4 Key Barriers of Communication Workplace
Agus Setiawan

PhD candidate and result-oriented Director with 25 years experience with involvement in all levels of Business Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Managing Project and Product Development. Aside of managing a company, he is also the best corporate trainer and public speaker in seminar and conference.

4 Key Barriers of Communication Workplace

Communication is the process of transmitting information and common understanding from one person to another. Communication is stated to be one of the most crucial systems that is essential to develop in all areas. It does not matter how good the communication system is, barriers do occur within the communication systems, whether it is an organization, communication between the family members, social network, institution and so forth. Therefore, these are several barriers of communication in workplace as described as follows.

Process Barriers

Every step in the communication process requires effective and good communication. Blocked steps that become barriers are Sender barrier, Encoding barrier, Medium barrier, Decoding barrier, Receiver barrier, Feedback barrier. Because communication is a complex, give-and-take process, breakdowns anywhere in the cycle can block the transfer of understanding.

Physical Barriers

Any number of physical distractions can interfere with the effectiveness of communication, including a telephone call, drop-in visitors, distances between people, walls, and static on the radio. People often take physical barriers for granted, but sometimes they can be removed. For example, an inconveniently positioned wall can be removed. Interruptions such as telephone calls and drop-in visitors can be removed by issuing instructions to a secretary. An appropriate choice of media can overcome distance barriers between people.

Semantic Barriers

The words we choose, how we use them, and the meaning we attach to them cause many communication barriers. The problem is semantic, or the meaning of the words we use. Technology also plays a part in semantic barriers to communication. Organization have staff and technical experts developing and using specialized terminology or terms that only other similar staff and technical experts can understand.

Psychosocial Barriers

Psychosocial barriers associated with 3 concepts, namely: fields of experience, filtering, and psychological distance. Fields of experience include people's backgrounds, perceptions, values, biases, needs, and expectations. Filtering means that more often than not we see and hear what we are emotionally tuned in to see and hear. It is caused by our own needs and interests, which guide our listening. Psychosocial barriers often involve a psychological distance between people that is similar to actual physical distance. For instance, the manager talks down to a staff, who resents this attitude, and this resentment separates them, thereby blocking opportunity for effective communication.


To conclude, communication is essential skills in this disruptive era. In the communication, there are number of barriers as stated in above passage that could retard effective communication. By knowing those barriers, employee have knowledge how to manage those barriers in order to communicate effectively within workplace.

Lunenburg, F.C. (2010). Communication: The Process, Barriers, and Improving Effectiveness. Schooling, 1(1), 1-11.

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