Management Notes

Reference Notes for Management

Diagonal Communication – Dimensions of Communication | Business Communication

Diagonal Communication

The communication between a manager and employees from other workgroups is called Diagonal Communication. Diagonal communication is also known as Crosswise Communication. This type of communication generally does not appear on an organizational chart. In order to design a training module, for instance, the training manager interacts with an operations personnel in order to find out how they carry out their work. Under diagonal communication, an organization’s accounting staff visits different employees in various departments for IT calculation, bonus calculations, etc.The most efficient way of communicating isn’t always vertical or horizontal. By removing the artificial structural barriers that can stall progress, diagonal communication enhances efficiency. Additionally, it could be more accurate, eliminating the need for relayed messaging that may be misinterpreted.

Advantages of Diagonal Communication

In organizations with a flattened, matrix, or product-based structure, diagonal communication is becoming more common. It offers the following advantages:

  • Fostering relationships between senior and lower-level employees across the organization.
  • Facilitating informal information flow within an organization.
  • The chances that a message will be distorted are reduced by going through additional filters.
  • Senior managers’ workloads will be reduced.
  • Meetings, conferences, lunch hour meetings, general notices, etc. are used to serve the important purpose of coordination.
  • Lower level workers are more likely to become committed to the organization when they are able to interact with managers in informal meetings. The number of organizations encouraging cross-cutting communication and developing friendship is increasing.

Disadvantages of Diagonal Communication

The main disadvantages of cross-wise communication include possible leaks of information and increased competition. Additionally, it can leave someone with too much information or with no information at all.

  • Diagonal communication can lead to leakage of information

There’s a risk of leakage of information since people from all over the company communicate with each other. It may seem harmless to exchange information within the organization, but that’s not always the case. Team members work with confidential information such as business plans, customer information, payroll and personnel records, etc. To avoid leaks of information in such cases, it is crucial to take every precaution.

  • Diagonal communication doesn’t work if there’s hostility

As with horizontal communication, cross-functional communication relies on good employee relationships. The system doesn’t function well in hostile work environments – if there are hostilities, rivalries, and/or competition, information can be distorted or concealed. In that case, collaboration among employees will be almost non-existent, and the organization as a whole will suffer.

  • Diagonal communication can cause information overload

The danger of infoglut, or information overload, arises when everyone has access to you.The likelihood of this happening to someone higher up in the organization is greater, but it can happen to anyone. The emails keep coming in, your coworkers keep updating you on what’s happening, getting messages from people around the company. It can be overwhelming to be constantly bombarded with new information – it ruins your focus and lowers your performance.You may want to set aside a certain time for checking email and messages if you don’t want to be in that position. You should turn off notifications outside of those time frames and concentrate on your main task for the day.


  • The chain of command is likely to be bypassed, which can create doubt and unease among superiors.
  • In this situation, some superiors may see diagonal communication as a hindrance.
  • Consequently, leakage of information and grapevine can result.

Diagonal Communication Examples

A vice president of sales sending an email to the vice president of manufacturing asking when a product will be available for shipping is an example of horizontal communication. If, however, a sales representative e-mails the marketing vice president, then diagonal communication has occurred.
A manager should be informed whenever a communication goes from one department to another. If a manager does not know what is happening in his department, he might look incompetent. A lack of attention to key communication protocols may result in the loss of trust and damage to careers.


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