Communication Revisited

by Jay Hall



High on the diagnostic checklist of corporate health is communication; and the prognosis is less than encouraging. Just what constitutes a problem of communication is not easily agreed upon. Some theorists approach the issue from the vantage point of information bits comprising a message; others speak in terms of organizational roles and positions of centrality or peripherality; still others emphasize the directional flows of corporate data. The result is that more and more people are communicating about communication, while the achievement of clarity, understanding, commitment, and creativity, the goals of communication becomes more and more limited. From a dynamic standpoint, problems of communication in organizations frequently reflect dysfunctions at the level of corporate climate. The feelings people have about where or with whom they work feelings of impotence, distrust, resentment, insecurity, social inconsequence, and all the other very human emotions not only define the climate which prevails but the manner in which communications will be managed. It is only when relationships among members of the organization are unsound and fraught with unarticulated tensions that one hears complaints of communication breakdown. Thus, the quality of relationships in an organization may dictate to a great extent the level of communication effectiveness achieved.

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