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I.Formal Communication in Organizations Formal communication flows along prescribed channels whichall members desirous of communicating with one another are obliged to follow. A. Vertical Communication 1. Upward Communication 2.Downward Communication B. Horizontal Communication C. Cross Channel CommunicationII. Communication NetworksIII. Informal Communication In OrganizationsIt is the transmission of information through nonofficial channelswithin the organization. The Grapevine
F I G U R E 1.Formal Communication in Organizations Vertical Communication Horizontal Communication
I. Formal CommunicationA. Vertical Communication Vertical communication is communication that flows both up and down the organization, usually along formal reporting lines-that is, it is the communication that takes place between managers and their superiors and subordinates. Vertical communication may involve only two persons, or it may flow through several different organizational levels.
1. Downward Communication Downward Communication occurs when information flows down the hierarchy from superiors to subordinates. Examples : Orders, circulars, individual instructions, policy statements, Inter- Office Memos, e-mail, notices It is best suited for organizations where the line of authority runs distinctly downwards. Main objectives: To give specific directions to subordinates about the job entrusted. To explain organizational policies and procedures. To apprise the subordinates of their performance. To give subordinates the rationale of the job so that they understand the significance of the job in relation to organizational goals.
Limitations of Downward Communication1.Under-communication - Superior may talk little about the job. - Withholding of information5.Over-communication - superior may talk too much - Leaking of information 3. Delay - Line of communication being long. 4. Loss of Information -Unless written, it will not be transmitted fully. -Sometimes written communication may not be fully understood. 5. Distortion -Long lines of communication- exaggerating or under-statement
2. Upward CommunicationUpward communication consists of messages from subordinates to superiors. This flow isusually from subordinates to their direct superior, then to that person’s direct superior,and so on up the hierarchy. Occasionally, a message might by-pass a particular superior.Examples : The typical content of upward communication is requests, information thatthe lower-level manager thinks is important to the higher-level manager, responses torequests from the higher-level manager, suggestions, complaints, and financialinformation.Importance :lProviding feedback: Whether directions issued are understood by lower staff.lOutlet for pent-up emotions : Grievances and problems addressed, solutions aredeveloped and employees feel better after having talked about them.lConstructive suggestions: These can be secured for improvement of the organization.
Methods of Upward Communicationl Open-door policy: Employees are given a feeling that their views, suggestions are always welcome by superiors.l Complaints and suggestion Boxes : Are installed in the company. Employees are encouraged to drop in these boxes.l Direct Correspondence: Write directly to superiors or managers.4. Counseling : Employees are encouraged to talk to their superiors of their problems.
Limitations of Upward Communication Employees are reluctant to initiate upward communication as they - feel it may reflect their efficiency. - fear of disapproval from superiors. Upward documentation is prone to distortion. Unpleasant information is distorted more. Workers/juniors may ignore immediate superiors and approach higher management. Immediate superiors may feel: - bypassed. - become suspicious of intentions.
B. Horizontal Communication Whereas vertical communication involves a superior and a subordinate, horizontal communication involves colleagues and peers at the same level of the organization. For example : an operations manager might communicate to a marketing manager that inventory levels are running low and that projected delivery dates should be extended by two weeks. Horizontal communication probably occurs more among managers than among non managers. Horizontal communication serves a number of purposes. It facilitates coordination among interdependent units. For example, a manager at Motorola was recently researching the strategies of Japanese semiconductor firms in Europe. He found a great deal of information that was relevant to his assignment. He also uncovered some additional information that was potentially important to another department, so he passed it along to a colleague in that department, who used it to improve his own operations. Horizontal communication can also be used for joint problem solving, as when tow plant managers at Westinghouse got together to work out a new method to improve productivity. Finally, horizontal communication plays a major role in work teams with members drawn from several departments.
Limitations of Horizontal Communication Subordinates making commitments / passing information beyond their authority. Harmful if subordinates do not inform superiors of interdepartmental activities.
C. Cross Channel Communication Cross channel communication is the exchange of information among employees in different work units who are neither subordinate nor superior to one another. Example: An accounts clerk sends out a request to all company employees for updated information about the number of exemptions they claim on their tax forms. Staff specialists use cross-channel communication frequently because their responsibilities typically involve many departments within the organization. Because they lack line authority to direct those with whom they communicate, they must often rely on their persuasive skills, as, for instance, when the human resources department encourages employees to complete a job-satisfaction questionnaire.
II. INFORMAL COMMUNICATION IN ORGANIZATIONSCommunicationthat takes placein anorganizationthat transcendsformal channelsand insteadfollows any ofseveralmethods. Fig. 3illustratesnumerousexamples ofinformalcommunication. F I G U R E 3. Informal Communication in Organizations