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Communication and Work

Good communication is one of the keys to successful business collaboration.

Business process designed and implemented properly is an important part of reaching a business goal. Business processes are designed and implemented by people. Contemporary level of technology development allows us to automate processes partially, but at the end of the day it is people who make final decisions and do the job to integrate those various pieces of a process puzzle into a working mechanism.

People are communicating with each other. They are not machines and therefore interpret received messages according to their attitudes.

Personal attitudes and combinations of those are different for everybody. They may match but not with every person you meet or have a chance to work with.

It may happen that messages received from others are in a form, intonation and with content controversial to our personal views, traditions, knowledge and mental state. This situation is described as cognitive dissonance, which is “a state of tension that occurs whenever an individual simultaneously holds two cognitions (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent. Stated differently, two cognitions are dissonant if, when considered alone, the opposite of one follows from the other. Because the occurrence of cognitive dissonance is unpleasant, people are motivated to reduce it; this is roughly analogous to the processes involved in the induction and reduction of such drives as hunger or thirst—except that, here, the driving force arises from cognitive discomfort rather than physiological needs.”[i]

There are usually three methods used often by individuals consciously or unconsciously to reduce cognitive dissonance when somebody has received information that is controversial to their personal views, beliefs, knowledge, ignorance etc.:
  • Find an argument that supports the opposite opinion. The argument includes facts, analysis and research;
  • Agree with the opposite point of view.
  • Degrade the person who expresses different opinion. This can be done by laughing, calling this person “an idiot” etc. There is also a form of degradation that uses information that is irrelevant to the idea or concept expressed, but aimed towards personality or something else.
Misunderstanding is a source of all conflicts therefore communicational atmosphere at the workplace should be carefully managed. It’s almost impossible to manage it from an authority perspective, because contemporary situation doesn’t really imply authority and there are no actual obvious tools that would allow ability to enforce control over communications and consequences of the way people express their opinion.

Being at work means being a professional. Professional is not only completing job in a highest possible quality, in time and with as much value to the customer as possible. It also means knowledge about the world we live in and understanding the rules of social and business collaboration. Communication with others is important part of being professional. Understanding always come with practice in any subject. Communication is not an exception.

Therefore following topics could be considered to improve professionalism:
  • Constant practice in conversations on various topics;
  • Respect other attitudes, views and opinions. Respect doesn’t mean agreement. It means acknowledgement of existence of different opinion, view and attitude. In our contemporary society it is a norm or at least should be a norm that all opinions have got equal right to exist. For the purpose of work completion or business goal achievement some opinions are given more weight than others, but it doesn’t mean opinions left behind are wrong or mentally sick.
  • Understanding that unresolved disputes will lead to conflicts. Disputes should always be addressed.
  • Reading every day books that relate to social psychology, politics, philosophy, history, anthropology etc. When the right author and book are picked up it helps a lot to get understanding of how different things work around us. This understanding helps very much to improve communication with others.
Happy communicating!


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