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Barriers of Communication

By sharatkuch Oct 11, 2012 491 Words

Communication is the bridge of meaning between individuals. It refers to the process of transfer of information from one person to the other. In other words, it is a process by which people share the information or message with an intension to create an understanding in the mind of others.


Obstructions or barriers impede the flow of communication. Barriers are classified into,

1. Semantic barriers

2. Emotional /Psychological barriers

3. Organizational barriers

4. Personal barriers.

1. Semantic Barriers

They arise from limitations in the symbols with which we communicate. They are,

a) Symbols with Different Meanings

Communication symbols usually have a variety of meanings and we have to choose one meaning from many.

b) Faulty Translations

Approximate understanding of words and the consequent faulty translations leads to impaired efficiency and heavy costs.

c) Badly Expressed Message

Poorly chosen and empty word and phrases, careless omission, bad organization of ideas, awkward sentence structure, inadequate vocabulary jargon, lack of clarity and precision in message makes it badly expressed.

d) Unclarified Assumptions

A message although appears to be specific, its underlying assumptions may not be clear to the receiver.

e) Specialists Language

Technical personnel and special groups tend to develop a special, peculiar and technical language of their own. This builds a communication barrier, because of the receiver’s ignorance of that type of language.

2. Emotional/Psychological Barriers

Emotional barriers are just as effective as an actual Physical wall. Often these human barriers are more like filter paper than a brick wall.

a. Premature Evaluation

Is the tendency of prematurely evaluating communication, rather than to keep an uncompromised position during the interchange.

b. Inattention

The preoccupied mind of a receiver and the result and non-listening is one of the major chronic psychological barriers.

c. Loss by Transmission and Poor Retention

Communication passes through various levels in the organization, successive transmissions of the same message leads to decreasing accuracy.

d. Distrust of Communicator

Frequent countermanding or illogical decisions of the original communication by the communicator leads to distrust.

e. Failure to Communicate

Managers often fail to transmit the needed message either because of laziness or assuming that information is known or to embarrass deliberately.

3. Organizational Barriers

a. Organizational Policy

Organization policy which acts as an overall guideline to everyone in the organization regarding his expected behavior, should be supported by the flow of communication in different directions. If this is not done, then communication flow would not be smooth and adequate.

b. Organizational Rules and Regulations

Organizational rules and regulations may restrict the flow of certain messages thus leaving many important ones.

4. Personal Barriers

a. Barriers in Superiors

Attitude of superiors, fear of challenge to authority, insistence on proper channel, ignoring communication, lack of confidence, time constraint etc. are the common barriers of communication from the superiors.

b. Barriers in subordinates

Unwillingness to communicate and lack of proper incentive are barriers of communication from the subordinates.

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