Organizational Communication Types of Organizational Communication Formal Communication Communication that follows the official chain of command or is part of the communication required to do one’s job. Informal Communication Communication that is not defined by the organization’s hierarchy. Permits employees to satisfy their need for social interaction. Can improve an organization’s performance by creating faster and more effective channels of communication. Communication Flows U p w a r d Lateral D o w n w a r d Direction of Communication Flow Downward Communications that flow from managers to employees to inform, direct, coordinate, and evaluate employees. Communications that flow from employees up to managers to keep them aware of employee needs and how things can be improved to create a climate of trust and respect. Upward Direction of Communication Flow (cont’d) Lateral (Horizontal) Communication Communication that takes place among employees on the same level in the organization to save time and facilitate coordination. Communication that cuts across both work areas and organizational levels in the interest of efficiency and speed. Diagonal Communication Types of Communication Networks Chain Network Communication flows according to the formal chain of command, both upward and downward. All communication flows in and out through the group leader (hub) to others in the group. Communications flow freely among all members of the work team. Wheel Network All-Channel Network Three Common Organizational Communication Networks and How They Rate on Effectiveness Criteria The Grapevine An informal organizational communication network that is active in almost every organization. Provides a channel for issues not suitable for formal communication channels. The impact of information passed along the grapevine can be countered by open and honest communication with employees. Grapevine has the following characteristics It arises from social interactions among people. It is a natural and normal activity due to desire of the people to talk to one another. It generally operates like a cluster chain as every person tells in turn many other persons. Only a few persons are active communicators in it. These can be called liaison individuals. People are active on the grapevine when their own interests and interests of their friends are involved. It operates at a fast speed because it functions through word of mouth or observation. Grapevine functions partly in a predictable manner that offers managers a chance to influence it. Advantages of Grapevine Helps in developing better relations amongst employees. Has a flexible and personal nature, and hence fills in gaps arisen in formal channels of communication. Has a fast speed. Links persons not in official chain of command. Serves as an important feedback channel, if utilized effectively. Limitations of Grapevine It is not authentic. Is prone to distortion. May give rise to rumors in the organization. It is difficult to pinpoint responsibility. May result in leakage of confidential information. It is apparent that management cannot eliminate grapevine in an organization. But by keeping the informal groups informed about concerned organizational matters in a systematic way, it can use the power of the grapevine to disseminate information. Types of Grapevines Single Strand Communication is through intervening persons in a string. Thus information is passed through persons who are in form of a strand. Gossip Non selectively, one representative communicates with the other. Types of Grapevines Probability Communication is done randomly with others according to laws of probability. Cluster Communication is selective with those the employee can trust. Thus different such clusters are formed in the organization.
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