As organizational workforces become more and more
diverse and widespread throughout the world,
communication issues increase in importance.
Organizational communication network
It is the pattern of information flow among
task group members.
Five major network structures have been identified.
1. The three centralized networks are structured so that most messages
through a pivotal person in the network.
a. In the wheel network, all messages must flow through the individual
the center of the wheel.
b. In the chain network, some members can communicate with more than
one member of the network, but the individual in the center of the chain
still tends to control the messages.
c. In the Y network, the member at the fork of the “Y” usually becomes
central person in the network.
2. The two decentralized networks permit freer communication among the
a. In the circle network, each member can communicate with the
on either side.
b. In the star network, each member can communicate with any other
3. Some general differences have been found between the centralized and
decentralized types of networks.
a. Effective performance is a function of type of network and type of
1) The centralized networks were usually faster and more accurate at
performing simple, routine tasks.
2) The decentralized networks were usually faster and more accurate
at performing complex tasks.
b. Group moral in the decentralized networks was consistently higher
in the centralized, regardless of task assignment.
Organizational communication channels
Communication channels are various
patterns of organizational communication flow
that represent potential established conduits through which managers and
organization members can send and receive information.
B. Vertical communication
is a communication that flows from a higher level to
more lower levels in the organization.
1. Downward communication
is a vertical communication that flows from a higher
level to one or
more lower levels in the organization.
a. Most downward communication involves information in one of five
1) Job instructions related to specific tasks.
2) Job rationales explaining the relationship between a task and other
3) Procedures and practices of the organization.
4) Feedback on individual performance on assigned tasks.
5) Efforts to encourage a sense of mission and dedication to the goals
b. Downward communication is prone to
1) Faulty message transmission may occur because of sender carelessness,
poor communication skills, and the difficulty of encoding a message for
number of receivers.
2) Overuse of one-way communication methods means that manager get no
3) Filtering of communication may occur through withholding, screening,
manipulating information to enhance personal power.
c. The effectiveness of downward communication can be increased by using
channels, by repeating the message, and by encouraging feedback.
2. Upward communication
is the vertical flow of communication from a lower
level to one or more
higher levels in the organization.
a. Forms of upward communication include individual and group meetings
with superiors, memos and reports, suggestion systems, grievance
procedures, and employee attitude surveys.
b. The information disseminated through upward communication typically
1) Progress of current work projects
2) Serious unsolved problems and situations in which subordinates
need help from superiors.
3) New developments arising within or affecting the work unit or
organization suggestions for improvements and innovations.
4) Employee attitudes, morale, and efficiency
c. Upward communication can be distorted.
1) Subordinates filter information that they send upward.
2) Managers do not expend enough effort to encourage upward
d. Management by wandering around
(MBWA) is a practice whereby
managers frequently tour areas for which they are responsible, talk to
various employees, and encourage upward communication.
C. Horizontal communication
is lateral or diagonal message exchange either
boundaries, involving peers who report to the same supervisor, or across
boundaries, involving individuals who report to different supervisors.
1. Horizontal communication can take the form of meetings, reports,
telephone conversations, and face-to-face discussions.
2. Horizontal communication usually relates to:
a. Task coordination
b. Problem solving
c. Information sharing
d. Conflict resolution
e. Peer support
3. There are three impediments to necessary, work-related horizontal
a. Rivalry among individuals or work units may cause individuals to hide
b. Specialization may cause individuals to be concerned mainly about the
work of their own unit and to have little appreciation for the work and
communication needs of others.
c. Motivation may be lacking when subordinate horizontal communication
not encouraged or rewarded.
D. Informal communication,
better known as “the
grapevine,” is communication that
takes place without regard to hierarchical or task requirements.
1. Informal communication within organizations differs from formal
communication is vertical and horizontal
follows paths specified by the official hierarchical organization
and related task requirements.
b. Formal communication relates to position in the organization;
communication depends upon personal relationships.
2. Grapevines can be configured in a number of ways.
a. In the single-strand chain, communication moves serially from person
to B to C and so on.
b. With the gossip chain, person A seeks out and tells others.
c. When following the probability chain, person A spreads the message
randomly, as do individuals F and D.
d. In the cluster chain, the most predominant form, person A tells three
selected individuals, and then one of these tells three others.
3. Grapevines have a number of characteristics.
a. They are fast.
b. The data produced ranges from 50 to 90 percent accurate.
4. Grapevines are most harmful when they carry false rumors and gossip.
5. Grapevines might serve positive organizational purposes.
a. They may serve to transmit organizational rules, values, and morals.
b. They may serve to disseminate organizational traditions and history.
c. They may help to reinforce formal messages, to test new proposals,
obtain feedback about employee feelings and ideas.
d. They may help to foster innovation by facilitating communication
various parts of the organization.
How Technology Affects Managerial Communication
Two developments in information and
communication technology seem to be having the most significant
impact on current managerial communication: networked computer systems
and wireless capabilities.
electronic mail system is a mail system
that allows high-speed exchange of written messages
through the use of computerized text-processing and communication
a. Electronic mail has advantages.
1) It is a time-saver.
2) It leads to exchanges of information among managers who
previously did not communicate.
3) Managers tend to receive new types of information through these
b. Electronic mail has a couple of disadvantages.
1) It eliminates the nonverbal cues that serve as aids in face-to-face
2) It is easy to vent anger and frustrations over email that would
never be communicated through regular written communication
3) It leads to an excess of irrelevant mail.
2. Voice mail
is the recording systems which enable senders to
leave messages for receivers by
a. Some nonverbal cues are sent, such as voice quality and tone.
b. It is particularly suited for short messages that require no further
discussions or feedback.
is the simultaneous communication among a group by
telephone or via
computer using specially designed software. The software is often
referred to a “groupware.”
a. Meeting can be held while members are not in the same location.
b. Each group member has access to their own
computer which is linked to
a network and to an overhead projector.
c. Messages are anonymous.
d. Most, and sometimes all, communication is done through the computers.
e. These systems have incredibly high speeds and, usually, very high
is the holding of meetings with individuals in two or
more locations by means
of closed-circuit television.
1) It is synchronous, meaning that senders and receivers can engage in
simultaneous communication of the type associated with face-to-face
2) It is fast.
5. Electronic data interchange (EDI)
is a way for organizations to exchange standard business
transaction documents, such as invoices or purchase orders, using direct
systems are organizational communication networks
that use Internet technology and are
accessible only by organizational employees.
systems are organizational communication networks
that use Internet technology and
allow authorized users inside the organization to communicate with
certain outsiders such as customers and
Wireless communication depends on signals sent
through air or space without any physical connection
using things such as microwave signals, satellites, radio waves and
radio antennas, or infrared light rays.
How Information Technology Affects Organizations
1. Communication and the exchange of
information among organizational members are no longer
constrained by geography or time.
2. However, managers must not forget to address the psychological
drawbacks such as the cost of an
employee being constantly accessible, pressure to “check in” even during
off hours, and the separation of
work lives and personal lives.