Barriers to Communication

Topics: Nonverbal communication, Barrier, Language Pages: 9 (2556 words) Published: April 30, 2011

No matter how good the communication system in any organisation is barriers can occur. This may be caused by a number of factors which can usually be summarised as being due to physical barriers, system design faults or additional barriers.

Physical barriers are often due to the nature of the environment, for example, the natural barrier which exists, if staff are located in different buildings or on different sites. Staff shortages are another factor which frequently causes communication difficulties for an organisation. Whilst distractions like background noise, poor lighting or an environment which is too hot or cold can all affect people's morale and concentration, which in turn interfere with effective communication.

Attitudinal barriers happen as a result of problems with staff in an organisation. For example, by poor management, lack of consultation with employees, personality conflicts which can result in people delaying or refusing to communicate, the personal attitudes of individual employees which may be due to lack of motivation or dissatisfaction at work, caused by insufficient training to enable them to carry out particular tasks, or just resistance to change due to entrenched attitudes and ideas.

Another barrier could be psychological factors such as people's state of mind. We all tend to feel happier and more receptive to information when the sun shines. Equally, if someone has personal problems like worries about their health or marriage, then this will probably affect them.

Different languages and cultures can cause a barrier which is particularly important for organisations involved in overseas business or who recruit foreign workers.

The use of difficult or inappropriate words in communication can prevent people from understanding the message. Poorly explained or misunderstood messages can also result in confusion. We have all had times when we have listened to something explained which we just could not grasp.

Physiological barriers may result from individuals' personal discomfort, caused, for example, by ill health, poor eye sight or hearing difficulties.

The presentation of information is also important to aid understanding.


Communication is an important part of any organization therefore it is necessary to overcome the barriers in order to minimize the effect. There are many methods to overcome these barriers such as;

1. The policy of the organization must be clear and explicit. It should be designed in such a way so that it encourages communication. It should be easily understandable by all the levels. The policies for communication should be clear and should allow promotion of communication in the organization.

2. The policy should be able to specify the subject to be communicated to others. It means that the subject matter should be expressive enough to determine the needs of the organization rather than creating any confusion.

3. Communication through proper channels works effectively. But the flow of communication in an orderly form should not be insisted upon every time. At times it can be ignored and not strictly followed in order to keep the functioning of the organization smooth and effective.

4. There should be an adequate way of promoting communication in an organization. Proper attention should be given for the effective use of words and language. Managers should take care of using a supportive attitude and proper behavioural needs to overcome any embarrassing situations.


One of the most important elements is open and honest communication, with people sharing opinions and information to ensure that everyone is certain of the objectives and how to achieve them. There are a number of ways in which this can be done.

Regular Meetings - regular face-to-face meetings with everyone, so that each person can provide feedback as to any...
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