Effects of poor communication in an organization: Case of Kenya Seed Company

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2012

59 Pages




1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Theoretical framework
1.3 Statement of the Problem
1.4 Purpose of the Study
1.5 Research Obj ectives
1.6 Research Questions
1.7 Significance of the Study
1.8 Scope of the Study
1.9 Assumptions of the Study
1.10 Definition of terms

2.0 Literature review
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Business Communication
2.3 Role and functions of communication
2.4 Communication Levels
2.5 Direction of communication
2.6 Grapevine Communication
2.7 Communication Channels
2.8 Barriers
2.8.1 Physical barriers in the workplace include:
2.8.2 Perceptual barriers
2.8.3 Emotional Barriers
2.8.4 Cultural Barriers
2.8.5 Language Barriers
2.8.6 Gender Barriers
2.8.7 Interpersonal Barriers
2.9 Effects of Communication
2.9.1 Employee Morale
2.9.2 Decreased Innovation
2.9.3 Other Effects
2.10 Motivation
2.10.1 Relationship between Motivation and Communication
2.11 Link between communication and productivity

3.0 Research Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Study Area - The Kenya Seed Company
3.3 The Research Design
3.4 Target Population
3.5 Sampling and Sampling Technique
3.6 Data Collection Instruments
3.7 Data Collection Procedure
3.8 Data Analysis

4.0 Analysis and Interpretation of Data
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Questionnaire Return Rate
4.3 Discussion of findings

5.0 Discussion of Results
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary
5.3 Conclusion




In workplaces poor communication is a serious problem and can be costly to an organization. The impact can be devastating to the parties involved. Some of the results include: Loss of business, customers, products, goods, services, employee turnover, loss of productivity, absenteeism, sabotage, injury and accidents, sick leave and so on. The main purpose of this study is to identify the effects of poor communication on organizational performance and to find out the strategies for improving on communication at the workplace so that employee motivation can be enhanced. The specific objectives of the study included finding out the factors, levels, types and effects of poor communication at the workplace.

The study was guided by the writings of Elashmawi and Harris, (1993) who have argued that a fuller understanding of organizations is a vital ingredient at every forward step of the career process, and that communication is a primary element for understanding how organizations function and how members of the organization should, even must, behave in organizations if they are to advance their careers. The study was carried out at the Kenya Seed Company Limited. A sample of 300 respondents was involved in the research and they were picked through random stratified sampling save for seven heads of departments who were purposefully selected by virtue of their positions and possession of key information. This sample was deemed representative enough as the total number of workers is 3000. The research used both questionnaires and interviews schedules.

Data was analyzed and presented using descriptive statistics methods. Excel was used to come up with this analysis. To analyze and determine the magnitude of poor communication and good channels of proper communication, the findings of the study will help KSC Ltd and other organizations to improve on communication. This in turn will improve the employee motivation and general organizational performance.


1.0 Introduction

This chapter gives a background to the study of communication and its effects on worker motivation and productivity. It begins with a brief background detailing the studies that have been done on communication over the last few decades. A theoretical framework is also given on which the study is anchored. Other areas given in this section are the statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, research objectives, research questions, significance of the study and definition of terms.

Communication is widely used in running almost all organizations effectively. Effective communication is essential for any business or organization to prosper. It cuts out on wasted time and provides both customers and employees with the necessary tools to succeed and find satisfaction. When communication is not effective, the end result is an increase in production time and a decrease in the bottom line. In order to avoid this outcome, effective communication must be in place (Joey, 2002). Consequently communication can be defined as the “exchange of information between a sender and a receiver, and the inference (perception) of meaning between the individuals involved (Bowditch et al, 1997). Analysis of this exchange reveals that communication is a two way process consisting of consecutively linked elements. Managers who understand this process can analyze their own communication patterns as well as design communication programs that fit organizational needs (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2006).

1.1 Background of the Study

Communication is rather complex to define in a single sentence. In a glimpse, however, it has many types which include: interpersonal communication; intrapersonal; group communication; public communication; mass communication; and online or machine- assisted communication (Gamble and Gamble, 2002). Interpersonal communication means to interact with another person, while intrapersonal means to interact with oneself, or to reason with or evaluate self. Group communication, on the other hand, is defined as the process of interacting with a limited number of others, work to share information, develop ideas, make decisions, solve problems, offer support, or have fun. Mass communication, is communicating to a large number of people using media (television, newspaper, internet, radio), and finally, online or machine assisted communication deals with communicating through the use of online software that are programmed to interact with browsers or users (Gamble and Gamble, 2002).

Communication is also categorized into two: verbal and non-verbal. Verbal communication means the use of the spoken word when communicating, while non­verbal communication means using other mediums such as body signals, writing etc. (Gamble and Gamble, 2002). Communication undergoes a process, which involves the information source, the transmitter, noise source, receiver and destination as shown by the communication model developed by Shannon and Weaver (1949). The information source is the communicator of the information, which then uses a specific type of transmitter or medium (e.g. verbal, written, telephone, etc). The receiver receives the information, but the information can be affected by a specific noise source, which can be a distraction from anyone or anywhere. The receiver then interprets the message and finally puts the communicated message in its destination (Bryant and Heath, 2000).

Communication is not just important to an organization, but is an important component in everyday human life. Gamble, et al has stated that: “Communication is the core of our humanness”, and that “how we communicate with each other shapes our lives and our world”. Communicative skills help humans to reach out to one another or to confront events that challenge our flexibility, integrity, expressiveness and critical thinking skills (Gamble and Gamble, 2002).

From the forgoing analysis it is important to note that every managerial function and activity involves some form of direct or indirect communication. Whether planning and organizing or directing and leading, managers find themselves communicating with and through others. Managerial decisions and organizational policies are ineffective unless they are understood by those responsible for enacting them. Ineffective communication can clearly affect a company’s performance leading to a drop in its share price. Moreover, effective communication is critical for employee motivation and job satisfaction (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2006). This can be backed up by a study of 274 students which revealed that student motivation was positively related to the quality of student faculty communication in the instructor’s office. Another study involving 65 savings and loan employees and 110 manufacturing employees revealed that employee satisfaction and organizational communication was positively and significantly correlated with job satisfaction and performance (Jaasma and Koper, 1999).

Kenya Seed Company is a big organization which has over 3000 employees. This calls for a well managed communication process in order to make the operations of the company efficient. This study intends to understand the processes of communication in Kenya Seed and whether they do bring positive or negative results.

1.2 Theoretical framework

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Shannon and Weaver Theory of Communication

The theory of communication evolved over the years, but the model of Shannon and Weaver (1949) is one of the firsts that explains the process of communication. The Shannon-Weaver model of communication has been called the "mother of all models." According to Shannon and Weaver's model, a message begins at an information source, which is relayed through a transmitter, and then sent via a signal towards the receiver. But before it reaches the receiver, the message must go through noise (sources of interference). Finally, the receiver must convey the message to its destination. Today, communication is being regarded as an important factor in business, and that the ability of the company to communicate can determine its success (Woods, 2005).

A later development of this theory was the Osgood and Schramm’s circular theory of communication (Schramm, 1954).

Osgood and Schramm’s Circular Theory of Communication Figure 3:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: Schramm W. (1954) quoted in McQuail & Windhal (1981)

This later theory emphasizes the circular nature of communication. The participants swap between the roles of source/encoder and receiver/decoder. This theory is a based on Shannon and Weaver’s communication theory although it goes a step further. Schramm believes that the communication process should consist of a sender, channel and receiver (Bryant and Heath, 2000). However, Schramm explains that while one person is speaking, the other is listening. How this listening is done constitutes information for the sender (Bryant and Health, 2000). If a receiver frowns, that provides different information than if “he or she” smiles supportively (Bryant and Health, 2000). It is explained in this theory that recognizing the dynamics of interaction countered the tendency to communication as a linear progression of steps leading to or "causing" each following step. He understood that people respond idiosyncratically to messages as a function of their personality, group influences, and the situation under which the communication occurs (Bryant and Health, 2000).

The process of the model is simple. In it, the sender and receiver function as both encoder and decoder of information. Each functions as the interpreter of the message (Underwood, 2003). This model explains that effective communication can be possible if both the receiver and the sender are capable of interpreting meanings out of the information being communicated. For instance, in the business context, the supervisor may mean well and believe that he is delivering the messages properly to the employees. However, because the employees have not been briefed earlier about a particular piece of information that plays an important part on what the supervisor communicated, they miss the point of what the supervisor tries to say. In return, the supervisor may interpret that the employees are still ignorant about a specific piece of information and still need further briefing.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Communication contributes effectively towards the organizational success. This is only done if it is used to perform its key functions of: controlling, motivating, emotional expressions and decision making. In large organization like Kenya Seed Company (KSC) miscommunication is inevitable. Several research and organizational reports point out that positive communication is one of the most important factors that help build effective employee motivation. For instance, Riccomini (2005) cited a couple of organizational research by General Electric and Hewlett-Packard in the eighties that concludes: “The better the managers' communication, the more satisfied the employees were with all aspects of their work life”. Building a positive communication with employees is important because they are the organization’s best ambassadors or loudest critics.

This study strived to enumerate some of the strategies to resolve poor communication. The objectives of the study were be to establish the channels of communication at KSC, the factors for poor communication and the effects of communication on motivation. For KSC, miscommunication can lead to wrong seed production, wrong seed packaging, wrong invoice payments, poor customer care, and poor record keeping leading to poor motivation, moral, performance and lose of revenue. Therefore, there is need to investigate the effects of communication so as to come up with recommendations that will help the company control the negative effects of poor communication.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study was to determine the effects of poor communication in an organization.

1.5 Research Objectives.

The general objective of this study is to investigate how effective communication affects employee motivation at Kenya Seed Company. More specifically, the study sought to:

i) Establish the factors that contribute to poor communication.
iii) Determine the effects of communication on employee motivation in the organization.
iv) Determine the various strategies used to improve communication at Kenya Seed Company.

1.6 Research Questions

To achieve the objectives of the study, the research sought to answer the following questions:

i) What are the effects of poor communication on employee motivation?
ii) What are the channels of communication in an organization?
iii) What are the factors that contribute to poor communication?
iv) What are the strategies/ways of enhancing communication in the company?

1.7 Significance of the Study

The study intended to enable line supervisors and managers at Kenya Seed Company develop proper communication channels and ensure effective communication is enhanced to increase employee motivation in the organization. Poor communication in business whether written or oral, can obstruct the efficiency of an organization or a specific department. This study will also help managers and supervisors identify the weakness in employee communication, languages and channels and if need be device ways of training and developing perfect communicators. The study will not only benefit the management of Kenya Seed Company but also its employees, customers, farmers, suppliers, contractors and other organizations especially in identifying the origin, effects and ways in which communication is relayed.

This study aimed at helping Kenya Seed Company to re-invent its channels for communication, re-define the direction and chain of command and or sour]ces of information, hence leading to the realization of the organization’s mission and vision of becoming the East and Central African quality seed producer.

1.8 Scope of the Study

The study was basically concerned with how communication affects employee motivation. It was conducted at the Kenya Seed Company headquarters in Kitale by using a sample survey of employees. The study helped the management and other organizations realize that an organization with ineffective communication is an organization whose future is in not assured.

1.9 Assumptions of the Study

It was assumed that the researcher was allowed by the Kenya Seed Company management to carry out the research without any hindrance. It is assumed that the respondents will respond objectively, honestly and truthfully to the research.

1.10 Definition of terms

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2.0 Literature review

2.1 Introduction

The following section presents a review of literature related to the study. This literature review contains three categories: communication literature; motivation literature; and literature that try to explain the relationship between communication and productivity

2.2 Business Communication

Communication is important in business because a business environment is a place where many interactions are needed, and much information should be acquired. It always involves open competitive activity, in which working professionals debate issues, defend positions, and evaluate the arguments of others (Eckhaus, 1999). Most working professionals, particularly those in middle and upper management, routinely produce a variety of messages, many of which are in written form of memoranda, electronic mail, letters, reports, performance reviews, instructions, procedures, and proposals (Eckhaus, 1999). It is also argued that a fuller understanding of organizations is a vital ingredient at every step of the career process, and that communication is a primary element for understanding how organizations function and how members of the organization should, even must, behave in organizations if they are to advance their careers (Elashmawi and Harris, 1993).

The practice of effective communication within the organization is also linked with the development of a healthy corporate culture, job satisfaction of employees, and the happiness and productivity of employees (Elashmawi and Harris, 1993). Communication skills are also important to organization leaders because it helps them manage the company more effectively). Companies recognize the importance of communication that is why it is a barometer in hiring or measuring employee performance. Waner (1995) found that companies want their employees to maintain confidentiality, write persuasively, write routine letters, use proper placement and format, compose at the keyboard, and write special types of letters. Furthermore, interpersonal and oral skills were rated as very important. Also, basic English as well as abilities dealing with ethics, morals, values, and sensitivity were rated either important or very important (Waner, 1995).

2.3 Role and functions of communication

Communication serves four major functions within a group or organization these are: control, motivation, feedback and decision making. Organizations have authority hierarchies and formal guidelines that employees are required to follow, communication fosters motivation by clarifying to employees what is to be done, how well they are doing, and what can be done to improve performance, the formation of specific goals, feedback on progress towards the goals, and reinforcement of desired behavior all stimulate motivation and need for social communication emotional expression. Communication also facilitates decision making. It provides the information that individuals and groups need to make decisions by transmitting the data to identify and evaluate the alternative choices. (Redding, 1985).


Excerpt out of 59 pages


Effects of poor communication in an organization: Case of Kenya Seed Company
Organisation communication
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Thomas Muema (Author), 2012, Effects of poor communication in an organization: Case of Kenya Seed Company, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/186895


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