Categories of Organization Communication

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1. Downward communication:

This type of communication flows from top to down in an organization and it flows through all departments and levels of management. It is used to instruct duties of subordinates, policies, rules, programmes, feedback on subordinates' job performance, reprimands and criticisms, and request of feedback from employees. This type of communication flows from top management to mid-level management to lowest level.


Helps transmit company policies, rules, and programmes through the company. It is a means to keep everything in a company under control, and is a good means to relay instructions and motivation to employees.


Information may get erroneous as it goes through various levels of managements.

2. Upward communication:

Upward communication is just the opposite of downward communication. Information flows from bottom-up through various levels of management and departments. This type of information may convey feedback and voluntary communication from lower-level employees. Specifically, these may include workers' reactions to company policies, objectives and job expectations.


This information is a great way to transmit feedback to senior management. Feedback is basically opinions of how workers feel about their job environment. This type of communication fosters an environment confidence and trust between all levels in an organization, thus, minimizing the chance of misunderstandings.


This type of information may become erroneous when reached at the top management. This happens because top management may ignore the plights of lower-level employees, and the information may tarnish the image of mid-level management. Furthermore, mid-level management may not communicate freely with senior management due to negative repercussions. Additionally, mid-level management feels that senior management may not be interested in and they may not respond to such feedback.

3. Horizontal or Lateral communication:

This type of communication occurs between departments or people of the same level within an organization. The objective of this type of communication is to coordinate the activities of various departments that are on the same level. The communication may occur orally or in written form.


Helps in coordinating various departments, and address problems that help save money, time, labor, etc.


Different departments on similar levels may clash in terms of policies and objectives, and this may create unnecessary friction and misunderstandings.

Additional Readings:

1. Definition and Characteristics of Communication
2. Principles of Effective Communication
3. Reasons why Communications is a Two-Way Process
4. Effective Communication and People Management
5. Categories of Organization Communication
6. The Benefits of Written Communication
7. Barriers to Effective Communication
8. Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communication
9. Types of Business Communication within an Organization
10. Important Elements of Report-Writing
11. Scope of Communication
12. The Grapevine
13. Communication with Workers’ Families
14. Effective Listening
15. Qualities of a Business Letter

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