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Factors of Communication


They are the constituents of a piece of communication which must be individually adequate and appropriate and effectively handled in order for the whole communication event to be effective. A communication event here may be a lecture or talk, a briefing session, a meeting, an interview, and so on. Factors tend to relate more particularly to communication with masses of people (such as at a lecture or a foreman’s briefing of his workmen at the start of a day’s job), but they can also apply in varying degrees to individualized communication in both the oral and written modes.

However, it will be recollected that we included the Factors of Communication in our Figure 1.3.1. (Elements of Communication in Module One, Unit 3), and that, in that chart, the factors were extended to include two more factors, i.e., Reviewer (or Editor) and Organisation and Form, two ideas borrowed from Gallagher (1969).

The Constituents (i.e., the Factors)

There is really no need to deal with the subject any further because, as we said a while ago, factors are really a concern for communicators at high levels and for those (such as speakers) who deal with groups of people. If necessary see Okenimkpe (2004), Chapter Twelve.

The Systems and Methods of Business Communication

In the next section of this unit, we shall discuss Methods of Communication. Perhaps we should point out at this stage that the distinction between systems and methods is not usually very clear to some people and, indeed, is not recognised by some communicators. However, it is possible to conceive of systems as larger categories which contain or embrace a number of individual methods.

  1. The Grapevine
  2. Open Franchise

The Grapevine

We can see here that while we have identified four systems, we have seen seven distinct methods grouped under the systems. As we discuss the systems and methods in succeeding paragraphs, we shall see why some systems encompass more than one method and some methods partake of the natures of more than one system.

Communication Systems

We may define these as a set of general patterns by which organisations conduct their communication function. Here, we are not talking of specific methods, which guide an organisation’s choice of specific communication methods, but of general principles and practices, entailing some values or merits, which guide an organisation’s choice of specific communication methods. Such a choice is part of the organisation’s response to its need to achieve its set purpose of profit maximization and/or efficiency of service and to meet the demands of its organisational environment. Such choices are made either deliberately through a conscious policy or, as is often the case, operated purely as a legacy, perhaps of unknown genesis, inherited from entrenched or established practices in public and/or private organisations in the society or environment in which the organisation exists and operates.


The communication systems may be classified in two ways. One classification consists of the categories already shown above, while the other consists of:

  1. Formal;
  2. Informal;
  3. Grapevine, and
  4. Bypassing.

The Systems of Communication

As in the case of the factors, there is no real need to discuss these systems further because they are really involved with advanced communication. Again, if necessary, see Okenimkpe (2004), Chapter Twelve.

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