Communications Failure to Communicate Effectively Can Lead Essay

Pages: 7 (2011 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Communication

Communications

Failure to communicate effectively can lead to poor performance and organizational failure. The personality cult is a real problem within the context of business communications because there are times when the individual that has the devotion of the people is also the person that is causing problems in the organization. Communication has long been a difficult task, the advent of newer technologies has further complicated organizational communications. A prime example of a failure to communicate can be seen in the attempted terror plot that occurred on Northwest flight 253 which occurred on Christmas day of 2009. It is recommended that in the future the intelligence agencies make a concerted effort to unify their information systems in a way that ensures that important information gets to the appropriate audience.

Introduction

Communication is the most important factor for any organization. In fact, "communication in modern business is essentially a competitive activity, a rhetorical venture in which writers and speakers attempt to gain advantage over other forces that contend for their audience's attention (King, 2009)." Failure to communicate effectively can lead to poor performance and organizational failure. The purpose of this discussion is to explore the topic of communication management. More specifically the research will focus on factors that most often lead to communication failure.

Business Communication

There are many factors that lead to the failure of people in an organization to communicate effectively. One factor is associated with the personality cult. The cult of personality has to do with an "intense devotion to a particular person ("Cult of Personality")." The personality cult is a real problem within the context of business communications because there are times when the individual that has the devotion of the people is also the person that is causing problems in the organization. When people have an allegiance to a person they are reluctant to communicate their feeling about that persons behavior or actions, even when their actions are wrong or hurtful to the organization.

The cult of personality is most often the result of the actions of an entire group. Although some leaders are charismatic and convincing, the fault lies in the inability of the group to look passed charisma to see the problems that the individual is causing. When this occurs the organization can deteriorate quite quickly. The individual is also to blame, because many leaders of this type are manipulative and conniving. They use their personalities to fulfill their own agendas.

Lack of Communication Skills

Effective communication requires a certain set of skills. Both managers and employees must have the ability to communicate effectively. According to Ulvenblad (2008) clear communication is of particular importance as it pertains to start up businesses. According to the author "Communication and communicative skills are essential in different phases of the entrepreneurship (Ulvenblad, 2008)." The author points out that effective communication for start up businesses can be even more important than for established companies. When communications is not effective in a startup organization the company may not get off the ground (Dawkins, 2004).

Communication in the Age of Technology

Communication has long been a difficult task, the advent of newer technologies has further complicated organizational communications. Email, conferencing and mobile phones have created new avenues of communication that are quite different from traditional forms of communication (Luftman, 2006).

"Many large organizations have installed a complex network of computer-based telephone, facsimile, printing, voice mail, email, and even videoconferencing technologies. These technologies increase the potential for communication in the organization. They also can support changing patterns of communication. Because technology reduces the cost and unreliability of relaying orders, management can tighten control (Hinds and Kiesler, 1995)."

One of the primary differences between traditional forms of communication and traditional forms of communication is distance. This distance can be problematic because traditional communication tools such as reading body language are not possible. As a result new skill sets have to be learned so that this type of communication can be used effectively.

Another problem associated with these advanced forms of communication is the tremendous amount of information that is available to organizations. Having excess to too much information can be detrimental to an organization because employees have to filter out information that is irrelevant. This process takes time and money. Having to filter through an onslaught of information can be particularly daunting when it concerns matters of national security. The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and the Airline industry have all experienced issues associated with the failure to communicate. In many instances security issues have arisen, not because of a lack of information but because the meaningful information was lost or never shared with the appropriate players.

Poor communication also occurs when there is rivalry that exists amongst various departments within an organization. In some instances people from different departments have difficulty working together because they are competitive. When departments do not understand the importance of working with one another toward a common goal, communications can be confrontational and nothing is accomplished. Communications failures also occur when those who are communicating with one another are careless or negligent with the comments that they make. In some cases communication is loss because the feedback given is inappropriate.

When problems and warnings are communicated by employees or managers, it is important that these problems and warnings are not taken for granted. Failure to act may result in catastrophe for the organization. Many organizations suffer great losses in profitability because they fail to heed warning and solve problems. Evidence of this can be seen with the current situation facing Toyota Motor Company. Toyota has recently recalled millions of its vehicles because of an acceleration problem they were warned about many years ago. Because the company failed to heed warnings concerning the problems with several of its vehicles, the company is now facing a serious issue that has damaged the reputation of the company and may cost Toyota a great deal of business well into the future.

It is also important that the information this is acquired is not mishandled. That is it is essential that information get to the appropriate people so that the correct strategies and approaches can be deployed to deal with the situation. When information is not received by the appropriate individuals breakdowns in communication occur and none of the goals of the organization are met.

Case Study

A prime example of a failure to communicate can be seen in the attempted terror plot that occurred on Northwest flight 253 which occurred on Christmas day of 2009. This particular plot involved Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian citizen. The suspect attempted to ignite explosives hidden in his underwear during the flight. The attempt was unsuccessful as the suspect was caught and restrained by passengers and employees for the airline. Although the actual attack was thwarted many questions have arisen concerning how the suspect was even able to get the credentials needed to enter the country since he had been denied entry into other countries based on some of his known affiliations with countries and people associated with terrorism. In addition, the suspects father had gone to that U.S. Embassy in Nigeria and told officials that his son might attempt to carry out an attack in the United States. However, none of this information reached the proper systems so that the suspect would not have gained entrance into the United States to carry out an attack.

As a result of the attempted attack high level meeting were held with the President of the United States and officials from various governmental organizations. As a result of these meetings the president declared that there were human and systemic failure in communication. In fact the president remarked that the various organizations that are part the intelligence community had small pieces of information that could have averted the attempted attack if they had been pieced together. In fact, "the government had intelligence from Yemen before Christmas that leaders of a branch of al-Qaida there were talking about "a Nigerian" being prepared for a terrorist attack…the information did not include the name of the Nigerian (Elliot and Baldor)."

The article further explains that if this information would have been shared, it could have been placed with other intelligence concerning this individual and his intentions would have been exposed. President Obama further explains that had this information been handled appropriately, red flags would have been triggered and this terrorist would not have been able to gain access to the flight. With this understood the president also asserted that, "There was a mix of human and systemic failures that contributed to this potential catastrophic breach of security (Elliot and Baldor)…"

Human failure is associated with not having the type of communications skills that are required to ensure that the correct people have access to information. In this instance, the people that had the information chose not to disperse such information to the proper people so that this individual could be kept from entering the United States. The systemic error… [END OF PREVIEW]

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