Communication plays a vital role in the functioning of any organizations. In actuality, it is essential to maintain regular communication within an organization, which could provide ample opportunities to guarantee that the administration of a team and its employees can efficiently interact.
Nowadays, it is evident that without communication, in which people understand each other and can modify their behavior by the needs of others, is one of the significant conditions of the stable functioning of the company. This situation is essential for the formation of the active organizational culture when all people working at the organization could act as a team where each member knows his/her duties and tasks and perfectly understands strategic goals the entire company targets to achieve.
In contrast, problems in communication threaten to develop tension and conflicts within an organization because people that cannot communicate effectively, who cannot understand each others’ needs, such people cannot talk and work efficiently.
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Potentially, it may be a serious problem of an organization because difficulties in communication between the administration and the personnel, for instance, or between employees can undermine stability within the organization, provoke distrust and hostility of the opposing parties that will prevent the team from a good performance. In this respect, the role of administration of the company is crucial because it should set standards of communication and provide the personnel with practical strategies and tools to establish the standard system of communication.
In such a situation, it is necessary to trace the impact of communication on the organization behavior, which involves not only the relationship between the administration of an organization and employees and just between employees but also the performance of a team.
This study will involve the discussion of the correlation between communication and organization behavior. To put it more precisely, regarding this research it is necessary to analyze the role of communication in the organizational culture and the performance of the organization. To meet this goal, the analysis, the case study of the Enron will be conducted in order to reveal the crucial role problems in communication played in the failure of the company and its serious problems, including the problems in relationships between the administration and the personnel of the company that eventually resulted in the downfall of the company in the market, where the company used to occupy the leading position.
From this study, it will be possible to analyze the impact of communication on organization behavior and reveal significant factors that can produce an adverse effect on the functioning of an organization. As well as develop possible recommendations that can improve the performance of a team and its organizational culture through increasing the effectiveness of communication within the organization consistently. In general, it is essential to find out not only the impact of communication on the behavior of a team, but it is also essential to understand what the ways to improve the organization behavior are and the role of communication in this regard may be very significant.
Frame of reference
In fact, the problem of interdependence of communication and organization behavior was widely discussed in literature and there are a lot of researches dedicated to this problem, in which different specialists elaborate different approaches to communication within the organization and give their recommendations concerning possible improvements along with the analysis of causes and possible consequences of problems in communication within an organization.
First of all, it should be said that the development of relationships within an organization highly depends on the communication style and its effectiveness. Specialists (Faust, 38) point out that each person has its own communication style and it is very important that the particular communication style of each individual did not contradict to the existing organizational culture because, in such a case problems in communication are practically inevitable and may lead to the deterioration of the relationship between people working within an organization that will naturally affect the general performance of the organization (Littlejohn, 247). In such a situation, the administration of an organization plays a very important to role because one of its major tasks is the development of effective models of communication and behavior of personnel of the company and the executives, especially top executives, should show the model of an effective communication and proper behavior. At the same time, it is also very important that leaders of an organization could change their communication style depending on their environment and circumstances that can facilitate communication with different people and make it more effective (Littlejohn, 274). The latter apparently contributes to the better performance of a company in the market.
At the same time, some researches (Madsen and Shafritz, 76) have revealed the fact that communication often involves ethical issues and problems in communication, as a rule, lead to the violation of basic ethical norms and principles that can affect negatively the organization behavior, the attitude of each individual working at the company to his/her duties and, therefore, this can deteriorate the relationships between people within the company. In such a situation, it is obvious that the normal functioning of an organization is practically impossible because psychological state and the ambiance within the organization could be practically unbearable because of the violation of ethical norms resulting from some gaps in communication.
To prove the actual significance and potential danger of the problems in communication it is necessary to refer to researches focused on the analysis of the situation in specific organizations where such problems led to negative outcomes. In this respect, the research of the situation in such a company as the Enron (Swartz, 137) is particularly noteworthy, because it gives important information concerning the real situation in the company, the origin of its major problems and their outcomes.
At the same time, it is also necessary to take into consideration that the possible ways of the solution of problems in communication is also very important for the better understanding of the possibility of positive impact on the organization behavior through communication. In this respect, there are a lot of researches (Littlejohn, 221) that develop recommendations concerning the most effective models of communication that contribute to the positive organization behavior and performance.
Basically, it should be pointed out that practically all researchers agree that the communication can affect significantly the functioning of a company, because it defines the relationship between people working at the company and their behavior. This fact is very important, especially in the contemporary world because human resources are of a paramount importance and it is often vitally important for a company to be able to maintain the normal relationship between people working at the company in order to prevent personnel turnover and minimize the risk of conflicts within the organization.
Some specialists (Littlejohn, 312) point out that the stability of the relationships of the personnel, to a significant extent, defines the effectiveness of the company performance, but without the effective communication this stability cannot be achieved. As a result, specialists (Faust, 44) argue that the use of the wrong style of communication, misunderstanding in communication and just inability of people working within a company to communicate with each other lead to the growing crisis within the company since the gaps in communication result in the growing tension and, therefore, conflicts between people.
At the same time, it should be pointed out that the communication within the organization is a very complicated process and it can be based only on the empirical knowledge or just natural abilities of individuals to effective communication. In this respect, a strong theoretical framework may be needed. In such a situation, it is possible to refer to the Communication theory which may be viewed as a cornerstone of the understanding of the communication process. Basically, this theory may be presented from different viewpoints which interpret the process of communication from different perspectives (Ray, 4). For instance, mechanistic approach to communication implies that the process of communications is just a simple process of the transmission of a message from the sender to the receiver that means that some problems that may appear in the process of transmission lead to the violation of the sense of the original message and creates barriers in communication making this process absolutely ineffective. Also, the communication theory may be viewed from psychological perspective, according to which, the process of communication is viewed as the act of sending a message to the receiver, and the feelings and thoughts of the receiver upon interpreting message. This means that it is necessary to take into consideration the way in which the message will be interpreted by the receiver under the impact of his/her personal emotions and feelings. In addition, it is possible to view the process of communication from social constructionist perspective, according to which, the communication is viewed as the product of the people involved in the process of communication sharing and creating the meaning. In such a context, it is important to understand that communication is not a one-sided process, but, instead it is the process of interaction between the sender and the receiver of the message who construct the meaning of the message together. Also, it is possible to apply systemic approach, which implies that the message in the process of communication may be interpreted and re-interpreted as the message travels through people.
As the current research targets at the revealing the impact of communication on organization behavior and development of effective strategies of communication, it is important to focus on the research of the possible problems that can be provoked by the problems in communication and interdependence between communication and organization behavior. Obviously, in order to meet this goal, it is necessary to analyze the situation in an organization, where problems in communication affected dramatically the relationships between people working within an organization and produced a negative impact on organization behavior and its performance. In this respect, the case study is an effective strategy that can help better understand what actual problems the organization can face in the result of gaps in communication. It is very important to apply this strategy because it will focus on the real problematic situation that can illustrate the dependence between communication and organization behavior. At the same time, the problems that are identified in the case study could contribute to the elaboration of the effective ways of the prevention of problems within the organization in the result of gaps in communication and the ways to make the communication really effective.
Basically, the case study of the Enron may be quite helpful in this regard, because this company was one of the leaders in the national market and its failure was unexpected for the market. At the same time, the downfall of the company has revealed enormous gaps that existed between the administration of the company and employees. To put it more precisely, the case study of this company can reveal the major mistakes that the administration of the company can make and it can also show what actions of the administration are absolutely unacceptable and undesirable in the process of communication because of their negative impact on the organization behavior and organization performance.
Also, it should be said that the research should be based not only on the basis of the case study but it should also include the analysis of the policy of the company and its communication in terms of theoretical framework discussed above. In other words, it is necessary to conduct a qualitative analysis of the situation in the Enron that actually led its bankruptcy and correlate its communication strategy or communication style to basic theoretical concepts related to the communication theory. In fact, it is necessary to collect data concerning the communication style of the administration of the company and analyze the extent to which it was effective. In such a way, it will be possible to find out what were the major problems of the company in its communication and their impact on the company behavior and performance and after the analysis of these problems it will be possible to elaborate effective strategies to prevent problems in communication and make it more effective improving the performance of the company.
First of all, it is necessary to analyze the situation in the Enron company in order to correlate its problems in communication to the current research that will help define the role of communication in the problems of the Enron and identify the major mistakes made by its administration. It should be pointed out that the Enron was actually one of the national and world leaders in the energy industry. Unexpectedly, the company had failed in 2001 and the bankruptcy of this multinational corporation was a great shock for stakeholders, specialists and the market at large. In this respect, it is necessary to analyze the major causes of the bankruptcy of the company and reveal the major problems in communication that existed within the Enron.
In this respect, it should be pointed out that the major cause of the bankruptcy of the company is traditionally defined as the financial frauds for which the administration of the company and its top executives were responsible. However, this is rather the outcome rather than the original cause of the problems within the Enron. In actuality, the main problem of the company, along with the illegal actions of its executives, was the enormous gap in the communication that existed between the executives and the middle-managers and employees. In fact, the administration of the company, its executives simply distanced and separated their own interest and themselves from the rest of the company and employees were viewed just like tools for earning more money but not as members of the team. It is necessary to underline that the problems within the company was very serious and the problems in communication played probably not less significant role in the bankruptcy of the company than its financial problems. For instance, it should be said that the middle-managers of the company repeatedly informed the CEO of the Enron, Kenneth Lay about the situation within Enron and its current problems, namely they warned about the dramatic deterioration of the performance of the company (Swartz, 145). However, Kenneth Lay totally ignored these warnings and concentrated on his personal interests and, what is more, he continued to persuade his partners, other companies, and even the personnel of the Enron that the situation is stable and the performance of the company is practically perfect. In such a way, it is obvious that there existed an enormous and unsurpassable gap between the administration and the rest of the company, because the CEO did not want to take into consideration the information he received from middle-managers. In other words, it is possible to speak about misinterpretation of the message received by the CEO or, to put it more precisely, about the existence of the barrier in communication when the original message was not only re-interpreted but rather totally changed by the receiver of the message and then delivered an absolutely different form to the public. To put it more precisely, the CEO received the warnings from middle-managers, reinterpreted this information in his own way, and then send the absolutely different message, that there are no problems in the Enron and that the company performs perfectly well, to the public, i.e. market, business partners, and the rest of the company, including the personnel, i.e. people who were working in the company and were not conscious of the fact that the company was heading for the bankruptcy. In fact, this information was intentionally hidden from employees by the executives. In such a way, there was not only the unwillingness of the CEO to adequately interpret and react on the message received from middle-managers, but the administration was also unwilling to communicate with its employees concerning the problems of the company. Basically, the strategy of communication of the administration of the company was based on the lie. The executives were just lying to the employees that the situation in the company was stable (Swartz, 172).
Naturally, the employees could not be totally ignorant of the problems of the company where they worked and the striking difference between what they observed and what they were informed about from the part of executives engendered the distrust in relation to the administration of the company. The lack of truthful information also led to the growing tension in relationships between the administration and employees and conflicts within the company became more and more numerous. Eventually, the problems of the Enron resulted in the bankruptcy, but, lacking information about the real situation in the company, employees turned to be absolutely deceived by the executives who created an unsurpassable barrier in the process of communication in the result of which they gained all benefits from the company, while employees were left aside.
In such a way, it is possible to speak about that the communication strategy applied in the Enron contradicted to basic theoretical principles of effective communication. For instance, from the social constructionist point of view the administration and employee did not share the actual information and therefore they could not construct the actual meaning that would reflect the real situation in the company. Instead, they created a false meaning there employees were deceived by the executives that resulted in the gaps in communication and deterioration of the organization behavior because of the growing distrust and tension in relations between employees and the administration.
Conclusions and recommendations
Thus, it is obvious that the problems in communication lead to the deterioration of the organization behavior because communication gaps lead to the tension in relationships between people working within an organization and conflicts caused by distrust and lack of truthful information. In such a situation, it is possible to recommend developing communication style that would meet the needs of the environment. This means the communication style of the administration and employees should be similar and not opposing. At the same time, communication should be fair and based on credible information exchange between the sender and the receiver. Also, it is important to eliminate possible barriers in the communication, such as biased and prejudiced attitude to information received from a particular source that implies that the communication should be open and information should shared freely between all people working within an organization.
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