Communication Is the Lifeblood of the Organization.Discuss

Communication Is the Lifeblood of the Organization.Discuss

Communication is the lifeblood of an organization, an institution and even the individuals themselves. It is the bedrock of pleasant ground and good relationship between the communicator and receiver. Kottler (1977:125) defines communication as ‘a process consisting of a sender transmitting a message through media to a receiver’. For the purpose of the purposes of the presentation, lecturer according to Pradhan (1977) is an oral presentation of information and idea by a person to a large group of student generally in a face to face situation at a particular place. Here students only listen to what the lecturer says.

Whilst on the other hand Stoner and Freeman (1989) indicates that group discussion is the qualitative method to obtain in depth information on concepts and perceptions about a certain topic through spontaneous group discussions of approximately 6 -12 persons, guided by a facilitator that each is able to communicate with all the others face to face to reach to a decision and achieve the common goal. The linear model of communication by Shannon and Weaver (1949) will be used to examine the lecturer method at the University and the group discussion will be explained by Schramm’s interactive model (1954).

Lasswell’s (1948) version of the linear model is ‘who says what, in what , in which channel, to whom and with what effect’. The sender who is the lecturer is the source of the message, also the speaker, sends the message to the students who are the listeners or the receivers. Communication is one way and its emphasis is that the recipient must get the message despite the fact that the theory appreciates that there is ‘noise’ which can be translated to barriers of communication. The first advantage of the lecture method of teaching is that lecturers can be presented to large audiences at the same time Bonwell (1996).

Lecturers appeal to mass audiences and therefore appeal to situations where the student to faculty ration is very high. A good example is at Women’s University In Africa intake 9 of 2010 Communication skills class where more than 50 students in one class yet there is only one lecturer per subject. When looking at the content, Cashin (1985) quoted by Bonwell notes that lectures can present large amounts of material or information in a specially organized manner that students themselves may not be able t do on their own.

This therefore means that lectures are organized and direct the students in the direction that they ought to go. The lectures can be especially organized to meet the needs of students. The lecture method also appeals to those who learn by listening. This works very well when the lecturer has excellent public speaking skills such that there are no communication barriers. If the lecturer is articulate, students may be drawn to listen and not get bored.

When looking at the disadvantages of the lecture, Cashin cited by Bonwell asserts that the one way communication from the lecturer to the student makes the student very passive. The learner simply ‘takes in’ information Bowers ( 1988:42), without questioning or interrogating. The lecturer teaches and the students listen and according to Paulo Freire (1970) in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, where students are viewed as empty bank accounts to be filled in the teacher. The lecturer has the information and therefore imparts it to the students.

Yet, this passiveness according to Cashin (1985) can lead to two things, the first being that students will most likely forget what they would have learnt as they do not participate in the process. Also, failure to get feedback from the students may lead to ineffectiveness of the lecture as the lecturer might not be at par with the students. There are no mechanisms to ensure that they are intellectually engaged with the material. Pradhan (1977) concurs that lectures may not be as effective as they are intended to be as they require active speakers.

Not all lectures are delivered efficiently as this method of teaching requires effective and efficient speakers. The lecturer needs to connect with the students but in some cases, lecturers assume that all students learn at the same pace and are at the same level of understanding. Thus students may easily get bored and not listen at all. Lectures emphasize learning by listening, which is a disadvantage for students whose attention wanes quickly after fifteen to twenty-five minutes. Regarding content and meaning, the messages may not be interpreted the same as students represent a heterogeneous group.

This may lead to students bringing in varying attitudes, expectations and understandings to communicative situations. Even if the receiver hears exactly the same message which the sender sent, the sense which the receiver makes of it may be quite different from the sender’s intention. The same ‘message’ may represent multiple meanings. To illustrate this Lakoff & Johnson (1980: 10) say ‘the speaker puts ideas (objects) into words (containers) and sends them (along a conduit) to a hearer who takes the idea/objects out of the word/containers’.

On the other hand, the interactive communication model represented by the group discussion brings in a different perspective to communication as it views the process as two way. This model is illustrated below Schramm’s Model of Communication, 1954 Message Encoder Decoder Interpreter Interpreter Decoder Encoder Message

The group discussion involves a small group of people who come in to share knowledge, ideas and experience. In the University situation, the lecture may be the facilitator and the students representing the group. In this model, each student is both the sender and receive of information and feedback is a major feature. Bonwell (1966) summarizes the merits of group discussions as indicated group discussions develop confidence, creativity and ability of judgement in the learners. Everyone has a chance of contributing and being listened to as well as listening to others.

In this case individual contributions are respected and with a shared goal, the students are able to realize their objectives. Students may be stimulated to think about issues, problems and even propose solutions. The discussions provide adequate communication among all the members with exchange of ideas and experiences, are also a forum for the group to share their experience based and expertise with other members, meaning that at the end of the day, the people are able to reach a common understanding. Ideas can be generated, Ideas can be shared, Ideas can be ‘tried out’. This also enables earning to become more active and less isolating. Thus barriers are also removed as there is room to seek further clarity on issues. There tends to be rapport between lecturer and students as the lecturer will be in a position to identify student members regarding their needs, interest, attitude, ability and other potentialities through interaction. Lecturer will no longer be working on assumptions. However, group discussions also have their demerits. Bonwell states that some self-conscious members may not venture to bring their valid idea for fear of disapproval by other members.

Shy learners may refuse to become involved or may need a great deal of encouragement to participate. Also, a group may have overbearing individuals can dominate the discussion. This therefore requires that the lecturer or facilitator must be aggressive enough tactfully redirect learners who digress or dominate without losing their trust and that of other group members. According to Cashin cited by Bonwell (1966), discussion may at times be prolonged unnecessarily or without fruitful result or it may take longer time to come to conclusion or decision.

Thus group discussions at times are not time effective. Lack of participation cannot be overlooked. Somebody may not feel personally responsible for the result of discussion. Students may feel intimidated or threatened by one another and so decide not to participate, something which is beyond which is beyond the lecturer’s control. As can be deduced from above, this writer feels the lecture method works well in imparting information to a larger audience due to its simplicity and generality.

Although the linear model has no feedback, this writer thinks that the traditional lecture is now participatory as lecturers provide question and answer questions. Students can now be seen in front of the class making presentation. The linear model could be recommended where machines are concerned and not human beings. Group discussions, although with their limitations work well in terms of providing feedback that is necessary to make communication effective and efficient, between the sender and the receiver. REFERENCES Bonwell Charles C. Enhancing the Lecture: Revitalizing a Traditional format’, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, August (1996) Issue 67 Kotter, J ‘Power, Dependence and Effective Management’, Havard Business Review, (1977) Vol 55 No. 4 Pg 125 Smith, M. K. (2009) Paulo Freire and informal education’, the encyclopaedia of informal education. Last update: November 04, 2009] Stoner AFJ, Freeman RE (1989) Management, Prentice Hall, New Jersey Taylor. S (2005) Communication for Business – A Practical Approach-Pearson – Longman, London