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Classification Based on Direction of Communication

The direction of communication may take any of the following patterns: (a) External Communication (b) Internal Communication (c) Vertical Communication (i) Downward Communication (ii) Upward Communication (d) Horizontal Communication

External Communication
External communication is the process of exchange of message and information with persons outside the organization. It enables the management of a business to keep in touch with external persons and organizations, which is essential for successful conduct of business. External communication may be defined as a form of communication that takes place with other organizations or people outside the organization itself. Now-a-days any organization depends on outside world to meet their requirements. An external communication serves this purpose of making contact with outsiders so as to know from them issues of their mutual interests.

Need for External Communication

Communication is a vital tool of management. It helps in maintaining favorable relationships with outside contacts. The need for external communication arises from the necessity of keeping in regular touch with outsiders in order to carry on its business activities successfully. It has to enter into numerous transactions with outside persons and organizations in connection with sales; purchase, finance, marketing, collection of bills etc. It must also be in touch with various external sources to secure information about market conditions, prospects of raising finance, changes in laws and rules affecting business operations and other related matters. Above all, it has project a good image among the customers, investors and the public general through publicity in order to promote business and goodwill. All these necessitate a continuous flow of external communication. It leads to better: Sales volume Public credibility Operational efficiency Company profits It should improve Overall performance Public goodwill Corporate image Ultimately, it helps to achieve Organizational goals Customer satisfaction Effective External Communication results in: a) Increased prestige among its investors, customers, suppliers and the general public. Neatly produced and promptly delivered communication invariably crates a favorable impression and enhances goodwill. b) Improved public relations by keeping the public, including its investors, well informed about its activities. This helps in securing their understanding about the enterprise and its activities. c) Improved business by creating favorable relationships with customers, suppliers and the public in general.

Types of External Communication

External communication may be of two types: Oral and Written. However, all business concerns are both the types of communication in varying degrees depending on the nature of business and needs of particular circumstances.

Oral Communication
Oral external communication may be conducted in two ways: (a) Personal visits for face-to-face communication, and (b) telephonic communication. These are briefly discussed here: a) Face-to-face Communication: Personal visits for face-to-face conversation are an effective means of external communication. The greatest advantage of face-to-face communication is its effectiveness in getting quick results. The personal approach helps both sides to come to a speedy decision on any matter. It also helps in removing misunderstandings and resolving disputes. A business deal which may take weeks to finalize through written communication may be concluded through single personal visit. However, it is costly and time consuming. Moreover, it does not provide a written record which may be necessarily as evidence. b) Telephonic Communication: The telephone is the workhorse of the modern communication system. It is widely used for oral communication, both internal and external. The telephone can be used for oral communication with any outside person provided he is connected by telephone. Recent improvements in the telephone services and introduction of highly sophisticated telephone instruments have further enhanced its usefulness.

Written Communication
External communication through written media is the most effective means of maintaining favorable relations with external business contacts. It constitutes principal means of communication in a business office. Most of the businesses, transactions of an enterprise are conducted and concluded orally have to be confirmed by written record of some type.

Media/Methods of External Communication

Different methods and means are used for external communication, both oral and written. For oral external communication, the principal means used is the telephone. The methods commonly adopted for transportation and transmission of written external communication are of the following types: i) For actual delivery or transportation of the written communication the methods used are the postal mail, messengers, courier service, etc. ii) For transmission of the written message without actual delivery of the document, the methods usually adopted are telegraph service, tele-printer, telefax, e-mail etc. Some of the more important methods of external communication are discussed here: 1. Telephone: The telephone is the most common and useful method of oral communication because of the speed and facility of direct personal contact. The development of telephone services and invention of improved types of telephone instruments have increased its usefulness tremendously. 2. Postal Mail: Postal Mail is the most widely used method for delivering written communication to any destination within or outside the country. It is the cheapest and safest method of transmission of written messages of any types. Even money remittances by cash, cheque or bank draft can be sent safely through the postal mail service. 3. Messengers: Written communication can also be delivered to external contacts through messengers employed by the office. Besides the messengers engaged in the internal mail service, a few messengers can be engaged to carry written communications to outside parties and organizations situated within the city.

4. Courier Service: Business firms nowadays prefer to utilize the services of private agencies called Courier Service for quick and safe transportation of written communication. Courier service can be utilized for fast transportation of all kinds of written communication, including parcels and packages of limited bulk, to any destination within or outside the country. Some offices even use Courier Service for delivery of mail within the city to avoid the cost of maintaining a messenger service of its own. 5. Telegraph: Telegraph is a well-known and commonly used method of transmission of written communication. Telegrams are preferred by business firms for sending urgent messages as they attract immediate attention and evoke prompt action. As it is rather expensive, it is used selectively for sending short messages in urgent business situations only. Telegraphic communication can be sent to telegraph offices of selected post offices which accept telegraphic messages for onward transmission. 6. Teleprinter: Written communication can be transmitted to customers and other outside contacts of a business firm through the Teleprinter network. This is both a speedy and economic method of transmission of written messages even when the distance involved is long. 7. Telefax or Fax: It is a facsimile reproduction and transmission system now being used increasingly for transmission of written messages. Anything written, typed or drawn on paper can be transmitted by this machine automatically and reproduced on the receiving machine. 8. E-mail: E-mail (popular name for electronic mail) involves sending messages via telecommunication links. It is the quickest means of transmitting messages. Email saves you from telephone tags which assist communication cycle continue

to work efficiently. E-mail messages can be sent to a large number of people simultaneously and also can be easily stored for future reference. 9. Voice Mail: Voice mail, strictly speaking, is a form of E-mail only. Here, a message, instead of being communicated in a written form, is sent in the voice of the caller. Like E-mail, it is very easy to use and is a convenient way of leaving short messages for someone who is not immediately available. 10. Teleconferencing or Videoconferencing: Teleconferencing or videoconferencing allows people to meet and work collaboratively without having to be together in one room. It can lead to substantial saving both in terms of money and executive time. 11. Information Service: Some organizations provide the customers with after service. For this purpose, they distribute leaflets, circular letter, and cards etc. which act as channels of external communication. 12. Participation in Fair and Exhibition: Trade fair and exhibition are sometimes arranged in big towns or abroad. People as the representatives of a concern can attend in fair and exhibition. These are also considered as external communication.

Internal Communication
Communication occurring within the same organizational structure is called internal communication. This communication takes place between or among the employees and officers of the same organization. In this sense, if an employee of a head office exchanges views with an employee of its branch office located at different places, it falls within the category of internal communication. But if a manager of a firm, being in the office, talks face to face to an officer of another firm, this doesnt mean internal communication. So, communication between and among the employer and employees of the same organization considered to be internal communication.

Need for Internal Communication

Every organization has its own objectives and to obtain such objectives communication is required in each and every moment. Both internal and external communication is equally important to run the business properly. Internal communication is especially important because it links the day to day operations of a business. The following points highlight the importance of internal communication. 1. Control: Control means keeping something within the limit. Lack of control causes misuse of resources. Such control can be possible if there is effective internal communication. 2. Coordination: Coordination among activities of different departments is highly essential to active the predetermined goals. Lack of coordination causes mismanagement. Through internal communication, a strong chain is possible to enhance coordination. 3. Motivation: Because of internal communication, all levels in an organization work properly to achieve the organizational goal. Nobody is ignored and therefore such communication acts as a motivating factor.

4. Development of Managerial Efficiency: Management is getting things done by others. Communication is the only tool in this regard. To influence the workers, managers must have proper knowledge regarding the workers. Such knowledge can only be developed through internal communication. 5. Job Satisfaction: Employee dissatisfaction has negative effect on job performance and therefore causes of dissatisfaction are to be identified and removed. Sound internal communication can help here and as a result employees will be inspired. 6. Others: Moreover, the followings are also possible because of internal communication: a) b) c) d) e) Preparation of plan and therefore execution of plan Exchange of news and views Development of employee efficiency Maintenance of link between various levels Increasing morality

Communication within Organization

There is a communication chain within an organization where employees communicate within the same ladder or up and down the ladder to meet specific demand. Generally communication within organization can be divided into two types: formal and informal. Formal communication occurs formally i.e. it maintains official rules and procedures. For example, when departmental instruction is sent to the employees through letter, it becomes formal communication. Whereas informal communication passes through informal channels like gossiping during lunch, participation in games, festival night or cultural program etc. which bind employees to create an informal network.


Incoming Information

Internal communication



Internal Communication in an Organization

Media/Methods of Internal Communication

A number of forms are available to internally communicate information, views, news or message within the member of the organization, some commonly used forms are as follows: 1. Memos: The most commonly used means of business communication especially among departments are memos. A memo provides a format for a concise message. Through this form, information flows across and up and down in the firm. It reflects information, makes request and provides responses and presents informal reports. 2. Interview: Sometimes management and managed people of the organization resort to an interview or conversation to exchange their views on different issues. 3. Telephone: The use of telephone is increasing for internal communication. The size, scope and nature of organization affect the use of telephone for internal communication. 4. Report: A report is another well-known medium of internal communication. A report contains information based on investigation is sent to the authority concerned. It is an excellent means of internal communication. 5. Notice Board: Such a board is used by many organizations to send a message to the employees. It must be kept up-to-date and attractive and should be placed where employees make assembly.


6. Face-to-face Discussion: Executive officers and employees many times call for a discussion and interchange views regarding the current problems. This discussion may be regular or irregular and formal or informal depending on the situation. 7. Participation in Praying: In a Muslim country there is a participation in the prayer by the officers and employees where they get the chance to come close and create a relation. 8. Questionnaires and Survey: Information about employee attitude, morals and relationship between management and subordinates etc. may be collected through the use of questionnaires and surveys. 9. Fax: When departments, branches or units of an organization are scattered in different place then fax is used for communication. 10. Intranet: Due to wide use of computers now a days, on line system has given a new image in the area of communication. Such a system interconnects all the computers of an organization to create effective and fast communication. 11. Complaint and Suggestion Boxes: At some convenient places in the office or the factory, complaint and suggestion boxes are kept so that employees can drop their complaints and suggestions, if any, into the box. 12. Posters: Eye catching posters are used to communicate various norms, rules, principles and ideas of an organization to make its employees aware and up-to-date.


Differences between Internal and External Communication

The differences between Internal and External Communication are presented as under: Points of Difference 1. Nature Internal Communication Internal communication takes place within the organization. Both the communicator and the communicatee are the employees of the same organization. External Communication External communication takes place outside the four walls of the same organization. When one organization communicates with other organizations within or outside the country, it is engages in external communication. Pm the contrary, external communication is done with outsiders in the hope of generating business that enables the firm to survive, expand and make profits. Most of the external communications are done through formal channels. Scope of using informal channels is very limited because of the lack of close proximity between the sender and the receiver of the message.

2. Purpose

The purpose of internal communication is to ensure efficient management and smooth operation of the organization. Internal communication flows along the prescribed channels as well as informal channels. All the members of an organization, communicating with one another are generally obliged to follow the prescribed (formal) channel. But still there exists in every organization an informal channel. In internal communication information flows in different directions downward to subordinates, upward to superiors and horizontal to peers. Moreover, in some instances, information flows diagonally when it cannot be effectively and efficiently

3. Formality

4. Direction

External communication is unidirectional. Normally information flows horizontally between the people of equal rank and status bellowing to different organizations.

transmitted through downward, upward or horizontal channels. 5. Frequency Most of the communication, an organization is to do, is internal by nature. A typical day for a manager includes most of the following activities desk work (which deals with issuing orders and instructions, answering hundreds of enquiries and complaints), attending scheduled and unscheduled meetings, telephone calls, etc. One of the reasons for such frequent internal communication may be that it is associated with day-to-day operations of the organization. 6. Scope Internal communication cannot take the form of mass communication because of its scope being confined within the four walls of the organization.

External communication, on the other hand, is comparatively less frequent. This lower frequency may be due to the inherent nature of external communication.

Sometimes mass communication becomes inevitable to establish a link with outsiders specially those who stay at a far distant place even outside the country. In these situations, mass media like radio, television, newspaper etc. are extensively used for such external communication.


Vertical Communication
A communication that exists between superior and subordinate can be termed as vertical communication. When the communication flows from upward to downward i.e. from superior to subordinate it is called downward communication. And when it is reversed i.e. from subordinate to superior, it is called upward communication. Therefore both upward and downward in together make vertical communication. The vertical communication can be shown below:
Top Level Management Top Level Management

Middle Level Management

Middle Level Management

Lower Level Management

Lower Level Management



Downward Communication

Upward Communication

Vertical Communication

Figure: Vertical Communication


When vertical communication follows downward trend then it involves directions, instructions, order or advice, whereas vertical communication following upward trend involves problem defining, giving opinion and reporting. Vertical communication uses both oral and written method to fulfill the objective of communication. Face to face or telephonic conversation, meeting, seminar etc. are used for oral communication. On the other hand, letters, memos, notices, reports and other written documents are sued for written communication. Therefore, communication happening between two or more persons having different level, rank or designation can be defined as vertical communication.

Merits of Vertical Communication

There are some advantages of vertical communication. Those advantages highlighted below: (1) Communication at various levels of an organization is possible through vertical communication. (2) Advice, order or instruction are implemented through such communication. (3) Problems existing any department, position or level pinpointed. (4) Vertical communication plays a vital role to motivate the subordinates. (5) Job assignment, Job rationality and Job evaluation are possible due to such communication. (6) Employee attitude and job satisfaction can be identified if vertical communication is active.


Demerits of Vertical Communication

Vertical communication also faces some disadvantages or limitations which are: (1) As the designation or rank of the sender and receiver involved in vertical communication is not same, so there always exists a difference. Such difference hampers the way of communication. (2) Subordinates at many occasions cannot express their feelings, attitude or emotion to their respective superiors which calls for communication gap. (3) Sometimes the superiors can be reluctant to forward their message which can be a barrier to such communication. (4) Such communication passes on various levels of an organization which calls for delay and slowness. (5) Subordinates always have fear to ask for further explanation from their superiors. So, subordinates always have doubt regarding the message received.

Types of Vertical Communication

Vertical communication can be two types. Thus(i) (ii) Downward Communication Upward Communication

A brief discussion of these two types follows:


Downward Communication
The word downward refers to the flow which is directed from higher to a lower level. If so, downward communication is said to move from one level of an organization or a group to a lower level. Thus, downward communication is a process of sending a message from a superior to a subordinate. The Managing Director of a public limited company, for example, sending a message to the departmental heads; or a manager issuing instructions to an assistant manager; or a supervisor giving directions to the workers, all are examples of downward communications. Through downward communication, management tries to carry out its basic functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling. Major types of information sent through downward communication include job instructions, organizational procedures and practices, feedback to the subordinates about their performance, making the objectives known and the delegation of authority clear to the lower levels of management. This type of communication is also known as top-down communication.


Objectives of Downward Communication

The overall purpose of downward communication is to supply the subordinates with relevant information, instruction and necessary explanation. Managers at different levels within the organization send such messages to the employhees they manage. Downward communication is, therefore, mostly needed to facilitate the achievement of target results. There are many objectives behind downward communication. These are: 1. To Direct: To give specific directives to the subordinates, downward communication is used. 2. To Interpret: With the help of downward communication, organizational objectives and policies do explained to the lower level employees in order to give them complete understand. 3. To Give Feedback of Performance Appraisal: Supervisors evaluate the work performed by the employees they supervise. Downward communication is used to inform the employees of their evaluation. 4. To Define Responsibility and Delegate Authority: Every work responsibility of each employee should be clearly defined and thereafter the employees are to be informed of their jurisdiction of operation through downward communication. 5. To Motivate: Employees need motivation to work wholeheartedly so as to achieve organizational objectives. Management has to resort to repetition is also one of the objectives of downward communication.


6. To Educate: To teach and impress the employees by frequent repetition is also one of the objectives of downward communication. 7. To Inform Job Rationale and Significance: Another objective of communication is to produce understanding of the task and its relation to other organizational tasks. 8. To Give Idea: With the help of downward communication objective, policies, rules are explained to the subordinates by superior to give complete understanding. 9. To Explain About Change: Changes are independent to circumstances, when there is any change in respect of plans, policies, procedures or rules etc. such are communicated with explanation through downward communication. 10. To Maintain Discipline: Such communication follows the organizational hierarchy, so every section, unit or department must follow the set rules or procedure. As a result, discipline is ensured.


Forms of Downward Communication

There are many forms available for downward communication. Some of these forms are as follows: 1. Letters/Notices: Important directive to initiate actions are communicated to employees through letters or notices. Theses directives are generally sent only to those employees who are directly affected by them. 2. Manuals/Circulars: Organizational policies and procedures may be announced through circulars, manuals etc. 3. Bulletins: Bulletins are used to inform the employees of certain important and urgent matters. 4. Posters: For miscellaneous information to be communicated posters may be used. To make this form effective, it should be eye-catching and displayed in places where employees can see them. It should also contain such information as will create interest in the workers. 5. Annual Report: Organizational activities and achievement during the year should b e made familiar to the staff. To acquaint the lower level staff with these matters, annual report may be found suitable. 6. Company Periodicals: Another method of communicating information to the employees is company periodicals. Well-written articles covering different aspects of the organization are published in these periodicals.


7. Employee Handbook: Employee handbooks usually contain information regarding employee responsibilities. When employees join in an organization, they may be given this handbook so that they can be aware of their duties, responsibilities and other issues related to the job. 8. Memos: For a concise message to be communicated memos, which provide format, are used. This is the most frequently used form for business communication, especially among various departments. 9. Prerecorded Messages: Some companies tape their own television programs and later replay it to employees through television screen in company lunch-rooms and other locations. Particularly big organizations having branch operations use this approach to keep branch employees informed of the corporate developments. 10. Job Holder Reports and Meetings: A few organizations adapt tis form. The operational procedure is that a report about a firms performance is presented by top management at the meeting where all employees are invited. Employees are invited to question management and to give suggestions in the same way that owners do in stockholder meetings.


Advantages of Downward Communication

Most of the communication flows within an organization are downward, because it is accompanied by various advantages. These are: 1. Increases Efficiency: Subordinates get the necessary instructions from their superiors. As a result, they can properly perform their duties and thereby increase efficiency. 2. Helps Maintain Good Relations: Because of the systematic flow of information under this communication, it is possible to maintain good relations at all the stages of the organization. 3. Improves Discipline: Chain of command is completely observed in downward communication. So, a sense of discipline develops among the employees. 4. Absence of By-passing: As chain of command is clear in downward communication, no superior can send any message to any subordinate through by-passing the immediate next subordinate. 5. Facilitates Delegation of Authority: Delegation of authority is facilitated through downward communication. This is possible because of the unique characteristics of downward communication flowing from upper level to the lowest level of the organization. 6. Helps to Inform Subordinates: To inform the subordinates of the policies and procedures framed by top level management, superiors are to take recourse to downward communication. 7. To Facilitate Interpretation: Subordinates need explanation of organizational policies, procedures, rules etc. these explanations are sent to subordinates through downward communication.

8. Systematic Flow: Because of the systematic flow of information under this communication, it is possible to maintain good relations at all stages of the organization. 9. To Begin Action: Such communication inspires the employees to take initiative because they are aware regarding their specific task. So, downward communication helps to begin action. 10. Completeness: This is a complete form of communication because the boss is conscious about every pattern of communication. From the above discussion, it is found that downward communication offers advantages which help achieve the objectives of an organization.


Limitations of Downward Communication

In spite of having many advantages, downward communication suffers from certain disadvantages. The following are some examples of such disadvantages: 1. Under-communication: In the pure downward communication feedback is not possible. So if messages sent through this system are not clearly understandable to the receiver, they will lead to unsatisfactory performance. 2. Loss of Information: In downward communication transmitting information to the destination in its entirely, through several layers, is hampered. Unless fully written some parts of information, in the course of transmission, are almost certain to be lost. 3. Distortion: In the lines of downward communication, information is very likely to be distorted because of exaggerations, understatements and giving unconscious twists which are part of human nature. Thus the information that passes through the long chain of command may lose a little of its authenticity at every level. By the time information finally reaches the destination, it may not contain even an iota of truth. 4. Tendency towards Autocracy: Downward communication is highly authoritarian. The subordinates under this system do not get any opportunity to take part in the decision-making process. Rather, they are to receive the policy decisions and directives without questioning their appropriateness or validity. This dictatorial attitude of the superior leads the subordinate staff to resent. 5. Low Morale: Late receipt of information, slowness in the transmitting process and the authoritarian feature of the system reduce the morale of the subordinates.


6. Suspicion: The very nature of downward communication does not allow the subordinates to send back their reactions which lead them to be suspicious of the directives of the superiors. 7. More Emphasis on Bosss Interest: Subordinates react best to the matters that serve the greatest personal interests of their superiors, sometimes neglecting other matters. Among the various commands, policies, practices and suggestions that come from above, subordinates select those most in keeping their perception of their bosss character, personal motivation and style and give them priority. 8. Low Efficiency: As a corollary, the above limitations produce another limitation reduction of efficiency in the employees. 9. Delay: If the line of communication in the downward system is very long, it takes too much time to transmit information to the lowest level of management. By the time information reaches the destination, it is too late losing much of its significance. The above limitations have curtailed the popularity of downward communication. But these are not absolutely beyond control. Many of the limitation can be removed if the management and the managed sincerely desire.


Essentials of Effective Downward Communication

The effectiveness of downward communication is largely determined by the following factors: 1. Possession of Adequate Information: Through downward communication, superiors transmit information such as organizational objectives, procedures, activities, achievements, etc. to the subordinates. To make effective communication, managers themselves must be in possession of adequate information relating to concerned issues. 2. Clear Idea: Managers must have clear idea about how much information to be communicated and at what time. With this end in view, managers must work according to communication plan which will ensure that there is neither any communication gap nor any over-communication or under-communication. 3. Detailed Information: Information should be sent to employees as much detail as it enables the employees to clearly understand the message and perform their jobs in better ways. 4. No By-passing: Information must reach the destination through the proper channel. No bypassing should be entertained. Sending a message through by-passing creates many problems. For example, if the managing director by-passes the departmental heads to directly communicate with the lower staff, the organizational structure is subverted thereby and this creates bad precedence for the smooth flow of downward communication. 5. Re-explanation: If subordinates fail to clearly understand the message, there should be an arrangement to re-explain the message.


6. Decentralization: Effectiveness of downward communication can also be increased through decentralization. If the system is decentralized, every level of management becomes the original source of message. As a result, possibilities of distorted, lost and delayed information are largely reduced because of the shorter communication route used. 7. Awareness about the Receivers Knowledge: To make effective communication, language of the message should be such as would enable the receiver to understand it easily and clearly. 8. Willingness: Lastly it can be said that both the sender and the receiver of the message must be willing and sincere to make downward communication effective. Both of them must extend their whole-hearted co-operation in this regard.

Specimen for Downward Communication

An example of downward communication by a General Manager (Chief Executive Officer) to the production management through a show case notice is given below:

5.03.11 Manager Production Department

24, Motijheel, Dhaka-1000

Textile Ltd.

Sub: Show cause for the failure. According to finished production report, the actual figure is much less than the target set for last month. Please check the discrepancy and interpret the reasons in details within one week. Mr. Tanjid Khan General Manager


Upward Communication
Upward communication flows from one level of an organization or a group to a higher level. This is just opposite to downward communication. Subordinates may have many suggestions and complaints which need to be transmitted to the superiors. Upper management also needs to know specifically about production performance, marketing information, financial data and so forth. Whenever the subordinates send any suggestion, complaint or any other type of message to the superiors on their own accord or at the will of the superiors, the process is called Upward Communication. This type of communication is also known as bottom-up communication. The main purpose of upward communication is to know if the subordinates have properly received the message or they have any problem. Another purpose is to collect necessary data from the subordinates who are associated with implementation of the plan made by the upper level management. Rue and Byars of Georgias State University (1980), identified the following four major types of information which generally flow through upward communication. 1. Information on subordinate achievement, progress and future plans. 2. Information about work problems which require assistance from higher ups in the organization. 3. Ideas for improvement in work related activities and functions. 4. Information on subordinates feelings about work and work-related issues.


Forms of Upward Communication

Upward communication may be done in a number of ways. Some of the more commonly used forms are discussed below: 1. Report: Most frequently used form for upward communication is report. Subordinates may be required to submit reports to the senior about the progress of their (subordinates) work at regular intervals. 2. Complaints/Suggestion Boxes: Complaint/Suggestion Boxes are installed at some convenient places in the factory or office. Employees drop the complaints and suggestions, if any, into the boxes. Later on, these are collected and reviewed through established schedule and procedure. 3. Open-door Policy: This form gives the employees a feeling that the managers doors are always open to them. Whenever the subordinates likes they can walk into the superiors room without any hesitation and talk to him about their problems. 4. Direct Correspondence: Under this system, the employees are encouraged to seek advice of their superiors about their problems at their own initiatives. 5. Counseling: Sometimes, in some organizations, lower level employees are encouraged to seek advice of their problems at their personal problems. As the employees feel free to talk about their problems through this system, their morale increases. 6. Social Gathering: Social gatherings, arranged in different departments, offer an informal atmosphere where lower level employees feel to talk to the seniors about their problems.

7. Letters: Letters are relatively brief documents. They are used for day to day exchange of information. 8. Memos: The most frequently used form for upward communication is memos. Through memos a short piece of information is sent to executives by subordinates. Generally routine information is communicated through this means. 9. Quality Circles: Quality circles, voluntarily formed with a small group of workers, identify problems within their immediate work areas and suggest solutions to the higher-ups. 10. Special Meetings: Employees many call special meetings to discuss issues of mutual interest with managers. 11. Questionnaires and Surveys: Managers may obtain information about employee attitude and morale, employee views about the organization and relationship between manager and subordinates through questionnaires and surveys.


Advantages of Upward Communication

Modern democratic system and the recently developed Human Resource Management concepts have drawn our attention. With the increasing use of these systems, importance of upward communication has also increased in the interest of effective operation of an organization. Upward communication provides numerous advantages: 1. Decision Making: Top level management needs to know about production performance, marketing operations, and financial data and so on before making any decision. Subordinates supply their information through upward communication and thus decision-making is made easier and better. 2. Giving Feedback: Through upward communication the subordinates send back their reactions to the decision given by the superiors. Thus, upper level management can ensure whether the lower level employees have accepted the message sent by the superiors. 3. Providing Suggestions: Subordinates can provide their constructive opinions to the superiors through upward communication. These opinions may be useful to the achievement of the organizations objectives. 4. Motivating: Upward communication is a communication tool through which the lower level staffs is allowed to express their opinions to the upper level superiors. Naturally, juniors are motivated and their job satisfaction increases, thereby facilitating the achievement of production target. 5. Maintaining Good Relations: If there is upward communication working in an organization, subordinates get the opportunity to express their opinions on different issues relating to the operations of the organization. This arrangement creates and maintains a

sense of belonging in the mind of the juniors. As a result, harmonious relationship prevails between the superiors and subordinates. 6. Developing Creativity: Upward communication facilitates the development of basic and creative thought in the subordinates. 7. Knowing Employees Attitude: Every organization undertakes some welfare measures for the employees. If upward communication is in operation, management can know through it whether/how far the employees are satisfied with the welfare activities. 8. Favorable Organizational Environment: Upward communication enriches the relationship between subordinates and superiors. As a result organization attains continuous development. 9. Development of Plan: Upper level management can collect information from the bowel level management through upward communication information obtained from such communication can be used to develop and implement any plan. 10. Prompt Appreciation: Because of upward communication, subordinates get the opportunity to praise their boss for any positive or effective movement. This ultimately results in cordial relationship between superiors and subordinates.


Problems of Upward Communication

It is true that upward communication has many advantages. But it is not very easy to have a smooth upward flow. Smooth upward communication is hindered by a number of limitations, more prominent of which are discussed below: 1. Fear: One prominent barrier of upward communication is that many employees fear communicating their ideas up the organizations. A research study disclosed that the majority of the employees believed that the best way of gaining promotion was to agree with superiors (Vogel, 1967). This tendency to suppress fact must not be entertained because it is not the suppressed information but the correct one, which is absolute needed for proper management of an organization. 2. Lack of Initiative: Employees are usually found reluctant to talk any initiative for upward communication. If it so happens, an organization is deprived of many merits resulting from upward communication. 3. Nonresponsive Management: Many employees feel that management is both inaccessible and unresponsive. Employees often see their bosses as too busy or they simply cannot find their bosses when they are wanted. Even if the subordinates can locate them, the managers are not found to be responsive to what they (subordinates) say, which results in employees becoming very reluctant to express their ideas, opinions and feelings. 4. Distortion: Usually, upward communication is more prone to distortion than downward flow of communication. Lower-level staffs with aspirations for moving up hardly send critical or unpalatable information upward. In fact, upward communication is subject to filtering, as information passes from person to person. Thus, it is deliberately distorted.

5. By-passing: In the process of upward communication, sometimes workers directly approach the top most authority with their suggestions or complaints ignoring their immediate boss. Thus, the officers having been by-passed feel slighted and consequently the relations between the workers and their immediate boss get strained which results in poor (or no) job performance. 6. Recklessness: Taking the opportunity of upward communication, sometimes the subordinates behave with their bosses recklessly. This stands in the way of developing and maintaining good relations between the workers and the superiors. 7. Flattery: This is just opposite to reckless behavior of the subordinates. Flatteries are part of human nature, at least, to some people. Subordinates having this nature always try to satisfy their bosses with whatever information they feel appropriate. They often serve the bosss personal interest, not the interest of the organization.


Essentials of Effective Upward Communication

To overcome the problems of or to effectively use upward communication, due attention must be given on the following matters: 1. Understanding: Upward communication encounters many difficulties in most hierarchical organizations because of the lack of understanding between the people involved in upward communication. Managers often fail to understand the lower level staff. This problem must be solved in terms of human perception. It is rightly said that the better the interpersonal perception, the better is the communication. 2. Encouraging Subordinates to Communicate: Often workers are to remain afraid of their bosses. With this fearful mind they cannot be expected to freely talk to the managers. Hence, the managers must change their autocratic attitudes by driving out the awe of authority from the mind of the lower level staff. To do this, superiors should keep on encouraging the subordinates to come out of their shell and freely talk to the seniors. 3. Participative Management: One of the important ways of using upward communication is the positive attitude of managers. If participative management is sincerely encouraged, upward communication takes place. 4. Confidence in Sub-ordinates: Superiors must have confidence in the abilities and capacities of subordinate employees. If the workers feel that they have an important role in the success of the organization and that their inputs are really solicited, their participation generally results in improved methods and increased productivity. 5. Short Communication Lines: Distortion by editing and filtering can be avoided or at least minimized by making the lines of communication short as far as possible.


6. Initiative from Superiors: Workers should not be expected to take initiative for upward communication. To make if effective managers, instead of waiting for employees to come with their problems and ideas, had better get off their chairs and walk through and get in touch with the employees. 7. Redressal of Grievances: Due attention should be given one the legitimate claims and grievances of the employees. These issues should not be kept hanging rather they should be promptly resolved. 8. Reward for Proper Suggestions: In the process of upward communication, workers not only complain but also give many suggestions on different issue of the organization. Any such suggestion for any improvement, if found feasible, should be taken up for implementation and the workers making the suggestion should be suitably rewarded.


Specimen of Upward Communication

An example of upward communication by a sales manager to a general manager (CEO) through a letter:

Goodwill Enterprise
76,Dhanmondi,Dhaka 12.12.2010 The General Manager Subject: Reviewed sales report. Dear Sir, As per your direction, we checked the last months sales figure tonight and found the figures correct. One particular thing, which draws your attention, is that such an astonishing sales achievement has been possible because of our newly introduced credit sales policy. Our customers have increased their confidence in us and this helped us achieve the tremendous sales increase. Yours Sincerely A.R. Joardar Sales Manager


Differences between Upward and Downward Communication

The points of difference between upward communication and downward communication may be presented as under: Points of Difference 1. Definition Downward Communication Downward communication is a process of sending a message from a superior to a subordinate. Information flow from one level of an organization to immediate lower level. Messages in downward communication include instructions, orders, advices and the like. So, it is directive in nature. Downward communication is suitably found in an authoritarian environment. In such communication, the lower level employees have no or little scope to ask why. The overall purpose of downward communication is to supply the subordinates with relevant information and necessary explanation. So, it is mostly needed to facilitate the achievement of target results. Downward communication takes place frequently. Direction, order, advice etc. are frequently issued to the lower level employees.

Upward Communication On the other hand, upward communication flows from one level of an organization or a group to a higher level and continues up the organizational hierarchy. This is just opposite to downward communication. Messages in upward communication include suggestions, complaints and the like. So, it is non-directive. Upward communication on the other hand, is found in a democratic organizational environment where participative management is encouraged. The main purpose of upward communication is to ensure if the subordinates have properly received/understood the message. Data on job performance, work problems, work improvement etc. are also collected through upward communication. Upward communication on the contrary does not occur as frequently as downward communication does.

2. Nature

3. Application

4. Purpose

5. Frequency

6. Distortion

On the other hand, being nondirective in nature, upward communication is more prone to distortion. Subordinates with expectation of getting promotions in the administrative hierarchy hardly send critical or unpalatable information to their bosses. Thus information may be deliberately distorted here. 7. Initiative Here, higher authority takes Here, lower level employees the initiative to make take initiative to establish communication. communication. 8. Management It is an instruction type of It is as like as consultative management. management.

Because of the authoritarian nature of downward communication people involved in the process of transmitting messages, find very little scope to deliberately distort the message. If there is any distortion at all, it happens unconsciously there.


Horizontal Communication
Communication between the individuals of the same level or groups within the same departments or across departments is called Horizontal Communication. Many of these communication events are sent across informal pathways. In that case, it allows one to by-pass the formal structure and addresses the problems at the level where they appear. For example, the production manager in the diagram below may directly exchange information with the HR manager by-passing the formal structure of organizational hierarchy i.e. moving up through the hierarchy at the top (general manager) and then down to the HR manager at the right. Thus, workers directly communicating with coworkers and supervisors exchanging information with other supervisors are all engaged in horizontal communication. Horizontal communications among departmental heads are diagrammatically represented in the following figure:


Purposes of Horizontal Communication

The overall purpose of horizontal communication is to quickly facilitate the coordination of activities across different departments of the organization. The major types information flowing through horizontal communication are: 1. Information about the coordination of activities across multiple parts of the organization, 2. Information about work activities in the same level of the organization, 3. Information about persuasion of others at similar levels in the organization, 4. Information regarding colleagues feelings on work and work-related issues.

Forms of Horizontal Communication

Horizontal communication is carried on through different means. But it most effectively takes place through oral means. Among the oral means, face-toface conversation or a brief exchange of views over telephone is the usual and frequently used means of horizontal communication. Periodical meetings among equal ranking officers e.g. departmental heads may also be held to horizontally send a message to the persons desired. An interview may be considered one of the forms of horizontal communication in this category. In horizontal communication, side by side with the use of oral forms, written forms are also used. Among written forms, memorandums, letters, reports etc. are the most frequently used means for the purpose.


Advantages of Horizontal Communication

Horizontal communication is very important to promote understanding and coordination among various departments. A brief description of its importance is given below: 1. Coordination: Coordination of activities among different departments is necessary for smooth operations because the output of the whole organization involves the contribution from each department. For example, the increased production will require additional material, machine hours, human effort and finance. So, all departments, in together, must, work for any single piece of operation and hence coordination is must for proper operation. 2. Quickness: Horizontal communication takes place quickly because persons of equal rank react actively and promptly. This increases the motion of an organization. 3. More Complete Information: An obvious advantage is that information received through horizontal communication is more details. This is possible because information is less filtered in horizontal than in vertical communication. 4. Less Distortion: The direct nature of this form of communication helps for less distortion that may occur when information passes vertically through many different people. 5. Mutual Understanding: Finally, horizontal communication plays an important role in work teams consisting of members from different departments having similar designation. Team members get an opportunity for free discussions of their mutual interest. Thus, the free flow of horizontal communication makes a bridge between peers.


6. Harmonious Relation: Such communication occurs between the same ranked personnel. There is free and frankness among the peer group. This calls for betterment for the organization. 7. Departmental Communication: Horizontal communication is very important for the departmental communication because such communication always follow the organizational structure.


Limitations or Disadvantages of Horizontal Communication

Under horizontal communication workers get too much friendly with one another and create problems for the management. It also creates unnecessary delay and arise bitterness among the workers. Horizontal communication faces some problems or limitations which are as follows: 1. Overload: Since information is less filtered in horizontal communication, so one must sort a greater amount of data which may lead to overload. 2. Wastage of Time: Such communication involves excessive sorting of data which can kill the useful and valuable time of superiors. 3. Damn-care: Horizontal communication takes place between two equal ranking employees. This feeling of equality may lead no respect no honor to each other involved in such communication. When ego factor strongly works in the mind of sender and receiver then they may not care for receiving and sending information in due time. 4. Lack of Cooperation and Coordination: When two superiors bear any personal conflict then there is a lack of cooperation and coordination between the respective departments. This will lead to communication gap and therefore failure to reach organizational goal. 5. Rivalry: In horizontal communication, workers are separated from each other when they are grouped into different departments. Such separation calls for limited understanding of each other which may turn to rivalry.


6. Specialization: It may cause individuals to be aware about the work of their respective unit only. As a result, they are little concerned about the demand and need of others. Hence there is a communication gap. 7. Inter Departmental Conflict: If conflict exists between departments, then the result of horizontal communication would lead to uncertainty.

Essentials of Effective Horizontal Communication

To make horizontal communication effective, managers must recognize it as a realistic and useful way to exchange a message. To be effective, this communication is to be considered a form of emergency communication to affect a quick solution of a particular problem. Some managers discourage horizontal communication thinking that workers may get friendly to each other and thus create problems for management. But that may not be true. Managers in that case should be convinced that such feelings have no strong footings. Managers should be made fully aware of the fact that it is not horizontal communication, but downward communication where authoritarianism is likely to create bitterness and disorder among the workers. Moreover, it should be made clear to the managers and other people within the organizational hierarchy that appropriate horizontal communication is neither threatening nor eroding to their authority. Care should also be taken so that managers may have clear understanding that horizontal communication is a functional part of the total communication process. Another way of making horizontal communication effective is that the organizational structure is to be made in such a way that opportunity for interdepartmental communication increases. Finally, it may be said that mutual understanding and trust among the employees of different departments must be developed. This will act as lubricant in the way of effectively using horizontal communication.


Specimen for Horizontal Communication

An example of horizontal communication by a Production Manager to a Sales Manager through a letter:

Golden Corporation
42, Gulshan, Dhaka The Sales Manager Golden Corporation Date: 6.01.2011 Subject: A request for sales information. Dear Sir, We are going to prepare our production budget for the next financial year very soon. Now we are at data collection. I would appreciate if you kindly let us know the expected sales volume of our enterprise for the next year. Truly Yours, R K Talukdar Production Manager


Comparison between Horizontal and Vertical Communication

The following important aspects help to compare between horizontal and vertical communication: Points of Difference 1. Definition Horizontal Communication Such communication flows between people at the same level. Such communication helps in coordination between various departments of an organization. The communication flows here like a straight line. Oral communication is very suitable for such communication as sender and receiver belong to same level. Communication between purchase and sales manager. Vertical Communication Such communication flows between people of different levels. It normally coordinates the activities of superior and subordinates. It may flow as an upward or downward way. Such communication generally uses written procedures and methods.

2. Coordination

3. Flow of Communication 4. Methods

5. Example

Communication between sales manager and sales executives or agents.


Two-way Communication
When a communication channel pushes the flow of information in two directions, back and forth, it is called two-way communication. In two-way communication, a sender transmits a message to the intended receiver and the said receiver sends back his reactions to the original sender. Face-to-face discussions and phone conversations are examples of two-way communication. For example, a sales manager sent the following message to the sales persons: Come to the office tomorrow sharp at 8 a.m. ignoring the hartal call of the opposition parties. I will not entertain any flimsy excuse for not being able to come to the office. The sales persons informed the manager: Sorry sir, it would not be possible for us to reach the office at all because we apprehend that there may be severe confrontation between pro and anti hartal groups resulting in the stoppage of free movement of passengers on the road. In this system, there is a completed communication circuit, because there is a message flow from a sender to a receiver and back to the sender as displayed in the following figure:
Encodes Message Selects Channel and Transmits Message Receives Message Decodes Message Decodes Message


Receives (Perceives) Message

Selects Channel and Transmits Feedback

Encodes Message


Figure: Two-way Communication Process


Necessity of Two-way communication in the Communication Process

The purpose of communication is to inform, persuade, entertain and or elicit action. The precondition of achieving these objectives is the clear understanding and acceptance of the message by the receiver. But clear understanding sometimes becomes difficult, if not, impossible, due to communication breakdowns (barriers). Several breakdowns may occur at any stage, and at any moment in the communication process resulting in misunderstanding of the message. Through one-way communication (simple send-receive), it is not possible to know the state of understanding or the reaction of the receiver. But it is inevitable to know the reactions of the receiver for effective communication. Naturally, a sender of the message expects that the receiver sends his/her message (response) back to him (sender). This response or return message of the receiver is called feedback. Feedback completes two-way communication. It tells the sender how well the message is understood and how it will be used by the receiver. Feedback is the only way to ascertain the receivers reactions to the message. In this system, the communicatee can play the role of both the receiver and sender of the message simultaneously. As both the communicator and the communicatee can freely express their opinions and reactions through this communication process, so it is indispensable for any meaningful communication. If we are to complete a circuit, it is two-way communication, not the one-way. Here lies the significance of two-way communication. In a nutshell, it can be said that if communication is to accomplish any fruitful result, obviously it should be done though two-way communication. There are many reasons for which two-way communication is given much importance now-a-days. The reasons are briefly discussed here: 1. Dynamic Process: In two-way communication, information flow starts from the sender (source) and reaches to the receiver (destination). The receiver having received the message sends back his reaction to the original sender. The sender, the next time when transmitting a message again, transmits it with necessary

adjustment based on the responses given by the receiver previously. This is the dynamism of two-way communication. This dynamic process makes communication complete and as such effective. 2. Implementation of Executive Direction: Managers at different levels within the organization advice, inform, direct and instruct subordinates on different issues. Clear understanding of these messages is the primary requirement for their successful implementation. In the presence of two-way communication, the subordinates receiving the message can get clarification, if needed, from the source through feedback facility. 3. Job Satisfaction: One of the prominent features of two-way communication is that the receiver does play not only the role of receiving a message, but also the role of sending a message. The subordinates can inform the source of their complaints, suggestions about the directives and many other problems they face through the feedback facilities available in two-way communication. This opportunity of exchanging ideas freely between managers and subordinates increases job satisfaction of the employee largely. 4. Democratic Environment: Through free discussions and constructive criticism, plans, decisions or instructions can be improved. Due to the presence of feedback systems in twoway communication, employees can inform freely the managers of the pros and cons of their reactions to the instructions received. This opportunity creates a democratic environment in the organizations. As a result, the achievement of organizational goals becomes easy. 5. Providing Suggestion: Both the superiors and the subordinates require information and suggestions from each other for making effective decision as well as for its implementation. The feedback system of two-way communication acts as a bridge between the superiors and the subordinates for the purpose. In two-way communication, subordinates can feedback information and suggestions to the concern

superior about different aspects of their jobs. The superior also can do the same thing for the subordinates if and when needed. Decisions taken after the interaction of opinions in this way can rapidly be implemented. 6. Receivers Reactions: The receivers reaction to the message may be positive, negative or neutral. If it is negative or even neutral, the message is difficult to be carried out. Therefore, two-way communication is necessary to determine the receivers actual reaction so that necessary alterations can be provided to them subsequently. 7. Better Relations: Through the free exchange of opinions under two-way communication, a communicator and a communicatee can know each other. Due to this feedback system, labor management relations are improved. 8. Acknowledgement of Information: In two-way communication, the receiver can send back his reactions to the communicator. When the receiver sends back the reactions, this feedback acts as acknowledgement of the receipt of information. Thus, the receiver cannot refuse the receipt of the message transmitted to him. 9. Accuracy of Understanding: If information sent to the desired receiver contains any vagueness or technical words, it is difficult for the receiver to understand the actual meaning of the message. To solve this problem, two-way communication has no substitutes.