The quality of the communication process is largely determined by the elements involved in such process. The more effective the elements are, the more effective is the process of communication. identified the following components: the media, the channels in the communication process, the sender’s body language, the receiver’s understanding, perception, attitudes etc. The misplacement or the ineffectiveness of these elements leads to barriers in the communication process. Four kinds of barriers in the communication process can be identified, namely the process barriers, physical barriers, semantic barriers and psychosocial barriers.
Sender barrier: A new junior manager with a novel idea hesitates to convey his idea in the meeting, chaired by the vice-president, due to fear of criticism.
Encoding barrier: A Welsh-speaking customer cannot absorb an English-speaking service employee to understand the special offerings of a store.
Medium barrier: A very disgusted staff member conveys his hard feelings in a letter to the manager instead of expressing such feelings face-to-face.
Decoding barrier: An old senior manager is unsure of what a younger junior manager meant when he referred to a employee as “spaced out”.
Receiver barrier: A manager who is conveying the operational strategy of the company to the employee asks him/her to repeat the statement as she was not listening carefully to the conversation
Feedback barrier: During a strategic meeting in the organisation, employees failed to respond to the conveyed strategy by the manager making the manager wonder if proper interpretation had occurred.
There may be some physical interruptions in the process of communication which may be anything like a telephone call, distance between people, walls, and drop-in visitors. Usually physical barriers are not taken into account seriously but they can be evaded. For instance, a wall may be a hindrance while communicating in the work space and it can be re-positioned.
Communication barriers are evident when we use some words in some situations which may have different meanings in other. This problem is said to be semantic where the same word may be understood differently by other people. The words efficiency, potentiality, enhanced productivity may mean one thing to a manager and it may be understood differently by a staff member who may be an employee.
Coskun identifies three important aspects of psychological and social barriers, namely fields of experience, filtering and psychological distance. The main elements of ‘fields of experience’ include perceptions, needs, background of people, values and expectations. The role of such fields appears during the encoding process of the sender and the decoding process of the receiver: they occur on the premise of their fields of experience.
When the sender and receiver belong to the same fields of experience, the communication process is smooth without many barriers. Nevertheless, the communication becomes difficult when their fields of experiences coincide very little. Filtering refers to our emotional filters which determines what we see, hear and listen and he also points out that psychological barriers occur with respect to the psychological distance between the people rather than the physical distance