Gender Differences in Communication

The main goal of this paper is to contemplate the issue of gender differences in communication connected with and resulting from poor organizational communication at different levels at companies. The examination of specific scholarly works will allow a deeper understanding of the problem and at least theoretical backgrounds for its possible solutions. It is fair to admit that this question is a very serious one and statistics state that nowadays more and more people suffer from burnout at their workplace. They may tend to strive for showing their worth and setting at stake their time and life. So, it is evident that burnout is a very serious problem for many employed people – almost for all of them. And insofar as burnout is the topic for our discussion, it is necessary to define it. It is characterized by a lack of motivation and emotional exhaustion. Previously scholars tended to believe that burnout is the condition from which only suffer those employees work with people. But lately, it has been proved that any employee working in any field may become the victim of this stressful condition. Understandably, any job may become stressful at some point, and it is known that work may make people happy if they enjoy it, and otherwise may make them ill if they are not satisfied with something at their workplace.

To understand the reasons for burnout it is necessary to contemplate the factors which contribute to this stressful condition. These factors are not surprisingly related to the job. They include unclear or impossible requirements demanded of employees, stressful times (without any downtime) when people are required to work in more strict or difficult conditions, serious consequences of failure (if it happens an employee may for instance stand trial) (West and Turner 2006). Also, there may be a lack of personal control (and thus inability to operate at least a little independently) or lack of recognition (in cases of successful projects) as well as a poor compensation for achievements (which influences motivation negatively) and, finally, poor leadership (when employees feel underappreciated). All these factors can easily be assembled into a single group entitled organizational communication. All these types of factors involve two participants and their co-operation (or lack of it) in the process of work, and thus the co-operation implies communication (Gamble and Gamble 2002).

And while everything in organizations can be entitled ‘exchange’ – an exchange of time and efforts (on the part of employees) for salaries and different benefits (on the part of the organizations), employees often devote more time than required or stated in their contracts to their organizations. And what is striking, is the fact that these employees do not always receive decent compensation for their work. Hence burnout develops. Thus, it is necessary for the employers to pay more attention to their employees and to grant them more compensation and praise if their input in the success of their organization is significant (Severin and Tankard 2000). On the other hand, lack of recognition and rewards may influence employees’ attitude towards work negatively, productive work will fall away in employees’ interest, and burnout will develop. And while supportive communication may benefit employees’ psychological condition as well as their job performance, unsupportive communication can cause burnout the same as lack of recognition. This opinion has been developed and proved when researchers discovered that defensive communication as a low-quality relationship between employers and employees may easily contribute to the development of burnout (Ivy and Backlund 2007).

Non-verbal communication influence the unique personal image of the speaker, his cultural and social differences. Eye contact and facial expression help me to establish contact with another person and express my emotions. I use direct eye contact which reflects honesty and credibility. Eye contact and smile express an open and honest approach. Smiling people are perceived as more intelligent than those who do not smile. In contrast to men, women do not use vigorous hand gestures and greater movement. My gestures and body posture reflect that I am a calm and restrained person (Littlejohn and Foss 2007).

In the workplace, women pay special attention to dress and furnishing. Clothing is highly symbolic, which is why many organizations are so concerned with it. Modesty is an expectation in my organization and the unwritten dress codes set the standards. Women follow the dress code and avoid bright colors and high heels. In the workplace, the chairs are arranged so the desks become a barrier between the employees. Open spaces do leave people vulnerable to numerous distractions because of competing stimuli. In my workplace, I pay special attention to the disposal of files and other instrumentations on my desk. I suppose it shows that I am an accurate and responsible person able to manage my workplace. In contrast to some employees, Women do have personal photographs or other personal things on my desk. Women do not talk loud but try to speak clearly and accurately to avoid ambiguity and mispronunciation of words (Ivy and Backlund 2007).

The vocal tone makes people more likely to listen to us. Usually, I use a conversational voice which is more attractive for listeners and allows me to establish contact with a listener at once. Many men prefer to keep silent while another person is speaking and use gestures or eye contact to express their approval or disapproval of his/her words. People are seen as more attractive by listeners if the sender speaks at a more rapid rate. Thus, non-verbal communication depends on context, situations, and conversation topics. Space, colors, decorative style, and furniture reflect the personality of the owner and his unique vision of the world (Ivy and Backlund 2007).

As the goal of this paper is to consider the issue of organizational communication ad employees’ satisfaction and their burnout with the help of scholar journal articles, the following articles are to be viewed hereinafter. Before discussing the issues covered in this article, it would be good to distinguish the following. It is known that burnout may be caused by any type of job, but psychologically it is always more difficult to work with people than with papers or machines. Each client or care recipient has his or her own character, opinions and attitudes, which may not correspond with accepted rules. In this case work causes a lot of stress for there is a necessity to get on the right side of every person an employee works with. The same may be said about school counselors whose burnout at work may result in poor services, psychological exhaustion and even depression. School counselors have to manage a lot during their work days, their duties are multiple and they cannot make mistakes – their decisions are to be right. Thus, the authors, Ivy and Backlund (207) devoted their study to contemplating the factors which may cause stress and burnout in school counselors in order to help people of this occupation deal with their problems and perform better even in stressful situations. In their research the authors contemplated three factors, to which burnout was correlated in school counselor job. Among them were demographic variables (setting, gender, division level), intrapersonal variables (relationship between the personality of a school counselor and his or her job satisfaction, as well as ego development to name a few), and organizational variables (role conflict and role ambiguity). While we are interested in organizational factors, they can be viewed in more detail. According to Miller (2004) questioned administrators stated that their confusion concerning what is expected from them in their job. Consequently, this is the sign of poor communication of counselors’ duties of the office. And it is known that when duties are not well-defined, this problem is entitled to unclear demands, and may cause serious stress for an employee who is unable to perform well because of a lack of knowledge as for what is required. But the most significant influence was a result of emotional work – when counselors deal with problems on the basis and with the help of their feelings – in such cases, the level of stress is higher, and burnout is almost inevitable (Ivy and Backlund 2007).

Many factors may cause stress and burnout at the workplace, poor communication of duties and a lot of tasks to be accomplished among them. But it is an emotional state and attitude of counselors which may result in higher levels of burnout in their job. Thus (and this conclusion may apply to other professions as well), coping with their stress and emotions may help counselors avoid burnout. But this requires special training. They contemplate employees’ performance and their attitudes towards their work from the angle of different ways of communication in their organizations. According to the authors, there exist three communication-related outcomes which influence employees’ performance and results of their operation: these are communication load, interdepartmental communication, and job satisfaction. All these three factors were discussed with employees and associated with their experiences at work in distinct periods (Miller, 2004).

Among other factors, time management has to be paid serious attention to, and it is evident that strict time frames for performing certain tasks as well as possessing enough time for each task (without time pressures). And it is necessary to mention as well, that delay in performing the duties may be a result of communication load – too much information for one person to process and make use of (Miller, 2004). Consequently, managers are supposed to pay more attention to the tasks they give and to the formulation of the duties for the employees to understand well what is required, to manage their duties well, and progress in their performance but not lag behind the schedule and feel stressed because of it (Littlejohn and Foss 2007).

People are ready to work better and to respond to the supervisors’ requirements in a more productive way if they understand that the attitudes towards them are positive and that managers are open for communication (Littlejohn and Foss 2007). The study on gender differences may be useful for our study because we may understand and conclude that communication plays an important role in employees’ satisfaction, while poor communication and the inability of managers to communicate with employees may cause stress and burnout. Thus, the conclusion can be made from everything said above that communication is a very important factor for employees’ to be satisfied with their jobs. Communication can have different manifestations – from directions as for the duties to relational communication between employees or employees and leaders, as well as defensive communication, and employers and managers have to do their best not only to communicate well with employees but to offer them proper training to be ready for stressful situations to be able to cope with them and avoid burnout (Miller, 2004).

An additional distinction is worth making here, between what women may say about themselves, and what women’s use of language may reveal about themselves. An example of the first is the speaker who tells an audience that she has thoroughly examined the issues and has weighed matters carefully. Editing for conciseness is thus sensibly done before turning to word choice because it will help to avoid changing words that would only be deleted later. Once this is completed, the writer can turn full attention to selecting the best words to convey a particular message to a particular reader. How difficult this can be is well expressed by the New Yorker cartoon in which a writer sitting at a table has to his left a thesaurus and to his right a loaded revolver. Although word choice is not as dangerous as the cartoon would suggest, it is still not easy. Particularly in business, where increasing diversity and multiple readers simply increase the chances that one will be misunderstood, word choice is a matter that must be managed with great care. However, these changes can be reduced if writers become familiar with four kinds of problems that are prevalent in the writing of working professionals: jargon, cliché, abstraction, and euphemism (Wood, 2003).

Usually described as the specialized or technical language of a specific profession or group, jargon becomes problematic when it is used outside of its particular community of writers or speakers. Because jargon is the language of the specialist, it can usually be identified by its source, particularly when it is imported from easily recognized professions or fields. For example, the word “interface” qualifies as jargon since it can be easily traced to a particular field of specialization: computing. Used outside this field, “interface” can cause considerable confusion because it has no agreed-upon meaning. Here is a good example of not very good usage: abstract words are overused, but unlike clichés, abstract words are always nonspecific. The best way to understand the problems abstraction produces is by understanding abstract language. The ladder of abstraction is wonderful device linguists use to describe and explain abstract language, or language that refers to more things than the writer intends. Writers will do well to avoid euphemisms at all other times. The four problem areas — jargon, cliché, abstraction, and euphemism — present mistakes made in ineffectiveness. In addition to these are mistakes of correctness. Mistakes of correctness are misapplications of information contained in “good” dictionaries and “authoritative” usage manuals. Because of this, a few words about dictionaries and usage manuals should help in understanding the misapplications that will follow.

In sum, gender differences in communication are evident in the verbal and non-verbal processes. The current study in gender differences in communication is devoted to contemplation and connection between leadership and employees’ job satisfaction. If we view the study in more detail we will see that the author has proved that leaders’ communication competence tends to influence employees’ job and communication satisfaction positively. Thus, as a result of a study, the conclusions were made, that proper relational and task-oriented behaviors of leaders in organizations resulted in more satisfaction on the part of employees.