Bridging departmental communication gaps in quasi-institutions: a case study of Zesco limited

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Mumba, Joan
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The University of Zambia
Communication is seen as the key factor in the success of any organization but when it comes to effective communication, there are certain barriers that every organization faces. Large organisations have deficiencies in their decentralized departments especially when dealing with large volume of clientele whose needs are divided amongst their personal and organizational obligations. Hence communication gaps leading to conflicts and information breakdown among employees in the organization. The ramifications of these conflicts and broken information flow has been poor performance of team members, negative impact on general productivity, inefficiencies in responding to clients’ demands, bad publicity for the company and lose of millions in service delay. It is against this background that the aim of this study was to identify the major factors leading to intra and inter departmental communication gaps in Quasi-Institutions and how to address these factors. The first objective was to identify the existing communication gaps, secondly to establish their causes and the last objective was to come up with a model in order to address communication gaps within and between departments in Quasi-Institutions. To address the first objective, the study used a quantitative study approach based on the distribution of 150 self-administered survey questionnaires with 83% response. A sample size was purposively selected from ZESCO Head office and Service Centers in Lusaka, Zambia. In order to address the second objective; quantitative data was analysed using Chi-square and P-value statistical analysis with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software tool. The study found that there are existing communication gaps due to conflicts within and between departments; this was validated by the results from chi-square test which yielded a chi-square value of 4.419 and the p-value of 0.036. The difference was statistically significant at 4.419, because p-value (0.036) was less than alpha level (��=0.05). Hence, the results suggested that respondents deal with conflict at their place of work. Further results revealed that, personal conflicts are not always sorted out quickly by supervisors and managers, poor inter-personal communication, and poor inter-departmental communications are the causes of the existing communication gaps. Based on the findings, and to address the third and last objective, a model was designed to bridge departmental communication gaps, thereby meeting all the research objectives. The study therefore recommended that management should provide conflict resolution training which gives employees more assurance in their capability to resolve both personal and professional conflicts. Key words: Communication, Conflict, Departments, Gaps, Model, Quasi-Institutions
Communication--Management--Zambia , Business c0mmunication--Zambia