What is communication feedback? Causes of poor feedback

Feedback refers to the response or reaction of receiver to the sender’s message. Feedback is the essence of communication and is the final step of communication process. Without feedback from the receiver, communication process remains incomplete. This feedback may be an oral or written message, or action or simply silence.

Transmitting or sending message is half of the communication process. When messages reach to the receiver, he decodes the message and sends his response to the sender to complete the communication process. Feedback enables the sender to evaluate the effectiveness of his message. If the receiver does not understand what the sender wants to convey, then the sender refines or repeats the message.

Some quotations on feedback are given below:

In the opinion of Bartol and Martin, “Feedback is the receiver’s basic response to the interpreted message.”

Boone, Kurtz and Block defined, “Feedback consists of messages-verbal and non-verbal-that convey a reaction to the communication’s message.”

According to Bovee, Thill and Wood, “Feedback is a response from the receiver that informs the sender how the message is being interpreted form the receiver that informs the sender how the message is being interpreted and how the communication is being received in general.”

Weihrich and Koontz said, “A feedback is an information input in a system transmitting message of system operation to indicate whether the system is operating as planned, information concerning any type of planned operations relayed to the responsible person for evaluations.”

Feedback in communication is shown in the following diagram

What is communication feedback
The earlier discussion brings to conclusion that feedback is the return message or reaction of receiver with regard to the sender’s message.

Causes of poor feedback

Feedback is an essential component of communication process. Without feedback, none can ensure the effectiveness of communication. However in some cases, proper feedback is hindered by some causes, factors. These causes, factors are as follows:

  1. Reliance only on formal communication channel: Employees in the organization primarily communicate through normal channels following the organizational hierarchy. Communication through formal channel is essential to maintain order and discipline. However, excessive reliance on formal channels discourages feedback.
  2. Sanctioned communication: When communication is formalized through rules, regulations and bindings, it is called sanctioned communication. Such rules and regulations restrict feedback. Because employees cannot communicate violating these roles. So sanctioned communication created by rigid rules and restrictions acts as a major cause of poor feedback.
  3. Negative organizational climate: It internal operational environment, inter-personal relationship and social climate of organization are unfavorable to free and fair flow of communication, then the whole communication process will be affected. In such a situation, normal flow of feedback will also be blocked.


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