Management Notes

Reference Notes for Management

Communication Channels -Direction of Communication | OB

Communication Channels

What is communication channel and its types?

Communication is the process of sharing information between two or more individuals or groups to reach a common understanding.

What are the four channels of communication?

On the basis of the direction of flow or channels used communication can be of four types: upward, downward, horizontal, and diagonal or lateral.

  • Vertical channels (downward and upward):
  • Downward (superior-subordinate communication):

Traditionally, it most commonly used method in vertical channels. It represents the flow (initiation) of information from the top-level (superior) to the lower level (subordinate) of the organization. Downward communication can take place through written media (handbooks, manuals, letters, posters, circular, periodicals, notices, etc.), oral media (direct verbal orders, meetings, telephone calls, etc.

  • Upward (subordinate-superior communication):

It is an initiated channel and just opposite to downward communication. It encourages employees to participate in decision-making and submit valuable ideas and suggestions. The downward channel is directive in nature whereas upward is non-directive(in request form). The various means used in it are meetings/discussions with seniors, performance reports to seniors, suggestions boxes, employee attitude surveys, grievance procedures, etc.

  • Horizontal (interactive) communication:

This channel communication is also called interactive communication because the basic idea is to share information and bring a higher degree of cooperation. It refers to the transmission of information among positions of the same level. It is more of an informal nature. This channel more urgent when the becomes larger and more it saves time and coordination, and it is neither good nor bad in itself – the way it is used determines positive and negative results. Managers should allow it with sufficient precautions.

The most frequently used means in these types of communication are informal face-to-face conversation, telephone conversation, memos, and notes, etc.

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