The Major Obstacles of Communication in Canadian Workplaces

The Major Obstacles of Communication in Canadian Workplaces (i.e. In the Business Environment of Canada).

The modern era of globalization and the digital age of information has entered the fourth industrial revolution. The impact of globalization and internationalization has enabled business organizations to form a diversified working environment in order to face the fiercely competitive business environment. They are enabling many socially and culturally different individuals to work together. These business environments are not immune to obstacles to communication on the job or in the workplace (Deloitte, 2018). One of the three major obstacles to communication on the job, or in the workplace, especially in the Canadian business environment, is cultural and linguistic barriers, active listening or poor listening and semantic problems.

The first obstacle for effective communication at the workplace is cultural and linguistic barriers. The concept of how people see, think, and react can widely vary from person to person. According to a study conducted by Olsen & Finseraas (2019), modern workplaces are the hub of profound cultural diversity and linguistic characteristics. Another research by Falkenberg & Boland (1997) indicates that the dialects of every two regions change within a few miles, and the same workplace can accommodate different individuals with different linguistic skills as well. The perception and intellect of different people vary indefinitely, and modern workplaces need to be careful in organizing and communicating with such a diversified workforce. Global migration through immigration and other means, especially in Canada, has led rise to these cultural and linguistic barriers to be of prime importance. The business environment of Canada is full of these aspects, and organizations tend to structure their working culture accordingly. For instance, a research study of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Hiranandani (2012) found that enhancing workforce diversity management in the Canadian business environment is significant for organizations in today’s competitive global markets. Hence, the socially transmitted traditions, beliefs, and behaviours among different social groups from different regions or ethnicity generate cultural and linguistic barriers on the workplace. Therefore, diversity management and creating cross-cultural business environments can reshape these obstacles into new perspectives, creativity and ideas leading to innovation and development.

The second major obstacle in the workplace is active listening or poor listening. The diversified working environment is an essential indicator of the presence of issues of active listening among individuals at the workplace (, 2020). Globalization has enabled many influencers to be affiliated with large organizations and has increased the demand to be an active listener, being genuine and have a sense of empathy more than expertise and knowledge. According to a research study, CCOHS (2019) indicates that excellent communication is the basis of a structured way of listening and responding to others in the workplace. Poor listening is associated with unable to understand, interpret and evaluate the listener, which leads to wrong assumptions and a lack of confidence in the workplace. People in this digital information age and implication of obstacle to active listening is that individuals tend to talk a lot, describe their perceptions and create a sense of imposing and pushing their beliefs to others with one-sided state of mind and hence spare very little time listening to others (Crockett, 2017). One of the aspects to remove this barrier to effective communication in the workplace is a collaboration that would create new aspects of an efficient workplace. Hence there is a need to raise awareness for listening to others with a sense of empathy more than expertise and knowledge. Therefore, positive communication and active listening habits in the workplace is vital for the success of businesses (Yanaprasart, 2016).

The third major obstacle to communication is semantic problems and is somehow link to both cultural barriers and poor listening. A study professed that semantic problems are a result of cultural differences, and many individuals are not adhering or unable to understand the speaker effectively (Newman, 2001). The perception of individuals being part of this diversified workforce is different and unique in their mindset at the workplace. For instance, there are numerous definitions and narrations to phrases or words that to understand in the way the manager wants to communicate is naturally interpreted differently (Ballard & Easteal, 2018). For effective workplace communication, it is important that the meaning of the communication is properly conveyed and understood by the sender(manager) and the receiver(employees) to be called it complete; otherwise, it can give rise to wrong assumptions and improper feedback. This implies the notion of active listening to be part of the diversified business environment with a sense of empathy among the workforces. The Canadian business environment is shaped by large immigrant workers, and hence the semantic problem is large, and every organization has pushed to cope up with every changing diversification of the workforce. For instance, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has a policy on Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier, which educates and encourages organizations by adopting some best practices for business environments to increase their “diversity advantage” (OHRC, 2018).

The diversified working environment, especially in Canada, is not only prone to cultural and linguistic barriers, active listening or poor listening and semantic problems. These three major obstacles are interlinked with many other obstacles to effective communication in the workplace. Therefore, organizations need to develop and adapt to these changing attitudes, behaviours, and diversification of their employees in order to face the competitive business environment of Canada.

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