Communication - the lifeblood of a (business) community
Posted by Claude on Thursday 29th October 2009 at 14:51:18
The word community is derived from the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin communitas, a broad term for fellowship or organized society.
We also refer to business as a community. More specifically, the employees working for a particular organisation form a community. Even the language of community is used in an organisation context, where we talk about organisational “culture”.
In an African context, community is key. An African is a being when in-community. This is the concept of Ubuntu – “I am because we are.” Africans discover their humanity in relation to others. Relationships therefore form the basis of community.
In the African community, it is key that order and balance is maintained. The first response to any disruptive force is to restore the community.
In various reconciliation rituals the common element of restoration is clear, open and honest communication, giving full disclosure in order to facilitate forgiveness and restoration.
If we look at a definition of communication we learn that it is a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding.
So communication is the process of sharing understanding, which is also the foundation of establishing community.
Thus communication = healthy relationships = stable community.
In a business context, where the employees form the community, communication is as important.
Unless the employees at all levels have a shared understanding of what the vision and mission of the business is, there is no common understanding, and there can therefore be no true sense of community.
Without this, it is either a case of every man for himself, or it leads to the formation of power groups within the organisation.
With everyone pulling in different directions according to their own understanding, instead of having a shared understanding as regards mission and vision, the outcome will always be less than optimal results for the organisation.
Communication is therefore the lifeblood of organisational effectiveness as well.
There are many different forms of communication to both advocate and enquire in order to facilitate clear communication.
These concepts and processes will be touched on in other articles, but suffice to say that clear, open and honest communication is the lifeblood of any community, including the business community.
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