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The Impact of Communication on Workers’ Performance in Selected Organisations in Lagos State, Nigeria

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IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS)
Volume 19, Issue 8, Ver. II (Aug. 2014), PP 75-82
e-ISSN: 2279-0837, p-ISSN: 2279-0845.
www.iosrjournals.org
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The Impact of Communication on Workers’ Performance in
Selected Organisations in Lagos State, Nigeria
ASAMU Festus Femi (Ph.D.)
Department of Sociology, Landmark University, Nigeria.
Abstract: In today’s world, communication is an important component of organisation activity. Because the
global world has become widespread, most organisations need to meet their needs with a lower resource moral
through communication. This study examines the significant relationship between communication and workers’
performance in some selected organisations in Lagos State, Nigeria. Data for the study were collected through
questionnaire with sample population of 120 respondents. The result of this study reveals that a relationship
exists between effective communication and workers’ performance, productivity and commitment. The study
recommended that managers will need to communicate with employees regularly to improve workers
commitment and performance.
Keywords: Effective Communication; Workers’ Performance; Organisational Productivity; Workers’
Commitment; Communication System
I. Introduction
The rise of globalization developments in political, social, economic, technological areas crucially
affects communal and organizational lives of individuals in the society. In parallel with these developments
organization management are obliged to develop new management techniques to struggle even harder
competition conditions. These modern management techniques to a large extent aim to raise employees
performance by using the power of communication (Erogluer, 2011). The beginning of the universe was the
beginning of communications. There was no beginning which was devoid of communication. Thus,
communication facilitates transformation of the human society. Communication is a many-sided phenomenon
that means different things to different people. It is a process of a means of access to the mind or thought of
another. According to Wilson (1997), communication can also be seen as a reduction of uncertainty, thus,
communication is an exchange of meanings
Accordingly, for organization and human as a social being, communication has a vital importance,
whether pros or cons are an inseparable piece of life and also it has an important role on all activities aimed at
gaining organizational objectives (Ada et al., 2008). Attention has been given to the study of organizational
communication in organizational behaviour research as a result of the significance of this variable to
organizational effectiveness. For instance, it has been found that effective communication improves job
satisfaction (Holtzhausen, 2002) and which in turn improves productivity (Litterst & Eyo, 1982). Research has
also shown that communication improves employee job performance (Goris, 2007), while poor communication
results to low employee commitment to the organization (Kramer, 1999).
Chen et al. (2006) pointed out that research is lacking in examining employee satisfaction with
communication process. There is therefore the need to explore the relationship between organizational
communication and workers performance since communication integrates different units and functions in the
organization. Communication is the human activity that links people together and create relationship (Duncan &
Moriaty, 1998). This means that individuals relate with each other by means of communication. It is the glue
that binds people together in an organization. Managers have traditionally spent the majority of their time
communicating in one form or another (face-to-face discussion, memos, notice boards, mass meeting,
employees hand book, public lectures, e.t.c). Today, however, more and more workers find out that an important
aspect of their work is communication which is the mutual exchange of understanding, originating with the
receiver that leads to effective and efficient work performance in an organization because it‟s the essence of
management. The basic functions of management (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling)
cannot be performed well without effective communication. Different units exist in an organization and it is
through communication that interaction takes place for the attainment of organizational goals.
On the other hand, Workers Performance is regarded as how well an employee is able to dispatch
his/her duties to the specified organization. Setting and clearly communicating performance standards and
expectations, observing and providing feedback, and conducting appraisals enable you to achieve the best
results through managing employee performance. According to Bass (1985), employees choose to perform tasks
out of identification with the managers or with the organization roles and objectives. This relationship results in
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the employees‟ basic agreement with the norms to which they are required to perform. Thus, the flow of
communication can create identification with workers internalizing desirable values, as regarding an
organizations goals and objective. However, better performance can be achieved only when there is a reasonable
level of expectation-fit and when the social exchange between managers and employees is fair and equal Wang
(2005). Within the perspective of human resource management, it has often been theorized that employees‟
knowledge, abilities and skills will enable them to be good performers when they are hired. Thus, the
management must gear its policies and objectives in such a manner that employees perform their work and do
their assigned task. We are living in a time when communication systems are evolving rapidly which is essential
for success and growth of an organization and is being perennially called upon to play a greater role in the quest
for economic and political stability. Effective workplace performance is the key element in the success of an
organization and the effectiveness of the workers employed will determine just how successful the organization
will be. Effective communication between employees‟ and managers is crucial in that employees will need to
know what is expected of them, managers will need to provide a clear job description for every employee which
would make employees have immediate access to the necessary tools to complete each assignment given to
them. Communication covers all activities that the management does to enhance workers performance.
Despite the above numerous advantage of effective communication business all over the world today is
very challenging. To stay profitable in the highly challenging and competitive global market economy, all
factors of production, i.e. men, machine, method, market, money and materials, should be wisely managed.
Among the factors of production, the human resource constitutes the biggest challenge because unlike other
inputs, employee management demands skilful handling of thoughts, feelings and emotions to secure highest
productivity. Organisational communication plays an important role in this challenge. Inability of a heads or
Managers of any organization to coordinate a perfect and smooth flow of communication interaction among
employee and outside business environment may likely create and facilitate low productivity with high degree
of workers boring and disarray. However, people understand and interpret messages differently. In
communication, there are many unwanted interference that can distort a message and remain always a potential
threat to effective communication, because it can interfere with the accuracy of a message being communicated
(Koontz 2001).
Similarly, organizations in Nigeria have been faced with an array of problems that seem to be an
impediment to the growth of any organization such as, mismanagement of funds and resources, poor leadership
skills, low level of real income, and poor infrastructural facilities to mention but a few. It is in this context that
this study examines the impact of communication on worker performance, their productivity and their general
commitment to work, using selected organization in Lagos state as an empirical study.
Research Objectives
The broad objective of this study is to determine the impact of organizational communication on workers‟
performance. The specific objectives are to:
i. To determine the level of communication within an organisation.
ii. To determine the impact of organizational communication on workers performance.
iii. To examine how communication influences workers productivity.
iv. To determine the extent to which communication affect the level of workers commitment.
Research Hypotheses
i. There is a relationship between effective communication and workers‟ performance.
ii. There is a relationship between communication and organizational productivity.
iii. There is a relationship between effective communication and the level of workers‟ commitment.
II. Literature Review
Communication covers all activities that an individual does when he wants to make a transformation in
someone else‟s mind. This is a meaning bridge between an individual or individuals and organization.
Communication is a process that contains expressing, listening and understanding (Banerji and Dayal, 2005).
Similarly, emphasizing social aspect of communication, communication that takes part on the base of social life
and forms the content of organizational structure is a process which aims at conducting good relationships
between groups and organizations (Dogan, 2005). Price (1997) defined organizational communication as the
degree to which information about the job is transmitted by an organization to its members and among members
of the organization. Ayatse (2005) observed that communication is needed to establish and disseminate the goals
of the enterprise. This is because the competencies and skills they possess will enable them to exhibit work
behaviours appropriate and relevant to the performance of the job. It is further theorized that employees are
likely to be more productive if their performance is rewarded assuming that the reward received has value to
them, as argued by the expectancy theory (Victor Vroom, 1964). Communication is vital in organizations such
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that Orpen (1997) argued that communication has a vital role in the failure or accomplishment of any
organization, it is used for the purpose of resolving the contradictions in work organization in other that such
organization may progress. People must come together, think together, work together, learn together and
advance together. Human interaction allows man to forge new horizons and explore new possibilities. Thus, by
meeting people, they can communicate in the language of themselves. The variety of communication aids/
techniques used in an organization depends on the nature of the organization, its kind and range of personnel
that best suits the management and also the location of the workplace.
According to Ince and Gül (2001) communication is the exchange of ideas, emotions and opinions
through words, letters and symbols among two or more people. He states that this may be defined as a technical
fact. Yet it is uncertain whether symbols are transfer truly or not, to what extent symbols meet the transmitted
message and how effective transmitted fact on the receiver (Kalla, 2005; Baltas and Baltas, 2002). Without
communication, through readings, listening (the receptive skills), speaking and writing (the productive skills)
mankind would find it difficult to unravel some of the mysteries of life. Those things that we are ignorant of or
have knowledge of, or that we have doubts about can be explained to us better through communication. Altinöz
(2008) defines communication as a means through which the task and the resources needed to carry out an
assignment, the roles and duties and the expected results are made known to the subordinates. This means that
communication is the transfer of information (a message) from one person to another. Thus effective
communication is therefore the transfer of message, followed by feedback, from the receiver to the sender,
indicating an understanding of the message. Multidimensional aspect of the notion of communication along with
its analyses from different viewpoints affects its definition, communication is needed to review, conceptualize
and direct interaction in an organization.
Employee communication is the dissemination of information which is related to the daily performance
of an employer‟s job and also important if the worker is expected to be an effective member of staff. It connotes
a consideration of human beings as a vital resource (Buchanan and Doyle 1999). Communication is the transfer
of information from a sender to a receiver, with the message being understood by the receiver. Myers and Myers
(1982) defined organizational communication as “the central binding force that permits coordination among
people and thus allows for organized behaviour,” and Rogers and Rogers (1976) who argue that “the behaviour
of individuals in organizations is best understood from a communication point of view.”
In many ways, organizations have evolved in directions that make the latter view more appropriate.
Changes confronting organizations and the associated changes in organizational forms have made organizational
communication increasingly important to overall organizational functioning. Communication is said to be the
foundation for sound management, communication helps greater coordination and interaction among workers,
good communication helps in motivating the workers, and communication helps in establishing links between
different hierarchies and functions of management, communication clears confusion, misunderstanding and
delays in administration, it helps in achieving maximum productivity with minimum cost, it helps in building
genuine human relation. Communication is not only an essential aspect of these recent organizational changes,
but effective communication can be seen as the foundation of modern organizations (Grenier and Metes 1992;
D‟Aprix 1996; Witherspoon 1997; von Krogh et al. 2000).
Effective communication is needed for management to develop and sustain a competitive advantage for
organizational performance and improvement (Aviolio,Lado, Boyd & Wright, 1992; Rowe, 2001). Effective
communication between leaders and employees is critically important for the potential success of a company.
Leaders need to enact strategies to improve communication that could lead to positive work consequences (Gray
and Laidlaw, 2002). Improvements in supervisor-subordinate communication will assist organizations toward
the goal of managing diversity by promoting equality and integration in the workplace.
Effective communication succeeds when employees support the leader and the organization if there is a
belief that employees' efforts will be rewarded. Leadership succeeds when initiating response or responding to
change and leadership is inextricably linked to the credibility of those leading. Constituents will become
willingly involved to the extent that they believe in those sponsoring the change (Desanctis & Janet, 1999). The
association between employee satisfaction and job performance suggests that an important contributor to the
employee‟s engagement within the organization is the leader employee relationship. Foong (2001) concludes
that managers use leadership behaviours to influence employees. Lee and Chuang (2009) explain that an
excellent leader not only inspires subordinates, giving them the potential to enhance efficiency, but also meets
their requirements in the process of achieving organizational goals. How a leader communicates is as important
as to how he leads. The leader is the guiding force within a group and organization. A leadership style that
resonates with followers will allow the leader to achieve greater employee productivity. Conversely, poor
leadership styles lead to poor communication and can have negative effects on workers performance and in turn
productivity. The process by which employees are made aware of organizational goals and their involvement in
the achievement of them is recognized to play an important role in fostering job commitment (Anderson and
Martin, 1995; Haskins, 1996). Goris et al. (2000) and Ooi et al. (2006) find organizational communication to
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have an important positive association with affective commitment, whilst (Brunetto and Farr-Whartons‟ 2004)
findings “suggest a strong relationship between communication processes and job satisfaction and affective job
commitment”.
The importance of communication may appear intuitively obvious, but does research support this
assumed importance; the short answer is yes. Research has shown that when employee needs are met through
satisfying communication, employees are more likely to build effective work relationships.” (Gray & Laidlow
2004, quoted in Tsai and Chuang 2009). This “research satisfaction” – “the sum total of an individual‟s
satisfaction with information flow and relationship variables” (Downs & Hazen, 1977, in Tsai and Chuang
2009) has been correlated with key variables such as job performance and turnover rates. Further, “certain facets
of employees‟ communication satisfaction that exhibit both information and relationship features supervisory
communication, personal feedback, and communication climate were found to be the major dimensions of
communication-job performance relationships” (Tsai and Chuang 2009). In other words, the ways in which
information flows in an organization is critical to the way that personnel understand their relationship to and
within the organization. In short, as Chen (2008) stated, each passing study seems to reveal “that the relationship
between internal/employee communication and corporate effectiveness is more significant than what has
previously been assumed”.
III. Methodology
Research Design
The research design adopted for this study was descriptive survey method. This is because the method
was deemed appropriate, as the study collected information on impact of communication on workers‟
performance in an organization. Oniye (1997), states that the descriptive survey deals with systematic
description of an event in a very factual and accurate manner.
The Study Area
The study area is in Lagos state, Nigeria. It is an administrative division of Nigeria, located in the
south western part of the country. Lagos State is arguably the most economically important state of the country;
it is the nation‟s largest urban area with vast number of organizations, which makes it a relevant study area for
this research work. The study was conducted at Andos Water; Hans Finest Solution, Mickelyn Petroleum,
Soyebode Engineering Resource Limited.
Sampling Techniques and Sample Size
The purpose of a sample is to get a scaled down model of the total population because the sociologist
wants to generalize from the attributes, their distribution and their inter relationships observed in his sample to
the attributes of the population. Hence because the total population might be too large to study, the researcher
therefore, restricts himself to a part of the population that represents the whole. In selecting a fair sample upon
which valid conclusions could be drawn; stratified sampling technique and random sampling technique were
used respectively. Some private organizations in Lagos State were selected, and a sample size of 120 staff was
used for this study.
Names of Organisation
Total Population
Sample Population
Andos Water
25
20
Hans Finest Solution
40
30
Mickelyn Petroleum
35
30
Soyebode Engineering
50
40
Total
150
120
Source: Researcher’s Field Survey, 2013
Research Instrument
The research instrument used for collection of data is the administering of well structured
questionnaire. The questionnaire consists of two sections. Section A consists of information relating to the
socio-demographic characteristics of the respondent: name of organisation, sex, age, marital status e.t.c. while
section B contains questions on the respondent interpretation and perception of the impact of communication on
workers performance. Thus, questions in section will be used to test the different proposed hypothesis in chapter
one.
Method of Data Analysis
The data were analyzed using statistical techniques which included both descriptive and inferential
statistics. The frequency and percentage table were used for the descriptive statistics while the use of non -
parametric test of chi-square also known as the goodness of fit test was employed for the inferential statistical
analyses in other to confirm the hypotheses formulated for the course of the study and it measures the reliability
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and significance of data to see whether or not deviation of the actual observer leads to the acceptance or
rejection of the null hypothesis.
IV. Findings
This section reports and analyses major data collected from subject relating to communication and
worker performance in selected organisation in Lagos State. Socio-economic characteristic of the respondent
were first presented. Also, the calculated chi-square of the hypotheses earlier formulated in this study was
presented.
Table 1: Social Characteristics of Respondents
Age
Frequency
Percentage
21-29
47
39.2
30-39
33
27.5
40-49
30
25.0
50-59
10
8.3
Total
120
100.00%
Sex
Male
84
70
Female
36
30
Total
120
100.0%
Marital Status
Single
52
43.3
Married
57
47.5
Divorced
9
7.5
Separated
2
1.7
Total
120
100%
Staff Category
SSCE
20
16.7
OND/NCE
32
26.7
HND/Bachelors Degree
44
36.7
Masters Degree
19
15.8
P.H.D
5
4.2
No. of Work Years
Less than 6months
10
8.3
6months-1year
16
13.3
1year-2years
29
24.2
3-5years
32
26.7
More than 5years
33
27.5
Total
120
100%
Table 2: The Relationship Between Communication and Workers Performance
Level of Effective Communication
High
Average
Low
Total
X2
c
= 39.323 > X2
t (0.05) = 12.592, d.f = 6, n= 120
Table 3: The Relationship between Effective Communication and Organisations Productivity
Effective Communication
Organisations’ Productivity
High Average Low Total
Very Effective
61 12 3 76
Effective
17 27 0 44
Total
78 39 3 120
X2
c
= 26.975 > X2
t (0.05) = 5.991, d.f = 2, n= 120
Table 4: The Relationship between Effective Communication and Workers Commitment
Effective Communication
Workers Commitment
High Moderate Low Total
Very Effective
63 12 1 76
Effective
20 24 0 44
Total
83 36 1 120
X2
c
= 20.179 > X2
t (0.05) = 5.991, d.f = 2, n= 120
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V. Discussion
The age category of respondents in Table 1 indicates that 47 (39.2%) of the respondents were between
the ages of 21-29 years, 33 (27.5%) were between the ages of 30-39 years, 30 (25.0%) were between the ages of
40-49 years and 10 (8.3%) were between the ages of 50-59 years. Thus, the result indicates that the active age
range of workers is the ages between 21-29 years. The distribution of respondents by sex reveals that 84
(70.0%) were males and 36 (30.0%) were females. This indicates that a large proportion of those in the work
force are males. The data in Table 1 also shows that 52 (43.3%) were single, 57 (47.5%) were married, 9 (7.5%)
were divorced and 2 (1.7%) were separated. Thus, the result shows that majority of the respondents are married.
In another development, distribution of respondents by their educational qualification reveals that 20 (16.7%)
have SSCE, 32 (26.7%) have OND/NCE, 34 (36.7%) have HND/Bachelors Degree 19 (15.8%) have Masters
Degree and 5 (4.2%) have P.H.D. Thus, the result shows that majority of the respondents had HND/Bachelors
Degree holders. And also, the data in table 1 reveals that 10 (8.3%) have worked with the organization for Less
than 6months, 16 (13.3%) have worked with the organization for 6months-1year, 29 (24.2%) have worked with
the organization for 1-2years, 32 (26.7%) have worked with the organization for 3-5years and 33 (27.5%) have
worked with the organization for more than 5years. Thus, the result shows that majority of the respondents have
worked with the organization for more than 5years.
Finally, it is noteworthy that out of a total number of three hypotheses tested, the null hypothesis
statement of the three hypotheses was rejected. Thus, in Table 2, we found that effective communication has
impact on workers performance. This assertive can be linked to Ayatse (2005) in his study “observed that
communication is needed to establish and disseminate the goals of the enterprise. This is because the
competencies and skills they possess will enable them to exhibit work behaviours appropriate and relevant to the
performance of the job”. Also, the contextual theory affirms the above result through the contention of (Pearce
1994, 1995; and Cronen 1991, 1995) that for communication to effectively have impact in workers performance
there is need for the message passed across to be properly understood by workers in a particular organisation It
seeks to explicate how the creation and maintenance of social relations materialize in talk.
The second hypothesis tested on Table three showed that effective communication system helps in
achieving maximum productivity within an organization. In line with the above result, Tsai and Chuang, (2009)
observed “the sum total of an individual‟s satisfaction with information flow and relationship variables” has
correlation with key variables such as job performance and turnover rates which suggests a link between
communication and productivity as more complex than previously assumed. It is also believed that the
mechanistic perspective is viewed as a technical system that allows information flow from one direction to
another through the informative function of communication which is enacted to provide needed information to
personnel so they can do their jobs in an effective and efficient manner.
Also, from the Table 4, it can be seen that effective communication affects the level of workers
commitment within an organization. Corroborating based on the above result to Arnold, (2011) observed that
“the perception of people in the communication process must be considered, for what they think or feel affects
considerably how they interact with the organizational environment” whilst (Brunetto and Farr-Whartons‟ 2004)
findings “suggest a strong relationship between communication processes and job satisfaction and affective job
commitment”. The Contextual view of communication and meaning, rather than examining how discourse helps
create, maintain, and give meaning to social relations, he examines how the communication context itself is
negotiated. Feedback exchanges can be viewed as a process of interpersonal negotiation whereby through
effective communication, workers are committed to work.
VI. Conclusion
Based on the findings of this research, the study has been able to reveal that effective communication
creates mutual understanding between management and workers which helps in building genuine relationship
among both parties in the organizations. Also, this study reveals that poor communication can affect workers
performance. Therefore, organizations should regularly articulate it policies, goals and objectives to it workers
in other to improve work performance. That is, communication is a means through which the task and the
resources needed to carry out an assignment, the roles and duties and the expected results are made known to the
subordinates which makes work easier for better performance. Also, managers need to communicate with
employees regularly to get feedback and offer suggestions in other to prevent confusion about future job
assignments; this will help improve workers performance and organizational productivity. In addition, top
managers should communicate directly with their subordinates on issues of importance. Organizations should
eliminate the barriers on communication and create efficient, participative, and transparent communication
medium to improve workers commitment.
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