Axioms and Communication Process Model
Aug 21, 2008 Other 8824 Views
A manager that is unfamiliar with the Axioms and the Communication Process Model is at a great disadvantage in his organisation. To be successful in communication within the work place, a manager must understand how communication works so as to prevent any misunderstanding. Once he is knowledgeable about these aspects he will be able to communicate successfully with his stakeholders and build confidence in his organisation as well as in himself.
In an organization, employees typically spend up to 75% of their time in an interpersonal situation, which means that the root of a large number of organizational problems is poor communications. Effective communication is an essential component of organizational success whether it is at the interpersonal, inter-group, organizational, or external levels. The leader of an organization's knowledge of communication concepts and theories are vital in improving effective interaction within the workplace. There are five basic Axioms of Communication that are fundamental to our understanding of the process of communication. In any communication at least some of the 'meaning' is lost in simple transmission of a message from the sender to the receiver, Each of the Axioms has a functional implication that makes it an essential part of effective communication between a manager and stakeholders. This essay will explain how a manager's knowledge of the Five Axioms and the Communication Process Model can aid him in successful communication by exploring two of the Axioms of Communication with reference to a third.
Intentional and consciously motivated. Even if we do not choose to respond verbally to an interaction, our lack of response in itself is a response. A manager must be aware of this Axiom, because ignoring it can lead to strained, embarrassing or uncomfortable social situations between him and his stakeholders. No matter how hard someone tries, they cannot not communicate because all behavior is communication and therefore is a message. It is essential for managers to develop, maintain, grow, and nurture mutually beneficial relationships, and this can only happen if he knows how to communicate with a stakeholder even if he does not necessarily want to, and if he can be aware that "body language" and other not verbal communications are just as important and powerful as oral communication. This Axiom also ties in with Axiom Four, which states that all messages consist of verbal symbols and not verbal clues. A manager must be aware that body language, is a non verbal clue that is also a form of communication. If he chooses to ignore an employees effort to communicate, his not verbal clues also communicate and may lead to a break in communications.
Watzlawick, Beavin and Jackson, describe this Axiom in their classic study, 'The Five Axioms of Communication'. They explain that when we are trying t not to communicate there a four basic strategies that we usually employ. The first is rejection. This is when a person purposefully does not want to make contact with someone and completely reject the communication by making it clear that they are not interested in conversing. If a manager was to reject an employee's communication he would be initiating a strained relationship with that employee
that would usually be avoided. The second is acceptance, by which the manager may decide to communicate but with very little effort and in 'hope that the person will go away quickly.' In an organisation, if a manager employed this strategy he would be ignoring difficulties coming from within the organisation and therefore the problems would get worst. The third is disqualification, whereby we attempt to avert the conversation communicating in a way that invalidates our own message, making the other person less likely to want to continue the conversation. The final strategy is using the symptom as communication, where a person may pretend that he would like to talk but because he is incapacitated he simply cannot. It is extremely important for a manager to understand the ramifications of such strategies within an organisation. Being unfamiliar with these can lead to embarrassment between the manager and stakeholders and an uncomfortable work environment.
A manager's knowledge of Axiom Two could also prove to be very beneficial to the communication within his organization. Axiom Two states that 'every interaction has a content dimension and a relationship dimension'. Whilst 'the content level of communication is a communication's information or data level, which describes the behaviour expected as a response,' it is 'the relationship level of communication which indicates how the exchange is to be interpreted.'
It is important that managers understand this concept as each delivery serves as a clue about the relationship between the initial source, and then to the receiver, constantly saying something about our relationship with ourselves and those around us.
Gamble T and Gamble M use the example of a person asking another to 'Close the door'. It seems to be a directive phrase that asks the receiver to perform a certain action, but it could be delivered in many different ways, such as a request, a command, a plea, a turn-on or a turn-off. In this way, we constantly give others clues about how we see ourselves in relationship to them.
There are three types of responses that managers could use to indicate how they see themselves in relation to their stakeholders. These three responses are; confirmation, rejection and disinformation. Confirmation means that we can 'confirm other peoples self concepts and self definitions.' The manager treats his stakeholders as they believe that they ought to be treated. The second response, rejection, means that we can reject 'other peoples self concepts and self definitions.' So if a manager does not treat an employee in the way that the employee feels he should be treated, the employee is forced to revise the picture that he has of himself. And the final response is disinformation. This is the worst response a manager could have. He would be totally ignoring his employees and always treating them the same way no matter what they do. If a manager does not give his employees any indication of whether or not they are performing well, the employees would feel invaluable and unnoticed.
A manager must be aware that in any situation a lot of the meaning that comes from a message is lost in the process of communication. This is described in the Communication Process Model. This model is understands communication as a process of Sender-Message-Receiver It is derived from various American theories of communication that were developed in order to explain communication practices within large organisations.