Daffodil Institute of IT
Types of Communication
1. Types of communication
2. Media of communication
Types of communication
Different types of communication system are found in different kinds of organization. The types of
communication differ from organization to organization depending upon the nature of information to be
communicated and the purpose of communication.
Communication (On the basis of organizational relationship)
01. Formal communication
The communication, which follows, established systems, rules, regulation, procedures or any other prescribed
ways and means are known as formal communication.
“Formal communication is that communication which follows the chain of command established by the
organization’s hierarchy”. --- Hunt
- Internal communication
When formal communication occurred within the organization is called internal communication. Ex- sales
report, inventory report, worker’s performance report etc.
- External communication
When formal communication takes place out side of the organization with various stakeholders, letters,
reports, memo, e-mail, speech, news release, bulletin etc is called external communication.
Ex - Annual financial report of business firm, Invitation to receive dividend etc.
02. Informal communication
Communication, which does not follow any official or prescribed rules and procedure, is called informal
communication. It follows no set of rules nor obedient to the organization’s hierarchy rather does it take place
outside the chain of command.
“Informal communication is those communications that do not adhere to the organization’s hierarchy”.
Communication (On the basis of flow of information)
01. Horizontal communication
Communication between departments or people on the same level in the managerial hierarchy or an
organization can be defined as horizontal or lateral communication.
02. Vertical communication
A communication that exists between superior and subordinate can be termed as vertical communication.
- Upward communication
Communication flows from down to upward; from subordinate to superior levels. This communication
takes place either in the nature of feedback or in the nature of original thoughts and suggestions at the
initiative of the lower levels.
- Downward communication
Communication flows from up to downward; from the superior to subordinate levels. Generally this type
of communication is applied in the form of directions, interpretations and clarification’s.
03. Crosswise communication
Crosswise communication has the horizontal flow of information with people on the different levels that have no
direct reporting relationship. Gross relationships exist between personnel in one division and personnel of equal,
lower or superior status in other divisions. This type of communication is used to speed information flow, to
improve understanding and to co-ordinate efforts for the achievement of organizational objectives.
Advantages of Formal Communication
Formal communication is needed for any organization because of following reasons:
1. Permanent Record:
Formal communication is always kept in record. When needed, the record can be easily traced and can
help in solving problems. It can act as reference.
2. To increase overall efficiency:
Such types of communication follow all the set or established rules of an organization and therefore
facilitate the increase of overall efficiency of the organization.
3. This is easy communication system:
Formal communication moves through the pre-determined channel. Everyone in the organization is
aware of the source or destination of the message.
4. Maintenance of discipline:
It creates a sense of awareness among the employees to be punctual and attentive towards their jobs.
5. Less chance of mistake / error:
Due to care is given to strictly perform the pre-conditioned requirements when anybody is engaged in for
6. Presence of coordination:
Co-ordination if activities are highly essential for the smooth functioning of an organization. Organization
having multiple departments requires strict discipline to co-ordinate it. Various functions and such
coordination are possible through formal communication.
7. Reliability of communication:
Formal communication is more reliable and more credible as it passes through a formal process. That is
why, for transmitting important issues, like objectives, orders and directions etc. Formal communication is
Formal communication is always self-explanatory because the source and destination are clear and
definite. It creates no confusion rather a clear meaning to all.
Disadvantages of Formal Communication
1. Wastage of Time:
Formal communication requires a lot of time to pass through the various points. In each point, messages
are decoded and encoded again for the transmission to the next stage. This process continues until the
message reaches the final recipient. This results in killing of huge time.
A message transmitted through formal communication cannot be changes as and when desires. To
make any change in formal communication. It involves observation of the same rules and procedure as
was followed in original communication.
3. Authoritarian system:
Formal communication occurring in the vertical way follows the nature of authoritarian as communication
takes place between boss and subordinates, and therefore formal communication turns into a job of
mere observation of formalities.
4. Lack of initiative:
Informal communication, everybody has to follow the set rules and systems. Employee has no choice to
select any other system even if it is the best one compared to the prescribed one. There is no scope to
develop creativity and exercise initiatives.
Procedures and formalities are maintained for formal commi8nication, the communication becomes more
complex and time consuming and costly.
6. Lack of cordiality:
Established rules are strictly observes. More emphasis is given to the formalities rather than human side.
As a result, there is no scope to develop cordial relationship between the sender and receiver.
Advantages of Informal Communication
1. Alternative system:
There are some messages, which cannot be sent through formal way and therefore requires some alternative.
Such alternative can be informal communication.
2. Interpretation present:
Message sent to subordinates requires explanation or interpretation and informal communication is the valuable
3. Grievance present:
Employees cannot make any complaints to superiors through formal communication but informal communication
gives the employees a better opportunity to raise their complaints, grievance or claim.
4. Enhance efficiency:
Employees can freely exchange their opinions in terms of informal communication. They can ask any question
without any hesitation.
5. Improvement of relationship:
Any dispute created between management and the labor can be settled through informal communication.
Coordination and cooperation can be established through harmonious relationship between management and
labor. Such relationship is only possible through informal communication.
6. Providing recommendations:
Subordinates feel free to provide management with their suggestions and recommendations on different job related
issues like work methods, procedures, conditions etc.
7. Measuring reaction:
Before releasing any information, management wants to know the reaction of employees. In such a case informal
communication can be valuable in measuring the reaction of employees before any information is conveyed
through formal channels.
8. Quick transmission:
Information flows quickly through informal channels. Management may take advantage to send or receive the
message of urgent nature through such network.
9. Provide emotional relief:
Some employees may become emotional which cannot be removed through formal communication. But informal
communication acts as a safety measure to provide emotional relief and therefore help in concentration to job.
Organizational effectiveness is likely to be enhanced by informal communication through opening job related
communication channels, which an organization requires to create social impression.
Disadvantages of informal Communication
Informal communication networks do not follow any set rules, definite lines or ways. So it can transmit any kind of
information to any person without any respect or fear. It may spread wrong or distorted news, which may
sometimes prove harmful even to the employees.
2. Lack of secrecy:
In informal communication, everybody can freely interact, as there are no restriction or rules. Any secret matter is
likely to be flashed without any problem or hesitation. This may cause a huge damage to any organization.
3. Damaging swiftness:
The swiftness with which the informal communication transmits the message may even be damaging. A rumor may
spread and cause serious damage before the management becomes aware of it and can take any corrective
4. Incomplete information:
Information released usually incomplete. There is each and every chance of its being misunderstood or
Sometimes confusion develops among the persons involved in informal communication. As a result they may
remain separate without any cooperation.
6. Lack of control:
Informal communication does not follow any established system; it is beyond of any control. Organization has no
mechanism to resist its movement.
7. Huge rumor:
Most of the time, informal communication fabricates the real facts and makes some rosy picture. This really
damages the working environment of any organization.
The grapevine is a major informal communication pathway in an organization is such a term was used in the civil
war to describe the telegraph lines falling loosely from tree to tree and resembling a grapevine. It arises from the
social and personal interests of people rather than the formal requirements of an organization. Think about
people making assembly in any function or ceremony, they become interested to know each other more closely,
here grapevine is sure to develop.
Characteristics of the Grapevine
1. Huge impact:
A large number of employees in an organization depend on the grapevine because they consider this as
the primary source of information as well as the reliable channel to communicate about the facts and
events within the firm.
Grapevine links the whole organization very quickly; from top to bottom of an organization no body is left
from the touch of grapevine.
It is more flexible than formal channels because formal channels require various formalities whereas
grapevine is free from those formalities.
Information moves very quickly through the grapevine. Grapevine runs faster than the wind.
Information spreading through grapevine is like to be disported as it moves point-to-point, terminal-to-
terminal or person-to-person.
6. Oral way:
Grapevine uses oral techniques more rather than written or nonverbal techniques. As oral
communication involves less time, grapevine is likely to be dependent on oral mode.
7. Large receivers:
A huge number of individuals are always there to take part in grapevine.
8. Extra ability:
Grapevine can pierce the strong security and can flow from mouth to mouth very easily.
9. Unsaid information:
Grapevine normally carries those information that the formal communication downs not with to convey.
Information based on fabrication or rumor is supposed to be transmitted more in a better way through
10. Contradictory information:
The same fonormation, which is transmitted through formal chain, can be distorted and therefore can
raise contradiction if passed through grapevine.
Media / Channels of Communication
Communication and media are not independent rather they are dependent and complimentary to each
other. Without media, communication cannot happen and therefore they are two sides of the same
A communication using oral or written methods know to be verbal communication or verbal
communication is a method that uses oral and written expression face to face communication
conversation, meeting, interview etc. are the methods used under oral communication. Whereas
letters, memos, report, internet, telex, fax, telegram and others are used for written
communication both oral and written communication methods can be used jointly or uniquely to
create verbal communication.
Oral communication is the process of communication which is sent by the sender through the
word of mouth. It takes the form of speech and listening. It consists of words arranged in
A message communicated in a written form is known as written communication. Obviously it is
word based communication and is made in terms of writing and generally used when the
audience is at a distance and when there is a need of record.
Non-verbal communication is a non-word communication. It clearly defines that such
communication is neither written nor oral but uses some series of symbols or ways to
communicate a message. We can say, Non-verbal communication means all communication
that involves neither written nor spoken words but occurs without the use of words.
Visual communication is done using sight only. Ex- Facial expressions, gesture, printed picture,
posters, slides, film etc. Visual communication generally communicates elementary and simple
ideas. It can be effectively used only in combination with other media. When written
communication fails, we can take the help of visual communication to communicate with
Audible / Audial Communication
Communications that done by using only sound is called Audible / Audial communication. Ex -
siren, calling bell, ringing bell etc.
Audio-visual communication is a combination of sight and sound i.e. it uses audible and visual
techniques both for transmitting message, information or idea to create a meaningful picture
which is communicative. Ex – Live telecasts, short films, cinema screen, video tapes etc.
A gesture is a deliberate body movement intended to convey a message. Many different attitude
and intentions are expressed in gesture. Ex – Shakes head slowly from side to side, raises
eyebrows, shrugs shoulders, nods head etc.
Communication which completed by using another factors, means with third party is called
Passive communication. Ex- Call a teacher through peon.
Communication through Action
Communication which done by an action, is applied to make communication through attention,
indirectly. Ex- Whispering to make attention of a girl.
Merits & Limitations of written communication
- It is accurate and precise
- It can be repeatedly referred to
- It is a permanent record
- It is a legal document
- It facilitates the assignation of responsibilities
- It has a wide access
- It is time consuming
- It is costly
- Quick clarification is not possible
Merits & Limitations of Oral communication
- Oral communication saves time
- Oral communication saves money
- Speaker can convey shades of meaning
- Speaker can get immediate feedback
- Helps to promote friendly relations
- Extremely useful while it is group communication
- Not possible when speaker and receiver are far away
- Lengthy message not suitable for oral communication
- It not retained for long time
- No legal validity
- Greater chances of misunderstanding