Development Cooperation Handbook/Communication Skills/Factors that may block the flow of information

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There are many ways in which even the most carefully conceived, developed, and instituted system can fail to operate properly. Let’s look at some of them. This is not a complete list, since there always seems to be more ways of doing something wrong than doing it right, and once a system is changed to correct a former problem, the potential for new problems develops.

There are special problems when it comes to using the Internet or other similar technology. These include: inadequate hardware or software—not enough technology to run the system; inadequate training—people don’t really know what they are doing. The remaining problems are possible in all systems—high tech or low:

  • Lack of coordination: People don’t understand who is responsible for what.
  • Lack of overall direction: No one is looking at the “big picture,” and making sure that there is a consistency in message, style, and procedures.
  • Inflexibility: Conditions, goals, needs, and directions may change, but the dissemination system doesn’t reflect it.
  • Interference: Management or middle management directives or procedures can block the flow by creating either a real—or perceived—impediment.
  • Proprietorship: A person or department claims “ownership” and “control” of specific information.
  • Office politics: Personal “issues” or “concerns” overshadow organization goals.
  • Attitude: A bad attitude can sabotage any plan.