At least two persons are involved in a communication process. Perhaps there could be more. At one end, we have the sender(s) and at the other end we have the receiver(s). They are also called the encoder and the decoder. Now, examine the following situation that leads to mis communication. In a company or an office, an employee makes a request or conveys a grievance to the Manager, either orally or in writing. The employee is the encoder and the Manager the decoder. The Manager does not react or respond as expected on desired by the employee. He may even have turned down the request of the employee or ignored this grievance by his apathetic silence. The frustrated employee tells his peer group that the manager has “turned a deaf ear” to his plea. Human ears (at least the normal ones) cannot be turned on or off mechanically at will. What the employee meant was that the Manager had not responded as desired by him. There are ever so many reasons for the manager “turning a deaf ear to the employee.
The employee might have made his plea at an unsuitable place or time. He might have made it when the manager was engrossed in some other problem; he might have made it when the manager was in a hurry; he might have made it amidst the din and noise of the factory floor. These are some of the physical / environmental causes for the miscommunication.
The employee might have chosen to communicate it orally while he was expected to do it in writing or vice-versa. The choice of the medium has caused his miscommunication.
The employee’s linguistic competence or the use of a language not known to the manager might have caused the mis-communication.
The employee might have been ignorant of the attitude of the manager and a probable bias against this particular employee. These are all attitudinal or psychological causes. The manager and the employee do not vibe at the same wave length, to put it in more simple words.
The employee’s urgency which is a reality might not have been comprehended or appreciated by the manager. This gap in the perception of this reality might have caused miscommunication.
When we often say, ‘he has turned a deaf ear’, “he has a mental block’, “he has a jaundiced view”, or “he has his blinkers on”, we really mean that a miscommunication has taken place.
Communication becomes ineffective or fails because of several reasons. The factors that affect effective communication are called barriers to communication.