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Communication

In: Business and Management

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THE IMPORTANCE OF
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN
GUARDIAN LIFE
OF
THE CARIBBEAN

Title Page
Name: Kibosha DaCosta
Grade: 12A
Subject: Management of Business
Year of examination: 2010
Teacher: Mrs. Nelson
Name of school: St.Mary High School
Territory: Jamaica
Centre number: 100112

TABLE OF CONTENTS Aims and Objectives 4
Methodology Employed 5-6
The Report: Description 7-13 Analysis and Interpretation 14-21 Conclusion and Recommendations 22 Appendices 22-23 References 24

AIM
To find out the importance of effective communication in the business- Guardian Life of the Caribbean and also to acquire the necessary information to complete this research in order to achieve a reasonable grade.

OBJECTIVES
1. To analyse the importance of setting business objectives
2. To show how Guardian Life carry out their social responsibilities. 3. To tell the different leadership styles present in Guardian Life. 4. To explain the importance of effective communication in Guardian Life. 5. To identify the different financial statements used by Guardian Life. 6. To identify how Guardian Life sourced finance for start up.

METHODOLOGY EMPLOYED

This research will be done on one of the leading insurance companies in Jamaica, Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited. The researcher will be carrying out the investigation using as a guide the importance of effective communication in the business. Data for this research will be collected in various ways. These will include both primary and secondary sources of data collection. The sampling method being used will be non-random because of various reasons.
A non-random sampling method is being used because the researcher did not randomly select the person to be interviewed. The researcher chose this member because of his position of the firm. Mr. Mark Sterling is an insurance policy sales person and he was chosen because of the topic which deals with effective communication and communication is a main role in his job.
Information will be gathered based on all the modules which include the business and its environment, the management of people and business finance and accounting. This information will be gathered using both primary and secondary source will include a interview and the secondary source will include books and the internet.
To achieve the research objectives the researcher, as states above, will be using the interview as a data collection tool. An interview is comprised of a group of questions which are administered face to face. it is very informal and allows the respondent to speak for as long as he/she wishes. It also gives first hand information and is somewhat reliable. It is less confidential and the subject matter can get distorted as respondents may stray from the topic being assessed.
The interview was done on the 29th of December 2009 at approximately 10:00am to 3:00pm with stops between intervals. The researcher went to the St.Mary Parish Library a few times where she used books and the internet to acquire information on the topic and the business.

THE REPORT DESCRIPTION
Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited, the flagship company of the Guardian Holdings Group, has a proud tradition of contagious service dating back to 1847 when Scotland born Charles Warner saw an opportunity to bring the benefits of life insurance to the Caribbean and became the first director of the Trinidad Board of Standard Life Edinburgh Scotland. Guardian Life is a public limited company incorporated on December 30, 1980 and registered under the provisions of the Insurance Act, 1980. It is a public limited company because they have the right to advertise their shares for sale and have them quoted on the Stock Exchange. The shareholders own the company, but appoint members who control the management and decision making of the business. Guardian Life is managed by a president who is responsible to a Board of Directors for the operations, Directors who are appointed at Annual General Meetings. Guardian Life of the Caribbean is today engaged in the underwriting of all classes of long term (individual and group) life, health and pension insurance business as well as associated investment activities. Apart from the Guardian Life headquarters in Trinidad, it operates ten branches in Jamaica, Belize, a service and a service window in Cayman and aims to deliver superior service through their focus on customer needs and operational excellence. Guardian Life limited has been conducting life insurance in Jamaica since August 1999, following the acquisition of the individual life and pension portfolio pf Jamaica Mutual, Crown Eagle, Dyoll Life and Horizon Insurance since 2001. Guardian Life has become an indomitable force to be reckoned with in Jamaica’s Life Insurance industry. Now as part of the Guardian Holding Company, Guardian Life is the largest life insurance provider in the region with over 256,000 policies and assets in excess of 3.5 million dollars under management. Policies which are sold by employed salesmen like Mr. Sterling and through brokers. The main objective of Guardian Life Jamaica Limited is to provide protection,, stability and security to the lives of individuals. Their vision is to be the company of choice preferred in Jamaica for their insurance solutions, financial strength and outstanding service delivery, achieved through their superior team, corporate citizenship and favourable brand appeal. Their mission statement reads “ We commit to build on our tradition of integrity by being the dominant provider of personal financial services in the markets where we operate in terms of financial strength, quality service and professionalism in a manner beneficial to our customers, agents, employees, shareholders and the wider community.’ Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited is one of the few organizations who carry out their social responsibilities, as more than two decades ago, Guardian Life added the tag line, “Looking after life” into its logo. This was a reflection of its commitment of life enhancement through innovative life qualities. These concerns for life enhancement inevitably led to a concern of the preservation and conservation of our wildlife and our environment. In 1992, Guardian life established an Independent Trust with a mandate to assist citizen group in the conservation of the countries living resources an their habitats. In addition the trust has an educational Mandate, to nurture an environmentally responsible rational consciousness by raising awareness of the enormous issues attached to the question of preservation and conservation of our environment. The company actively supports the work of the trust, matching all funds raised and handling public relations and administrative functions. Their most recent involvement has been the current work with the Pawi project, a comprehensive communication programme aimed at education nationals on the Pawi, and also to encourage protection of the bird which is now and endangered specie. Guardian Life started the Wildlife Trust which will continue to play its part in looking after life as the forest are being destroyed by logging, slash and burn and quarrying ; our swamps among the richest systems in the world are considered expendable by some ; some of our animals, birds, and marine life are critically endangered.
In the Guardian Life Limited there are two types of leadership that are used. These include the democratic and autocratic style and this mainly depends on the situation. With the democratic leadership style, the manager or team leader makes the final decisions; however, other members of the team contribute actively to the decision making process. This increases job satisfaction as team members feel worthwhile and appreciated, and also helps to develop the skills of the individuals. Team members feel that they can control their own destiny and so are motivated to work hard. It is most suitable were teamwork is essential and where quality is more important than speed to market productivity. This is so because as participation takes place, this style can lead to things happening more slowly than an autocratic approach, but often the end result is better. With autocratic leadership a leader everts high level of power over his or her employees or team members. People in the team are given few opportunities for making suggestions, even if these would be in the teams or organizations interest. Managers using this style are likely to only use one way communication where instructions are issued and no feedback is encouraged from the workers. Guardian Life uses this style in times of crisis when decisive action might be needed to limit damage to the business or danger to others. Also when quick decisions are needed and the scope for discussion must be limited.
Guardian Life is committed to team work, which is held together by a shared view of the strategies proposed by the company. Team members are saluted and recognised on a daily basis, but especially during International Customer Appreciation Week, where employees are encouraged to exceed their expectations and to ensure that their is satisfactory, rewarding and enriching.
Communication is very important in Guardian Life as it is in every other organization. Guardian Life uses both lines of communication which include formal and informal channels. The formal channels which are recognized by Guardian Life include meetings, consultations, telephones, e-mail, noticeboards, memorandums, reports, interviews and manuals. Informal include meeting with friends, conversations with colleagues or contact with people at break time. Communication dynamics are used in Guardian Life to refer to employees and customers but these are at times used incorrectly which cause inaccurate interpretation of messages. When Guardian Life started in Jamaica in August 1999, capital was raised in various ways. Most of the capital came from the holding company which Guardian Life is apart of and also from bank loans. This capital was the venture capital which was used for the start up of the business. This includes the premises, stocks, equipment and the other requirements to start up the business.
Guardian Life along with every other company whether listed on the stock market or not, is legally required to produce a set of accounts every year. Guardian Life has to produce figures showing profits or looses on a quarterly basis. They use financial statements such as the profit and loss account, balance sheet and the cash flow statement.
The profit and less account show how well the company had done over its trading period. Its simply shows all expenses incurred by the company, offset against the revenue it has earned. It will clearly show whether the company has made a profit or a less and will usually show the same figures for the pervious year for comparison purposes.
The balance sheet is completely different from the profit and loss account. The balance sheet tells the company’s financial position on a single date: the final day of its trading period. It also gives figures for the previous year as to compare where the company is now versus a year ago. The balance sheet will show the company’s fixed assets, the change in value of its assets (depreciate), and the company’s investments and the current assets. It will also show the stock and work in progress of the company, the money it is owed by debtors, the amount of cash held by the company, any liabilities, creditors, dividend payouts, share capital and company’s reserves.
The cash flow statement tells how much cash has been flowing through the business. This gives an important guide as to where cash has come from, how it has been used and critically, how strong the company is. Monitoring a company’s cash flow is crucial because it can give an early warning sign if the company is getting into financial difficulties.

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

According to Peter Stimpson and Kathlene Singh in the book Management of business for cape unit 1, page 178, “communication is the exchange of information between people or groups. It is only effective communication if the message has been received and understood by the receiver and the sender knows that it has been understood.” As was stated in the description, Guardian Life uses both lines of communication. Formal channels are set up and recognized by an organization and can be horizontal or vertical. With formal communication managers send messages to subordinates using downward vertical communication while subordinates pass messages to managers using upward vertical communication. Groups, teams and members at the same level at Guardian Life communicate with each other through horizontal communication. Robinson and Hamil in the book Principles of Business, page 83, referred to informal channel as “grapevine which transmits messages that may be either true or not about what is happening in the organization.” Such channels are often used for quick communication and nearly always allow for two way communication and discussion. Advantages of formal channels include:
1. The speed of sending and receiving messages
2. Workers can use it to try out a new idea before forwarding it to manager in a formal setting
3. Managers may use it to make suggestions to workers which, if positive feedback is received, it could then be communicated formally.
4. Allows social needs of workers to be met by building relationships between workers and increasing motivation levels. Stimpson and Singh states that “the range of communication includes oral, written, electronic and visual communication,” on pages 179-180. All these are used by Guardian Life. Oral communication as presented by them can be one-to-one conversations, interviews, appraisal sessions, group meetings or team briefings. It allows for two way communication and feedback amongst the members of Guardian Life and this could encourage good motivation. It is instantaneous and evidence of who attended a particular function or meeting and therefore received the message. However there may be no proof of what was said therefore communication may be ambiguous. Also time consuming and not appropriate for complicated and technical matters. Written communication includes the use of letters, memos, notices on boards, reports, minutes and diagrams. Written messages can be referred to more than once, to serve as an accurate record and they allow for the transmission of detailed data. However it does allow for immediate feedback and often there is no evidence that the message has been received or understood.
Electronic media have the benefit of speed and are often combined with a written record. The electronic media used by Guardian Life include internet and e-mail use, intranet, fax messages, video conferencing and mobile cell phones. Although this media provides great speed, creates interests and encourages response, it also has drawbacks. They require staff to be trained, it expensive in hardware, it diminishes personal contact and can cause communication overload which referred to as a common example of noise, where too many messages are being received and may prevent the receiver from being able to filter out the non important messages and focusing on the priority ones.
Visual communication can be used to accompany oral, written, or electronic communication as they include diagrams, pictures, charts, overhead projection, interactive white boards or videos. This kind of communication is useful in training and marketing can be more effective if colour or movement is added.
Feedback is very important in Guardian Life as it allows the sender of the message to know if the message has been interpreted correctly. Simon and Osborne, in the book Cape Communication Studies, page 6, stated that “one truth that must be acknowledged is that what can be misinterpreted will be misinterpreted.” Therefore to seek clarification the receiver needs to give a feedback. In Guardian Life feedback is not always spoken or written, it may be physical reactions and responses. Not replying is also feedback as it may signify lack of interest, that the receiver never received the message and several other reasons.
There are also barriers to effective communication in most organizations. Barriers, as given by Simon and Osbourne in the book, Cape Communication Studies, page 7, are “whatever affects the understanding of a message.” Barriers cause the message to be interpreted and understood in a way that was not intended by the sender. In Guardian Life Jamaica ltd the barriers according to Mr. Sterling include possible customers not being able to fully understand what is being said because cultural or personal factors lead to messages being filtered and decoded in different ways by different individuals. Personal factors that can lead to selective perception that may result in a message being misunderstood as stated by Stimpson and Singh are: * Tiredness * Emotion * Language difficulties * Poor attitudes * Poor relationship * Social or family problems * Lack of experience in dealing with the technical terms contained in the message * Beliefs * Social class and status.
Another barrier found in Guardian Life is noise. “Noise relates to any distraction which interferes with the message itself or the communication process as a whole,” as stated by Carlene Robinson and Sybile Hamil in the book CXC: Principles of Business, page 83. Noise may be more than physical noise which prevents an aural message from being heard and understood, but can also be anything that distort or interrupt communication. In terms of the sender, noise may refer to the sender’s attitude, prejudice, frame of reference and language used. The receiver’s attitude, background and experiences that affect the decoding, process are also examples of noise. In terms of the channel, the noise may be literal; it may also be a person’s speech impediment or lack of clarity in writing or speaking.
The other barrier is cultured bias and this means interpreting and judging communication in terms particular to ones own nature. This occurs when the use of language is understood in different ways by people of different cultures.
Communication as the meaning suggest is transfer of information between people that produces the required response. Communication is related to the major section of a business organization. This is so because workers or employees, managers or supervisors have to exchange information in one way or another. Communication affects the decision making process of Guardian Life Limited. The Board of Directors appointed by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting have to communicate with others in order to make valid decisions which will be profitable towards the business. Technology has gotten so advanced that members may not be at the very place that the meeting is being kept, but are taking part in the meeting. This is possible with the use of messages and voice messages, using cell phones, orally using telephones or the use of internet. Therefore in the case of a crisis where opinion from every member is needed, and maybe one is not present, there is no need to reschedule the meeting.
One of the most important aspects of communication is, of course, ensuring that all workers are aware of the organization’s objectives and the part they have to play in helping the business to reach them. They use objectives and mission statements to communication with employees. In this way workers may also be motivated by this. Managers do not have to be repeating to staff what is required from them as objectives serve as an easier and more effective form of communicating. This is so because workers may not listen to managers for various reasons but would read the objectives and fulfil the needs of the company.
Communication is also present when viewing the social responsibilities of the business. Workers are informed about their responsibilities through the use of visual, electronic, oral and written communication. These include diagrams, pictures, videos, posters, emails, intranet, and notice boards with written information. These provide managers with a more efficient way of making workers aware of their social responsibilities. The relationship between leadership and communication is a very close one. This is so because as Stimpson and Singh stated on page 165,“to lead others effectively it is essentially to be able to communicate with them. By communicating with clarity and authority, leaders should be able to inspire their workers in a business organization to be to able to work hard to achieve the aims of the organization.” Effective communication should also be assessed when choosing a leadership style to manage workers. Guardian Life, as was stated only uses autocratic and democratic styles of leadership. With the use of the democratic leadership style, it allows two-way communication as workers are allowed to give ideas and state opinions on claims. Managers using this style should have good communication skills to explain issues clearly to workers and to understand fully the responses from the workers. This leads to final decisions as the staff has much to contribute and can offer valuable work experience in new situations. However with the autocratic approach only one-way communication is present. Managers will only issue instructions but do not encourage responses from workers. Guardian Life only uses this form of leadership when there is a crisis at hand and quick actions are needed. Managers may not have time to listen to comments from workers but will just issue orders. Some workers may feel insulted as their views which could have been helpful were not heard.
Communication is very important in team work as members working together will need to interact frequently. Both lines of communication are needed as workers must interact formally and informally. Communication should be two-way as the views of all members are useful. Communication in this case must be clear and members should be aware of the objectives to be achieved. Successful interaction will lead to members feeling able to bring forward a wide range of issues for discussion. This will cause work to be done faster and the information useful.
Accounting records and financial statements, would serve as a visual form of communication. Shareholders can see the profits or losses made by the business, the dividend to be paid to them, net value of the business and how this has changed over the period. These accounting records may include cash flow statements or balance sheets. The use of visual communication is more effective as persons are able to see clearly what they want to know.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATONS
It can therefore be concluded that Guardian Life of the Caribbean is well organized business as their objectives, vision and mission are set to meet the needs of the customers, they utilize team working and they also carry out their social responsibilities through the creation of trusts with mandates to preserve and conserve our wild life and environment. Their leadership qualities are exceptional as they mostly use democratic/participative leadership style and the autocratic or directive approach in times of a crisis. Their accounting records, for example financial statements, are kept and they practice a good amount of effective communication.
However at times they do not practice proper communication dynamics when talking with employees or customers. This is as a result of the gestures, facial expressions, body language and tone of voice used while dealing with these individuals. Managers and employees should use these communication dynamics accurately as misuse may interrupt the understanding and interpretation of the message received and if they are viewed negatively it will impact on the organization greatly.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
MODULE 1 1. What type of business is Guardian Life? 2. What are the objectives of the business? 3. Does the business carry out its social responsibilities? 4. How are decisions made in the business?

MODULE 2 5. What type of leadership style/s is used in Guardian Life? 6. Is there the use of team work and proper channels of communication? 7. What are some of the barriers that affect effective communication? 8. What are the lines of communication present in the business?

MODULE 3 9. What are some of the accounting records kept? 10. What types of financial statements are used in the business? 11. Where did the business get capital for start up?

REFERENCES Management of Business Unit 1, 2007, Peter Stimpson and Kathlene Singh Principles of Business CXC, 2001, Karlene Robinson and Sybile
CAPE Communication Studies, 2009, Veronica Simon and Sandra Osborne Personal interview, Mark Sterling (December 29, 2009)…...

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...Communication Cesar A. Salomon Grantham University Abstract The purpose of this paper is to talk about the different types and styles of communications and why it is important to an organization. Communication So let’s begin this paper with the types of communications in an organization. There are basically only two of them: Verbal Communication and Non-Verbal Communication. Verbal Communication is simply put is communication between management and all other personnel within an organization whether it be by word of mouth, over the telephone or email or other types of correspondence such as memos or fliers. Weekly meetings is one of the main staple of passing along information to your employees. They are told when projects are coming up, given praise when a job has been done well and complemented. Given grief when the job was not completed on time or there were other problems that arose that could have been prevented. Writing an email to everyone, especially when personnel are in other locations. This ensures that everyone gets it, and you have a soft copy kept on your computer. Speaking with your employees over the telephone works just the same as a meeting or an email, because they hear it directly from you. Then you have Non-Verbal Communication which is another way of saying grapevine or what you hear around the office. Where information is being passed along but it hasn’t been confirmed by management. This can lead to misinformation, but it could be......

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...Anna Neriza E. Custodio Rheyneil H. Caballero Clark Jonar R. Aguilar Chapter 6 Communication Communication is a requirement for survival and growth not only of people but also organizations. In the past, nations rose and fell depending on their ability to communicate effectively. History is replete with stories of individuals who became successful because of their effective management of communication. When ancient Rome became the target of hostile forces, its communication system was effective enough to warn its leaders about the forthcoming danger. Modern armies consider communication as an important factor in waging a successful attempt to defeat the enemy. In the same manner, modern organizations consider communication as an important factor in motivating their employees to improve productivity and to meet competition. What is Communication? Communication may be defined as the transfer of information including feelings, and ideas, from one person to another, the goal of communication is to have the receiver understand the message as it was intended. The transfer process, however, is affected by a number of factors that either help or hinder the message. The Importance of Communication Without communication, organizations cannot exist. It is through communication that the individual members of the organization will know the important concerns such as: 1. What their organization is 2. What objectives their organization wants to achieve 3. What their roles......

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Communication

...“It is believed that one of the failures of the previous government was that effective communication with the people; with reference to the present economic crisis did not take place. Comment on this and suggest ways that the former government could have communicated the situation more effectively.” “Communication is the process of transmitting information, ideas and opinions from one person to another. It involves sending messages to a target person and receiving feedback that the massage has been understood and acted on.” 1 Communication could be informing your sub-ordinates about their performance, telling them about the new objectives of the company and giving direction to employees about their work. These are all examples of communication. “Poor communication is the inability to convey your message to the other person or a group. In an organization, poor communication leads to de-motivation of employees.” 2 Poor communication was clearly evident from the previous Government. Fianna Fáil and The Green Party failed to communicate with the public and the opposition parties the crisis we as a nation were facing. We were aware of a down turn in the economy with house prices dropping and people signing on the live register everyday but the Government tries to “pull the wool over our eyes” when it came to knowing the actual facts, “Anglo Irish Bank”. “We’re taking unpopular decisions because they’re necessary in the national interest,” Mr O’Dea said.”But we don’t...

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Communication

...head: Effective Communication Effective Communication Michael Sharpe Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Communication is a necessity in virtually every activity a person engages. Yet with the constant communication that takes place on a daily basis, poor communication is still a problem. Learning to communicate and to communicate well is the key to an overall safe flying activity and is most definitely the safe recovery of the aircraft during and incident. Communication is everyone’s responsibility, understanding the process of effective communication is only part of the overall experience. Learning to identify and combat the barriers is also part of the communication equation. There are three types of communication, verbal, written and non-verbal. Verbal communication is just that, the speech a person uses everyday. During the brief or when the pilot checks in, he is constantly using verbal communication. Written communication is present in nearly every action associated with an aircraft in daily operations. It exists in the form of checklists, memos, forms, and miscellaneous paper work. The non-verbal, simple put is body language. The actions and motions you make while communicating. These usually come naturally to most people and are unintentional. The use of these three types of communication can vary, but ultimately the effective use of these elements will determine the effectiveness of the communication. Communication can be......

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