Rohit is a new recruit in an IT organization where he quickly builds a rapport with his team leader, Abhishek. Rohit and Abhishek start hanging out after work and a friendship begins to develop. That is until Abhishek finds out that Rohit is a teetotaler.

Under the impression that someone who doesn’t drink can never genuinely bond with him, Abhishek retreats from this budding friendship with Rohit and starts minimizing their out-of-work interactions.

In an attempt to make up for this difference, Rohit tries to be overly polite with Abhishek at the workplace, which yields no returns. After a few weeks, Abhishek publicly criticizes Rohit for a project gone wrong even though the whole team was at fault. Soon enough, Rohit finds himself part of another team and his camaraderie with Abhishek becomes practically non-existent.


  1. What Are Socio-Psychological Barriers?

  2. Difference Between Socio-Psychological And Socio-Physiological Barriers To Communication

  3. Types of Socio-Psychological Barriers

  4. How To Overcome Socio-Psychological Barriers To Effective Communication

  5. Beyond Barriers



What Are Socio-Psychological Barriers?


In any organization, clear and timely communication is of utmost importance. But, organizational communication isn’t always a smooth process. Sometimes there may be barriers that get in the way. A barrier in communication is basically an obstruction that doesn’t allow a free or natural flow of communication to take place. Some of the most common impediments to organizational communication are socio-psychological barriers.

Socio-psychological barriers to communication refer to obstacles that employees in an organization face while communicating with one another because of differences in social or psychological factors. Socio-psychological barriers to communication include background, upbringing, professional status, language, ethnicity, religion or, as seen in the case of Rohit and Abhishek earlier, different habits. These factors create a social-psychological barrier because they prevent employees from understanding one another fully.

A social-psychological barrier may also be a product of different temperaments, ways of processing emotions and approaches to work. These can create further conflicts or misunderstandings in the workplace and worsen the impact of socio-psychological barriers to communication.



Difference Between Socio-Psychological And Socio-Physiological Barriers To Communication


Before understanding the ways in which a social-psychological barrier may manifest itself, you need to be aware of the difference between socio-psychological barriers to communication and socio-physiological barriers to communication.

Socio-physiological barriers to communication arise due to limitations of the human body and mind, resulting in discomfort and/or ill-health. Factors responsible include memory lapses, perception-related disorders, an inability to concentrate, poor eyesight and hearing difficulties.

While both socio-psychological barriers and socio-physiological barriers to communication can affect your ability to connect with a fellow employee, a social-psychological barrier isn’t governed by biological factors that require medical intervention. However, for socio-physiological barriers to communication, clinical help is often the only solution.



Types of Socio-Psychological Barriers


The most important types of socio-psychological barriers to communication that you may have to deal with on a regular basis are listed and explained below:


1. Emotions

Emotional issues, whether within an individual or between individuals, can directly impact thinking and communication skills. Fear, anxiety, anger and other common emotions can and do hamper how you relay your messages to others as well as interpret their messages to you.

2. Opinions And Attitudes

Opinions and attitudes can be a major socio-psychological barrier. If you constantly disagree with a colleague on professional matters (perhaps even personal or political matters), it’s quite unlikely that organizational communication between the two of you will happen seamlessly.

3. Difference In Status

Several socio-psychological barriers to effective communication may emerge from the different statuses that members within an organization hold. In many workplaces, employees and their seniors don’t get along because the former are too reverential and the latter too distant.

4. Attention issues

Socio-psychological barriers to effective communication can also be a direct outcome of attention issues, such as getting distracted too frequently, being unable to see another side of a problem or story due to a closed mind, or poor retention skills in general.

5. Distrust And Premature Evaluation

This is a frequent occurrence in organizations that require lots of interaction among employees, leading to another of the most important socio-psychological barriers to effective communication. Not trusting someone fully means being skeptical, or even hostile, to their messages, while premature evaluation or judgement towards someone clouds your understanding of what and how they wish to communicate.


How To Overcome Socio-Psychological Barriers To Effective Communication


Here are some useful suggestions you can implement to resolve most, if not all, socio-psychological barriers to communication that we’ve discussed so far:

  • Try to be as broad-minded as possible. Focus not just on what someone means in a message but what they could’ve meant and how their message might have been misunderstood.
  • Develop your social skills with your fellow employees so that you enjoy a healthy rapport with them.
  • Participate in constructive training conducted by industry experts on how to use techniques like meditation, thinking pauses and open-ended conversations to overcome socio-psychological barriers.
  • Try to create a working environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to express their point of view and get their message across.


Beyond Barriers


A social-psychological barrier may be a persistent hassle for most professionals, but with the right training, it’s possible to nip it in the bud. Harappa’s Speaking Effectively course is here to help you do just that. In this course, you’ll get to interact with a world-class faculty and master frameworks like Aristotle’s Appeals and the Purpose, Audience and Message of communication (PAM) model. You will be taught how to read non-verbal cues, nail an interview, speak concisely and channel the right persuasion techniques. Sign up for the Speaking Effectively course right away and you won’t have to fret over socio-psychological barriers at your workplace again.

Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Organizational Barrier, Intrapersonal Barriers, How to Overcome Stage Fear and Different Communication Styles to communicate with impact.



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