In public administration, communication is one of the most important principles of management. Organizations cannot achieve their goals and objectives without practicing effective communication. In fact, it is the foundation of an organization’s success as no activity is possible without it. Even so, in this age of fast and sophisticated technologies, without active communication channels organizations cannot manage to keep abreast of the swift progress that is happening. Effective communication channels play a very significant role in the flow of information, transfer of resources, and even policies. In this context, this paper adopts the use of policy handbook, policy manual, policy guide, policy and departmental memorandum, and public policy report to analyze the aspects of effective communication channels and recognize the most feasible and appropriate communication genres applicable with the communication channels.
Purpose of Communication in Relation to Written Communication Genre
The purpose of communication varies greatly depending on the issues to be addressed. In an organization, management sets to getting things done through others by keeping them informed on how to do various tasks assigned to them and in the best way possible (Olmstead, 2000). Among others, public administrators usually adopt the use of policy guide, policy handbook, policy manual, and departmental memorandum to pass on valuable information about various internal policies and procedures. While addressing issues outside the organization, management may prefer to use a public policy report, a document that is used to analyze and address specific issues affecting the public. Virtually, the kind of communication genre mostly applicable in this case is written communication. Policy documents contain valuable information intended to pass on relevant information regarding the organization’s goals and objectives to the intended audience. Along with that, through written communication, management passes on managerial skills where the people receiving information learn through reading and analyzing to understand the policies of the organization. Moreover, readers can quickly read and understand information and even use the written materials for reference in the future. One unique characteristic about this particular genre is the fact that speakers cannot take back written information and the audience cannot fail to acknowledge it.
Role of Technology in Development of Written Communication
Technology is a double-edged sword, and at its very best, it has profoundly revolutionalized written communication. With the evolution of computers and computer networks, organization and transmission of information have become easier (Zheng, 2011). Ostensibly, the most significant impact of technology on written communication is speed and cutting down on costs. Before the computer era, a document sometimes required to be retyped several times on the typewriter before the final copy is generated. Getting information written is now faster with information processing software such as Microsoft Office Word, where errors and editing can be easily done without altering the whole document. Similarly, transmission of information is easy with the invention of the internet. Documents such as departmental memorandums can be emailed to the respective audience within the organization. Another way that technology has changed written communication is by improving quality and prevents loss of information. Technology allows easy storage and retrieval of information when necessary. This makes it easy to retrieve records on demand, thus improving the quality of communication.
Use of Written Communication in Promoting Understanding for Intended Audience
Effective communication takes place when a complete message is delivered and the recipient receives and fully understands it. Typically, it is about getting the correct message, to the right audience, using the correct channel of communication and at the right time. Depending on the type of message, and communication channel, the message may be delivered, but the audience may fail to understand the message for increased productivity. Written communication allows the communicator prepare the message with well-researched arguments and develop full knowledge and understanding of the message (Select Knowledge, n.d). Compared to oral, in written communication, the communicator also has a chance to think carefully about the target audience and fit them in the goals of the message. When it comes to the understanding of information, written communication is usually accompanied by data as supporting evidence. Besides, for the fact that written information can be stored and retrieved later makes it easy for reference in case the audience needs to verify on a certain subject.
Is Communication Intended for Internal or External Distribution
In an organizational setting, written information usually comprises of formalized human resources documents representing a broad view of standard operating procedures within an organization. The documents may contain specific information directed from management to their employees about operations of an organization or with specific instructions to perform a certain procedure. Written information can be intended for internal or external distribution. For instance, the departmental memorandum may be used to formally distribute information from a particular department to its staff members. The documents are meant for internal distribution to keep the employees fully informed about the operations within their department. On the other hand, written information can be intended for external distribution. For instance, in a public organization, public policy reports are generated for keeping the public informed about the progress of the issues affecting them.
Ethical and Privacy Considerations
Ensuring that the right information gets to the right audience and at the right time, demands a great deal of planning. Efficient distribution of information relies on the proper channels and methods to ensure that the intended audience gets the correct information. Along with that, when determining the right channel of communication, it is important to bear in mind the ethical and privacy considerations as part of efficient communication channels. In communication, privacy refers to the rights of an individual or organization to control the collection and distribution of personal information. According to Hamid (2011), privacy determines how the information is distributed; to whom and to what extent it is released. When disseminating information, it is information for management to consider whether the privacy of the information will be compromised as well as means to prevent its leakage. On the other hand, ethical considerations refer to several important characteristics (Krizan, 2006). Firstly, the message must be conveyed without offending the audience. For instance, instead of using a harsh tone, which is detectable even in written communication, management should request the employees in a calm or friendly tone. The other thing, withholding relevant information from the audience is considered unethical. All vital information should be included in the written document for proper decision-making. Besides, the accuracy of information is also critical. It is only ethical for any information passed on to be true and precision. Of importance is to determine whether the communication channel has the potential to compromise on the ethics and privacy of the information. In fact, using distribution methods without checking the ethical and privacy considerations can be highly dangerous for the organization.
Krizan, A. C. (2006). Business communication. Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.
Nemati, H. R. (2011). Pervasive information security and privacy developments: Trends and advancements. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Olmstead, J. A. (2000). Executive leadership: Building world class organizations. Houston, TX: Cashman Dudley.
Select Knowledge. (n.d). Managing Information. Harpenden: Select Knowledge Limited.
Zheng, D. (2011). Applied informatics and communication: International conference, ICAIC 2011, Xi’an, China, August 20-21, 2011 : proceedings. Berlin: Springer.
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