ABSTRACT: Communication is an important component of organizational activities because the global world has become widespread; most organizations need to meet their needs with a lower resource moral through communication. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of communication on employee performance in selected companies, Akwa Ibom State. The population under study was 1007 employees who were currently working in those companies. The study examines the association between communication and employee performance. The sampling technique was stratified random sampling so as to improve on precision and representativeness of the whole population. Data was collected by the use of questionnaires which were availed to the sample population. The research concluded that communication can enhance employee performance and recommended that strong communication system should be emphasized in the companies.



1.1     Background to the Study

The art and science of human communication have been a source of fascination and interest from ancient times to the present day. Communication with others is such a fundamental aspect of human functioning that it is almost impossible to conceive of life without it. It is through communication and interaction with others that our lives are given meaning. Communication activities impinge on various ways on all aspects of our lives and we have a seemingly endless appetite for communication and interaction. Being a good communicator is recognised as an essential asset in getting along with other people and having a successful career. In the world of work, good communication is seen as an essential ingredient of a successful company. This includes both external communications (for example with customers, suppliers, and other agencies) and internal communication (for example between departments or between team members).

The costs of poor communication can be high, in both the personal sphere and the world of work. Maintaining relationships with family and friends is often fraught with difficulty. Having to deal with misunderstandings where someone has taken insult where none was intended, trying to maintain relations with someone who clearly holds political or religious views that are opposite to your own, require considerable effort and skill. It is not surprising then that personal relationships often break down when the effort of maintaining the relationship seems to outweigh the benefit.

Interpersonal communication at work may also suffer from similar difficulties to those listed above as belonging to the personal sphere. However, communication at work has an additional set of constraints and expectations that may result to further consequences when relations break down. For example, poor communication with a customer may result in loss of business. Poor communication with a supervisor may result in losing one’s job. Abusive or discriminatory communication with a colleague may result in legal action.

On the positive side, improving organisational communication can result in considerable efficiency gains. For example, improving relations with customers may lead to generating more business, a greater awareness of customer needs, and greater long-term stability. Better communication between departments and team members may result in fewer misunderstandings and greater productivity. Improved communication with supervisors and managers can bring greater job satisfaction, increased organisational citizenship behaviour, and decreased workplace deviance.

Communication is the central binding force that permits coordination among people and thus allows for organized behaviour. According to Rogers and Rogers (2006), the behaviour of individuals in organizations is best understood from a communication point of view.

Communication is not only an essential aspect of these recent organizational changes, but effective communication can be seen as the foundation of modern organizations (Grenier and Metes 2002; D’Aprix 2006; Witherspoon 2007; von Krogh et al. 2000).

Organizational communication can be broadly defined as communication with one another in the context of an organization (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997; Shockley-Zalabak, 2006).This type of communication, in turn, includes activities of sending and receiving messages through various layers of authority, using various message systems, and discussing various topics of interest to the group we belong to or the company we work for. Communication is the basic and most important activity of an organization.

Communication is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of ideas, feelings, intentions, attitudes, expectations, perceptions or commands, as by speech, gestures, writings, behaviour and possibly by other means such as electromagnetic, chemical or physical phenomena. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more participants (machines, organisms or their parts). According to Wilson (1997), communication can also be seen as a reduction of uncertainty, thus, communication has a vital importance, whether pros or cons are an inseparable pieces of life and also it has an important role on all activities aimed at gaining objectives (Ada, 2008).

Communication requires a sender, a message, a medium and a recipient, although the receiver does not have to be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver understands the sender’s message (Inyang, 2002). Communicating with others involves three primary steps:

  • Thought: First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea, information, or feeling.
  • Encoding: Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other symbols.
  • Decoding: Lastly, the receiver translates the words or symbols into a concept or information that a person can understand.

Business can only flourish when all objectives of an organization are achieved effectively. For efficiency in an organization, people invent or craft their thoughts in terms of policies and strategies. Afterwards, these are presented by encoding to other stakeholders in the organisation. Communication is complete when the stakeholders decode and understand the information that was conveyed.

Managers do not need answers to operate a successful business; they need questions. Answers can come from anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world; thanks to the benefits of all the electronic communication tools at our disposal. This has turned the real job of management into determining what it is the business needs to know, along with who/what/where/when and how of learning it. To effectively solve problems, seize opportunities, and achieve objectives,

  Questions need to be asked by manager.                                                      

         Non verbal  content always accompanies the verbal content of messages. This is reasonably clear in the case of face-to-face communication. As Virginia (2009 has pointed out, people cannot help but communicate symbolically (for example, through their clothing or possessions) or through some form of body language. In messages that are conveyed by the telephone, a messenger, or a letter, the situation or context in which the message is sent becomes part of its non-verbal content. For example, if the company has been losing  money, and in a letter to the production division, the front office orders a reorganization of the shipping and receiving departments, this could be construed to mean that some people were going to lose their jobs — unless it were made explicitly clear that this would not occur.

A number of variables influence the effective of communication. Some are found in the environment in which communication takes place, some in the personalities of the sender and the receiver, and some in the relationship that exists between sender and receiver. These different variables suggest some of the difficulties of communicating with understanding between two people. The sender wants to formulate an idea and communicate it to the receiver. This desire to communicate may arise from his thoughts or feelings or it may have been triggered by something in the environment. The communication may also be influenced by the relationship between the sender and the receiver, such as status differences, a staff-line relationship, or a learner-teacher relationship.

Whatever its origin, information travels through a series of filters, both in the sender and in the receiver, and is affected by different channels, before the idea can be transmitted and re-created in the receiver’s mind. Physical capacities to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, vary between people, so that the image of reality may be distorted even before the mind goes to work. In addition to physical or sense filters, cognitive filters, or the way in which an individual’s mind interprets the world around him, will influence his assumptions and feelings. These filters will determine what the sender of a message says, how he says it, and with what purpose. Filters are present also in the receiver, creating a double complexity that is, it takes one person to say something and another to decide what he said.

Physical and cognitive, including semantic filter (which decide the meaning of words) combine to form a part of our memory system that helps us respond to reality. In this sense, March and Simon (1996), compare a person to a data processing system. Behaviour results from an interaction between a person’s internal state and environmental stimuli. What we have learned through past experience becomes an inventory, or data bank, consisting of values or goals, sets of expectations and preconceptions about the consequences of acting one way or another, and a variety of possible ways of responding to the situation. This memory system determines what things we will notice and respond to in the environment. At the same time, stimuli in the environment help to determine what parts of the memory system will be activated. Hence, the memory and the environment form an interactive system that causes our behaviour. As this interactive system responds to new experiences, new learning occurs which feed back into memory and gradually change its content. This process is how people adapt to a changing world.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The uniqueness of the human person is the ability to objectify his thought, ideas and words through sounds, symbols and words for purpose of communication. In communication, messages are conveyed through various media of communication including internet, print (publication), radio, television, outdoor and word of mouth. Communication in developing economies including Nigeria has attracted some constraining factors such as noise, for example fear, worry, lack of trust, racial and tribal discrimination, cultural and religious discrimination, undefined areas of responsibility, negative future expectations, and corruption, amongst others.                                                                               

Failure to communicate is a source of friction between the employees and department in the work situation. The position of various employees in an organization and their inter-relationship require constant consultation between one employee and another as the action will affect the other.

If one were to delve into the causes of some of the constant conflicts which arise between department and employees, one would find that most of them arose because “we were not informed”. They were not informed before a particular action, which does affect their work in their department, was taken.

In addition, many good managers have been disillusioned because major decisions affecting their departments were taken without their being involved.

This situation has lead to low performance of the workers. Communication carried out within the organization has the potential to affect how employees carry out their duties, leading either to an improvement to performance or deterioration in performance. The effectiveness of communication in developing economics including Nigeria has some constraining factors such as noise (example, fear, worry, lacks of trust, racial and tribal discrimination, cultural and religious discrimination, and undefined areas of responsibility, negative futures expectations and corruption amongst others).

     Therefore how can communication at some of these selected companies be properly utilised to improve employee performance.