1.1: Background of the Study
For any organization to build its status in the corporate world and with its stakeholders, effective communication plays a cornerstone function. Communication departments play key roles in the management of internal and external communication. They are vital in the sharing of knowledge and decisions with employee as well as stakeholders. Further, effective communication forms the biggest link between the organization, its stakeholders and the general public.
Effective communication can be defined as an interactive process that involves the design of ideas, message, and information as well as their dissemination with an attempt to realize change in a person’s behaviour and/or to persuade him/her to act in a particular or predetermined manner (Okwo, 1995). On his part, Nzerem (1996) views effective communication as the process of encoding and decoding messages or information. In this case, a medium (sounds, gestures, books, graphics and other media) is usually engaged.
McQuail (2000) on his part sees effective communication as a process of increased commonality or sharing of information between participants on the basis of sending and receiving messages. For communication to be termed effective, Fielding (2006) sees it in terms of organizational set up which should be done through downward, sideways (lateral) or upward communication. To him, effective communication would not only ensure that products and services are of the best quality, but also that staff would generate new ideas, adapt to changes and work cohesively in understanding the organizational objectives and work to achieve them.
Clark and Delia (1979) believe that there are three basic objectives in any communication; instrumental objectives which pertain to the communicator’s goal, interpersonal objectives which relate to forming and maintaining relationships with other people and identity objectives which deal with image formation of not only the individual but also the organization. This means therefore, effective communication is important both to the employee and the organization.
Communication can also be viewed as a process of effectively conveying information, expressing thoughts and facts, the demonstration of the effective use of listening skills as well as the depiction of openness to other people’s ideas and thoughts (Daly, 2003). Based on the fact that the act of communication is for a purpose - it is aimed at influencing, persuading, modifying and changing the behaviour of individuals- the expectation of feedback always follows the conveyance of information. Such feedbacks enable communicators to establish if the information was actually passed and whether it was effective or not. This corroborates Erven (2001) who sees effective communication as being when the original sender gets the desired effect on the receiver. At its best, effective communication minimizes misunderstanding between sender and receiver. On the contrary, the absence of the desired effect on the receiver or the occurrence of unexpected effect can be referred to as ineffective communication.
In corporate organizations, communicating effectively is regarded as the processes companies employ in the communication of all its messages to its major constituencies. It has major roles such as: (a) encoding and promoting a strong corporate culture; (b) a coherent corporate identity; (c) an appropriate and professional relationship with the media and (d) quick and responsible ways of communicating in times of crisis e) minimizing conflict escalation. In addition, it defines the communication of an organization with its stakeholders and how it brings a company's values to life. In a nutshell, effective communication in corporate organizations can be defined as the products of communications such as use of memos, reports, letters, websites, community engagement as well as social and environmental initiatives...