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12.6: Communication Channels

  • Page ID
    4839
  • Learning Objectives

    1. Understand how communication channels affect communication.
    2. Recognize different communication directions within organizations.

    The channel, or medium, used to communicate a message affects how accurately the message will be received. Verbal, written, and nonverbal communications have different strengths and weaknesses. In business, the decision to communicate verbally or in written form can be a powerful one. In addition, a smart manager is aware of the nonverbal messages conveyed by either type of communication—as noted earlier, only 7% of verbal communication comes from the words themselves.

    Information Richness

    Channels vary in their information richness. Information-rich channels convey more nonverbal information. As you may be able to guess from our earlier discussion of verbal and written communications, verbal communications are richer than written ones. Research shows that effective managers tend to use more information-rich communication channels than less effective managers (Allen & Griffeth, 1997; Fulk & Boyd, 1991; Yater & Orlikowski, 1992). The figure below illustrates the information richness of different information channels.

    Figure 12.16 Information Richness

    dfb8731732eb887410657e87fa32c606.jpg

    Adapted from information in Daft, R. L., & Lenge, R. H. (1984). Information richness: A new approach to managerial behavior and organizational design. In B. Staw & L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 6, pp. 191–233). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press; and Lengel, R. H., & Daft, D. L. (1988). The selection of communication media as an executive skill. Academy of Management Executive, 11, 225–232.