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Managers today have to face unique challenges while trying to manage a very diverse work force, and keeping communication lines clear and understood is one of these challenges. Remember that for any business, effective communication is an integral key to the success of any organization. No matter which way you look at it, communication flow is important at each and every level in order to function with focus, deliberate and accurate objectives, and controlled consistent results. Effective communication ensures that the communication contents are interpreted and understood in the way that it was intended to.
Unfortunately there are barriers that have a negative effect on communication, and one of those barriers is called Gender Barriers in Communication. You are probably wondering just how do Gender Barriers affect Communication, and how did this Barrier develop? Well let’s find out. “D.E. McFarland has defined Communications as the process of meaningful interaction among human beings”(Jain, n.d., para. 1).
We as humans are dependent on Communication in our everyday lives.
To be honest, “the whole world is reliant on communication to complete even the most basic daily functions” (Braedyn, 2010, para. 2). It is the process by which we humans convey our thoughts and ideas verbally, with hope of being perceived and understood in the way the sender meant for it to be understood. With so many methods of communication in our modern day life, we are bombarded with Email, Facebook, Voicemail, memo’s, and phone calls. All of which are forms of communication.
Why even the act of rolling your eyes and shrugging fall in as a form of communication. But even with all these forms available at our disposal, miscommunication occurs.
“Gender Barriers are any misunderstanding or confusion in the intended message caused by male and female differences, which results as a communication barrier” (Braedyn, 2010, para. 4). Communication must be understood by both men and women in order to be effective, and in order to fully understand these differences we need to see just how they began.
Gender communication differences begin in early childhood, as soon as a child is pegged as either female or male. Gender starts with the assignment to a sex category on the final basis of what the infants genitalia looks like. This sex category becomes the main defining factor as to how this child will be dressed, named, and spoken to. “The development of a gendered identity starts from the very moment babies are identified as male or female as they experience societal, familial, and cultural interactions” Both males and females are taught different linguistic styles. For instance our childhood is influenced by nursery rhymes that give subtle instruction on how different genders are and should be perceived. “Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of. Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made” (Rafael, n.d., para. 2). These subtle instructions set the stage, and are just the beginning for future gender differences.
Zittleman states that “Gender stereotypes have a history that begins with learned beliefs of femininity and masculinity” (Zittleman, 2006). Learned beliefs that allow for reinforcing different behavioral types on our children. For example boys are allowed to have rough language, play loudly, and be rambunctious. They are also taught that it is not seen as being manly if you show emotion by crying, this behavior is reinforced by telling them to be tough and suck it up. Girls on the other hand are taught early on to behave like a lady and to use their manners. They are also told to play quietly, and that it is okay to show your feelings and cry. Crying is allowed on the feminine side.
These gender differences have helped to create behaviors and patterns. Men usually are factual, direct, and honest, which explains why they only speak about 7000 words a day. Their communication behaviors that men display usually revolve around competition, rank, power, logic, and reason. Men build relationships as projects are being worked on, and they process information internally when working on making decisions.
Female’s method of communication differs largely from that of males. Women are raised to be of the nurturing persuasion, indirect, and very respectful. They have a bad habit of apologizing excessively, and their style is more of a rapport type of talk, whereas males have a more report type style. Women build relationships in order to accomplish specific projects, they are comfortable in communicating about their feelings, relationships, and personal subjects like their feelings and emotions. No wonder women speak on average about 25000 words a day.
Another difference in how men and women communicate is how the information they are receiving is being processed. The female and male brain process information very differently. Men process information on their left side of the brain, whereas women use both left and right hemispheres; men process analytically, and women process abstractly.
Now that we fully understand the reasons and the differences behind Gender Communication Barriers, what can we do to bridge the differences and proactively improve communication in everyday life? “Men and women would need to make themselves fully aware of each other’s different communication styles, and be open in trying to break any biases or stereotypes” (Lieberman, n.d., para. 3).
In conclusion, even though men and women process information and communicate differently, by working together and understanding each other’s differences they can begin to bridge the gap. Businesses stand to benefit “by committing to develop a firm culture that recognizes, embraces, and leverages individual differences, you will experience greater productivity, increased morale, higher recruiting and retention rates, and improved financial performance” (American Instritute of CPA’s, 2012, para. 3).
American Instritute of CPA’s. (2012). www.cpa2biz.com
Braedyn, A. M. (2010, February 1). Improve Communication Skills. Suite 101. Retrieved from http://suite101.com/article/improve-communication-skills-a196668 Jain, R. (n.d.). The Barriers to Effectivce Communication. Ezine Articles. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Barriers-to-Effective-Communication&id=1210011 Lieberman, S. (n.d.). Gender Communication Differences and Strategies . Retrieved from http://www.simmalieberman.com/articles/genderstrategies.html Rafael, J. K. (n.d.). Why Don’t You Understand? Gender Communication Differences. Hub Pages. Retrieved from http://jillkrapfl.hubpages.com/hub/Why-Dont-You-Understand-Gender-Communication-Differences Zittleman, Karen. (2006). “Being a Girl and Being a Boy: The Voice of Middle Schoolers.”
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