Introduction to barriers to communication

Essay by tmandiriza September 2004

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Barriers to Communication

Organisational communication relates to the way organisations adapt themselves to changing environments, externally and internally. The focus is on interaction with stakeholders and within the organisation and with co-workers. In these interactions different perceptions (in meanings and interests) must be dealt with to create common ground. Barriers to communication refers to any kind or form of communication impediment within an organization such as noise, bureaucracy and semantic differences.

The organisation that I used to work for is SIRDC and it is primarily involved in scientific research and innovation. It is located around 15kilometres away from town in the Hatcliffe Extension area. The barriers to communication in the organisation include the following:

Semantic barriers

Did you hear what I meant for you to hear? This has been a frequent statement in the boardrooms! With today's increasingly diverse workforce, it is easy to believe you have conveyed information to someone, but you are not aware that they interpreted you differently than you intended.

Unfortunately, you won't be aware of this problem until a major problem or issue arises out of the confusion. This usually arises due to the interpretation of different words. Due to the diverse educational and cultural backgrounds in my organisation, semantics acts as a hindrance to effective communication as people would argue that we agreed to pursue another option in the last meeting when it was not the case. This is usually prevalent when the business people in the organisation are discussing issues with the scientists on the viability of their innovations. The organisation has chemists, engineers, marketing personnel, financial analysts, nutritionists, electricians, biotechnologists among many others.


When organizations are just getting started, their leaders can often prize themselves on not being burdened with what seems as bureaucratic overhead, that is, as extensive written policies...