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What Is the Role of Communication in Organizational Behavior?

By Jan Fletcher
Updated May 16, 2024
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The role of communication in organizational behavior is a vital one, as miscommunication typically reduces productivity and increases error and waste. Accurate communication transmitted in a supportive manner often results in increased morale and may also lead to a greater sense of camaraderie among staff. Within organizations, having a more open communication policy may provide a safety valve to vent problems before these issues impact productivity. Another role communication plays in organizational behavior includes equipping stakeholders to clearly communicate the organization's mission. Maintaining an accurate record of the organization's activities and encouraging civil and positive engagement with customers and stakeholders are two other important roles played by communication in organizational behavior.

Failure to transmit accurate instructions may negatively impact communication. This may result in an increased error rate, and diminished productivity in the workplace. If a supervisor's instructions are misunderstood, serious consequences may result. These may include injury to employees or offending a highly valued client.

Clear, consistent communication, on the other hand, often encourages more productive workplace behavior and increases morale. The role of this type of communication in organizational behavior results in workers feeling more in control of their environment. Encouraging productive communication between staff and clients has been demonstrated, in many cases, to increase customer satisfaction as well.

Equipping stakeholders to accurately communicate an organization's values and mission is another important aspect of communication in organizational behavior. Sometimes companies take new employees or board members through an orientation session in order to give them a historical and current picture of the organization. This helps ensure that all of those associated with the organization communicate similar messages about its mission and goals.

Instituting an open-door policy for employees may also be a part of facilitating accurate communication about the organization to those outside it. This often supports public relations initiatives, as disgruntled employees or those who have unresolved issues may disseminate hostile reports, thus causing a public relations problem for the organization. From a proactive standpoint, equipping stakeholders with accurate information about the organization often facilities positive public relations.

Maintaining an accurate record of corporate events is generally deemed critically important. In almost every case, there are laws in place that require organizations to adhere to various reporting requirements. Transmitting inaccurate information may incur criminal penalties as well. For example, if the organization is a corporation, certain internal communications, such as minutes of corporate meetings, are required to be kept for a certain period of time.

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Discussion Comments

By LisaLou — On Jul 25, 2012

I worked for a company in the past who said they had an open-door policy when it came to communication, but in reality that wasn't always the case.

When you fear that you might lose your job when you try to communicate concerns to your boss, I don't really consider that an open-door policy.

In some companies it probably depends on who your immediate superior is. I know my boss was someone who didn't handle this type of communication very well. She was also a poor communicator herself, so there were a lot of unhappy employees in our department.

There were other areas of the company where a supervisor was more open to this, and these were the departments that most employees tried to transfer to if they planned on staying with the company.

By andee — On Jul 25, 2012

I work in the human resources department of a large insurance company, and communication is something we focus on. This is not only important in our department, but for all the employees in the company.

I am in charge of new employee orientation, and one of the things I like to communicate to them is the history of the company and what our mission and goals are as a company.

I feel this gives employees a better sense of the company they are working for and taking pride in their position, knowing all jobs are very important to the success of the company.

We also like to foster an open communication policy where employees feel comfortable about voicing their concerns. I think this is one thing that can go a long ways toward good employee morale.

By julies — On Jul 24, 2012
My husband has a few employees who speak Spanish and very little English. This can be a frustrating situation from both sides.

When my husband explains something to them that he wants done, they appear to understand what he is communicating to them. He has found that many times they appear to understand what he is saying, but really don't, and then they don't accurately complete the task.

From the employees' point of view, they may feel somewhat embarrassed to admit they don't understand, and just try to figure it out.

Communication at work can be hard no matter what, but when you are dealing with separate languages, that can be even more challenging.

By Mykol — On Jul 23, 2012

I feel that clear, accurate communication is important in all areas of life, including the workplace. When I have worked at jobs where the communication was poor or misguided, I found myself getting very frustrated.

Many times this was a management problem, so I wasn't the only employee who felt this way. Needless to say, there was a lot of employee turnover and often a negative attitude towards the company in general.

This was quite a contrast to working for a company who provided accurate and consistent communication. You felt like you knew what was going on and the communication you received was timely which resulted in better employee satisfaction.

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