Communication Types: Upward, Downward, Lateral

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The communication is categorized based flow of communication, mode of communication etc. Depending upon the flow of communication, there are three communication types.

Communication Types

Three Communication Types are:

  1. Upward Communication
  2. Downward Communication
  3. Horizontal/Lateral Communication

Upward Communication

It involves passing of information from the employee levels to administration.  The most common purpose of this information flow is to relay feedback and how well things are going. Upward communication serves essentially two purposes in an organisation. First, it helps in coordinating and controlling the activities of the organisation. Second, it enables the superior to appraise the performance of subordinates. The upward communication can take the form of progress reports, budget reports, profit and loss statements, requests for grants, etc

The upward channels of communication not only enable higher level managers to get valuable information but also opinions and suggestions from lower levels at the time of making decisions on plans and policies. The opportunity of upward communication encourages people to transmit their complaints and grievances to superiors, draw the attention of managers to problems and make proposals for improving the efficiency of work performance in the organisation

Types of Communication - Upward Communication

Downward Communication

It involves the dissemination of information from superiors to the immediate subordinates in the form of orders and directions. It also includes directives and messages which are issued by top management and are transmitted down the hierarchy through intermediate levels of management to employees at the lower levels. In downward communication, the authority flows downwards. Different organisations adopt different methods to convey downward communication in the form of circulars, notice boards, posters, house magazine, face to face conversations, policies, procedures, memorandas, bulletins, handbooks etc.

Downward Communication

Horizontal/Lateral Communication

This means the flow of communication amongst personnel at the same level of the hierarchy in an organisation. The most common purpose of this communication flow is to promote job coordination or teamwork. it is much easier to contact this individual via a lateral communication. Instead of contacting him through administrator, the communication takes place directly’between two persons having equal ranks in the managerial hierarchy or between two subordinates ‘ under the same manager is called horizontal communication or lateral comfiunication.

Thus, horizontal communication consists of interaction between people in the same or different departments. This facilitates coordination of activities which are interdependent.For example, coordination of production and sales activities requires continuous exchange of information between the respective managers of the two departments.

Lateral Communication

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