Miscommunications in the Workplace

Topics: Cross-cultural communication, Communication, Message Pages: 6 (2156 words) Published: April 5, 2007
Miscommunication in the Workplace

Communication is a two-way street. Making assumptions and drawing conclusions based on only one frame of reference will usually fail and cause miscommunication between the parties involved. This can be because of differences of gender, culture, age or even education levels. Changing the fundamental way in which a person thinks or feels can lead to better communications between the parties involved. "Due to the rapid changes brought about by globalization it is…vital to understand that we react to our environment, its teachings and its belief systems. A lack of understanding of our most cherished and deeply held values can lead to considerable stress and feelings of anger. We must be especially sensitive toward the areas of religion, racial equality, moral behavior, privacy, justice and fair play"(Swaenpoel, 2005). Ever gone into work and found that several coworkers are in a panic over the promotion of someone from outside of the office to a position of authority? They wonder why everyone is so upset. When talking with coworkers, it is discovered that two of them had applied for the position of supervisor. These coworkers feel that they were passed over for the promotion. The manager, we will use the name Mr. Smith, did not speak to the candidates that applied for the promotion and did not interview them before making the decision and the announcement of the new person coming in. From the example above, can it be determined why the workers were upset? The manager, Mr. Smith, did not inform the office candidates of the decision to hire someone from outside before making the formal announcement, which caused hard feelings from the two inside candidates. This can lead to the new supervisor having problems getting the office staff to accept them and causing their authority to be questioned. How could this have been stopped before it got started? The manager, Mr. Smith, could have spoken to the inside candidates to inform them that he was hiring from outside and giving his reasons as to why he felt it was a better choice to go outside the company. This would also give the office a chance to reflect on what was required for the position and why the two inside candidates were not right for the position. Another situation I have found is there is always much discussion about having an open, honest communication and environment of trust, but there are always un-advertised promotions within the group. The announcement only goes out to the selected few instead of general population as other positions are communicated. While these may be well-deserved promotions, the appearance is of management being underhanded, showing favoritism and not fostering trust in the organization. To help the right message get through to the employee managers can adapt his or her communication style to be similar to the employees' personal communication style. They also need to read the employees' body language and be sensitive to the context of the message. If all else fails, put it in writing and be careful to not hold back on the details of what the message is concerning. Lastly, the manager needs to cultivate an environment of openness in office communications. Miscommunication can be a problem when it comes time for an annual appraisal or review only to find out that the supervisor has graded an employee below his or her expectations and they had never been told that there was a problem before hand, so that he or she could make the necessary changes to bring their performance or attitude up to where it needs to be because this can and will affect a person's raise and chance for a promotion. Personality problems should be conveyed to workers before hand, not at the appraisal without any fore knowledge or chance to correct the situation. Communication and especially the lack of it can lead to a negative impact on working relationships. In today's workforce we have people from late teens to near...

References: (1) Adkins, Ben. (07/28/05) The secret word for workplace relations is R-E-S-P-E-C-T. In Fort Worth Business Press Vol. 18 Issue 30, p38-38 1/4p. Retrieved June 29, 2006 from EBSCO HOST Research Databases.
(2) Green, Thad B. (1999) Handling Conflicts. Journal of Workplace Learning Vol. 11, Issue 1. Retrieved July 8, 2006 from ProQuest
(3) Lehman, Carol M., & Taylor, G. Stephen. (June 1994)A role-playing exercise for analyzing intercultural communication. In Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication, 57, p23(10). Retrieved June 30, 2006, from InfoTrac OneFile via Thomson Gale:
(4) Swaenpoel, Stefan, (2005) Bridge Over Troubled Water. The Success Series: Cross-Cultural Communications. Retrieved Online July 11, 2006 from www.swanepoel.com/articles/archives/success-series/bridgeoverwater2005.htm
(5) Wiio, Osmo, (March 20, 2006) www.businesswest.com , Management A Workplace Hazard: Communications in an article by Ann Latham.
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