Effects of Miscommunication

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It is impossible for an employee to make a mistake in his or her daily work. The current way we do our jobs is the best and it would be impossible to find a better and more efficient process. Unless you were born last night, those two statements would clearly be wrong. Mistakes and errors are a part of the daily life of most people in the world. Many consider errors as valuable learning experiences and remember not make them again. However, what happens when those errors and mistakes go unreported and uncorrected? The potential for a disastrous situation could compound with each error for an organization which relies on efficiency. In the following pages, I will discuss the direct link between company performance and its ability to recognize and correct employee errors. The theory will be bolstered by a short description of the theory, how it applies to businesses today, and a supporting case study.

The theory that bad things will happen when you don’t correct your mistakes seems simple and straight forward. However, when this idea is applied to a large organization, the number of potential errors and lack of oversight is a real problem for many companies. The main focus for my research was the financial industry. In this industry, the type of work can be very complex and challenging. Firms and banks process thousands of transactions per day (FINRA). There comes a point where the expectation for a manager to oversee every process becomes unreasonable. Therefore, in many companies, managers rely on their employees to report errors and mistakes so they can be quickly corrected. In the cases where errors go unreported, many managers set out to discover the reasons why they are unreported.

There can be a number of reasons why an employee would want to keep a mistake to himself or herself. The number one answer most people assume would be fear of reprimand or termination. While this is sometimes a result, many managers only use this as a last resort (Hicks). Sometimes an employee would simply not have enough time in the work day to report the error to management (Henneman). I feel that the unreported errors that fall into this category are the most inexcusable. An employee should be able to recognize if an error is severe enough to determine if it should be immediately reported or if it can wait until later in the day. They should not make the decision on whether it needs to be reported or not reported. Another reason for an error to go unreported is the employee’s fear of blame. When something goes wrong, some people think that they will forever be regarded as the person who makes mistakes. They fear that they will lose their co-workers trust and become seen as unreliable. In order to compensate for this fear, they may decide to keep their errors a secret and sometimes leave them uncorrected. Lastly, employees who do not even recognize they made a mistake is potentially the most egregious example of unreported errors. In these cases, the employee creates an error and moves on with their work never correcting the mistake until it is discovered when it creates its full impact on the company. I feel that the severity of these are high as it shows poor training by the managers and the error could have been made multiple times over a long period of time. These are the types of errors that accumulate until they have a huge negative effect on the company as a whole (FINRA). When a mistake or error is reported, managers must take immediate action.

Managers usually have the responsibility of explaining errors in their department and sometimes even taking the fall for them (Hicks). It is in the manager’s best interest to correct errors quickly and provide training so errors happen less frequently. One of the methods that is used frequently is constructive criticism. It is important to provide your subordinates with honest feedback as to what they can do to improve and prevent mistakes. This method...
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