PRINCIPLES OF HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT

BY – CHINMOY PATIRI

ASSIGNMENT ON “COMMUNICATION”

 Communication

The term COMMUNICATION can be defined as the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.

It is the means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers.

Communication is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and symbolic rules.

COMMUNICATION PROCESS

The communication process consists of several components –

A sender is the party that sends a message.

channel of communication must also be selected, which is the manner in which the message is sent. Channels of communication include speaking, writing, video transmission, audio transmission, electronic transmission through emails, text messages and faxes and even nonverbal communication, such as body language. Lindsey also needs to know the target of her communication. This party is called the receiver.

The receiver must be able to decode the message, which means mentally processing the message into understanding. If you can’t decode, the message fails. For example, sending a message in a foreign language that is not understood by the receiver probably will result in decoding failure.

Sometimes, a receiver will give the sender feedback, which is a message sent by the receiver back to the sender. For example, a member of Lindsey’s team may provide feedback in the form of a question to clarify some information received in Lindsey’s message.

Let’s put all these components together to build a model of the communication process:

  1. A sender encodes information
  2. The sender selects a channel of communication by which to send the message
  1. The receiver receives the message
  2. The reciever decodes the message
  3. The reciever may provide feedback to the sender.

IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION

Effective Communication is significant for managers in the organizations so as to perform the basic functions of management, i.e., Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. Communication helps managers to perform their jobs and responsibilities. Communication serves as a foundation for planning. All the essential information must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans so as to implement them. Organizing also requires effective communication with others about their job task. Similarly leaders as managers must communicate effectively with their subordinates so as to achieve the team goals. Controlling is not possible without written and oral communication. Managers devote a great part of their time in communication. They generally devote approximately 6 hours per day in communicating. They spend great time on face to face or telephonic communication with their superiors, subordinates, colleagues, customers or suppliers. Managers also use Written Communication in form of letters, reports or memos wherever oral communication is not feasible

CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION

1. Formal channel of communication:

A formal channel of communication is the means of communication normally controlled by people in positions of authority in an organisation. Hence, it has also been referred to as an organization’s ‘main line of operational communication

Advantages:

(i) Effective:

Formal channels are considered the more effective of channels of communication. With organizations constantly growing in size, formal channels help to bridge the gap in the communication process. It is a readily available means to reach through to every corner of an organisation, which would otherwise be difficult.

ii) Prevent bogging:

In formal channels, the rules are well laid. For example, a worker communicates with the supervisor, the supervisor with the manager, and so on. Thus, only necessary information gets filtered and sent to the top. It prevents the top-level management from getting bogged down with the irrelevant nitty-gritty (the practical details) of information and leaves it free for bigger decisions and overall management.

(iii) Better monitoring:

An organisation can design formal channels to suit its specific needs. This can help monitor organizational activities. It can ensure that problems are solved without too much delay.

(iv)   Good atmosphere:

Good formal channels of communication reflect professionalism. They help consolidate the organisation. They also keep the managerial personnel in control.

Disadvantages:

(i) Deter free flow of information:

Formal channels deter a free flow of information. Formality demands that the information flow take a specific route only. This inhibits the natural flow of information.

 (ii) Time-consuming:

Formal channels of communication often lead to delays. The information may not directly reach the person for whom it is meant. It will often have to take a circuitous formal route where the intervening links may be meaningless. As a result, formal channels of communication can become time-consuming.

(iii) Affects decision-making:

Filtering and monitoring of information at lower levels is a double- edged sword. While it has its advantages, it may also prevent vital information from reaching the top management. This may change the perspective while making decisions.

2. Informal Channel of Communication / Grapevine:

The informal channel of communication is often discouraged or looked down upon in an “organization, and is not officially sanctioned. It is popularly referred to as grapevine. This is because it runs in all directions irrespective of the formal structure.

The origin of the term grapevine can be traced to the way the botanical vine grew over telegraph wires, making telegraphic messages go in unintended directions. In business life, grapevine owes its existence to man’s gossipy nature.

Humans tend to speak loosely or lightly with their associates wherever they may be. Time to time they feel the need to get freed from the necessity to stick to logic or truth.

As people go about their work, they have casual conversation with their friends in the office. These conversations deal with both personal and business matters. This results in the generation of a rumour mill, which is a grapevine.

Advantages:

(i) Speed:

Speed is the most remarkable characteristic of this channel of communication. It is possible to transmit information remarkably fast since there are no formal barriers and no stopping. A rumour, thus, may spread like a wildfire.

(ii) Feedback:

The feedback through this channel is much faster than a formal channel of communication. The channel is like the pulse of an organisation. The reaction to the decisions, policies, directives and directions often reach managers faster through this channel than through the formal one.

(iii) Parallel function:

The informal channel does not have official sanction, but is an inevitable parallel to the formal channel. It works as a supplementary channel of communication in an organisation. Good managers have been known to use the informal channel to their benefit for transmitting information otherwise unfit for formal channels.

(iv)  Support system:

A grapevine is an informal support system developed by employees within an organisation. It brings them closer and gives them immense satisfaction.

Disadvantages:

(i) Less credible:

A grapevine is less credible than a formal channel of communication. It cannot be taken seriously as it involves only the word of mouth. It is, therefore, likely to be contradicted.

(ii) Selective information:

Informal channels usually fail to carry the complete information. As a result, the receiver does not get the essence of the whole message. Mischief mongers or vested interests may use the channel for transmitting selective information.

(iii) Creates trouble:

A grapevine can foster trouble within an organisation as there is no control over the information sent, received, its portrayal and perceptions. Information gets distorted. A grapevine can be synonymous with the spreading of false or wild stories.

(iv) Leakage:

Information may get leaked at the wrong time. The term ‘open secret’ in an organisation can often is attributed to such leaks.

BARRIERS OF COMMUNICATION

(1) Semantic Barriers

There is always a possibility of misunderstanding the feelings of the sender of the message or getting a wrong meaning of it. The words, signs, and figures used in the communication are explained by the receiver in the light of his experience which creates doubtful situations. This happens because the information is not sent in simple language.

The chief language-related barriers are as under:

(i) Badly Expressed Message:

Because of the obscurity of language there is always a possibility of wrong interpretation of the messages. This barrier is created because of the wrong choice of words, in civil words, the wrong sequence of sentences and frequent repetitions. This may be called linguistic chaos.

(ii) Symbols or Words with Different Meanings:

A symbol or a word can have different meanings. If the receiver misunderstands the communication, it becomes meaningless. For example, the word ‘value’ can have different meanings in the following sentences:

(a) What is the value of computer education these days?

(b) What is the value of this mobile set?

iii) Faulty Translation:

A manager receives much information from his superiors and subordinates and he translates it for all the employees according to their level of understanding. Hence, the information has to be moulded according to the understanding or environment of the receiver. If there is a little carelessness in this process, the faulty translation can be a barrier in the communication.

(iv) Unclarified Assumptions:

It has been observed that sometimes a sender takes it for granted that the receiver knows some basic things and, therefore, it is enough to tell him about the major subject matter. This point of view of the sender is correct to some extent with reference to the daily communication, but it is absolutely wrong in case of some special message,

v) Technical Jargon:

Generally, it has been seen that the people working in an enterprise are connected with some special technical group who have their separate technical language.

Their communication is not so simple as to be understood by everybody. Hence, technical language can be a barrier in communication. This technical group includes industrial engineers, production development manager, quality controller, etc.

(vi) Body Language and Gesture Decoding:

When the communication is passed on with the help of body language and gestures, its misunderstanding hinders the proper understanding of the message. For example, moving one’s neck to reply to a question does not indicate properly whether the meaning is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

(2) Psychological or Emotional Barriers

The importance of communication depends on the mental condition of both the parties. A mentally disturbed party can be a hindrance in communication. Following are the emotional barriers in the way of communication:

(i) Premature Evaluation:

Sometimes the receiver of information tries to dig out meaning without much thinking at the time of receiving or even before receiving information, which can be wrong. This type of evaluation is a hindrance in the exchange of information and the enthusiasm of the sender gets dampened.

(ii) Lack of Attention:

When the receiver is preoccupied with some important work he/she does not listen to the message attentively. For example, an employee is talking to his boss when the latter is busy in some important conversation. In such a situation the boss may not pay any attention to what subordinate is saying. Thus, there arises psychological hurdle in the communication.

(iii) Loss by Transmission and Poor Retention:

When a message is received by a person after it has passed through many people, generally it loses some of its truth. This is called loss by transmission. This happens normally in case of oral communication. Poor retention of information means that with every next transfer of information the actual form or truth of the information changes.

(iv) Distrust:

For successful communication the transmitter and the receiver must trust each other. If there is a lack of trust between them, the receiver will always derive an opposite meaning from the message. Because of this, communication will become meaningless.

(3) Organisational Barriers

Organisational structure greatly affects the capability of the employees as far as the communication is concerned. Some major organisational hindrances in the way of communication are the following:

(i) Organisational Policies:

Organisational policies determine the relationship among all the persons working in the enterprise. For example, it can be the policy of the organisation that communication will be in the written form. In such a situation anything that could be conveyed in a few words shall have to be communicated in the written form. Consequently, work gets delayed.

(ii) Rules and Regulations:

Organisational rules become barriers in communication by determining the subject-matter, medium, etc. of communication. Troubled by the definite rules, the senders do not send some of the messages.

(iii) Status:

Under organising all the employees are divided into many categories on the basis of their level. This formal division acts as a barrier in communication especially when the communication moves from the bottom to the top.

For example, when a lower-level employee has to send his message to a superior at the top level there is a lurking fear in his mind that the communication may be faulty, and because of this fear, he cannot convey himself clearly and in time. It delays the decision making.

(iv) Complexity in Organisational Structure:

The greater number of managerial levels in an organisation makes it more complex. It results in delay in communication and information gets changed before it reaches the receiver. In other words, negative things or criticism are concealed. Thus, the more the number of managerial levels in the organisation, the more ineffective the

(v) Organisational Facilities:

Organisational facilities mean making available sufficient stationery, telephone, translator, etc. When these facilities are sufficient in an organisation, the communication will be timely, clear and in accordance with necessity. In the absence of these facilities communication becomes meaningless.

(4) Personal Barriers

The above-mentioned organisational barriers are important in themselves but there are some barriers which are directly connected with the sender and the receiver. They are called personal barriers. From the point of view of convenience, they have been divided into two parts:

(i) Fear of Challenge of Authority:

Everybody desires to occupy a high office in the organisation. In this hope the officers try to conceal their weaknesses by not communicating their ideas. There is a fear in their mind that in case the reality comes to light they may have to move to the lower level,

(ii) Lack of Confidence in Subordinates:

Top-level superiors think that the lower- level employees are less capable and, therefore, they ignore the information or suggestions sent by them. They deliberately ignore the communication from their subordinates in order to increase their own importance. Consequently, the self-confidence of the employees is lowered.

(b) Barriers Related to Subordinates: Subordinates-related barriers are the following:

 (i) Unwillingness to Communicate:

Sometimes the subordinates do not want to send any information to their superiors. When the subordinates feel that the information is of negative nature and will adversely affect them, an effort is made to conceal that information.

If it becomes imperative to send this information, it is sent in a modified or amended form. Thus, the subordinates, by not clarifying the facts, become a hindrance in communication,

(ii) Lack of Proper Incentive:

Lack of incentive to the subordinates creates a hindrance in communication. The lack of incentive to the subordinates is because of the fact that their suggestions or ideas are not given any importance. If the superiors ignore the subordinates, they become indifferent towards any exchange of ideas in future.

COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT

Communications management is the systematic planning, implementing, monitoring, and revision of all the channels of communication within an organization, and between organizations; it also includes the organization and dissemination of new communication directives connected with an organization, network, or communications technology. Aspects of communications management include developing corporate communication strategies, designing internal and external communications directives, and managing the flow of information, including online communication.

ROLE OF COMMUNICATION IN MANAGERIAL EFFECTIVENESS

Better Employee Relations
The best managers understand the need for building alliances, and communicating throughout all levels of the organization. Effective communications skills are a must for breaking down barriers, which promotes the collaborative atmosphere that an organization needs to thrive, according to “Forbes” magazine. A typical employee’s engagement and interest in work varies from day to day. Astute managers accept this reality, but can tailor their own communication style to motivate an employee to achieve the desired result.
Gains in Productivity
Whether they realize it or not, managers are the linchpin of a company’s productivity efforts. Managers must clearly articulate strategies and plans, so that an employee team knows what to do, and how the company envisions them being carried out, as the ere.net website states. At the same time, each team member should understand his role, and why his particular task is so important. If the manager can’t make that case, employees grow complacent and less interested in their work.

Impact of Globalization
Cross-cultural and linguistic work teams are increasingly common features in today’s globalized workplace. For example, Asea-Brown-Boveri’s 125 employees may carry 25 passports, and hold citizenship in multiple countries, the “Graziadio Business Review” notes. Managers must devise new communications strategies to interact with an increasingly multicultural, multinational workforce. Employees also may identify with several different national groups, not just one, which managers must consider when trying to communicate a company’s goals and objectives.

Multigenerational Relations
Conflicts are likely, if not inevitable, when employees from different generations find themselves working together. Good communications skills are a must for managers wanting to succeed in this environment. For example, the competitive drive of Baby Boomer employees born between 1946 and 1964 may not sit well with Generation X and Y peers, born in 1965 or later, who desire a less intense work life. Managers must avoid blanket stereotypes when trying to encourage the various groups to interact with each productively.

Problem Solving Skills
Effective communication and problem solving skills go hand in hand. Employees who struggle on the job naturally look to managers for guidance to solve their problems, executive consultant Joelle K. Jay notes, in an article posted on her website. A manager who lacks discretion, however, is unlikely to gain the trust he needs to address co-worker conflicts, declining performance or substance abuse issues. Failure to address these situations, in turn, jeopardizes the organization’s productivity and ability to carry out its mission.