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International Journal of Research Studies in Management
April 2013, Volume 2 Number 1, 21-32

Exploring the communication barriers in private
commercial banks of Bangladesh
Sultana, Nahneen
Eastern University, Bangladesh ([email protected])

Abdullah, Abu Md.

ISSN: 2243-7770
Online ISSN: 2243-7789

Eastern University, Bangladesh ([email protected])

Tabassum, Ayesha


Eastern University, Bangladesh ([email protected])
Received: 23 June 2012
Available Online: 6 September 2012

Revised: 15 August 2012
DOI: 10.5861/ijrsm.2012.140

Accepted: 1 September 2012

In Bangladesh, lots of private commercial banks are contributing for economic growth. The performance of the banks depends on a well-structured communication system. So by maintaining an effective communication system, the banks can gain competitive advantage. Thus the study aims to investigate the communication barriers that should be removed for effective communication in the private commercial banks of Bangladesh. A structured questionnaire survey based on 5-point Likert-scale was conducted on 165 full-time employees of private commercial banks. The sample includes 15 private commercial banks. The Principal Component Analysis reveals three types of communication barriers; personal barriers, job barriers, and organizational barriers. Among these barriers, personal barriers are the most significant barriers according to the respondents of the study. Personal barriers include lack of English knowledge, local tone, opposite sex and hot temper. The second most important barriers are job barriers that include technical words, personal life and job monotony. The third most important barriers are organizational barriers which include defective technology and internal politics.

Keywords: communication barriers; effective communication; private commercial banks; personal communication barrier; job communication barrier; organizational communication barrier

© The Authors / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

Sultana, N., Abdullah, A. M., & Tabassum, A.

Exploring the communication barriers in private commercial banks of Bangladesh



Banks in Bangladesh now constitute the core of the country’s organized financial system (Islam & Husain, 2001). They not only mobilize the savings of people but also channel the resources towards different sectors of the economy (Islam & Husain, 2001). Thus banks can play a vital role in fostering the economic and social condition of a country (Islam & Husain, 2001). From the context of Bangladesh, financial sector reform in the country started in 1976 with privatization of the banks (Ahmad & Khanal, 2007) and a rapid expansion of private banks has taken place from the mid 1990s till present (Rahman, Gurung, & Saha, 2006). At present, there are 49 commercial banks of which 30 are private commercial banks. The banking sector employs a significant number of employees - more than 110,000 people (Ahmad & Khanal, 2007). As success of the business depends on effective communication (Timm & Jones, 1983), understanding the communication process of banks is crucial. Communication is the process of meaningful interaction among persons in an organization, resulting in meaning being perceived and understandings affected among such persons (Davar, 1979). Evidence of the importance of communication in business is found in numerous surveys of executives, recruiters and academicians (Lesikar, Flatley, Rentz, & Pande, 2009). Within proper communication environment, message can be disrupted by a variety of communication barriers (Bovee, Thill, & Chaturvedy, 2009). These barriers can distort the communication message and the entire communication process may fail, which can result in business failures as well. According to Helen and Alla (2011), efficient communication process can promote the positive image of the banks and the improvement of communication process depends on the elimination of communication barriers.

Communication plays the crucial role to success in any relationship undoubtedly. When there are barriers in the flow of communication in the organization within very short period of time it becomes the source of serious problems among employees. The situation goes out of control and employees find it extremely unpleasant and restraining to work on daily basis in such environment if this improper communication continues leading to the barriers go intense. As a result performance of employees decline sharply. Inadequate verbal and nonverbal exchange gradually leads to bitterness and thus a huge gap is created among employees and organizational authority.

Thus identifying the communication barriers is significant for ensuring effective communication in the service organizations, like banks, where the business processes heavily depend on communicating various types of information with the customers and stakeholders. As Grasso, Golen, and Burns (2005) mentioned that better understanding of communication barriers may help the business organizations to communicate more effectively and improve their ability to promote more effective communication throughout the organization. Recognizing the importance of an effective communication system, the current study aims at exploring the communication barriers in the private commercial banks of Bangladesh.


Literature review

The word ‘communication’ comes from the Latin word communis, which means common that indicates individuals strive for commonness of understanding the transmitted information (Gopal, 2004). Simply, communication may be understood as transfer of information, idea, opinion, attitude etc. from a sender to a receiver with a view to making it understandable to the latter (Khan & Taher, 2012). Communication takes many forms; face-to-face conversations, informal meetings, e-mails, letters, memos, reports, and many others (Locker, 2000). In business organizations, three categories of communication can be found; these are internal-operational, external-operational and personal (Lesikar et al., 2009). According to van Riel (1995), different forms of organizational communication can be found, i.e. marketing communication, external or public relation 22

Consortia Academia Publishing

Exploring the communication barriers in private commercial banks of Bangladesh communication, internal communication, and many others. These communications usually take place through both formal and informal network in businesses (Lesikar et al., 2009). Communication is vital to every business, even to a one-person business (Lesikar et al., 2009). Even no business can run and survive without communication (Ruler & Lange, 2003). These authors have mentioned in their study that European scholars defined communication as a specialized management field. The importance of communication is also recognized by the Anglo-American scholars as well, as they treated communication as managerial and strategic (Ruler & Lange, 2003). According to Lesikar et al. (2009), “communication enables human beings to work together”. It happens because, effective communication can strength the connection between a business organization and all of its stakeholders, i.e. customers, suppliers, employees, s...

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