Theories of communication and it’s Relevance To Organizations
In this article we intend to explore some theories of communication and show their relevance to business communication. Note however, that these are not the only communication theories relevant to business.
Organisational Information Theory
information theory deals with how organisations access and manage information to achieve their goals. Because information controls organisational processes, workers need to communicate and manage information in such a way to ensure that organisations arrive at their goal destination.
According to West and Turner (2007) there are three major areas of interest. First, organisations operate within an information environment. This environment has to do with countless messages being sent and received by the organisation.
Workers need to be sensitive to their Information environment in order to have appropriate information to work with. They should not only articulate messages well, but also Interpret and deploy information based on the need of the organisation.
Second, it implies that messages are subject to multiple interpretation rising not only from poor articulation of messages but also from the different backgrounds of the workers involved.
Finally, organisations process information in order to reduce uncertainty. They reduce uncertainty by engaging in action, and assigning of specific meaning to messages and this is called enactment. They should also select a standard means of collecting information and then they should retain information to check mistakes and duplications.
Theory of fixed structures
Max Weber propounded bureaucratic structure of organisations where every individual occupies a defined role and responsibility. The thrust of his argument is organisations hierarchy determines the flow of communication.
Contingency theory of organisational communication revolves around the influence of internal and external environment on communication processes of an organisation.
The central argument is that effective and efficient communication in an organisational setting depends largely on leadership, the nature, type of organisation, and composition of workforce. The communication attitude of the workers may be influenced by gender, ethnicity, age, life experience, education, etc. The extent to which the leader allows the employees to contribute ideas will also affect the communication.
The organisational communication contingency theory is an extension of contingency theory of leadership which insists that the success or failure of a leader is determined by the quality of subordinates, nature of tasks,. situations, economy, etc.
Groupthink theory was propounded by Irving. The major argument of the theory is that a cohesive group makes wrong and illogical decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgement.
Such a group usually overlooks alternative views. Some of the factors that promote groupthink concept include autocratic leadership, lack of well defined rules and regulations, similarity in background of workforce, enclosed organisational setting, etc.
This theory discourages groupthink in decision making because the group confines itself to limited options and individual members are restricted from analysis of alternative points of view.
Social Exchange Theory
social exchange theory was propounded by John thibault and Harold Icelley in 1952. Social exchange theory predicts that people evaluate a relationship based on what they stake into it and what they receive. This means that relationships thrive only if it is a give and take affair. This is based on the fact that people always expect rewards for work or task performed. Also, in every interaction, workers try to maximise profit but minimize cost.
This theory is crucial to business communication. Apart from the fact that communication is the exchange of ideas, actions etc, business communication involves exchange: giving of ideas or performing certain tasks for a reward. For instance, the boss may offer the subordinate useful ideas in exchange of loyality. Employee offer services in exchange of salaries or wages.
It is also observed that when the exchange of information or object becomes monotonous or too regular, people tend to devalue it which may lead to absence of reward. This is why employees with creative and innovative ideas are valued above staff who dwell on routine tasks and services.