Approaches to Organizational Communication

Chapter 2 mainly discusses about four approaches to organizational communication. The first approach is having communication as information transfer. It is an approach in which information flows from one person to another considering the fact that both persons understand the information that is transferred. A good example, when in a meeting, an IT person tries to convey his information in technical language, it is hard for people who are from non-technical background to understand and interpret it. Hence, it is important that the language used should be common. The picture below is a good pictorial representation for communication as information transfer.

According to Steven Axley (1984), “this version of commu­nication assumes the following:

1. Language allows us to transfer thoughts and feelings from one person to another.

2. Speakers and writers insert thoughts and feelings into words.

3. Words contain those thoughts and feelings.

4. Listeners or readers extract those thoughts and feelings from the words.

This approach has become more popular in the early to mid-twentieth century, where people used to communicate via telegraph or wire telephone. It is a one-way communication, so only one person can convey information at a single time and it was clear. Negatively, sometimes one-way communication is not good. For example, when a teacher just gives a lecture to student without stopping or interacting with them. This creates a problem of information transfer because the professor believes that every student understands and follows the things that the professor is saying, but as a student, it is hard to sit in class for 1–2 hours without interacting with the professor. It also creates a problem of information over-loading. So, at one point during a lecture, every student feels like they received so much information that it is hard for them to compile in their mind and process it.

The solution for this approach is the second approach called communication as transactional process. A transaction is a two-way communication, where each person acts as sender and receiver. They encode and decode messages at the same time by interacting with each other. It is a combination of verbal and non-verbal communication. An example depicted in the book shows a group of students who interact non-verbally with the professor by having eye contact with him shows their gesture of attention in a lecture. Contrarily, the other group of students who are not looking at the professor show non-verbal communication from the gestures showing lack of interest. This makes the professor assume that first group is more intelligent and engaged than the second group. However, sending and receiving information is not the only part of the transaction, it is also necessary that the receiver understands the meaning of the message sent by the sender and interprets it properly. After interpretation, the receiver should send the response in such a way that the receiver understands it. It covers one part of transaction process; that is verbal communication and the picture below says the same thing.

Now let’s talk about the non-verbal communication, which is also an important aspect of communication. It includes body posture, facial expression and actions performed by the communicator. One assumes that they can easily tell from the expressions of people about their feelings. According to me, sometimes it is really hard to judge people from their non-verbal communication. Some people are really good at hiding their feelings and they don’t allow it to reflect on their face. It is the negative part of the communication because they don’t convey a clear message and it can have an adverse effect on communication.

As per my view, it is really important to have true non-verbal communication; meaning to express what you feel through your expressions along with verbal communication. It will help the opposite person to respect your feelings and stop the communication if it is not good for you. After talking a lot about non-verbal communication, I want to share a YouTube video link where a body language expert tells us how one can identify the feelings of opposite person through his/her gestures.