Communication as a process

The reality of communication? People live of communication and trough communication: it is a fundamental characteristic of all human beings. It doesn’t exist any society without communication because every person is at teh same time a producer and a product of communication itself.Communcation is a process, cause it brings an encoded message from the sender to the receiver, who decodes it, through a communications means. The codes are made of signs and rules which can be used inside the communication. As communications does transport thoughts, ideas, it becomes a concept of carrying, i.e. it automatically recalls the concept of process, of a living act structured, based and organized. Sociologist of communication talk about “Social actors”

Means of communication can vary. If we intend to communicate through a text the process of communication is fully enclosed through and by the text written by an author and which needs to be de-codified by the reader. The Ideal reader/receiver is a reader which, by possessing the same codes used by the author, completely understands what the author has writen by fully understanding the intention of the author. Useless to say that an Ideal Reader and/or receiver does not exists; too many factors are disturbing and/or modifyling the communication theme: VABEs, prejudices, racisms REBs, memes. These filters can bring that the receive ris not able to decode the message in the given way and tries to interpretate it.

Marino Livolsi, Italian Communication sociologist, talks about communication as « interpretative cooperation » when a person is interpretating the message in the correct way and this attitude is shared by more people. But, who does give for sure what the correctest interpretating view is and that the Interprepative cooperation is correct?

Robbins gave some hints on how to structure an effective communication, how to structure is and to proceed, i.e. to adapt the communication to the adresse and to the goal of the message

VABES: are some given concepts we do have, either cultural of familiy given, to which we tend to report all what is happening around us. If I do have a VABE that people who drink alcohol are not reliable, I will be automatically lead not to consider reliable if a potential business partner drinks more than three glasses of wine during a meeting. If I am too concentrated on this VABE, I am brought not to pay attention to what he is saying: I do neither perceive all the communication structure he uses to communicate with me.

RACISM: Even if racism should not exist anymore, we came to know, even through our case studies, that little racism are happening every day. If the waiter, as we have widely discussed during our case study of Denny’s restaurant, would have had some white people in front of him, would he have answered differently? Even by making the question, we do admit that there is a slight possibility that his communication was racism traced.

PREJUDICES: Prejudices can be based VABE, but do have a stronger connotation. If we do have the prejudice that a woman or a man in unable to do something, this will filter every form of communication we are using. I a daily experiencing on the Boat Shows, that customers or new dealers, think that I am just the hostess or the interpreter, cause I am female and I am young. More than once they do aks to talk to somebody who has the clue about boats. When they then start to talk with me, they realise, that I am not the way they thought and they do apologize. But these prejudices bring the automaticaaly to block communciation, not to give the possibiliy of sending a message and the possibitiy of decoding.

MEME. Meme are cultural patters, such as gene are biological patters. Some memes are culture related and some are universals. Memes doe block communications cause they report semsation and codes into prescribed and fixed schemes without allowing to go further. If we learn, instead to “wear” the memes by making them functional, we will be able not to disturb communication, but to understand better the memes enclosed in it by adapting the communication to the adressing public.

The barriers of communication are not only the filters described above, but also the selective perception; information overload the defensivenes and the language. Concerning the language S.Robbins made a very clear example: if people do not speak the same languae at the same level, there can happen big disasters such as aircrashes. I have assisted myself to a discussion (it was the first month I was working in my current company) between a sales manager and a foreign customer. As neither the sales manager nor the customer were talking a good English, everyone of them understood the discussion on the own way, being convinced that the other did understand the same. Before they could happen serious misunderstandig I interrupted the meeting and tried to understand what both were trying to communicate. Later I suggested the sales manager to use, in case of not understanding to write down the terms and to make a resume at the end of the meeting in order to be more secure about avoinding some linguistic problems

After having talked about some ” filters, we do also have to divide and think about how communication in an organization is going to be used: internal and external. Even if external communication is the one who media do actally see at first, we can not putting less stres on internal communication, cause this, due to the structure, gets automatically reflected onto the external communication. This happens with every channel we choose to use, but it is more evident when we are sing a nonverbal communication. Communication experts do always suggest to pay attention either to the message transmitted but more on the way the message is transmitting: the way gives more hints about why a person behave in a certain way.


J.C Clawson-B.Smith “Prejudice in organization” University of Virginia, Darden School foundation, Charlottesville, 1990

J.G.Clawson “A Leader’s guide to why people behave the way they do” University of Virginia, Darden School foundation, Charlottesville, 2001

R. Dawkins Il gene egoista, Zanichelli 1982

S.P. Robbins, ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR, Prentice Hall, 9th edition

U. Eco, Lector in fabula, 1979.

Stuart Hall Encoding-Decoding 1980

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