The Importance of Communication in Business

Table of Content

The merging of business and communication has revolutionized the previously distinct realms of the business world. Today, communication is indispensable in all facets of business operations (Pincus, 1997). It is vital for achieving success in interpersonal engagements, facilitating efficient communication between management and staff members, as well as forging connections with external entities like other firms and the general public.

Effective communication is crucial for the success of any organization (Nelton, 1995). By utilizing proper communication skills, individuals can work better as a team, allowing organizations to exchange information, analyze situations, and set goals. Improving communication among peers enhances an individual’s overall skills and enables businesses to function more efficiently. Managers can effectively pass on information and train their subordinates, increasing the chances of business profitability. In today’s rapidly changing economic and technological landscape, communication plays a critical role in helping businesses navigate national and international economic restructuring, avoid market saturation, and effectively compete with their rivals (Nelton, 1995, PG). The concept of “high speed management” proposed by Cushman and King (1997) underscores the importance of communication in this new business environment.

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Ultimately, the ability to swiftly and effectively utilize information and communication is what enables an organization to successfully adapt and reorient in a fast-paced and unstable business environment.

Globalization has become a significant factor in the evolving business environment (Nelton, 1995). Advancements in technology and communication have made the world feel smaller. Services like overnight delivery, email, and cellular communication have contributed to this sense of connectedness. Globalization and international business are now possible due to mass media and mass transit. Technologies such as videophones, internet chat, and internet meeting rooms enable even small companies to engage in globalization. Some view globalization as a process that will lead to a homogeneous global community while others believe it will create distinct border cultures blending different societies. Regardless of perspective, effective communication with individuals from diverse cultures is crucial for business professionals (Nelton, 1995).

Globalization has led to an increase in business contact between different cultures, thanks to the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on January 1, 1994. This agreement involves the United States, Canada, and Mexico and has had a significant impact on the exchange of material and cultural goods among these countries. Furthermore, NAFTA has also influenced business communication levels. It is important to note that diversification in business is not solely influenced by NAFTA but also by diverse cultures within workplaces. Moreover, the inclusion of women in the workforce contributes to increased diversity and a greater need for effective communication skills (Nelton, 1995).

There are acknowledged differences in conversational styles and communication skills among cultures and genders (Nelton, 1995). This is especially relevant in today’s globalized society, where there is increased interaction between diverse cultures in business. Additionally, the workplace now includes a greater variety of cultures and women. Therefore, it is vital for businesses to prioritize effective communication and allocate more resources to accommodate these varying styles of communication (Nelton, 1995). Deborah Tannen highlights this significance in her book “Talking from Nine to Five.”

Every individual has a unique style that is influenced by different elements such as their geographic location, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, occupation, religion, and age. Furthermore, their personal traits and spirit also play a role in shaping their individual style (Nelton, 1995, PG).

The importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has increased as businesses in the United States and Latin American countries aim to understand different communication styles within each culture. This understanding allows for a mutually beneficial exchange that brings economic and cultural advantages to both parties. The elimination of trade barriers through this agreement has greatly improved business relations between Mexico, the United States, and other Latin American nations. In regions that are uncertain geographically or culturally, there is a growing assimilation of certain elements from one country into another.

According to a study, potential employers consider communication skills to be more important than grade point averages, degrees, or technical skills when deciding whether or not to hire entry-level applicants (Wardrobe, 1994). Another study has found a correlation between strong communication skills and high job performance (Scuder and Guinan, 1989). The American Society of Personnel Administrators has identified oral communication skills as the second most important job skill (Curtis, Winsor, and Stephens, 1989).

Even business colleges are recognizing the significance of communication skills in achieving success in the business world, with many now offering their own communication classes (Ober, 1987; Sorenson, Savage, and Orem, 1990). In Beaverfalls, P.A, we have the esteemed business institute Geneva College. However, some argue that the current emphasis on communication skills is insufficient. Pinkard (1997) reveals that in 1996, ninety-eight percent of MBA students at Stanford University only took one workshop in communication alongside their coursework. Pinkard and others criticize business programs for not adequately teaching communication skills and advocate for the inclusion of multiple communications courses in these programs. Pinkard’s review of 215 MBA programs nationwide in 1995 found that only half required any training in communication skills. Recognizing this, Pinkard (1997, PG) states:

“In my perspective, we are only halfway up the mountain. It is too soon to celebrate and relax. The reality is that, based on employers and research, MBA graduates are currently unprepared for a workplace where managers’ responsibilities are quickly transitioning from giving orders to building teams.”

The situation is gradually improving and ongoing, as confirmed by various studies (Bowman and Branchaw, 1988; Hyslop and Farris, 1984; Wentling, 1987; Wilmington, 1989). These studies recognize the increasing importance of public speaking skills as a crucial employment skill. Mitchell, Scriven and Wayne (1990) emphasize the significance of public speaking skills in the workplace. They found that fifty-eight percent of new employees are expected to deliver oral reports of twenty minutes or less within their first six months of employment. Effective communication skills are essential for business success both internally and externally. While some employees already possess effective communication skills through education or personal efforts, others still have room for improvement. Employers should evaluate these skills and provide appropriate training when necessary.

Bowman, J. P., and Branchaw, B. P. (1988). Are we preparing communication skills for the future of the next decade in our education? This article is from the Business Education Forum, volume 42, pages 17-18.

Curtis, D. B., Winsor, J. L., & Stephens, R. D. (1989). National preferences in business and communication education. Communication Education, 38, 6-14.

The book titled “Communication and High-Speed Management” was authored by Donald P. Cushman and Sarah Sanderson King in 1997 and published in New York by State University of New York Press.

Hyslop, D. J., & Faris, K. (1984). Integrate communication skills into all business classes. Business Education Forum, 38, 51-57.

The authors Mitchell, Scriven, and Wayne (1990) conducted a study analyzing the significance of verbal, nonverbal, and group interaction communication skills as assessed by business recruiters. The findings were presented at the Association for Business Communication International/National Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

According to Sharon Nelton’s article titled “Face to Face,” companies are achieving new goals by communicating with their customers and employees through traditional means of talking and listening.

This information was published in Nation’s Business on November 1, 1995.

According to Ober (1987), there was a comparison made between the status of post secondary business communication instruction in 1986 and 1982. This study was published in the Journal of Business Communication and can be found on pages 49-59.

Pincus, J. David. (1 Feb 1997). To obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Arts (MA) degree in communication? Communication World.

Scudder and Buinan (1989) conducted a study on communication competencies and their impact on employee performance ratings from superiors. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Business Communication, volume 26, pages 217-229.

Sorenson, R. L., Savage, G. T., & Orem, E. (1990). A profile of communication faculty needs in business schools and colleges. Communication Education, 38, 148-160.

Wardrope, William J.-Bayless, Marsha L. (1 Feb 1994) discuss the importance of oral communication skills instruction in business schools in their article published in the Journal of Education for Business.

According to Wentling (1987), business education plays a significant role in developing employability skills. In the Journal of Education for Business, it is stated that business education enhances skills required for employment (pp. 313-317).

Wilmington, S. C. (1989). Oral communication for a business career.

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