Communication barriers in a Swedish academic workplace: An exploratory study

University essay from Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi

Abstract: “The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished”, says the author George Bernard Shaw (Shaw, 2011). This simple phrase indicates how frequent unsuccessful communication processes are among individuals in daily life. Like any other human activity, communication could be disturbed when barriers to communication appear. This study aimed to explore six significant communication barriers through conducting in-depth interviews: linguistic, cultural, mechanical, hierarchical, gender and personal biases, and how they could affect communication among ten coworkers in a Swedish academic workplace. The results of the study confirmed that some of these barriers do exist to some participants (coworkers), such as mechanical and gender barriers, while to others these barriers were not present as much and in some cases not at all. All ten participants agreed that hierarchical barriers were nowhere to be seen as well as personal biases while linguistic barriers were apparent but only on a small scale. As for the cultural barriers, the participants did not believe they existed. This result was related to a potential lack of knowledge in differences between cultures. The participants confirmed that overcoming the abovementioned barriers when they occur is of high importance and should be done instantly in order to ensure successful organizational communication.

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