What types of barriers in communication are there?


Barriers to Communication

Modern communication theory states that a communication system will be effective when receivers understand, accept and act upon the information that has been transmitted to them. But certain barriers in the flow of communication can impede not only the transmission of information but also understanding and acceptance of the same. The obstacles cause messages that are sent between sender and recipient to be distorted. These barriers cause breaks down and misunderstandings in communication leading to poor human relations. To install an effective communication system in the organization. It is desirable to analyze obstacles or barriers to communication and remove them.

The barriers may be classified into (a) External, (b) Organizational, and (c) Personal.

External barriers

Communication barriers may be either external barriers or maybe in the following forms:

a) Semantic barriers:

The term semantic indicates the Systematic study of the meaning of words when communication takes place between two persons. The meaning of communication intended by the sender may be understood completely reversely. The linguistic abilities of the persons concerned are the cause of these limitations. Words are the principal communication instruments but a common difficulty with the words is that each word has several meanings. The language symbols used in communication may be interpreted in terms of the receivers’ behavior and experience creating thereby chaotic conditions. It is frequently observed that technical individuals and specialized groups have the propensity to create their own unique, unusual, and specialized jargon. All these will distort the process of communication.

b) Emotional or psychological barriers:

Sometimes communication barriers also arise on account of the emotional attitude of the sender and receiver. The main obstacles to interpersonal communication are emotional or psychological ones. Some persons are emotional and are subject to losing their temper easily and quickly. If a superior boss happens to be a person of high emotions and excitement, any communication with all logic and politeness is likely to be meaningless, because of his temper. He is not prepared to listen to what his subordinates would like to communicate. Hence a tendency will be found on the part of the subordinate to avoid his highly emotional boss.

Organizational barriers:

Organizational goals can be achieved through the adoption of official measures like designing organizational rules and regulations etc. The organization structure has an important impact on the ability of the members to communicate effectively. Similarly, if the organization’s policy is not supportive of the flow of communication in different directions, the flow of communication will not be smooth and adequate. The organization’s rules may restrict the flow of certain messages and may leave many important ones.

Moreover, under this category, another important barrier arises to status relationships in organizations. A subordinate may feel that he may commit some mistakes while communicating with his boss. So, he is not willing to do this. Thus, it is the status that brings, about a standstill position to communication, prohibiting there by the conveyance of vital information to the boss.

Personal Barriers:

1. Attitude of superiors:

The flow of messages in various directions may be impacted by the communication style of superiors. For instance, if the attitude is unfavorable there is a greater possibility of an inadequate flow of messages from and/or to superiors.

2. Lack of confidence in subordinates:

It is a general perception among superiors that the subordinates are not adequate, competent, and capable. They can’t give advice to superiors.

3. Ignoring Communication:

It is very often found that the superiors ignore consciously and deliberately the communication received from their subordinates to maintain their importance. This leads the subordinates to give up their willingness to communicate.

4. Lack of time:

It is commonly found that the superiors feel among themselves that they are overburdened. As such, they have little time left to communicate with their subordinates.

5. Lack of awareness:

Sometimes, it is found that the superiors are unaware of the significance and importance of communication in different directions concerning a particular subject matter.

On the other hand, various factors in the subordinates adversely affect such active participation on their part.

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