Formal and informal communication channels

					Formal and informal
 IB Business & Management
Lesson objectives
   By the end of the lesson, students should be
    able to: -
       Understand the term channel of communication
       Differentiate between formal and informal
       Be aware of the impact that ICT has had on how
        businesses communicate
Formal and informal
communication channels
       The term channel of communication is the method of
       For example in order to announce an end-of-season sale,
        managers in a large retail business may choose television
   Informal communication- refers to all unofficial
    channels of that exist among informal groups.
       An example of informal communication is the grapevine,
        which is basically gossip in the workplace.
       Does informal communication help or hinder the
Benefits of informal
   Can create a sense of belonging in the
    workplace. People from different departments
    can talk about non work related issues at
    their lunch break. This can help meet their
    social needs as identified by Maslow
   Can help workers support each other and
    deal with any anxiety they may have
   Ideas can be pooled that may not have
    occurred in more formal channels.
Formal communication
   These are official channels of communication
   Written communication tends to relate to
    more formal channels of communication
   Formal communication is directly related to
    work matters
   Email
       Data is transmitted from one computer to another
       Very fast because all the data is already in
        electronic form
       Data can be sent to many recipients in a small
        space of time
       High set up costs, ongoing costs.
       Data not always secure
Email usage at work
    Research has shown that most emails are accessed at work. As many
     people can access the internet free of charge in their workplace.
     However, many of the emails sent are personal messages, such as
     arranging social gatherings, rather than work related issues. Research
     has also suggested that email usage in the workplace varies from
     country to country. For countries where electronic communication is
     widely used, the result has been an increase in the number of people
     who are using the internet to communicate with their work colleagues.
     Some people argue that using email in the workplace can improve
     overall efficiency, whilst others believe that it is open to abuse and an
     excuse to avoid talking to people.

1.   What is meant by electronic mail? (2 marks)
2.   Describe how email might encourage informal communication (2
3.   To what extent does email improve the efficiency of the workplace? (7
Facsimile (fax)
   A fax machine converts text images into an
    electronic form for transmission.
   Faxes can be a quick convenient method of
   Why are fax machines becoming less
Video conferencing
   An example of oral communication
   Uses a combination of telephone, computer
    and video technology
   Reduces travel costs, carbon footprint.
   Can be used for overseas recruitment
Telephones and mobile
   The average person in Finland has more than
    TWO mobile phones.
   In Japan the average person replaces their
    phone every 9 months.
Factors influencing the choice
of communication method
   Personal preference- Some people may prefer to put things in
    writing, some may prefer to talk about things.
   Organisational structure- a taller structure will require more
    formal and structured systems
   Security issues- hard copies maybe kept as well as computer
   Ease of use- E.g. sending out flyers
   Size of business- a small business may rely on verbal methods
   Storage issues- An order placed by a customer needs to be
    recorded, whereas a conversation about a social event does not
    have to be documented
   Location of sender and receiver- Time zone differences
   Urgency- a courier like FedEx could be used
   Cost- Sea mail is cheaper than airmail
Barriers to effective
What   do we call any barrier to communication?

     High costs                       Geographical location
     Technological                    Internal politics
      breakdowns                       Poor presentation skills
     Language                         Negative body
     Accents                           language
     Jargon                           Chinese whispers
     Different cultures               Physiological barriers
     Poor attitude
What are the consequences of
poor communication?
Task- OCR’s examination
    The Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts (OCR)
     Examination Board is one of the main examination boards in the
     UK. In 2006, some 6400 A Level Geography students were
     forced to sit an incomplete exam paper because OCR failed to
     send schools copies of a map which was required for a question
     worth 16 marks. The blunder by the examination board meant
     that the students had to overlook the question that was worth
     more 20% of the exam paper. This enraged teachers and
     parents since the error placed extra stress on the students. OCR
     responded by stating the question would be ignored during the
     marking process and launched an investigation into how the slip-
     up occurred.

1.   Explain two barriers to effective communication (4 marks)
2.   Examine the importance of effective communication to an
     organisation such as the OCR Examination Board. (6 marks)