Communication - Koontz and O'Donnell - Review Notes

Communication is the transfer of information from a sender to a receiver, with the the intention or the objective that it is understood by the receiver. Communincation is effective when the receiver understands the message.

Importance of communication in organizations is recognized by many authors. Chester Barnard gave the role of linking together people in an organization to communication. Group activity (even within two people group) is impossible without communication.


Four critical areas of communication are message quality, conditions for reception, maintenance of integrity of organized effort, and taking advantage of informal organization. Principles useful for establishing good communications are:

1. Principle of clarity: Communicate in commonly understood language. It requires familiarity with language patterns of subordinates, peers and superiors. Following this principle will avoid badly mistakes in messages like badly expressed content, and unclarified assumptions etc.

2. Principle of attention: This principle is for the listener. Give attention to receiving the communication.

3. Principle of integrity: This principle relates to the purpose of communication. To a manager, a communication is always a means, never an end. It is one his tools for securing and maintaining cooperation in achieving enterprise objectives.

4. Principle of strategic use of informal organization: The informal organization is a reality and managers need to use this channel intelligently. But no orders should be given through this channel.

Adherence to these principles requires voluntary application by all members of the organization. No one can point out to dollar savings, for the cost of poor communication cannot be calculated. But all agree that there will be cost improvements from better communications.
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