Three Barriers to Organisational Communication

Things that interfere with the communication process in an organisation can arise from several different sources such as interpersonal, cultural and organisational sources.

Organisational Barriers
Just as interpersonal and social barriers can limit communication, so can organisational barriers. Organisational barriers can interfere with communication between individuals or groups within the same company, between individuals or groups from two different organisations, or between entire organisations. The basis of these barriers lies within the hierarchical structure of organisations. All organisations of any complexity and size have specialised functions, role and more than one level of authority and managers. This specialisation creates a situation that is ripe for communication difficulties.

Interpersonal Barriers
Obstacles to interpersonal communication usually occur with the sender or the receiver. The burden is simultaneously on both the communication party i.e., sender and the receiver, who are responsible for ensuring accurate communication. However, it is the sender’s obligation to choose the language and words properly in order to encode the message with the greatest possible precision.

Cultural Barriers
Communication and culture are tightly interlinked. Culture does not exist without communication, and human communication occurs only within a cultural context. The act of communicating with others is closely associated with the surrounding environment, so culture can ease or hinder communication network. It is obvious that similarity in culture between senders and receivers facilitates successful communication because the intended meaning of a message has a higher probability of getting transferred to the receiver if both of them share the same culture. The greater the cultural differences between sender and receiver, the greater the difficulty in communicating you should expect.

Vague directives and instructions are seen as a sign of poor communication skills. However, the burden of effective communication is on the speaker. In contrast, in cultures such as those in Arabic countries and in Latin America, the assumption is that both the speaker and the listener share the burden for communicating effectively.

In countries, where the speaker and listener both share communication responsibilities, the chances of direct confrontations, unpleasant encounters and disagreements tend to decrease. Ethnocentrism is the greatest single cultural barrier that can affect communication across different departmental, regional, or national cultures. Members of the in-group tend to be trusted and have information shared with them while members of out-groups are viewed with skepticism and are not given full information.