Using effective communications
A UNISON case study

Page 1: Introduction

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Although they might not know it, when people are at work they engage in the process of communication all the time. For example, they may be contacting others by sending an e-mail or talking to a colleague by a photocopier machine. They might be answering a phone or putting forward ideas and thoughts at a meeting. In other settings they could be receiving communications. They might be reading an...
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Page 2: Internal and external communication

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[audio= and external communication]

In order to know how UNISON makes sure that it communicates well within the company and to the outside world, the process is best revealed through the Shannon-Weaver model (1947). People working within UNISON try to reduce all the barriers or 'noise' to make sure they communicate clearly. This involves a transmitter sending messages to receivers. A transmitter should put data into a form the...
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Page 3: Formal and informal communications

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[audio= and informal communications]

Formal communications Formal communications within an organisation are those that take place through well-known channels.  For example, the expansion of policy at UNISON comes from a formal procedure where it is dictated from the members upwards. Members discuss policy issues in their branches. Delegates from the branches then meet at the Annual Conference and debate and agree...
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Page 4: Benefits of effective communication

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[audio= of effective communication]

Everyone in the country is touched in one way or another by topics that are related to energy, the public services, local government, schools and hospitals. Many issues and disputes arise that are based upon ethics and beliefs about what is right or what is wrong. Effective communication helps to give: a direction for those involved in a dispute or issue an understanding to the varying...
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Page 5: Overcoming the barriers to communication

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[audio= the barriers to communication]

The Shannon-Weaver model refers to the process of 'noise'. This can weaken messages that are being sent and offer some real barriers to contact. Types of 'noise' To use an example, many members of UNISON may not have access to a computer and might not understand the communications technologies that are being used. For some, English might not be their first language. To overcome this problem...
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Page 6: Conclusion

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This case study shows just how vital it is for a large trade union such as UNISON to share a sense of oneness. In doing so, UNISON is able to support its 1,300 branches and its 1.3 million members. The policies put forward by the members at the Annual Conference help to provide a course of action that can then be followed in practice. In doing this, UNISON is able to sort out issues and...
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