Lesson 12. Types of communication


There are mainly two types of communication.

—  Internal Communication

—  External Communication

Internal Communication

A vital means of attending company concerns is through effective internal communication which includes

—Downward Communication (From higher management to lower management)

—Upward Communication (From lower management to higher management) and

—Horizontal Communication (Between peers)     

12.2 Downward Communication

It is a kind of communication where employees can be better motivated and it leads to more efficient system of work. But they need guideline from higher management about clear job direction and organizational strategies so that they can do their work more efficiently. It helps the employers to build confidence and feeling of ownership as they feel to be an important part of an organization. Employers who communicate effectively have more productive employees and it leads to successful management in any organization.


The juniors always accept the direct instructions from the superiors as they feel to be involved in the decisions.

The downward communication helps in understanding the short & long terms plans of the management & so, it becomes easy to work.

By its authoritative nature the downward communication leaves no scope for misunderstandings or rumours.

Here,  the lower workers like labourers & the juniors learn  about the economic condition, the achievements, awards & the international contacts which inspires them to work properly.

A particular responsibility can be easily allotted to the juniors in downward communication.

The relations between the management & the staff get improved & healthy as they can share their thoughts through downward communication


1. Distortion or misunderstanding- During the downward communication as the message reaches to the last point, it gets completely distorted creating misunderstanding between the management and the employees.

2. Under & Over Communication-  At times the  employees out of their temperament or habit, add something of their own or omit something from the message resulting into under or over communication.

3. Delay in work- It is very lengthy process and as the information passes form one to another channel, it takes too much time and it causes unnecessary delay in work.

4. Loss of information- The information gets lost and it does not reach up to the final level.

5. Built-in-resistance- In downward communication the lower employees may oppose the decisions or can’t accept them heartily. They do not obey such decisions and sometimes they deliberately ignore the orders of the superiors.


—  The managers should keep themselves well-informed regarding their employees and the work system.

—  Every organization has its own communication system & managers should stick to it. It should be decided earlier how to give information.

—  The field of particular managers should be brought into his notice so that when the problems arise at lower stage, they can be solved immediately.

—  It is necessary to manage the proper channel while sending information from higher employees to lower employees.


Executives can get sincere and frank comments from employees because of upward communication and it helps executive to understand the complaints, problems and suggestion of employees. It is very important to involve lower management in decision-making. It can bring a miracle in a company and it is possible mainly because of upward communication. It is the modern style of running a company. Effective upward communication makes executives aware about the wishes and aspirations of their employees.


1. Light atmosphere- An  effective upward communication creates light atmosphere as the low level employee can initiate the communication.

2. Sense of security- As the low level employee can initiate the communication and can get his problem solved he feels a sense of security.

3. Rapid Implementation of policies- As the company or organization invites the low level employees to initiate the communication, it ensures the speed in any work and any policy can be easily implemented as  it is suggested by the employees themselves.

4. The chances of failure /loss become less- Naturally when the employees themselves can suggest new policy and system the chances of failure become less.


—  The superior’s superiority complex affects the communication.

—  Sometimes the employees are disinterested in upward communication because of their mentality or attitude.

—  Inferiority complex among the juniors also does not allow them to take part in communication.

—  Sometimes the upward communication is deliberately disturbed as the managers lose temper when they don’t like certain matters. So, the juniors themselves omit certain information before it reaches  the superiors.

—  The upward communication ignores the mediators and it creates problem in communication.

—  Many a times the employees misuse the upward communication for their own interest.


—  The channel of the upward communication should be established after careful observation. To listen to the complaints is only a half task and to solve the complaint is quite  difficult. So proper care should be taken while handling grievances.

—  If the suggestions of the juniors seem proper, only then they should be implemented.

—  The managers should encourage the employees to converse with them otherwise upward communication is of no use.

—  The matters forwarded for review must be direct and precise , so there is little space left for  ‘editing’ .


Horizontal communication between peers is very important for problem solving in a company but sometimes it is formal during meetings and writing reports and so it remains of no use. It is more informal as compared to upward and downward communication as the employees can put aside their position and can participate in communication. It is considered more effective and powerful due to equal status and equal intellectual level of the sender and receiver.


—  It helps in gaining speed & efficiency.

—  There are no chances of distortion during horizontal communication.

—  It encourages the employees of the lower stage as they are directly involved in interaction.

—  It helps in proper co-ordination among the various departments.


—  It creates a feeling of jealousy among the superiors as they may feel that they are ignored.

—  It also leads to internal chaos as seniors & juniors are considered equal in communication process and both have to participate in the communication process at the same time.


Messages to persons outside the company can have far-reaching effects on its reputation and ultimate success.

The right letter, proposal, report, telephone call, or personal conversation can

  • —   win  back a dissatisfied customer

  • —  create a desire for a firm’s product or service

  • —  help negotiate a profitable sale

  • —  Motivate performance

  • —  Create goodwill

Difference between Oral and Written Communication



Immediate feedback

Delayed feedback

Shorter sentences; shorter words

Longer sentences; longer words


More formal

Focus on interpersonal relations

Focus on content

Prompt action

Delayed action

Less detailed technical information

More detailed technical information

More Personal pronouns

Fewer personal pronouns

More colloquial language

More complex construction

Simpler constructions (Temporary)

Useful for permanent record; detailed documentation


www.brighthubpm.com/.../79297-comparing-various-forms-of-communication dated 18/3/03/2013

www.nationalforum.com/.../Lunenburg,%20Fred%20C,%20Formal%20Comm%20Channels%20FOCUS%20V4%20N1%202010.p dated 18/03/2013

Last modified: Thursday, 1 August 2013, 5:54 AM