Flow of communication

In an organization, communication flows in various directions:

Downward communication: Downward communication flows from people at higher level to those at lower levels in the organization hierarchy. This kind of communication exists especially in organizations with an authoritarian leadership style. Examples of written downwards communication are memo, letters, handbooks, policy statements and procedures.

Upward communication: This communication travels from subordinates to superiors and continues up the organizational hierarchy. This type of communication is found in participative and democratic organizational environments. Typical means of upward communication are suggestion systems, appeal and grievance procedures, complaint systems, counseling sessions, grapevine, group meetings, morale questionnaires and the exit interview.

Crosswise communication: It includes the horizontal flow of information between people on the same or similar organisational levels and diagonal flow between persons at different levels who have no direct reporting relationships. This kind of communication is used to speed information flow, to improve understanding and to coordinate efforts for the achievement of organisational objectives. It may include oral communication ranging from informal meetings , or more formal conferences and board meetings. Written forms include company newspapers or magazine and bulletin boards.


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