1.1     Background to the Study

Communication is the process of getting information across from one person to another. But effective communication is the process of getting information across from one person to another in a way that they will understand our feeling, thoughts and needs. Communication in all organization whether private or public is the life stream of the organization or putting it in another way, it serves as the thread that weaves everything together in the said organization Bankole (2011).

Goals of communication are to: establish and disseminate the goals of an enterprise; develop plans for their achievement; organize human and other resources in the most effective and efficient way; select, develop, and appraise members of the organization; control performance and create a climate in which people want to contribute; and control performance. With the above aims of communication, it is obvious that nothing could be achieved by any organization without effective channels of active human beings life on the job is spent communicating.

While a greater proportion about 90% of a typical managers time at work is spend in the communicating process. It is therefore important to understand how the communication network operates and the elements that contribute to an effective system. Obviously, it is through communication system that plans, decisions, politics and information that flow from the management are made possible and all levels of management linked. A typical communication process is depicted in the diagram below;

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Bankole A. R (2011) pp 206 Communication model

Communication therefore begins with the sender who has “thought” of an idea, which is then “encoded” in a way that can be understood by the receiver. The information is then transmitted over a channel that links the sender with the receiver in which the media used may be in oral or written form, or a computer. The receiver then receives the message and decodes into thoughts, accurate communication can occur only when both the sender and the receiver attach the same or at least similar meaning to the symbols. Against this backdrop the study examines information dissemination patterns and organizational efficiency in Uyo Local Government Council.

Downward communication, upward communication and lateral communication exist in this organization. Downward communication refers to the directives and other messages that originate from the officials at top levels i.e. superiors and are transmitted down through the hierarchy which are intervening levels of supervision, until they reach the lower-ranking worker. While upward communication is a system of communication where recommendations, request or messages are passed from the lower levels of the hierarchy up to the higher levels of the management.

Lastly, lateral communication takes place among workers of the same level or among employees of different levels who do not report to each other in a superior subordinate relationship. It could be regarded as part of the informal relationship existing within and across the organization. Although, lateral relation takes place mainly to fill social needs bit Conrad Arensberg believes that most of these relationship are work-related, they include;

  1. Controls involving work flow among individuals in different hierarchies but who need to collaborate to get the work done.
  2. Staff and line relationship where cooperation is critical to get organization missions accomplished.
  • Appeals to middle level management other than their superiors to modify their decisions.

Lateral communication has been observed to provide a number of benefits such as; helping to build communication links with peer counterparts; facilitating exchange of ideas and communication among individuals in similar specialties (for example among accountants, administrators, engineers, computer personnel among others); promoting greater cooperation and direct communication without forcing a regrouping of the formal lines of hierarchy. The lateral pattern of interaction despite the aforementioned advantages has the following problems;

  1. Specialists may typically develop strong loyalties not to the organization as a whole but to their own areas of interest.
  2. There could be frictions between different specialist groups as each group tends to project its special interest at the expense of others.
  • Consequently, the hostility between the different groups may be so intense to the extent that communication may hardly take place as expected. Organization in Nigeria such as Uyo Local Government Council communicates to the members of the organization and the entire public at large

In most cases, channels of communication are in written forms but could be oral and non-verbal/non written form sometimes. Written channels are the most commonly used channels of communication in most business organizations and the public service. They are usually preferred because they provide retrievably records of what has been communicated to the units of public service concerned. Written channels will include memoranda, reports, press releases, press conferences, letters, executive’s orders, gazettes, written pamphlets specifying certain government policies on some issues, hand books bulletin, board’s circulars of different types, petitions, news-letters and other forms of written communication.