Organizational communication is the sharing of information
between people in an organization as it helps the organization to stay
organized. Organizations seek people who can follow and give orders, listen
accurately and provide useful feedback. This is only possible for the competent
communicators and this shows the importance of communication in an
With the passage of time, research evolves and
organizational communication continues to redefine itself. In the early stages,
organizational communication focused on leaders giving public presentations and
keynotes. Now, in the modern world, interpersonal relationships are an
important part of organizational communication. It greatly matters how the
interpersonal relationships are carried out in the organizational hierarchies.
Organizational communication can be either formal or informal.
can be defined as the communication using the officially designated channels of
communication within the organization ranks. Formal communication is when it is
directed from someone with authority or to someone of authority about work.
Formal communication can be downward, upward or horizontal. Downward
communication means when managers talk to employees or when someone of
higher authority has to talk to someone with lower authority. This type of
communication is used when a job is to be explained to a worker or when
explaining new procedures. This type of communication is vital to the
organization and it’s very important that communication is carried out
effectively instead of talking down to the employees. Upward communication
happens when subordinates need to talk managers or someone with higher
authority be it a work-related problem or to let them know that a certain task
is done. Horizontal communication happens between workers within the
same level of authority when they talk about work-related issues.
Any communication within an organization without using the
designated channels is termed as informal communication. Informal communication
enables employees to address each other on a more casual level. It should not
be confused with horizontal communication because in informal communication takes
place in a more social setting and work-related problems are not discussed.
Informal communication is sometimes referred to as grapevine or indirect,
it is quicker and usually more direct than formal communication. But it
shouldn’t be taken too far as it can be a havoc of miscommunication between the
employees. Informal communication often carries undesirable consequences like
malicious gossip passed from person to person but no one is entirely sure about
the source of the rumor or creating competition between among different workers
who instead should be working together, thus creating a socially unhealthy
environment. Informal communication is important in an organization but it
shouldn’t replace formal communication.
Communication can also be internal or external depending
upon the participants and the audience. Internal
communication is between the people working in the same organization. It is
a vertical communication taking place up
and down the hierarchy. External communication happens when you talk to
people outside the organization and it is of different types. Business to
Business communication or Business to Consumer communication or Business to
General public communication. It should be kept in mind, the main difference
between external and internal communication is privacy. Some information
should be kept within an organization and not disclosed to anyone outside the
The critical issues that should be kept in mind while trying
to develop an effective organizational communication strategy are as follows:
organizations, individuals often overcommunicate meaning that the individuals
sometimes don’t prioritize what information is important to communicate and
what is not necessary. They don’t apply any filter to the communication and as
a result they share too much information. Thus, the members of such
organizations are either unable to comprehend which information is important
and which is not or tend to ignore all the information.
Pointing fingers means assigning blame to someone for some
specific mistake or a problem or failure to achieve a given goal. Although
failures always happen in a business and the person will always be blamed for
the problem but it should be done in a more private place rather than assigning
blame to that person in a public place in front of his other colleagues.
Compartmentalizing means not sharing all the facts to a
specific authority or a person from a higher rank who deserves to know that
information. This is a misstep and results in suppression of information.
Sometimes leaders do this to show a greater sense of control over the
employees. When facts are hidden by the authority then unfortunately, rumor
takes over and with time the thin line between fact and fiction blurs.
Some organizations think that they don’t need a
communication strategy such that they either don’t see the need to share all
the information or they figure that they can communicate as they wish and it
causes a lot of problems in the future.
Belittling People and
When a specific people or a particular team is personally
attacked because they couldn’t achieve the set goal or by making a mistake, it
belittles them in front of other groups. This is not wrong to bring the poor
performance of that group or person in front of them but it should not be done
in a way that it belittles them or makes them embarrassed. Rather than it
should be done in a more private and civilized manner.
Not Addressing Rumors
Sometimes the leaders or higher rank officers either fail to
communicate the message or hide the facts that should be shared, they are in
reality allowing and supporting the formation of an ‘Informal hotline’. This
informal hotline in turn involves the sharing of wrong information in the
organization which always results in morale and performance problems.
Use of Wrong
When organizations don’t make proper communication strategy
then it is most likely to experience problems which result from messages being
sent using wrong communication platforms. Proper Communication tools should be
selected in order to make sure that the messages and organization facts are
being sent using the proper communication platform. This can be done by selecting
a good software or a website for internal communication.
as a one-way process
Many times, leaderships and management assume that as long
as they are sending out the information to the employees in the organization,
they are communicating effectively. But in reality, such a behavior is a
pitfall of many organizations. Because of this it is critically important that
communication strategy includes the need to listen and give a proper feedback
because if the workers don’t listen to each other then they might not know how
to communicate effectively.
Important Communication Tools
Organizations need communication tools to allow the
employees and the bosses to communicate with each other and to pass on
constructive criticism anonymously. Business need some kind of a portal or a
tool to communicate within the organization and with the general public.
Organizations can use the following platforms for internal as well as external
An Intra Social Network
An Intranet social network will allow all the employees in
an organization to communicate with each other. At the time of employment each
employee would be given a proper ID for the intranet using which they can
communicate. Here all the employees could share some new information about the
new products and share different information which could be useful for other
There are several softwares which allow the users to make
private groups and chat with each other about anything. These groups and
chatting sites can be used to let the employees from different branches of that
organization communicate with each other privately.
Blog or a Website
To communicate externally with general public or other
businesses, an organization can create a blog on the Internet or make their own
website. The blog or the website can be used to share news, details about the
products or services and details about different offices.
Organizations can create a discussion forum, where employees
could give constructive criticism to each other. Or they can discuss different
issues or projects there.
Organizational communication is very important for any
organization and there should always be a properly planned and designed
communication strategy in an organization. For organizational communication,
some softwares can also be used which would make communication easier and allow
the employees from different branches of the organization to communicate with