Lecture notes on Communication theory

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Published Date:17-07-2017
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TERM I UNIT 1 : THEORY OF COMMUNICATION 1 THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATION Learning Objectives: To enable students to apply the skills of communication To clarify the meaning, process and elements of communication To convey the need and importance of communication To present the communication process and the elements involved in varied communication situations. Introduction: Human beings communicate. So do animals, birds and even insects. We have examples of such communication in the chirping of birds, their warning calls at the approach of danger; apes‘ cries expressing anger, pleasure, fear; honey bee communication, such as the queen bee‘s figure 8 type dance inside the hive to teach the rest of the bees about the direction and distance of the nectar; a dog‘s response to the ringing of the door bell at different times. However, the special qualities specific to human beings separate the human world from the animal kingdom. That is why human communication differs from animal communication. For our purpose of study we will restrict ourselves to human communication and the technical means used. A good starting point is recognition of the fact that man is a social animal who prefers to live in society. He is, in fact, born with the capacity to communicate – he simply cannot isolate himself. He feels the need all the time to express himself and share his ideas with others. And this attempt we see even in the case of an infant who communicates his needs by cooing, crying, smiling etc. Man‘s very survival depends on communication. This is because, as a member 2 of society, a human being is dependent on others and has to take help from others. So essential is communication to mankind that life without communication is unimaginable. Absence of opportunities to communicate would constitute a kind of punishment. That is why punishment of solitary confinement is given to criminals. They experience all the related mental tortures and agonies and are inclined to repent for their misdeeds. Is communication a new phenomenon? Definitely not. Communication is as old as man himself. Man felt the need to communicate right from the beginning of human history when, in the absence of language, signs, symbols, and sounds were the only means of communication at his disposal. With progress, man‘s needs and communication requirements also increased, which led to the invention of more advanced means of communication. Thus the evolution of communication can be traced from the prehistoric period to our present times. Cave paintings, drawings, pictorial representations etc. stand testimony of early man‘s attempts at communicating over space and time. The use of these was gradually replaced by language. Invention of languages gave rise to oral communication which was the sole means of communication in society at one time. Gradually, the written script came to be used and propagated, thus giving communication a more lasting value. In those days, dried leaves, marble, stone, papyrus, etc. were used as writing materials. Books, in ancient times, were in the form of manuscripts, which obviously had a very limited circulation. Also, as the means of transportation had not developed, the spread of knowledge and information was very restricted. Then, in 1437, came Johann Guttenberg‘s invention of the process of printing, as a result of which communication took a quantum leap. The discovery of electricity gave a further boost to communication, and extended its sphere of influence. And with the development of science and technology in the 20th century, electronic devices provided a further spurt. The advent of radio, television, telephone, Fax, computer, Internet have changed the face of communication altogether. 3 A communication revolution has, indeed, taken place. While, earlier, man had very limited facilities and access to knowledge and information, modern man faces the problem of an Information Explosion – there is so much available that he has to sift through and select what he wants from the mass of information available. But what exactly is ―communication‖? It is both interesting and informative to consider the origin and meaning of the word ‗communication‘. I. The Word ‗Communication‘: Its Origin and Meaning: The English word ‗communication‘ comes from the Latin word, ‗Communicare‘ which means to impart or participate or to transmit. The word ‗Communicare‘ is derived from the root ‗Communis‘ which means to make common or to share. So, communication is i) the activity or process of sharing or exchanging ideas, feelings, information, experience between two or more persons; ii) an act or instance of transmitting; iii) the information actually communicated by some means. Communication occurs all the time. In fact, it is an ongoing activity. For example, interaction between the members of a family, friends, relatives; communication through letters, telegrams, telephone; stopping one‘s vehicle at the red signal and starting it at the green signal; response given to the ringing of the bell by the students in a school. It is clear, then that communication may be either verbal or nonverbal. The interpretation of the word communication can be quite complex. Consider the following cases: If one person talks to another, and there is ―common understanding‖ which is, however, expressed through unsatisfactory action, then it is difficult to say whether such a situation is an instance of poor communication or of no communication at all. In another situation, a person who may not speak anything, but, nevertheless, gives a certain impression to the other person — can this be considered communication? If someone eavesdrops on a conversation taking place between two friends, is that someone receiving communication? Can we call Hamlet‘s soliloquy ‗To be or not to be/ That‘s the question‘ in Shakespeare‘s Hamlet a communication situation? 4 In another situation where a Tamilian speaks in Tamil to a Marathi speaker who does not know Tamil, communication would not result due to lack of a common language. Definitions of Communication : Is communication an art, a science or a practical skill? This question is thought-provoking as it makes us consider the concept of communication more seriously. The term ―communication‖ is ambiguous, despite the fact that it is a daily phenomenon. Definitions of communication vary widely. Besides human communication, some definitions cover animal communication with members of the species, as well as with human beings. Some selected definitions of communication are presented here to facilitate the understanding of the concept of communication. They cover different aspects of communication, not necessarily unified. The Oxford English Dictionary defines communication as ―the action of conveying or exchanging information and ideas.‖ Peter Little in his book Oral and Written Communication defines communication as ―the process by which information is transmitted between individuals and or organisations so that an understanding response results‖. In this definition, the stress is on i) communication as a changing or dynamic process, ii) transmission of information between individuals and or organizations, and iii) the receiver‘s understanding response. Here, the communication process involves systematic activity which leads to proper communication of information creating understanding of the message and the receiver‘s expected action. The word ‗information‘ here implies news, knowledge, as well as the sender‘s attitude or frame of mind. In the Journal of Communication (November, 1953), F.A. Cartier and K.A. Harwood define communication as ―a process for conducting the attention of another person for the purpose of replicating memories‖. The emphasis here is on replicating memories. To illustrate, the receiver, while interpreting or perceiving the message, refers to 5 his own past experience which may be pleasant or unpleasant. For example, the word, ‗childhood‘ may take someone to the inspiring, lovely childhood days, while, at the same time, it may bring depression and frustration to others due to their ugly, dark childhood memories. This happens because communication and perception go hand in hand. Both reception and perception are equally important, as they cannot be separated. According to Allen Lui (Louis), ―Communication is the sum of all the things one person does when he wants to create understanding in the mind of another. It is a bridge of meaning. It involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening, understanding and responding‖. This definition gives importance to communication as a systematic and continuous two- way process, which links the sender of the message and the receiver who understands the message as is expected by the sender. Thus the process of communication includes transmission, reception, perception, and understanding. Keith Davies‘ definition of communication as given in Business and Industrial Communication, ―Communication is involved in all human relations. It is the nervous system of an organised group, providing the information and understanding necessary for productivity and morale‖. ―Communication is the transfer of information and understanding from one person to another.‖ (Keith Davis) This definition lays emphasis on interaction, sharing of information and understanding between the sender and the receiver. II. What is Business Communication? As Business Communication plays an important role in any business organization, it is necessary to focus on its meaning. Business Communication is the sharing of information related to business activities and their results. The following definition is more concerned with organisational communication. Therefore, it can be considered as a more satisfying and comprehensive definition of Business Communication. ―Administrative communication is a process which involves the transmission and accurate replication of ideas ensured by 6 feedback for the purpose of eliciting actions which will accomplish organisational goals.‖ (William G. Scott, Organisation Theory) This definition lays emphasis on i) the sender‘s or receiver‘s capability of accurate transmission or reception of ideas ii) feedback, iii) eliciting action which will accomplish goals. According to this definition, transmission and reception of ideas should match. For example, if the sender recalls the happy experiences of the past, the receiver should relate and recall similar experiences. All the above mentioned definitions may vary in scope; but they familiarise us with important elements like interaction, interchange, dialogue, sharing, communion, commonness and so on. They, no doubt, enhance our understanding of the concept of communication, which comprises speaking, reading, writing, expressing ideas and opinions, and exchange of ideas, response to signs, signals, symbols and gestures. We may, thus, define communication as ―a process of sharing facts, ideas, opinions, thoughts and information through speech, writing, gestures or symbols, between two or more persons.‖ Such an analysis and consideration of the varied aspects of communication is essential for effective communication. Because, unless one understands and appreciates, fully, its nature, scope, and range of possibilities, one will not be able to master the art of communication, which is a matter of prime importance today. The Process of Communication: Communication is a remarkable process in which we are all involved. It is complex which is why it distinguishes us from the members of the animal kingdom. Being a two- way transactional process, it occurs between two or more persons. Since this is an on-going, creative, dynamic developmental process, it comprises a varied set of processes, a series of actions involving a sender, a receiver, a message. It is more than a single act. It spills into all areas of life. It may take place verbally or non-verbally, for the purpose of sharing ideas or messages. All communication has some purpose which should be known to both the sender and the receiver. Communication does not take place haphazardly in an organization as it is not a random exchange of information. It requires a vast repertoire of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills involving listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing and evaluating. 7 The components or elements of the Process of Communication :  The Sender or Communicator : This is the WHO of the process. The sender plays an important role since he is the source of the message. The process begins with him. He initiates communication using a variety of speech acts, some of which are:  expressing ideas, feelings, thoughts, opinions  directing the participants to do something  persuading  providing information  sharing something with someone (i.e. the receiver)  making the receiver take the action expected of him or her. The sender controls the communication process in the sense that he, firstly, decides to put across some idea, and selects the medium or channel which he thinks will be most suitable to the receiver and the situation.  The Message : This is the WHAT of the process, and is an essential element in the communication process because, unless there is some thought or idea to share, there would be no communication.  Encoding : The ‗message‘ has to be formulated in some way to make it possible for it to be put across. This process is called ‗encoding‘, which involves selecting, organizing information in a suitable way. Often, language, which is itself a kind of code, is regarded as a suitable means of conveying the message. By ‗code‘ is meant a set of words acting as symbols, agreed upon by all speakers of that particular language, to stand for, or represent certain entities. This is ‗verbal‘ communication. However, non-verbal means of communication may also be used, and would be encoded in other ways. Telegrams use Morse code, the language of dots and dashes for sending the message.  The Medium / Channel: Since human beings cannot communicate telepathically, they need to use some ‗channel‘ or ‗medium‘ to put across the message. The terms ‗channel‘ 8 or ‗medium‘ would imply the physical form that the message takes. A ‗message‘ must necessarily travel through a specific channel. Of course, a choice of channels is available to the communicator. He may use the verbal (oral or written) method, or may use non-verbal ways (e.g. body language, facial expressions, gestures, silence etc); or he may use the visual means (e.g. pictures, maps, graphs, computer graphics); or he may use audio-visual devices like Radio, T.V., Computer. Selecting an appropriate medium or channel (taking into account the receiver‘s age, background, education, gender etc.) is of paramount importance. A wrong choice could actually prevent communication from taking place, or may result in an unintended message going across to the receiver.  The Receiver : The receiver is also an important component in the process of communication because, unless there is someone to ‗receive‘ the message, it cannot be said that communication has taken place. The receiver is the person or group of persons to WHOM the ‗message‘ is directed.  Decoding : As the sender has to encode the message, that is, put it into some form to facilitate communication, the receiver has to ‗decode‘ the message, that is, interpret the symbols, understand the meaning of the message. This he does against the background of his age, gender, past experiences, culture, attitudes etc.  Feedback: After getting the meaning of the ‗message‘, the receiver provides ‗feedback‘ which he ‗encodes‘ in the form of a response/reaction/reply to the message. Feedback plays an important part in the communication process, because it is desired and expected by both the ‗sender‘ and the ‗receiver‘. The ‗sender‘ wants to know whether and how his ‗message‘ has been received, and the ‗receiver‘, either consciously or unconsciously, usually provides a sign indicating that he has received the message. It should be noted that feedback may be positive or negative. Positive feedback indicates to the sender the fact that his message has been received, understood, and accepted; and that he can proceed to the next point. Negative feedback tells the sender that his message has not been properly 9 understood. It, therefore, functions as a corrective, as it makes the ‗sender‘ realize the defects or flaws in his manner of encoding. He will, therefore, have to encode the same message in a different way, so as to enable the ‗receiver‘ to understand it. Feedback may be immediate or delayed. In the case of interpersonal communication it is quick, as the sender is able to observe the response/reaction (e.g. a smile, nod, frown etc.) when he is conveying the message. He can also guess whether the ‗receiver‘ agrees or disagrees with him. However, in the case of a letter, feedback may be delayed as the ‗receiver‘ will take time to reply. Sometimes, feedback is obtained indirectly, by observing the subsequent change of behaviour on the part of the ‗receiver‘. Feedback is very important in business. It is important for the businessperson to know whether his/her clients and customers are satisfied with the products and services, or whether s/he needs to make changes. Feedback from employees is also necessary to improve the performance of an organization. The process of communication involves a series of stages:  An idea arises in the mind of the sender, which he wants to share.  The sender encodes the idea in the form of a ‗message‘.  The sender chooses some channel/medium to put across his message.  The receiver receives the message.  The receiver decodes – absorbs, understands, interprets the message.  The receiver sends feedback or his response. From the above, it is clear that in a communication situation, a connection is formed between the ‗sender‘ and the ‗receiver‘. The first three steps are initiated by the ‗sender‘ while the next three involve the ‗receiver‘. 10 Diagrammatically, the communication process may be represented thus: SENDER RECEIVER Channel/ STAGE I STAGE VI Medium Idea Sending arises Feedback Barriers STAGE II STAGE V Encoding of Decoding Idea Message Barriers Channel/ STAGE III STAGE IV Medium Transmission of Receiving Message Message The process of communication may be elaborated as follows: The communication begins with an idea that arises in the mind of a person (the sender), which he wants to share. But, since human beings cannot communicate telepathically, the sender has to put the idea into some form (that is using some channel/medium) by using signs, signals, words. Words are, in fact, symbols which stand for ideas or objects. When a set of symbols is agreed upon by two or more people, it is called a code. Each language is a code which people unfamiliar with that language will not understand. When a message is sent out in such a code, the process is called ‗encoding‘. When this set of symbols and signs is interpreted and understood by the receiver, the process is called ‗decoding‘. After this, the receiver provides some ‗feedback‘ in the form of a response/reaction/reply to the message, which the sender must note. With this, a round of communication is completed. Usually, the whole process repeats itself several times over, with the sender initiating the process each time, till he finishes expressing all that was in his mind at the time. We, therefore, talk in terms of a Communication Cycle. 11 The Communication Cycle may be diagrammatically represented in the following way : MESSAGE MEDIUM ENCODING DECODING Barriers COMMUNICATION ENCODER DECODER CYCLE Barriers ENCODING DECODING FEEDBACK A ‗barrier‘ means a hurdle, a disturbance , or an obstacle, in fact, anything which interferes with or blocks the smooth flow of communication. Due to some form of interference, a speech act may not achieve its desired effect, and the communication cycle is disrupted. It is, therefore, necessary to control the influence of the barriers, if not overcome them completely. Since the nature and types of barriers are dealt with elsewhere in this book, they are not being discussed here. Need for Communication: ―A man is as alive as he can communicate.‖ (L. Ron Hubbard) This quotation emphasizes the importance of communication and its corresponding need. Communication plays a significant role in our lives at all levels. It is, in fact, an integral part or facet of our life. Communication is the only activity which is performed or indulged in all the time, and not occasionally or sporadically. The list of its benefits is endless. A glance at just a few of them will, however, suffice to underscore the importance and need for effective communication. 12 Effective communication and success go together, for an individual as well as for an organization. It facilitates human endeavor and enhances all aspects of human life. Healthy working human relationships are the result of effective communication, as it influences and moulds human thinking, beliefs, frame of mind and value systems. It decides good human behaviour as well as social behaviour. In a way it helps to develop an effective democratic and multicultural society. It will not be an exaggeration to say that our personal, professional and civic lives revolve around communication. Communication has a definite role to play in business, as a business person spends 75-90% of his work-time in communication, whether it be speaking, reading, writing, or listening. Today, technological development, globalization and team-based organizational structures have given rise to a culturally diverse workforce in an organization. This, again, intensifies the need to communicate effectively. Higher administrative jobs require effective communication to a greater extent. It resolves conflicts between organizational complexity and individual needs. It encourages people to think in new ways. It boosts morale; motivates people; produces greater efficiency, leading to higher productivity; creates a healthy atmosphere, bringing about unity; maintains smooth functioning; promotes the control of factors necessary for successfully achieving the final goal of the organization; and so on. It helps quick decision-making. Reaching the final goal ensuring profitability is possible only with effective communication. Conversely, inability to communicate effectively will weaken the administration. It will result in problems like miscommunication, low morale, lack of motivation, inefficiency, chaos, lack of control, reduced productivity, lack of unity, and non-achievement of the final goal, and perhaps total failure. That is why effective communication is a must. Neglecting communication or underestimating its value and importance will take us back to the dark ages and will deprive us of all the latest developments. Good communication is today‘s need. Its absence would make success unattainable. 13 The following diagram focuses on the benefits of effective communication: Communication in the Global Context: Marshall McLuhan‘s prophecy is now a reality. ―The global village is shaping its own language. The global market, the corporate world, science and technology are all using this handy lingua–franca, which is not the language of Shakespeare or Churchill, nor that of R. K. Narayan …‖ ( Arun Sadhu, The Times of India, January 17, 2007) This quotation is very relevant in today‘s context. It should always be remembered that communication is the kind of word that changes in scope according to the demands of the person and situation, and it is as elusive as the Unicorn as pointed out by Peter Little and Peter Drucker. st The technological development of the 21 century has brought about development in communication. Its evolutionary process can be traced from prehistoric modes of communication like sounds and symbols, to conventional modes, and then to the modern modes like electronics, IT, and the computer. We are now experiencing a ‗communication revolution‘, which has totally transformed the face of this century. Devices like computer, internet, fax, have brought the whole world under their spell. Gone are the days of slow means of transport affecting the speed of 14 communication. Today, communication travels at superfast speed. That is why there is an Information Explosion. The traditional concept of communication is completely replaced by the latest, wider, contemporary, modern approach to communication, which has influenced every sphere of life, and business in particular. Wieklein aptly describes what is taking place in the field of communication. ―All modes of communication we humans have devised since the beginning of humanity are coming together into a single electronic system, driven by computers.‖ There is a noticeable shift from print media to electronic media, satellite and internet. The traditional basic communication skills like listening, speaking, writing and reading are converted into multi-tasking. A variety of latest concepts such as a paperless office, and video conferencing, have come into use in business organizations the world over. Thus, today, thanks to scientific and technological advancement, communication has developed to such a large extent, that our world can be said to have become a global village. Globalisation has taken place. ―Globalisation is a process of increasing integration between units around the world, including nation–states, households / individuals, corporations and other organizations.‖ Progress in the field of communication has accelerated this process of globalization, which is bringing people all over the world under one roof by forming one interdependent community‖. Today we live in an age of global communication; therefore, communication, today, knows no national boundaries. It has a significant role to play everywhere. Its importance is increasing day by day, as it is a key to success. An ability to communicate effectively with all types of people guarantees success. Effective communication skills are helpful not only at the organizational but also at the individual level. For efficient management, the modern organizations need to think globally. Professionals need to sharpen their communication skills to communicate major economic, and other related issues. The employment market demands good communicators who can communicate with people of varied backgrounds. In the absence of the relevant communication skills, a person is left behind. Over the last few decades, an ability to communicate effectively with people of a variety of cultures, internationally and domestically, has gained attention and importance. Internationally, we communicate and work with people from different cultures, national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, because of new technology (internet, communication satellites etc.) There is an 15 increase in intercultural conversations all over the world, as quick and constant contact can easily be established. People have realized the importance and need to work together. Economic development has accelerated market globalization and, as a result, people are doing business with, working for, or sharing work space with someone from another culture. Companies producing and selling goods are no more restricted to local patronage, but have worldwide markets. Numerous job opportunities are available, bringing together people of different national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. People can work from wherever they are. Thus, market globalization has wiped out all national, natural borders, and has contributed to the importance of intercultural business communication. Cultural diversity and a multicultural work force have created the need for intercultural business communication. The global market today needs successful intercultural communicators who are sensitive to cultural differences and possess good intercultural skills. Therefore, companies give special training to their employees to make them understand cultural differences, so that they are able to communicate successfully with people in the organisation and all over the world. However, communication across cultures is a challenge to many multinational companies, as there is the possibility of miscommunication and misunderstanding. People from different cultural backgrounds may misinterpret verbal / nonverbal cues. The greater the difference between cultures, the greater the chances of misunderstanding. For example, an employee of a multinational company used to ask questions about hairstyle and nose piercing, which made a lady employee uncomfortable. This happened because the employee was ignorant of cultural differences in assessing what was regarded as ―personal.‖ Here is another example. At a trade fair, sales personnel were asked to give away green hats to passers by, in the hope of attracting customers to their stall, generating interest in their products, and, of course, effecting and promoting sales. However, it was observed that the Chinese visitors did not stop at their stall. Later it was discovered that, to the Chinese, a green hat represents infidelity. The Chinese expression ―He wears a green hat‖ means a man‘s wife has been cheating on him. The practice of distributing 16 green hats was soon stopped. Here again, cultural differences were responsible for creating misunderstanding and, perhaps, giving offence where none was intended. The above-mentioned examples clearly indicate that to be successful in the global market place, cultural, linguistic and other barriers need to be minimized. The use of custom-designed international websites to recognize and accommodate cultural differences is an attempt in this direction. People‘s cultural differences need to be recognized and respected. Another problem of global communication is that developing nations are unable to benefit fully from it, as they lack technology and suffer from financial constraints. Similarly, the expansion of modern electronic communication systems may be a threat to their national, regional, local / tribal heritage. Though the technological or communication means are a boon to development, they can prove to be a curse, if not used properly. We should be able to handle different barriers to avoid related problems. The available resources should be carefully and tactfully utilized, so that we can rule this global communication world. Communication in the Context of Technology: In these early years of the third millennium, we find ourselves ‗real‘ inhabitants of the global village that Marshall McLuhan had envisaged over thirty years ago. Advances in technology have facilitated the process of market globalization. New technology has permeated every sphere of life, especially the corporate world. Business today has widened its horizon and overstepped its former boundaries, and so has communication. The old scene has been replaced by a new landscape: the modern world is buzzing with activity, and the face of Business Communication has also changed as a result. st In the 21 century, following in the footsteps of the revolution in Business and Commerce, the Communication Revolution has assumed greater significance. The electronic means of communication have evolved from the printing press, which was invented some 500 years ago. A few years ago, terms like RAM, MODEM, DISC would have carried other connotations. But today, even if people do not understand their exact meaning, they are, at least, able to associate them with technology of some sort. Technological developments have thus contributed towards 17 revolution of digital electronics. This revolution has influenced information transmission since World War II. A new approach to communication is taking the place of the conventional approach, so that, what was unimaginable earlier is a reality today. No wonder that this revolution has entered the business scene, and, in turn, the business world has taken hold of it and exploited it for its expansion. Electronic means of communication have brought about a radical change not only in organizational working but also in communication. More sophisticated means of communication have mushroomed over the last few years. A study of Business Communication without a proper understanding and cognisance of this fact would be unimaginable. Information Technology including the Internet (intranet and extranet), e-mail, voice mail, fax, tele (audio and video) conferencing, desktop computing, wireless devices, instant message have electronified commerce and thereby revolutionalised the way we communicate. Consequently, the old telecommunication devices like telegraph, telex are now outdated, just as are letters and other such forms. Availability of a variety of electronic media has increased the options open to us as communicators. Gone are the days of what could be called ‗snail mail‘: the traditional cumbersome, time-consuming method of communication. Today, with electronic means, communication can be effected in the blink of an eye and at the stroke of a key. The electronic media have facilitated communication among people all over the world, enabling them to reach widely dispersed publics personally. The electronic media‘s ability to overcome time zone barriers, their speed, frequency, multi-tasking and efficiency are simply laudable. Advanced means like earth and environmental service allow people from opposite ends of the world to collaborate with each other, work together, seamlessly as it were, thus bringing the resultant benefits to numerous other people. This collaborative group effort ensures quick decision-making, which is of great importance for success in the global competitive market. This enables companies to promote the sales of their products / services in a quicker and more economical way, thus facilitating commercial operations and activities. The Modern Era is becoming an officeless world as the concept of workplace and method of working are changing. Now when an employee says, ―I ‗m at work‖, s/he is referring to what 18 s/he is doing and not to the place. The line between home and office is now blurred. This is because people need not confine themselves to traditional workspaces for working. They can work from home and, at the same time, they can maintain contacts with their colleagues. Thus, a constant attempt is being made to bring all aspects of the office under one umbrella. Henceforth, technology, and not the traditional glass-box office layout, will bring the employees together. Thus, flexi-time/place, mobility, adjustability, miniaturization, paperless, automated, horizontal, democratic organization are the order of the day. Direct one-to-one and one- to-many transfer of information, storing data, retrieving it at any time and anywhere are all the miracles of this digitalized / electronic communication. That is why, on-line trading, banking, e-recruiting, cyber recruiting are gaining popularity. In short, ―telecommunicating‖ has become the norm. All this has made today‘s professional more of an infocrat, rather than an autocrat/ technocrat / bureaucrat. In fact, the driving force behind the business world is, no doubt, technology. However, new technologies have given rise to communication challenges. In addition, the growing global access to electronic means has magnified these challenges. Though electronic means have come as a blessing, they are not devoid of problems and disadvantages. They are afflicted by problems such as viruses, worms, theft, information overload, lack of privacy, reduced productivity, and waste of time. They are responsible for some of the tension of in the workplace. With them, confidentiality is endangered. Yet the benefits of electronic means of communication usually outweigh the disadvantages. They are, therefore, preferred to the conventional ones. If we want to reap the full benefit from the potential of Communication and Technology, we have to train people to be proficient in the art of electronic communication. As the need is for an effective, rather than a nominal communicator, the selection of a suitable tool, and its effective, appropriate and judicious use, should be insisted upon. Furthermore, it is important to realize that technology showcases a person‘s communication and presentation skills as far as speaking and writing are concerned, and facilitates the listening process; it can never be a substitute for the person himself. The person needs to develop his/her basic communicative competence which goes beyond aspects of clarity and circumvention of barriers to include a consideration of the reader‘s 19 or listener‘s viewpoint, and a sensitivity to cultural differences and their potential areas of misunderstanding. For example, in some countries, video conferencing is not accepted in business dealings. So, we may say that the best method of handling matters and problems related to communication would be one wherein effective skills are coupled with, and enhanced by, the use of modern technological devices. Of course, this approach is not without its difficulties and challenges. However, the corporate world attempts to face these by developing global leaders, supporting global teams, being aware of changes, and taking timely action; besides training their personnel to be effective inter-cultural communicators. Indeed, the modern world is tossed between the positivity and negativity of Communication Technology. The following quotation from Charles Dickens‘s A Tale of Two Cities (1859) describes this situation very aptly: ―It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good and for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only‖. Conclusion: We may conclude by asserting that, for survival in this high- tech global world, a mastery over communication in general and business communication in particular, is of prime importance. It is the key to success at both personal/individual as well as organizational levels as it makes for all-round development by promoting co-operation, co-ordination, unity, high morale, motivation, good image, better performance, and general efficiency. 20 Tasks : 1. Define the word ‗communication‘ . (Give any four definitions with examples). 2. Analyse briefly the communication process involved during a lecture period, and that of a tutorial period. 3. Read the following communication situations and state whether they can be called communication situations? If yes, explain the process and the elements of communication with the help of the communication cycle. If no, explain in detail why it cannot be considered a communication situation: a. You are reading a book. b. A madman is talking to himself. c. A speaker is delivering a speech to an audience that appears to be disinterested. 4. ―To be an effective communicator is the order of the day‖. Explain. 5. How is technology responsible for changing communication in the workplace? 6. ―Technological developments and globalization are intensifying the need to communicate effectively.‖ Discuss. 7. Fill In the Blanks: i. Sharing of information regarding business activities and their results is known as ____________. ii. Business communication helps in providing information to customers regarding _______________. iii. A person who encodes the message is called_____________. iv. A receiver‘s response to the message is called_________. v. Subject matter of communication may contain_________. vi. The word communication originates from the _______language. vii. A person who decodes is called a________.

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