What is communication? What is the key to effective communication?



A movement of a message, with clear meaning, from sender to receiver is known as communication (Richard Hodgetts, 2006).  Communication plays a pivotal role in the organizational internal and external performance. It moves either upward/downward or in both directions. However, an MNC cannot set a single communication pattern in all of its international subsidiaries as the communication is strongly influenced by the subsidiary’s local culture.  For example, KSA culture scores high on power distance (Hofstede, 2017). Thus, Nestle can never set an upward communication system in its Saudi subsidiary because subordinates are not supposed to directly communicate with the top management. Similarly, in the USA, an MNC may not be successful with a downward communication flow pattern due to the low level of power distance.

The effectiveness of communication is not guaranteed by the selection of communication flow pattern. An MNC needs to consider two main keys to infuse effectiveness in communication within an organization.  The first key is to generate an open feedback system (Richard Hodgetts, 2006), which allows each and every subsidiary to directly communicate with the parent company. It can be done by enabling a feedback system in which the subsidiary management can personally and impersonally contact with the parent office to discuss performance problems, the progress of goals, and other critical issues. Since each subsidiary has its own local language, different from the parent office, therefore, it increases the communication ineffectiveness. The second key to effective communication is to provide language training to subsidiary managers to ensure that they can actively present their views in general meetings or communicate their branch’s problems and issues clearly. The third key understands the cultures of the operating countries. The home management and local managers must understand each other’s cultures to avoid communication breakdown (Richard Hodgetts, 2006).