Administrative Communication: The Concept of its Professional Centrality
Karen V. Delfin
Why is administrative communication important? In any institutions and organizations, communication is a very essential tool in administration. The general public must be provided adequate information to help them make better decisions and identify opportunities that could improve their quality of life. A policy maker is accountable for making the communication process continuous. A policy maker’s office acts as a nerve center where the lines of communication cross and are connected and where information is received, processed, stored, assembled, analyzed and dispensed (Garnett).
Communications network, as defined by Simon, Smithberg and Thompson, is the process whereby decisional premises are transmitted from one member of an organization to another. It acts primarily as integrating device bringing together frequently conflicting elements of an organization to secure cooperative group. This communication network is one of the major vehicles for achieving coordination and compromise for every organization.
It is true that the decisions made by the administrators are greatly affected by the way they communicate. That is why it should be practiced properly when in office and even in outside appointments. The personnel in the office would have better understanding if the information is received or delivered appropriately.
Newsmaking process or media relations (or what they call the public information model) center the concept of administrative communication. Centering on news making process is a detriment of our understanding of key communication processes. We should have revolutionized the news making process. News from the media do not bring accurate information. It is important to increase the demand for direct interaction with public officials and not be filtered with media. Examples of direct interactions are through live speeches from the official, televised “town meetings”, etc. Today, there is need for combination of communication skills and ethics.
It is greatly encouraged to improve our way of communication. Its good to enroll in a communication skills class so that we’ll be able to understand more that communication is very important especially in administering. Communication specialists today are being demanded to play a more involved managerial role than before.
Communication enhancement is necessary because it is very crucial in life-and-death situations. Lack of skill or misuse of skill, intent or inadvertence, inadequate technology or technology overskill are examples of miscommunication that can bring collective consequences in our daily interaction and it take an enormous toll on performance, credibility, trust, and citizen’s quality of life. Communications also play a crucial role in administrative success or failure. Sound communication contributes to performance and increases the chances for success and fault communication contributes to the likelihood failure.
The internal communication process is important because it affects the whole system. It can be thought of as downward, upward or lateral. Downward is issuing task directives, giving task-related information feedback on performance and conveying on overall sense of mission. Upward is feedback on whether downward messages are received, understood and acted upon; warnings about problems; needing attention; intelligence; soundings about organizational morale and performance. Later communication is the contact among organizational peers. Its keys functions are task coordination, info sharing, multidisciplinary problem solving, and mutual emotional support. These three factors contribute to the rise of interorganizational dimension in public management.
One example of an organization in the Philippines that believes communication is vital to building a strong republic is the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) created in 1986 by virtue of Executive Order 100 signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino. This institution is established to respond to the information needs of the citizenry. It visions a well-informed citizenry that is able to understand, discuss, and vote on vital issues propelling the nation toward lasting peace and development. Its functions are to maintain information centers in the regions and in the provinces of the Philippines; provide technical assistance to other government agencies on the communication component of their program, plan and carry out national information programs; assist other government agencies in carrying out communication and information projects; determine information needs of the people; professionalize government information officers, communicators, and other media personnel through training and skill enhancement programs; and support the development of indigenous media and of communication capability and technology.
The creation of PIA (according to executive order no.100) is because there is a need for an agency in government with a means to communicate with the people and in turn for the people to express their opinions. The people required an efficient flow of public information to assist them in decision-making to improve overall quality of life. Through PIA the government in partnership of the media can meet the information needs of the people. And also the people don’t want a one-way flow of communication from the government. The PIA is also created because there were no regular nationwide outlets where citizens could obtain government publications and materials; intermediary coordination of public information efforts was not effective due to lack of appropriate mechanisms; and people’s participation in the planning and conduct of information programs should be encouraged.
Another source of information that is used in public administration is the Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is useful in the activities and operations of government. It is an essential element for the success of reforms effort in public administration. ICT is a primary reason for the development of national development strategies that seek to exploit its perceived potentials. There had been a search for new management techniques and practices occasioned by a context of fiscal restraint, reduced public spending, and a perceived dissatisfaction with public services as delivered by bureaucracy-modeled organization. This is the New Public Management (NPM). It addresses at least three issues: economy, the need to contain cost and raise new revenues under conditions of fiscal deficit; efficiency, or how to rationalize the organization of government for the efficient delivery of its functions; and responsiveness, or how the government could address the needs of its citizens as clients or customers. The NPM shows a range of techniques, approaches and instruments that proponents think are applicable if not imperative for the public sector, such as governmental steering, decentralization, market involvement and competition, management by results and customer orientation.
In this paper, it was mentioned so many times that communication is very important in every area of administration so that we could be able to avoid or solve conflicts easily. It is also important in advocating public services (public relations, media relations, public information, public affairs and communication). The Philippine Information Agency is one institution that connects the people to the government by the information that it provides and also by the response of the people to the government. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on other hand is concerned that the technology is vital in communicating and sending information. The New Public Management uses IT in reforming the public administration in order to give a better service to the people and also for the betterment of the bureaucracy. These are example of organizations that are concerned in what we have been talking about in the chapter of Administrative Communication of Stillman.