Barriers to Communication

Barriers to Communication:

Effective communication in the workplace is very important as communication is required at every step and in every department. It is necessary to communicate information for the desired result and desired behavior. One has to take care of roadblocks that can obstruct communication process. These barriers are discussed as below.

Personal Barriers:

These are the factors related to individual involved (sender and receiver) in process. These are as follows.

Lack of knowledge: The communication process may suffer if the sender has lack of knowledge about the concept of the subject matter. Fear of retaliation or fear of criticism for knowing very little, etc. may create a problem in communication.

Differences in personality: Personality is the set of behavior trait that a person possesses. Every person has a unique personality. This personality of person can act as a barrier to communication.

Inattention: Sometimes communication process can be not effective due to the inattention of the receiver. This inattention may be due to lack of interest about subject, any disease, mental stress or family problem etc.

Stereotyping: Stereotyping is general perception about an individual or group of people. In this case people develop mindsets about others. This is major barrier to communication. People form a judgment before listening to the speaker and it may deform understanding.

Organisational Barriers:

The barriers that generate within the organisation are known as organisational barriers. They may be of the following types:

Several authority layers: Excessive layers in organisation structure acts as a obstacle to successful communication. In this case information reaches to its ultimate destination passing through many hierarchical levels. As a result, message may be distorted or vanished. Filtering of information can be caused as some people pass information what they feel is important. Excessive layers may also cause a delay in communication.

Organizational climate: The negative organizational climate acts as communication barrier. Attitude of top management with lower management or attitude of supervisor with subordinate can affect the communication process. Negative attitude of top management discourages communication in effective manner.

Language or Semantic Barrier:

Another common barrier to good communication is semantic barrier, which can be intentional or accidental. A semantic problem comes when someone uses words and symbols that have different meanings for different individuals. It leads to a confusion or misunderstanding. For example diet can be taken as less eating but it can refer to balance eating too. Companies may have their own terminology and short form which new employees may struggle to understand. Uses of jargon, technical terms, special abbreviations or slang can lead to misunderstanding.

Physical barriers:

Physical barriers may cause a problem for an individual to interpret non-verbal indications. Physical barrier is the surrounding condition that acts as a obstacle in communication in transfer of message from sender to receiver.  This is more common in communication process using technology than face-to-face. Physical barriers include:

  • Use of old or broken equipment
  • Unwanted surrounding noise
  • The geographical distance also affects the communication. Distance requires the more technical channels.