Buisness Essay, Research Paper
1 November, 1997
Business and Communications
When someone mentions the word communication, one?s thoughts turn to a newspaper, the radio, television, or another more common means of mass-type communication. One does not usually make the connection between communication and other institutions such as business. Good business, however, goes hand in hand with good communication. Good managers and professionals realize that the ability to communicate is not a silly frill; it?s a necessity that helps all accomplish their work (Murphy 2). Therefore the question is often posed: Are these problems of poor communications that face managers and professionals becoming more and more critical? The evidence suggests the answer to be yes- these problems are serious and are growing more and more serious everyday. John O. Morris, a Management Communications Consultant consolidates this problem into a single statement called the Morris Maxim. It states that ?Communications problems grow much faster in any organization than the organization itself grows? (Morris 3). This maxim emphasizes the need for better communication in organizations such as big business through the implication of what would happen if that organization did not fix it?s structure to better handle increasing communication needs. However, before dealing with a solution to the problem of communication in business, (frequently dubbed business speak) it is important to understand how big business operates.
Big business was created in the mid-1800?s to organize corporations such as the railroad, oil and steel industries. At that time, the only other organizations that had a similar size and structure were the Roman Catholic Church and the United States Army. These organizations are extremely authoritative in nature, and use a system of hierarchical communication. This translates into a business organization/communication style which is basically condescending in nature and is based primarily on status . Business speak is often straight, to the point, and beneficial to the individual speaking first, and to others second. This shows its hierarchical origins in that very often, the speaker is one who will use one or more power strategies, mostly the perception that someone can inflict negative consequences. Other issues in business communications include lack of responsibility in the upper ranks of the hierarchy, lack of training in good communications for the majority of employees, and lack of honest, direct conversation between business and it?s customers. These problems need to be fixed for a business to truly succeed, and can be fixed if managers and high-ranking officials take the initiative and implement a few simple and straightforward techniques into their business styles.
Current problems facing business communications deal mainly with the apparent lack of functional inter-level communication. That is, communication employees as well as customers can understand. One of the main reasons behind this lack of understandable communication is that there are some many ways to avoid good communication and maintain the status quo for the short term. These mostly pertain to issues brought to a company from outside sources. These include letters of complaint, inquiries from government bodies such as the Federal Trade Commission, and published evaluations (i.e. editorials, product reviews). Instead of addressing these issues head-on and dealing with them, companies are more likely to dodge responsibility. There are 2 main ways to dodge accountability: denial and evasion of responsibility (Benoit, 90). In using denial, a corporation or employee refuses any wrong-doing, and usually transfers blame to another company or employee, often one that is lower on the ?corporate ladder?. This is similar to evasion of responsibility, which often names scapegoats. In addition to that, evasion tactics often claim that any wrong-doing was an accident, or that the intentions behind their actions were good. These tactics allow for excuses to be made and for responsibility to be forgotten. Lastly, some companies will refuse to accept any wrongdoing, and simply fix the problem. This was the case when Tylenol was accused of allowing their merchandise to be tampered by not putting a safety seal on their product?s bottle. This prompted Tylenol?s executives to start sealing their bottles, but they never accepted responsibility for not sealing them in the first place (Benoit 92). This is just one example of a company distancing itself from blame. In order for there to be good communication, corporations must begin accepting responsibility for their actions, and begin making sound business decisions based on what the customer wants and needs. This would be most advantageously served with clear communication between a company and it?s customers