Four Key modern changes and challenges of communication at workplace

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to identify the modern changes and challenges of business communication at workplaces and suggest some recommendations to overcome such challenges of business communication. The report explores how changes in technology may affect business communication. It also identifies the challenges of business communication in terms of changes in communication channels and networks. Furthermore, the research identifies some of the intercultural communication obstacles and factors influencing social media communication. Lastly, the research identifies some of the recommendations that can be used to overcome such challenges including establishment of a training programme, cross-cultural exchange programme, and policies limiting the levels of noise and physical barriers at the workplace.

Introduction

There are various changes occurring at modern workplaces ranging from environmental to technological changes. These changes bring both opportunities and challenges for business communication worldwide. Some of the impacts of such changes on business communication are positive while others are negative. As Innovative Services Ltd plans to initiate improvements and upgrades on its internal and external communication methods, it has to consider the modern challenges and changes that are currently experienced in organisations.

This report will provide an insight into these modern changes and challenges, and some of their impacts on business communication. The changes and challenges highlighted in these report are based on contemporary communication channels and networks, communication flow, impact of technology and social media on business communication, intercultural communication, communication barriers, management and organisation of communication at the workplace, and national and international safe workplace communication. The report will also provide recommendations that can be used by the organisation to deal with such changes and challenges in an appropriate manner.

Interpersonal and intercultural communication

One of the challenges of non-verbal communication in the workplace is that different people from different backgrounds have different ways of communicating and interpreting non-verbal communications. Different people at the workplace use different types of non-verbal communication, which may make it difficult for others to understand the message (Cacciaguidi-Fahy & Cunningham, 2007). For instance, a cultural nonverbal communication may be understood only by a specific cultural group.

In the modern business environment listening is necessary in order to get the right information from the main speakers and enhance effective interpersonal communication. However, there are various barriers to listening. One of the barriers of listening is boredom or lack of interest (Perlow, 1999). Attitudes and values of the speaker and those of the audients may affect the listening skills of the audience. If the listener is strongly attached to his/her beliefs and values, he may not be willing to listen to another person’s ideals.

Intercultural communication occurs when two people from different cultural backgrounds communicate. Different cultures have different approaches to communication. For instance, a difference in language between different cultures leads to misunderstanding in the workplace, or even no communication at all (Kocbek, 2006). Many organisations nowadays encounter cross-cultural communication at the workplace as people from different cultural backgrounds come together to work as a team. Cultural barriers affect such communications; hence causing slowdowns failures in business operations.

Impact of Technology and Social Media on Business Communication

In modern workplace, technology is used in various operations and strategic activities including business communication. Technology has enhanced easy and fast communication, but it has also caused negative impacts on business communication (Guffey et al, 2009). Technology is always changing to enhance mobility and to support an easy access of information (Tupponce et al, 2013). One of the key drivers at the workplace is the pressure for communication and information flow. This has led to the implementation of technological improvement at the workplace to enhance effective communication and information flow.

However, there are various issues and challenges associated with communication technologies at the workplaces. First, modern technologies increase noise, disruption and interruption. This may act as greater barriers to effective communication rather being opportunities for more effective communication. With a lot of technologies in place, there is also a great chance of over-communicating at the workplace. In this case, the changes brought about by technologies at the workplace give a great pressure for communication, which may lead to over-communication (Jelovac, 2008).

Another big challenge in business communication is the use of social media at the workplace. While social media is one of the most effective tools of communicating with customers, it may also pose great challenges. It may become a source of misleading information as many people use the social media, and anyone can just post anything (Kautonen & Karjaluto, 2008). People may also use the social media to abuse each other, making their reputation and that of their organisations to deteriorate. The social media does not have enough privacy and confidentiality that can enable organisations to operate without interference from malicious people.

Challenges facing contemporary communication channels and networks

Communication channels and networks have changed significantly within the past decade. For instance, businesses are moving away from using meetings and letters to communicate across various departments and organisational levels of the organisation. Nowadays, organisations use memos, emails, and even social media. The internet and intranet have also become common networks of communication in the current workplace. Internet is used as a means of disseminating information (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2001). Companies use subnetworks called intranets to provide information to employees.

Despite having large contributions to effective business communication, contemporary communication channels and networks are faced by great challenges. First, they are subject to technological changes, and no one knows when the available communication channels and networks will be phased out. When technology changes, communication channels may also change, and organisations have to adopt the changes or remain irrelevant in the market.

Another challenge associated with contemporary communication networks and channels is that they be affected negatively by differences in culture, attitudes and interests of employees (Cacciaguidi-Fahy & Cunningham, 2007). Different cultures have different attitudes towards contemporary channels, and the use of some channels and networks in the workplace may be resisted by some employees due to their cultural and religious beliefs.

Communication Barriers

In order to upgrade its internal and external communication methods effectively, Innovative Services Ltd should consider various barriers to effective communication. One of the major barriers of communication is noise. When there is a lot of noise at the workplace, communication is disrupted and the intended person may not receive the message in its intended form. As a result, he/she may do a different thing from the one he was instructed to do; causing misunderstanding and disorganization at the workplace. The second barrier of communication is physical barriers including building structures. These barriers prevent individuals working together in different locations from communicating effectively with each other. Physical challenges such as deafness, blindness and numbness also cause barriers to effective communication at the workplace.

From a technological perspective, there is also a cultural barrier to communication. This is because technology instills a certain culture which may not allow for change of behaviour when it is necessary for effective communication at the workplace. At the modern workplace, there are many changes as competition and market conditions change. Therefore, behavioural change is also desirable. However, technologies may act as a barrier to such a change.

Another barrier to communication is lack of listening. Some people may get bored in a communication process and fail to listen to the details of information being passed to them. This leads to poor feedback because the recipient of the information is not able to understand it. Furthermore, poor listening may be caused by distractions from noise or emotional distractions. This stops the process of active listening and cause misunderstanding between the sender and the receiver of the communication.

Recommendations

In order to enhance effective communication at the workplace, Innovative Services Ltd should consider implementing some key recommendations. First, the company should develop an appropriate management information system to organize and manage information effectively. The management information system should be composed of suitable processors that process inputs into reliable outputs that are of great value to employees and customers of the organisation. Implementation of a Management Information System should be done across all departments in order to integrate information and communication everywhere in the organisation.

Secondly, the organisation should develop a training program intended to enable employees to learn how to use various communication channels and networks; and to adapt to changing environments and technologies. Through such training programs, employees should also learn effective communication skills through discussions, participation and collaboration with other employees. The training should be offered to both existing and new employees, and should be flexible so that they can reflect the dynamics of the changing communication processes at the workplace.

Innovative Services Ltd should also develop intercultural exchange programs whereby employees from different cultural backgrounds come together to exchange their cultural experiences and learn to appreciate other people’s views. This helps the organisation to overcome intercultural challenges of business communication. The intercultural exchange programs should be led by the Human Resource Manager assisted by members from different departments within the organisation. The company may form a cultural management team to plan and organize such intercultural exchange programs.

All barriers of communication such as noise, internal resistance and physical barriers should also be eliminated. Noise can be eliminated by setting policies on the level of noise required at the workplace, and adopting technologies that produce the smallest noise. Reduction of noise at the workplace should be enhanced as an Occupational Health and Safety policy executed and implemented by the HRM. Physical barriers can be eliminated by removing physical structures that form barriers. This includes providing an open room during forums and workshops. When there is a communication taking place in a large room involving many people, there should be speakers to ensure that everyone hears the information being communicated.

 Conclusion

From this report, it is clear that there are various changes and challenges facing business communications at the workplace of organisations like Innovative Services Ltd. Intercultural differences in a company’s workforce cause slow communication process. Changes in technology also affect communication negatively through disruptions, interruptions, resistance to behavioural change and lack of face-to-face interaction to build trust. In terms of the social media, confidentiality and privacy is the main challenge that may be experienced at the workplace. Some of the communication barriers that affect communication at the workplace include noise, physical barriers and physical disabilities. Challenges facing communication channels and networks include changes in the market conditions and technologies. Some of the recommendations suggested to solve these challenges include: establishment of a training programme, cross-cultural exchange programme, and policies limiting the levels of noise and physical barriers at the workplace.

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