Every organization, big or small, has to communicate internally and externally. To succeed, an organization must share information with people both inside and outside the firm. Business has 4 types of communication.
- Downward communication
- Upward communication
- Lateral/Horizontal communication
- External communication
1. Downward communication: The word “downward” refers to the flow, which is directed from higher to a lower level. Downward communication is a process of sending a message from a superior to a subordinate. The managing director of public limited company for example, sending a message to the departmental heads, or a manager issuing instructions to an assistant manager giving directions to the workers, all are engaged in downward communication.
Direction of downward communication:
Objective of Downward Communication: Major objectives are identified
- To Direct
- To Interpret
- To Evaluate
- To Distribute work
- To Encourage
- To Inform Job Significance
Forms of Downward communication:
- Annual Report
- Employee Hand book
2. Upward communication: Upward communication flows from one level of an organization or a group to a higher level. This is just opposite of downward communication. Subordinates may have many things to say which need to be transmitted to the superiors. Upper management also needs to know specifically about production performance, marketing information and financial data. Whenever subordinates send any suggestion, complaint or any other type of message to the superiors of their own accord, the process is called upward communication.
Direction of Upward communication:
Advantage/Importance of Upward Communication:
- Decision Making
- Giving Feedback
- Providing Counsel
- Developing Creativity
- Maintaining good Relation
Disadvantages/Limitation of Upward Communication:
- Unresponsive Management
Forms of Upward Communication:
- Complaint & Suggestion Boxes
- Open Door Policy
- Special Meeting
3. Lateral Communication: Information flowing between the same level individuals or groups within the same department or cross departments is called lateral or horizontal communication. Many of these communication events are sent across informal pathway.
Direction of Lateral communication:
Advantage/Importance of Lateral Communication:
Lateral communication is very important to promote understanding and coordination among various departments.
- More complete Information
- Less Distortion
Disadvantages of Lateral Communication:
- Poor Morale and Low Productivity
- Rivalry and Friction
- Damn Care
Forms of Lateral Communication: Horizontal or lateral communication is carried on through different means. But it most effectively takes place through oral means. Among the oral means, face to face conversation or a brief exchange of views over telephone is the usual and frequently used means of horizontal communication.
4/ External Communication:
Each business organization has to maintain a link with outside or people generate business that enables it to survive, grow and profit. Whenever an organization communicates with other business houses, government offices, bank, suppliers, customers, lenders, general public and the like, it constitute external communication.
Objective of External Communication: Some important objectives of external communication are as under-
- Customer Relations
- Supplier Relations
- Shareholder Relations
- Government Relations
- Public Relations
- Company Image
Importance of External Communication:
Today’s business is highly competitive and complex . In these environments, a business house must be constantly informed of the external forces influencing business. Companies frequently exchange messages with competitors, distributors, investors, journalists and community representatives. External communication is particularly needed to contact with customers and suppliers to collect data from outside sources. External communication is used to create favorable impression in the outside receivers so that company’s goals can be achieved. Good communication is the first step in creating a favorable impression. So to survive grow and make profits. External communication is essential.