Communication forms the central nerve of every organization. It forms one of the key determinants of organizational success. However, it is sad to note that most organizations are encompassed by the problem of poor communication cultures. The undeniable fact is that most literatures on organizational culture and management focus on communication as a major theme in successful organizations. As one anonymous once put it, “to effectively communicate, we must realize that we are different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” The biggest communication challenge we have as a company is that our communication does not reflect the diverse nature of our workforce.
Times and again, I have examined our communication culture with respect to the rich and diverse nature of our company, and the verdict has been the same. Our problems in communication are compounded by our own omissions. Whereas we have the full knowledge of the positive contributions of diversity management in organizations, the culture of cooperation, tolerance, and understanding among the different cultures is at its lowest levels. This is more so because we fail to recognize the commitment and contributions of our brothers and sisters who have difficulties in expressing themselves.
I also want to express my concern about our inabilities to stay in tandem with the forces of globalization and technology in communication. Despite the full knowledge of the role globalization and technology have played in opening up the possibilities for information sharing, our culture of communication still lag behind in the adoption of these tools. Technology has also formed the most critical ingredient because it has enabled efficient communication, erased the technical problem of the language barrier, and united different departments and units of organizations in achieving set objectives.
In fact, efficient communication systems through the internet, mobile phones and communication satellites, and multiculturalism have revolutionized information sharing in organizations. However, the lack of information for the proper accomplishment of the tasks necessary within the business still encompasses our communication models and stands in the way of effective communication.
To my fellow employees who have stood by this company in times of greatness and difficulties, allow me to share with you the fact that one area in which we falter in our communication culture is the inability to resolve misunderstandings promptly. Carroll (14) argues, “communication problems in business typically stem from misunderstandings.” The manner and approach we adopt in resolving these misunderstandings is a pointer to our abilities to ensure effective communication. However, as you are well aware, the company lacks established structures in resolving disputes.
It is sad to point out that our problems in communication go far beyond the internal structures of the company and affect the manner in which we relate with our clients. When a client calls, the first tone in your voice demonstrates the excitement about the opportunity to serve and find a solution to his or her problem. Furthermore, they expect to find someone who is polite, responsive, friendly, and positive. This becomes a big problem when our service line employees have a poor tone of voice when addressing clients.
I have taken my time and examined the level of attention we give to our fellow employees and customers, and the result is wanting. The inability to listen will definitely lead to missing some key information in a message. One biggest challenge that we also have to deal with is the issue of ethnocentrism. Defined as a universal syndrome of attitude and behavior that entails the tendency to view the world from the perspective of one’s culture, ethnocentrism has a profound impact on individuals, society, and team dynamics. This is because an entrenched belief in one’s cultural superiority over the others determines the forms of relationship an individual extends towards people of different cultures. This is becoming more poignant when viewed from the understanding that the levels of ethnocentrism within the company are at record high levels.
There is a need to move with speed and change the communication culture of the institution. The underlying cause of rift is that we all have different backgrounds and are reluctant to embrace the different cultural settings under which we operate. This is the underlying theme of diversity (Jackson, 23). This is more complex when one group forms the majority. “Prejudice is a preconceived judgment about an individual or group of people” (Sonnenschein, 19).
The feeling of isolation among minority arises from the perceived idea they are dominated by the majority. Appreciation of diversity forms the path to the realization of an inclusive culture of communication. The ability to effectively manage diversity within an organization is an indicator of organizational capacity to institute an effective communication culture. The underlying fact is that all approaches adopted in instituting an effective communication culture must be inclusive. We must take keen cognizance of the need to involve everyone in understanding that change is a necessary process that determines the organization’s capacity to adapt to the emerging demands of the market.
Carroll, Nannette. The communication problem solver: simple tools and techniques for busy managers. LA: AMACOM Div American MgmtAssn, 2009.
Jackson, Susan.Diversity in the Workplace: Human Resources Initiatives. New York: Guilford Press. 1993.
Sonneschein, William. The diversity toolkit: how you can build and benefit from a diverse workforce. NY: McGraw-Hill Professional, 1999.