Barriers to Effective Communication

Filtering: Refers to the manipulation of information by the sender to elicit a favorable opinion from the receiver. Example, an employee is updating his superior about projects with significant progress but not informing him about projects that are lagging. The process of filtering information takes place at every level of the organization and can sometimes affect the quantity as well as the quality of information that reaches top management. The amount of filtered information increases with the number of vertical levels in the organizational hierarchy. Filtering can cause problems in the long run as only salient information is allowed to reach top management and thus they may not learn about a problem until it assumes serious proportions.

Selective perception: A person perceives information based on his needs, values, experiences and background. His personal interests and expectations influence the way he decodes information.

Defensiveness: People deliberately try to block communication when they feel that the other person is threatening their self-image and prestige. They respond defensively by making sarcastic comments, passing judgment on others, or questioning the other party’s motives.

Language: Words convey different meanings to different people. Age, education and cultural background are major factors that influence the use of language by people and the meaning they attach to words.

Barriers to communication can be further classified as
 Human/personal
 Semantic and
 Technical barriers.

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