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Communication is the transfer and the understanding of meaning. The opposite of communication is:

  1. Silence, which is either (a) the absence of information available to transfer or (b) meaningful or accidental refusal or delay in that transfer; or
  2. Lack of communication, which is the absence of proper communication when information to be transferred is available. Lack of communication is one of the Dirty Dozen of Human Factors.


According to Organizational Behavior by Robbins and Judge (17th edition),

Communication. The transfer and the understanding of meaning.

According to the FAA AC 120-72,

Communication. The process of exchanging information from one party to another.

According to Management by Robbins and Coulter (14th edition),

Communication. The transfer and understanding of meaning.

According to the Marketing Communications by Fill (5th edition),

Communication. The process by which individuals share meaning.

According to the Strategic Management by David and David (15th edition),

Communication. Perhaps the most important word in strategic management, because gathering, assimilating, and evaluating information in an interactive, effective manner can lead to enhanced understanding and commitment so vital in strategic planning.

Communication skills

In maintenance training

According to the FAA AC 120-72,
  1. Communication remains the backbone of both CRM and MRM, but specific aspects of communication are different in each work environment. Mechanics, crew leads, supervisors, and inspectors all must have the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively. A lack of proper communication can have any or all of the following undesired consequences:
    1. The quality of work and performance may be reduced.
    2. Time and money may be lost as errors occur because important information is not communicated or messages are misinterpreted.
    3. Improper communication may cause frustration and high levels of stress.
  2. People communicate in many different ways, however this AC, will consider three broad forms of communication:
    1. Verbal communication, which relates to the spoken word, whether face to face or through some electronic medium such as a phone, radio, loud speaker, etc.
    2. Non-verbal communication, commonly referred to as "body language." Whether you wave, smile, or wink, you are communicating a message to other individuals.
    3. Written or asynchronous communication, which includes everything that is memorialized in writing or in electronic form, such as publications, letters, forms, signs, e-mail, etc.
  3. Most people associate communication with verbal communication. For maintenance personnel, communication encompasses much more than inter-team verbal interaction. Communication not only includes face-to-face interaction, but also paperwork such as maintenance cards, procedures documents, work orders, and logs. In addition, because maintenance is an ongoing process independent of specific teams, interteam communication, especially between shifts, is extremely important. In this way, asynchronous communication (communication in which there exists a time delay between responses) is used to a greater extent than real time, synchronous communication.
  4. Asynchronous communication is typified by a unique set of characteristics, such as the lack of non-verbal communication cues (e.g., body language, verbal inflection, etc.) An example of asynchronous communication at work in the hanger would be an e-mail message sent from the day supervisor to the night supervisor. Other examples include memos left between shifts or passed between a shop and the hanger.
  5. Relying on asynchronous communication affects an organization's ability to adapt quickly to changing situations. The very definition of asynchronous communication implies that a time lag is present between parties. In this way, communication also affects other factors such as decision-making, teamwork (and interdependence), and the ability to lead. MRM recognizes these differences in communication from CRM and accounts for them in training.
  6. Similarities also exist between CRM and MRM, particularly in the form of assertiveness. MRM researchers have identified assertiveness as a positive behavioral skill. Not to be confused with aggressive behavior, assertive behavior in the context of MRM and CRM is defined as verbalizing a series of rights to which a team member is entitled. Some of these rights include the right to say no, the right to express feelings and ideas, and the right to ask for information. Examples of these rights in action may include refusing to sign off on an inspection that was not performed properly, questioning the appropriateness of certain actions, or demanding the correct number of people to do a job. It has been shown that teams in cooperation openly discuss opposing views. This action is critical for making cooperative situations productive. Thus, assertiveness is a necessary skill for effective team behavior and is addressed specifically in MRM training.
  7. To promote constructive, synchronous communication, peer-to-peer performance feedback techniques are also typically addressed in MRM training, normally in training on interpersonal relations. Teaching-specific, constructive behaviors that may be useful in common situations can still be beneficial. MRM can also address this specific training with examples such as how to handle a troublesome employee and/or supervisor and conflict management or resolution. The specific content of each MRM training module can be tailored to fit a particular organization; however, MRM would be incomplete if the training of “people skills” were omitted.

Related concepts

Related lectures