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7 Major Elements of

Communication Process
Seven major elements of communication process are: (1) sender (2) ideas
(3) encoding (4) communication channel (5) receiver (6) decoding and (7)

Communication may be defined as a process concerning exchange of facts

or ideas between persons holding different positions in an organisation to
achieve mutual harmony. The communication process is dynamic in nature
rather than a static phenomenon.

Communication process as such must be considered a continuous and

dynamic inter-action, both affecting and being affected by many variables.

(1) Sender:
The person who intends to convey the message with the intention of
passing information and ideas to others is known as sender or

(2) Ideas:
This is the subject matter of the communication. This may be an opinion,
attitude, feelings, views, orders, or suggestions.

(3) Encoding:
Since the subject matter of communication is theoretical and intangible, its
further passing requires use of certain symbols such as words, actions or
pictures etc. Conversion of subject matter into these symbols is the process
of encoding.

(4) Communication Channel:

The person who is interested in communicating has to choose the channel
for sending the required information, ideas etc. This information is
transmitted to the receiver through certain channels which may be either
formal or informal.

(5) Receiver:
Receiver is the person who receives the message or for whom the
message is meant for. It is the receiver who tries to understand the
message in the best possible manner in achieving the desired objectives.

(6) Decoding:
The person who receives the message or symbol from the communicator
tries to convert the same in such a way so that he may extract its meaning
to his complete understanding.

(7) Feedback:
Feedback is the process of ensuring that the receiver has received the
message and understood in the same sense as sender meant it.

Stages of Communication Process

Communication process consists of some interrelated steps or parts through which
messages are sent form sender to receiver. The process of communication begins
when the sender wants to transmit a fact, idea, opinion or other information to the
receiver and ends with receivers feedback to the sender. The main components of
communication process are sender, message, channel, receiver and feedback. In
the following, some definitions of the communication process are quoted:

Robert Kreitner defined, Communication process is a chain made up of identifiable

links. The chain includes sender, encoding, message, receiver, decoding, and

In the opinion of S. K. Kapur, The communication process is the method by which

the sender transfers information and understanding to the receiver.

According to Bovee, Thill and Schatzman, The communication process consists of

six phases linking sender and receiver.

C. B. Mamoria has pointed out the parts of communication process by saying, That
communication process model is making up of seven steps or parts: a. the
communication b. Encoding c. The message and the medium or channel, d.
reception by the feceiver e. decoding f. Action and g. feedback.

The following diagram represents the communication process

Thus, it is clear that communication process is the set of some sequential steps
involved in transferring message as well as feedback. The process requires a sender
who transmits message through a channel to the receiver. Then the receiver
decodes the message and sends back some type of signal or feedback.
Steps or elements of communication process
The communication process refers to the steps through which communication takes
place between the sender and the receiver. This process starts with conceptualizing
an idea or message by the sender and ends with the feedback from the receiver. In
details, communication process consists of the following eight steps:

1. Developing idea by the sender: In the first step, the communicator develops
or conceptualizes an idea to be sent. It is also known as the planning stage
since in this stage the communicator plans the subject matter of
2. Encoding: Encoding means converting or translation the idea into a
perceivable form that can be communicated to others.
3. Developing the message: After encoding the sender gets a message that
can be transmitted to the receiver. The message can be oral, written, symbolic
or nonverbal. For example, when people talk, speech is the message; when
people write a letter, the words and sentences are the message; when people
cries, the crying is the message.
4. Selecting the medium: Medium is the channel or means of transmitting the
message to the receiver. Once the sender has encoded his into a message, the
next step is to select a suitable medium for transmitting it to the receiver. The
medium of communication can be speaking, writing, signaling, gesturing etc.
5. Transmission of message: In this step, the sender actually transmits the
message through chosen medium. In the communication cycle, the tasks of the
sender end with the transmission of the message.
6. Receiving the message by receiver: This stage simply involves the
reception of senders message by the receiver. The message can be received in
the form of hearing, seeing, feeling and so on.
7. Decoding: Decoding is the receivers interpretation of the senders message.
Here the receiver converts the message into thoughts and tries to analyze and
understand it. Effective communication can occur only when both the sender
and the receiver assign the same or similar meanings to the message.
8. Feedback: The final step of communication process is feedback. Feedback
means receivers response to senders message. It increases the effectiveness
of communication. It ensures that the receiver has correctly understood the
message. Feedback is the essence of two-way communication.

7 Cs of Communication

There are 7 Cs of effective communication which are applicable to both written as

well as oral communication. These are as follows:

1. Completeness - The communication must be complete. It should convey all

facts required by the audience. The sender of the message must take into
consideration the receivers mind set and convey the message accordingly. A
complete communication has following features:
Complete communication develops and enhances reputation of an

Moreover, they are cost saving as no crucial information is missing and

no additional cost is incurred in conveying extra message if the
communication is complete.

A complete communication always gives additional information

wherever required. It leaves no questions in the mind of receiver.

Complete communication helps in better decision-making by the

audience/readers/receivers of message as they get all desired and
crucial information.

It persuades the audience.

2. Conciseness - Conciseness means wordiness, i.e, communicating what you

want to convey in least possible words without forgoing the other Cs of
communication. Conciseness is a necessity for effective communication.
Concise communication has following features:

It is both time-saving as well as cost-saving.

It underlines and highlights the main message as it avoids using

excessive and needless words.

Concise communication provides short and essential message in

limited words to the audience.

Concise message is more appealing and comprehensible to the


Concise message is non-repetitive in nature.

3. Consideration - Consideration implies stepping into the shoes of others.

Effective communication must take the audience into consideration, i.e, the
audiences view points, background, mind-set, education level, etc. Make an
attempt to envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions as well as
problems. Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and their
emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in message to suit the
audiences needs while making your message complete. Features of
considerate communication are as follows:

Emphasize on you approach.

Empathize with the audience and exhibit interest in the audience. This
will stimulate a positive reaction from the audience.
Show optimism towards your audience. Emphasize on what is
possible rather than what is impossible. Lay stress on positive words
such as jovial, committed, thanks, warm, healthy, help, etc.

4. Clarity - Clarity implies emphasizing on a specific message or goal at a time,

rather than trying to achieve too much at once. Clarity in communication has
following features:

It makes understanding easier.

Complete clarity of thoughts and ideas enhances the meaning of


Clear message makes use of exact, appropriate and concrete words.

5. Concreteness - Concrete communication implies being particular and clear

rather than fuzzy and general. Concreteness strengthens the confidence.
Concrete message has following features:

It is supported with specific facts and figures.

It makes use of words that are clear and that build the reputation.

Concrete messages are not misinterpreted.

6. Courtesy - Courtesy in message implies the message should show the

senders expression as well as should respect the receiver. The sender of the
message should be sincerely polite, judicious, reflective and enthusiastic.
Courteous message has following features:

Courtesy implies taking into consideration both viewpoints as well as

feelings of the receiver of the message.

Courteous message is positive and focused at the audience.

It makes use of terms showing respect for the receiver of message.

It is not at all biased.

7. Correctness - Correctness in communication implies that there are no

grammatical errors in communication. Correct communication has following

The message is exact, correct and well-timed.

If the communication is correct, it boosts up the confidence level.

Correct message has greater impact on the audience/readers.

It checks for the precision and accurateness of facts and figures used
in the message.

It makes use of appropriate and correct language in the message.

Awareness of these 7 Cs of communication makes you an effective communicator.

4 Different Types of Barriers to

Effective Communication
For the convenience of study the different barriers can be divided into four

(1) Semantic Barriers

There is always a possibility of misunderstanding the feelings of the sender
of the message or getting a wrong meaning of it. The words, signs, and
figures used in the communication are explained by the receiver in the light
of his experience which creates doubtful situations. This happens because
the information is not sent in simple language.

The chief language-related barriers are as under:

(i) Badly Expressed Message:
Because of the obscurity of language there is always a possibility of wrong
interpretation of the messages. This barrier is created because of the
wrong choice of words, in civil words, the wrong sequence of sentences
and frequent repetitions. This may be called linguistic chaos.

(ii) Symbols or Words with Different Meanings:

A symbol or a word can have different meanings. If the receiver

misunderstands the communication, it becomes meaningless. For example,
the word value can have different meanings in the following sentences:
(a) What is the value of computer education these days?

(b) What is the value of this mobile set?

(c) Value our friendship.

(iii) Faulty Translation:

A manager receives much information from his superiors and subordinates
and he translates it for all the employees according to their level of
understanding. Hence, the information has to be moulded according to the
understanding or environment of the receiver. If there is a little
carelessness in this process, the faulty translation can be a barrier in the

(iv) Unclarified Assumptions:

It has been observed that sometimes a sender takes it for granted that the
receiver knows some basic things and, therefore, it is enough to tell him
about the major subject matter. This point of view of the sender is correct to
some extent with reference to the daily communication, but it is absolutely
wrong in case of some special message,

(v) Technical Jargon:

Generally, it has been seen that the people working in an enterprise are
connected with some special technical group who have their separate
technical language.

Their communication is not so simple as to be understood by everybody.

Hence, technical language can be a barrier in communication. This
technical group includes industrial engineers, production development
manager, quality controller, etc.
(vi) Body Language and Gesture Decoding:
When the communication is passed on with the help of body language and
gestures, its misunderstanding hinders the proper understanding of the
message. For example, moving ones neck to reply to a question does not
indicate properly whether the meaning is Yes or No.

(2) Psychological or Emotional Barriers

The importance of communication depends on the mental condition of both
the parties. A mentally disturbed party can be a hindrance in
communication. Following are the emotional barriers in the way of

(i) Premature Evaluation:

Sometimes the receiver of information tries to dig out meaning without
much thinking at the time of receiving or even before receiving information,
which can be wrong. This type of evaluation is a hindrance in the exchange
of information and the enthusiasm of the sender gets dampened.

(ii) Lack of Attention:

When the receiver is preoccupied with some important work he/she does
not listen to the message attentively. For example, an employee is talking
to his boss when the latter is busy in some important conversation. In such
a situation the boss may not pay any attention to what subordinate is
saying. Thus, there arises psychological hurdle in the communication.

(iii) Loss by Transmission and Poor Retention:

When a message is received by a person after it has passed through many
people, generally it loses some of its truth. This is called loss by
transmission. This happens normally in case of oral communication. Poor
retention of information means that with every next transfer of information
the actual form or truth of the information changes.

According to one estimate, with each transfer of oral communication the

loss of the information amounts to nearly 30%. This happens because of
the carelessness of people. Therefore, lack of transmission of information
in its true or exact form becomes a hindrance in communication.

(iv) Distrust:
For successful communication the transmitter and the receiver must trust
each other. If there is a lack of trust between them, the receiver will always
derive an opposite meaning from the message. Because of this,
communication will become meaningless.

(3) Organisational Barriers

Organisational structure greatly affects the capability of the employees as
far as the communication is concerned. Some major organisational
hindrances in the way of communication are the following:

(i) Organisational Policies:

Organisational policies determine the relationship among all the persons
working in the enterprise. For example, it can be the policy of the
organisation that communication will be in the written form. In such a
situation anything that could be conveyed in a few words shall have to be
communicated in the written form. Consequently, work gets delayed.

(ii) Rules and Regulations:

Organisational rules become barriers in communication by determining the
subject-matter, medium, etc. of communication. Troubled by the definite
rules, the senders do not send some of the messages.
(iii) Status:
Under organising all the employees are divided into many categories on the
basis of their level. This formal division acts as a barrier in communication
especially when the communication moves from the bottom to the top.

For example, when a lower-level employee has to send his message to a

superior at the top level there is a lurking fear in his mind that the
communication may be faulty, and because of this fear, he cannot convey
himself clearly and in time. It delays the decision making.

(iv) Complexity in Organisational Structure:

The greater number of managerial levels in an organisation makes it more
complex. It results in delay in communication and information gets changed
before it reaches the receiver. In other words, negative things or criticism
are concealed. Thus, the more the number of managerial levels in the
organisation, the more ineffective the communication becomes.

(v) Organisational Facilities:

Organisational facilities mean making available sufficient stationery,
telephone, translator, etc. When these facilities are sufficient in an
organisation, the communication will be timely, clear and in accordance
with necessity. In the absence of these facilities communication becomes

(4) Personal Barriers

The above-mentioned organisational barriers are important in themselves
but there are some barriers which are directly connected with the sender
and the receiver. They are called personal barriers. From the point of view
of convenience, they have been divided into two parts:

(a) Barriers Related to Superiors: These barriers are as follows:

(i) Fear of Challenge of Authority:
Everybody desires to occupy a high office in the organisation. In this hope
the officers try to conceal their weaknesses by not communicating their
ideas. There is a fear in their mind that in case the reality comes to light
they may have to move to the lower level,

(ii) Lack of Confidence in Subordinates:

Top-level superiors think that the lower- level employees are less capable
and, therefore, they ignore the information or suggestions sent by them.
They deliberately ignore the communication from their subordinates in
order to increase their own importance. Consequently, the self-confidence
of the employees is lowered.

(b) Barriers Related to Subordinates: Subordinates-related barriers

are the following:
(i) Unwillingness to Communicate:
Sometimes the subordinates do not want to send any information to their
superiors. When the subordinates feel that the information is of negative
nature and will adversely affect them, an effort is made to conceal that

If it becomes imperative to send this information, it is sent in a modified or

amended form. Thus, the subordinates, by not clarifying the facts, become
a hindrance in communication,

(ii) Lack of Proper Incentive:

Lack of incentive to the subordinates creates a hindrance in
communication. The lack of incentive to the subordinates is because of the
fact that their suggestions or ideas are not given any importance. If the
superiors ignore the subordinates, they become indifferent towards any
exchange of ideas in future.

4 Types of Direction in Formal

Some of the most important types of direction in formal communication are:
1. Downward 2. Upward 3. Horizontal or Lateral and 4. Diagonal or Cross-

Formal communication is designed by the management. It is an official

communication which takes place through the line of authority or chain of

The basic purpose of designing such communication is to connect various

sub-systems of organisation and coordinating their functioning for achieving
organisational goals. Such communication is official and part of formal
organisation which operates through formal relationship of superior and

1. Downward communication:
Communication in the first place, flows downwards. That is why,
traditionally this direction has been highlighted or emphasised. It is based
on the assumption that the people working at higher levels have the
authority to communicate to the people working at lower levels. This
direction of communication strengthens the authoritarian structure of the
organisation. This is also called Down Stream Communication.

Limitations of Downward Communication:

(i) Distortion/Dilution:
Quite often the communication originating at the highest level gets distorted
or diluted on the way to the lower levels. Sometimes the messages may get
lost. It has to be ensured that the receiver fully understands the purport/
instructions/directions coming from above. This requires an efficient
feedback system.

(ii) Delay:
Another drawback of downward communication is that often it becomes
time-consuming. The more the levels the greater the chances of delay. That
is why sometimes managers choose to send their massages directly to the
person concerned.

(iii) Filtering:
Sometimes managers may withhold some valuable information from the
employees. In such a situation the employees become frustrated, confused
and powerless. This may spoil the employer-employee relationship.

2. Upward communication:
The function of upward communication is to send information, suggestions,
complaints and grievances of the lower level workers to the managers
above. It is, therefore, more participative in nature. It was not encouraged
in the past, but modern managers encourage upward communication. This
is a direct result of increasing democratisation. This is also called Up
Stream Communication.
Limitations of upward communication:
(i) Psychological:
Certain problems, primarily of psychological nature, may come up in
upward communication.

Many managers do not like to be told by their juniors. They may not be
patient enough to listen to them or may even suppress the message sent to
them from below. In such a situation the employees may feel let down.

Ways to Overcome the LimitationsOmbudsperson:

In order to tide over such problems an Ombudsperson plays an important
role. The concept of Ombudsman or Ombudsperson was first used in
Sweden to go into the complaints of lower level employees against
government officials or agencies.

Now a number of companies in many countries have established positions

for persons to investigate employees, complaints and grievances. An
Ombudsperson, therefore, effectively mediates between the employers and
the employees and smoothens upward communication.

3. Lateral or horizontal communication:

This type of communication can be seen taking place between persons
operating at the same level or working under the same executive.
Functional managers operating at the same level, in different departments,
through their communication, present a good example of lateral
communication. The main use of this dimension of communication is to
maintain coordination and review activities assigned to various
Occasions for lateral communication arise during committee meetings or
conferences in which all members of the group, mostly peers or equals,
interact. The best example of lateral communication can be seen in the
interaction between production and marketing departments.

4. Diagonal or crosswise communication:

Diagonal or crosswise communication takes place when people working at
the same level interact with those working at a higher or lower-level of
organisational hierarchy and across the boundaries of their reporting

Advantages of diagonal communication:

1. Coordination:
This crosswise communication serves the important purpose of
coordination through informal meetings, formal conferences, lunch hour
meetings, general notices etc.

2. Practicable:
As we know not all communication takes place strictly on the lines of
organisational hierarchy, i.e., downwards or upwards.

3. Morale boosting:
By providing opportunities to lower level workers to interact with managers
in informal meetings it gives their morale a boost and further commitment to
the organisation. More and more organisations are now encouraging
crosswise communication and building up bonhomie.

1. Fear of infringement:
The superior may feel it an infringement that his subordinate has been
given undue importance and that he has been by passed.
2. Resistance to compliance:
The superior may not implement the suggestion as he has not been

3. Anarchy:
The lack of accepted procedures may lead to internal anarchy and external

Importance of Communication in an Organization

Effective Communication is significant for managers in the organizations so as to
perform the basic functions of management, i.e., Planning, Organizing, Leading and

Communication helps managers to perform their jobs and responsibilities.

Communication serves as a foundation for planning. All the essential information
must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans so
as to implement them. Organizing also requires effective communication with others
about their job task. Similarly leaders as managers must communicate effectively
with their subordinates so as to achieve the team goals. Controlling is not possible
without written and oral communication.

Managers devote a great part of their time in communication. They generally devote
approximately 6 hours per day in communicating. They spend great time on face to
face or telephonic communication with their superiors, subordinates, colleagues,
customers or suppliers. Managers also use Written Communication in form of letters,
reports or memos wherever oral communication is not feasible.

Thus, we can say that effective communication is a building block of successful

organizations. In other words, communication acts as organizational blood.

The importance of communication in an organization can be summarized as follows:

1. Communication promotes motivation by informing and clarifying the

employees about the task to be done, the manner they are performing the
task, and how to improve their performance if it is not up to the mark.

2. Communication is a source of information to the organizational members for

decision-making process as it helps identifying and assessing alternative
course of actions.
3. Communication also plays a crucial role in altering individuals attitudes, i.e., a
well-informed individual will have better attitude than a less-informed
individual. Organizational magazines, journals, meetings and various other
forms of oral and written communication help in moulding employees

4. Communication also helps in socializing. In todays life the only presence of

another individual fosters communication. It is also said that one cannot
survive without communication.

5. As discussed earlier, communication also assists in controlling process. It

helps controlling organizational members behaviour in various ways. There
are various levels of hierarchy and certain principles and guidelines that
employees must follow in an organization. They must comply with
organizational policies, perform their job role efficiently and communicate any
work problem and grievance to their superiors. Thus, communication helps in
controlling function of management.

An effective and efficient communication system requires managerial proficiency in

delivering and receiving messages. A manager must discover various barriers to
communication, analyze the reasons for their occurrence and take preventive
steps to avoid those barriers. Thus, the primary responsibility of a manager is to
develop and maintain an effective communication system in the organization.

Shannon and Weaver Model Of

Shannon Weaver model of communication was created in 1948 when Claude
Elwood Shannon wrote an article "A Mathematical Theory of Communication"
in Bell System Technical Journal with Warren Weaver. Shannon was an
American mathematician whereas Weaver was a scientist. The Mathematical
theory later came to be known as Shannon Weaver model of communication
or mother of all models." It is more technological than other linear
Concepts in Shannon Weaver Model
Sender (Information source) Sender is the person who makes the
message, chooses the channel and sends the message.
Encoder (Transmitter) Encoder is the sender who uses machine, which
converts message into signals or binary data. It might also directly refer to
the machine.
Channel Channel is the medium used to send message.
Decoder (Receiver) Decoder is the machine used to convert signals or
binary data into message or the receiver who translates the message from
Receiver (Destination) Receiver is the person who gets the message or
the place where the message must reach. The receiver provides feedback
according to the message.
Noise Noise is the physical disturbances like environment, people, etc.
which does not let the message get to the receiver as what is sent.

Explanation of Shannon Weaver Model

The sender encodes the message and sends it to the receiver through a
technological channel like telephone and telegraph. The sender converts the
message into codes understandable to the machine. The message is sent in
codes through a medium. The receiver has to decode the message before
understanding it and interpreting it. The receptor machine can also act as a
decoder in some cases. The channel can have noise and the receiver might
not have the capacity to decode which might cause problems in
communication process.

Here, for instance, brain might be the sender, mouth might be

the encoder which encodes to a particular language, air might be the
channel, another persons ear might be the receptor and his brain might be
the decoder and receiver. Similarly, air is the channel here, the noise
present in his environment that disturbs them is the noise whereas his
response is the feedback. There were only 5 components when the model
was made. Noise was added later.
As Shannon was an engineer, this model was first made to improve technical
communication, mainly for telephonic communication. It was made to to
maximize telephone capacity with minimum noise. Later, Weaver applied it
for all kind of communications to develop effective communication and the
model became famous as Shannon Weaver model. In engineering, Shannons
model is also called information theory and is used academically to calculate
transmission through machines and also has a formula.

Example of Shannon Weaver Model

A businessman sends a message via phone text to his worker about a
meeting happening about their brand promotion. The worker does not
receive the full message because of noise. It goes like this:

Businessman: We have a meeting at the office ("at 8 am" goes missing due
to phone network disruption or noise)

Worker (feedback) : At what time?


Sender: Businessman
Encoder: Telephone network company
Channel: Mobile network
Noise: Missing text due to disruption
Decoder: Mobile phone
Receiver: Worker
The transmission error is the noise in this case. The feedback lets the
businessman know that the message reached incomplete. The receiver gets
the chance to get the full message only after his feedback.