Communication is the process of information exchange between two and more than two individuals or organizations (Bowditch and Buono, 1997, cited by Anotony and Macvicar, 2011: 106). In general, communication process could be divided into two forms, verbal and non-verbal (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2010). Verbal communication includes oral and written, non-verbal communication includes body language and eye contact (ibid. ). Because of the development of technologies, especially the progress of internet, communication approaches becomes more diverse and effective (Shrivastava, 2012).
In organizations, effective communication strategies could improve their both internal and external managing process (ibid). Thus, most of organizations are keep developing their communication strategies for improving their competitiveness in the market. However, communication process always launch with several noise, which considered as communication barriers, and these problem could occur in every phase of transmission stages (Buchanan and Huczynski, 2010).
There are various kinds of barriers defined by scholars, for instance, Shrivastava (2012) labeled barriers into physical, emotional, perceptual, culture, gender and others. These barriers contribute to the lack of efficiency and uncertainty in the process of communication (ibid. ). Due to communication is the fundamental issue in the stage of the management in an organization, most of organizations are looking for an appropriate strategy for improving the efficiency and reliability of communication (Goh et al, 2005).
Consequently, this essay will try to figure out three organizations’ challenge of communication, these three samples will be Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ferrari and Saint John’s international school, meanwhile, their solutions for overcoming communication barriers will be evaluated in the essay. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Enterprise Rent-A-Car is one of the biggest car rental company which has over 370 locations throughout the UK. As a multinational company, Enterprise’s business covers seven countries with 8,200 rental office for offering daily and weekend car rental for individual and business (The Times 100, 2013).
To guarantee that a variety of internal and external stakeholders are able to receive messages effectively, Enterprise has used different communication strategies. However, the challenge for Enterprise is that they cannot ensure that the methods and channel they used are the most appropriate for each audience (ibid). To be specific, this phenomenon is considered as medium barrier in the communication process. To solve this problem, Crothers (2007) claims that each particular communication could be effective by an appropriate medium.
Enterprise communication strategies launched with the internal and external stakeholders, which aims to deliver the values and culture of the company according to such induction events, website, meeting and poster (The Times 100, 2013). Mostly, the communication approaches which are used by Enterprise are verbal communication. According to Waldstrom et al (2011, cited in Antony and MacVicar, 2011:112), verbal communication is able to express information much clearer than that of non-verbal communication. However, verbal communication might lead several misunderstanding of the massage.
The communicator and receivers are not in the same position, even receivers can understood the words, they might cannot understand the meaning and attitudes of the communicators who are not familiar with them (Wright and Whalley, 1979). Meanwhile, Sonnenberg (1990) states that verbal communication cannot be effective without developed listening skills. Thus, if receivers’ listening skills such as ability of emphasis and evaluate the information and be able to chose the important information can be improved, such misunderstanding and incertainty can be avoided (ibid. ).
On the other hand, An appropriate channel for feedback could be crucial for internal communication, communicators can collect feedbacks to analyse receivers needs and give them explanation of confusing questions. (Wright and Whalley, 1979). Thus, Enterprise builded a internet based system which is called “The Hub” to ensure that employees exchange their opinion directly (The Times 100, 2013). For the external communication, Enterprise’s service is divided into business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) approaches (The Times 100, 2013).
Enterprise used various channels includes TV advertising, -mail and company newsletter to deliver the information, which ensured that they can cover all of the customers (ibid. ). Goh et al. (2005) shows that multiple communication channels not only deliver rich information effectively, but also be able to catch specific receivers’ needs. Therefore, Enterprise created multiple communication approaches to ensure the information could be deliver effectively and cover both internal and external stakeholders. Ferrari Ferrari is an excellent values company which has high reputation in the sport car industry and performance quite well in car racing events (Patrono, 2012).
Meanwhile, Ferrari is the only car manufacture which has entire production line, that allows Ferrari to design every part of car just for its production (Invernizzi and Romenti, 2012). Before Luca di Montezemolo became Ferrari’s CEO, Ferrari faced an internal feedback communication barrier which is that employees cannot communicate well with senior executives, since the internal communication approaches were closed, it contributes that even Ferrari had a very good performance in racing events, but did not performance well in general market (ibid. ). Goh et al. 2005) states that a closed internal communication environment might leads the reducing of stakeholders sense of participation, commitment and passion. Similarly, Wright and Whalley (1979) claims that if employees feel under pressure, they cannot present their information clearly, and also, they might be not willing to exchange their creative advice of work. The closed communication channel not only contributes the barrier between employees and employers, but also leads an ineffective communication process between different sectors of Ferrari (Invernizzi and Romenti, 2012).
In order to solve the invalid communication process, Greenbaum (1980) point that a crucial element in internal communication process in organization is that senior executives should be more initiative to receive stakeholders idea. Thus, Ferrari’s CEO Luca di Montezemolo create a new communication system which is called ‘Formula Uomo’ (Patrono, 2012). For the internal communication, Formula Uomo creates a permanent listening instruments, such s the ‘open door’ office, which requires leading managers have to listen and pay more attention to the needs of employees to improve employees’ participation, commitment and performance (Invernizzi and Romenti, 2012). It not only provide a easier way for sender to communicate with the receiver, but also shared the whole information includes every aspects of this company, that allows participant to give their opinion of each processes (ibid). This open communication strategy is able to encourage employees join the whole operation of organization (Greenbaum, 1980).
Therefore, eventually, Ferrari figure out an effective communication system in order to increase employees’ senses of belonging. Compare with the case of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, if Ferrari build an accessible intranet for internal communication, their efficiency of communication might be able to improve further. Saint John’s international school Saint John’s international school is using British curriculum to teach Thai children in Thailand, all the teacher in the campus are from Britain. It faced a culture barrier between teachers and pupils (Monthienvichienchai, et al. 2002). In this case, the major problem is that due to the culture difference, students cannot understand what teachers want to communicate and the meanings they want to convey (ibid. ).
According to Hofstede (2001), in a cross-culture organization, the main barriers of communication is the different awareness of working style and the cognition of the goal. In the Saint John’s case, Thai students are more likely to learn how to do rather than how to learn and they feel more comfortable in a structured leaning situations (Monthienvichienchai, et al. 2002). For the major goal of learning, the major gap between British education purpose and that of Thai, Thai people consider that diplomas are more essential in building personal self respect (ibid). This might cause British teachers and Thai cannot working in the same way for a same purpose. In order to solve this problem, Wiseman, cited in Monthienvichienchai, et al. (2002) claims that three essential elements of improving the efficiency of communication are knowledge, motivation and skill or action.
Thus, Saint John’s international school not only provides the basic curriculum for pupils, but also creates face-to-face communication opportunities for students to communicate with teachers, which aims to improve pupils’ knowledge of the purpose and the teaching style of British education (Monthienvichienchai, et al. , 2002). English (2001) states that in an interculture organization, informal communication might reduce receivers’ tension and increase the comprehension of different culture.
Therefore, students in Saint John’s school are able to understand the British culture through the well-designed informal activities (Monthienvichienchai, et al. , 2002). In summary, Saint John’s international school overcomes several culture gap between Thai pupils and British teachers, however, due to the different education from home and school, this barrier cannot be completely solved. Compare with Ferrari case, Saint John’s international school might also need a better communication environment, such as ‘open door’ office and teacher might need to be more initiative.
In conclusion, this essay has analyzed the three different organizations’ (Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ferrari, Saint John’s international school) communication process, and discussed the communication barriers of them separately. Furthermore, the solutions which in order to remove these barriers also have been evaluated in the essay. According to these cases, to improve the internal and external communication efficiency, an appropriate channel, a harmonious communication environment and suitable methods could be beneficial.
Additionally, communication strategies are flexible, they could be change and improved in an appropriate time and situation. Thus, it is important that organizations need to be more sensitive for the changing communication barriers. However, this essay targets are narrow, there are also a considerable number of different types of communication barriers such as gender and language barriers are existing in some organizations, which are leading to the inefficiency and uncertainty in the process of communication.