Broadways Production Limited has failed over the five-years of its operations to compete with similar companies in the market. In the endeavor to identify the root of the problem, I conducted a study that narrowed down to the problem of communication between and amongst the company’s departments. Lack of a department of communication in the company has facilitated to poor and very little communication between and amongst departments, thus triggering division among the staff and consequent demoralization as well as poor production and distribution.
Establishment of an effective structure of communication should play a very significant role in enhancing the company’s productivity as well as improved distribution, thus enabling the company to have an equal platform in competing with its competitors. With establishment of a department of communication with the necessary human and material resources, the company is able to enhance the day-to-day activities, thus creating a prosperous future for the company.
Among the most central aspects of any organization is communication. Baker has observed that traditionally, managers spent majority of their time within organizations dealing with one aspect of communication or another. The success of any organization has much to do with the effective of its communication. However, in the contemporary society, the service workers of many organizations have exceeded production workers, thus communication has become more central to them than among the managers. The production process cannot be successful without effective collaboration between and amongst the various departments of an organization. Team work is central between and amongst diversified functional levels, and it can only be enhanced if an organization has an effective system of communication (Baker, 2002, p. 1). Moreover, the world is experiencing numerous changes in communication technologies, thus triggering a dire need for all organizations to update their system to enable them stand-out in the competitive global market.
The greatest problem in Broadways Production Limited is poor communication in terms of quantity and quality of communication. As observed earlier on, communication is very central for the success of any organization, thus lack of it or having too minimal communication between departments Means that some departs are acting without sufficient information. Broadways is a bread manufacturing company, with about seven hundred employees, and based in Macau City in China. The company supplies bread to regions such as Hong Kong, Jinan, Jiulong, Lanzhou, Macau, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang, and Shanghai among other cities and towns. The company has a number of departments, including management, transportation, distribution, human resource, storage and warehouse, and intellectual technology. Thus, the company lacks one of the most central departments of an organization, the communication department, which facilitated to very poor inter-departmental communication.
Broadways Production Limited has three major problems, which have hindered the success of the company: Poor production, poor distribution and demoralized employees. These problems have their roots in the poor communication between and amongst the various departments of the organization. Lack of a communication department in the company has facilitated to inadequate communication, consequently poor production, poor distribution and demoralization of the organization’s staff. In any organization, there is a need of the right hand to be aware of what the left hand is doing. Often, the management of the organization makes decisions regarding the employees, without bothering to seek their opinions on the subject matter and only communicates through memos on notice boards or during the monthly briefings of the new rules and regulations. Moreover, a department can implement a policy and without making the necessary consultation with the other departmental head proceed to implementation, thus triggering pronounced challenges for those departments.
Lack of teamwork between departments has facilitated to company incurrence of numerous losses, and it seems the management has been doing very little to establish a cohesive communication system. Sometimes, departmental heads discusses issues with some other departments’ members without much involvement of the leaders of those departments, and proceeding to implementation without seeking the position of those heads; often, the leaders are just reported to of decisions already made with little or no provision of alterations. For example, the transportation department might require a driver to go for wheat in a certain region while the management might require the same driver to transport one of the managers into a certain meeting, thus triggering departmental conflicts, because the manager’s decision overrides the departmental decision.
To evaluate the intensity of communication problem in the organization, the researcher interviewed six employees from each of the company’s department and observed that indeed, the inter-departmental communication problem is more pronounced than it seems to appear on the surface.
1. From the communication department, their greatest challenge was plans which are made by the company’s management and for them they are just required to implement those plans. Such makes the department management very tricky because they are never sure when the management will override the plan and impose theirs.
2. Human resource department observed that sometimes a department can decide to fire an employee without submission of a clear report on what anomalies led to such a decision.
3. There is no very clear structure on how the company finances should be released: Sometimes, the CEO might decide to ask for certain amount of money for activities not related to the company, with minimal accounting for the money and without following the established protocols.
4. Not once has the storage and warehouse department received goods from production department without enough notice to prepare for space, thus causing mayhem when such deliveries are done.
All the organization interviewees observed that the organization needs to establish a communication department and a clear structure on how to communicate with other departments, because the contemporary system has terribly failed the company.
Chen (2008) has observed that “Excellent internal/employee communication is essential in any organization if it is to survive and thrive. As a management tool, it helps identify, establish, and maintain relationships between an organization’s management and its employees” (p. 167). The existing research has posted that having an effective employee communication facilitates to the building of satisfactory employee-organization relationship, consequently increasing public relations and communication functions values to the organization in question. Diversified studies have also identified a correlation between the employees’ rating of the communication of their managers and profitability of business unit (Grunig, et al., 2002; Gray, 2005, p. 15). Thus, the performance of any organization is associated with the effectiveness of the organization’s communication system.
To facilitate effective inter-departmental communication, Broadways needs to start with the most basic aspect: Establish a department of communication. A department of communication in organization facilitates the entire company’s communication activities (Chen, 2008, p. 1-2). The department of communication should operate an established protocol on what needs first priority in when it comes to implementation of diversified activities from various departments. For example, if the drafters of the structure are to rule that the decision of the CEO needs a confirmation from the board members prior to implementation, then it should be clearly communicated to the departments and the channel to be followed in communicating any message. For example, before a departmental head decides to fire an employee, the issue should be communicated to the human resource department through the communication department to facilitate appropriate procedure of dealing with the employees.
Equally important is to establish a system of giving feedbacks to all communication. For example, the transportation department should not just be required by the marketing department to transport goods, without involving the communication department. The department should be central to all the activities of the companies, thus day-to-day activities of the organization should be facilitated by this very significant department. The department shall seek clarity from departmental heads on any vague information that reaches the communication department prior to the implementation. Together with the communication department and the structure establishment, there is a need to provide effective training of the staff, departmental heads and the staff in communication department on how to have an effective communication within and without the organization. The company should also establish a top-down and a bottom-up structure of communication, thus ensuring effective sharing of information and ensuring enhanced productivity. Finally, the company should outline the contact points for diversified issues as advised by Rogier (2010, p. 1).
Preparing a communication system structure and a communication department are quite demanding tasks. With the current status of the company, there is a need to start from the scratch, overriding the prevalent system and laying down a totally new and more effective structure. The most significant resources that are required for this noble duty are human resources. The people who should be entrusted with preparation of a communication structure should be in possession of enough experience on the necessary components of an effective communication structure. Among the major aspects that they should consider include the sources of information, the channels to be used, the stages the information should go through, the transmitter of the message, the signals usable and the feedback channel. Equally important in preparation of communication channel is the approach to be used in noise management. Shannon’s communication process model could be of great assistance in implementation of this communication improvement system. The figure 1 below gives a more vivid explanation of this.
Source: Foulger (2004). Models of the Communication Process. Link: http://davis.foulger.info/research/unifiedModelOfCommunication.htm
Establishment of department of communication is a relatively expensive endeavor, especially if an organization needs a very effective communication of linking with both the internal and external world. Beside the need of competent human resource, there are some tools that the company has to purchase such as telephones connected with various sectors of the organization with provisions of loud speakers, especially because of emergencies, strategically placed boards for placing of memos, internet-connected computer systems to facilitate communication through emails and a website for both internal and more of external communication. The company is able to communicate with the external world using the website, thus enhancing marketing strategies. Outsourcing might be important to have external agencies establish a more solid communication department and structure. Emergency alarms should also be established to warm the staff during possible emergences. The communication department of an organization should be hidden or far placed for security reasons: If an enemy was to attack, he should start with the communication department to hold captive of the entire company, thus it should be highly protected.
Hinds and Keisler (1995) have observed that sharing of information across boundaries enhances collaboration and consequently production of the company. When employees share information on what they are doing or what they are thinking to day, the other employees as well as the management tend to also release the information, which sometimes acts as a great resource to the departments in question. This implies that all the people are able to work as a team, which enhances productivity of a company by significant degree. Having a modern form of technology will not only facilitate to improvement of the quality of communication but also the effectiveness of communication process will be enhanced. This implies that various department shall be able to work as one unit and consequently lead to enhanced productivity. Teamwork, which is facilitated by enhanced communication, shall propel the company to a position of better performance, thus becoming more productive.
Among the most important aspects of communication is enhancing interpersonal relations (Bartoo & Sias, 2004). With an effective structure and system of communication, the employees and the leaders shall be able to interact at a more personal level and more extensively leading to unity and consequent team works, which are very significant in enhancing a conducive workplace environment. As observed earlier, Broadways employees are relatively demoralized because of the company’s failure to communicate and encourage them often.