Throughout the communication process noise is inevitable; factors exist that constrain and distort an intended message. Noise may be in the form of a psychological, social or environmental barrier. A psychological barrier such as information overload is due to
the processing capability of the human cognitive system. Advancing technologies both assist and hinder human information management at the cognitive level. From a cross-cultural perspective prejudice and stereotyping are examples of psychological barriers to communication. Also at the cognitive level, encoding of the symbols of communication takes place, as cultural differences shape the interpretation of a message, they can also at times distort the intended meaning (McShane & Von Glinow 2004).
A social barrier is evident with current technology services that decrease inter-personal distance, and retain users' anonymity, yet negate actual face-to-face experiences. Social barriers also exist when prejudice and stereotype about another's nationality or ethnic heritage exist. Alternatively, environmental barriers to communication could be weather conditions that affect telecommunications, or, in contrast, the location of a meeting for global leaders (McShane & Von Glinow 2004).
This paper aims to review two theories of communication pertinent to the organizational context. First a summary of the Law of telecosm and cross-cultural organizational communication will be provided. Secondly, a detailed review of each theory with current examples will be discussed. Finally, recommendations for organizational guidelines to tele-communications and cross-cultural communications will be presented.
Summary of Theories
The Law of telecosm states that as networks of computers expand in size that distance decreases immensely, to the point where philosophers consider the concept of "distance" between people becoming irrelevant. As more terminals connect with each other, the processing speed of each terminal increases, and so too do the transmitting capabilities of cable bandwidths. As such, an ever-increasing amount of information is available via the Internet on a 24/7 basis. Current research into workplace stress has identified the rapid rise in processing power of computers as a direct cause of workplace stress, anxiety, absenteeism and attrition. Information overload is a direct effect of increased processing power and seriously undermines workplace performance, including negating a workers ability to filter information, process information and to act effectively on decisions drawn from that information.
Other workplace issues due to advancing technology is the use of email to replace social interactions, to advertise personal classifieds, to vent one's anger at a co-worker or employee and as a personal mailbox for relationships. Also, email is considered to be increasingly impolite due to its anonymity, and that the lack of contextual information from face-to-face interactions can lead to misinterpretation of the emotional intent of email.
As face-to-face interaction remains the optimal source of human relatedness and