistants at the head office.
On his part, Ngure feels that many of his managers in the head office and in the depots as well as most of the employees are merely doing their job. They are not showing any real imagination or drive. He is also concerned that some of his best employees had quit and taken positions with a competitor. Mr. Ngure has approached a management consultant to advise him on the best way to motivate his staff and communicate better.
a) Identify and briefly explain the communication problems afflicting Maziwa Dairies Ltd. and suggest ways of solving the problems.
b) What incentives would Ngure offer his staff in order to motivate them?
(a) Barriers to Communication
From the narrations in the passage, it can be deduced that Maziwa Dairies Ltd is afflicted the communication problems detailed below:
(i) Lack of planning to communicate – good communication is not be chance. Clear thinking must precede talking or writing. Often people talk or write without clear thinking and without a clear purpose for their work.
(ii) Unclarified assumptions – most messages have an underlying assumption. For a message to be clearly understood both the sender and the receiver must understand the underlying assumption.
(iii) Semantic distortion (language) where words are not clearly understood because they are ambiguous. Besides some words have several meanings and when used in a message they may mean different things to different people.
(iv) Poor expression (language) – caused poorly chosen words, omissions, lack of coherence, awkward sentence structure and unfamiliar jargon.
(v) Loss of transmission – as the message is passed around people insert their own words or they paraphrase the message and this distorts the original message.
(vi) Poor retention – few people retain things for a long period. People forget too fast.
(vii) Poor listening – human minds keep wandering as a message is being passed people keep pondering their own things. Some use the opportunity to make impressions on others and such people give ideas and comments totally unrelated to the message.
(viii) Hasty (premature) evaluation – people have a common tendency to judge, approve or disapprove what is being said rather than trying to understand the speaker.
(ix) Distrust, threat and fear – in an organization plagued fear and distrust communication is difficult as each message is viewed sceptically.
(x) Insufficient period for adjustment to change – the essence of communication is to effect change. Change usually disrupts the way people have been carrying on their work and usually people need enough time to adjust to change.
(xi) Noise – noise or interruptions from without the communication e.g. giving instructions in a noisy environment, disease, weather etc.
(b) Mr. Ngure could take the following steps to motivate his employees:
(i) Define specific communication objectives prior to actual communication.
(ii) Establish communication mechanisms through which organizational members can interact regularly.
(iii) Facilitate frequent face-to-face interactions between supervisors and employees.
(iv) Encourage employees to express their ideas and concerns in dealing with their jobs.
(v) Solicit information from employees concerning their careers and personal problems.
(vi) Involve employees in formulating their task objectives and responsibilities.
(vii) Provide employees with timely feedback on their job performance.
(viii) Inform employees on any changes in the company’s objectives and policies as soon as possible.
(ix) Periodically evaluate the firm’s communication effectiveness.