COMMUNICATION NETWORK IN
Vani Tosha/Shabani Mfanga
MEANING OF TERMS
• Fielding (1997), define organization as a group
of people who work together to achieve
• These people may be associated for business,
political, professional, religious, social or other
• Communication networks are patterns of
relationships through which information flows
in an organization.
TYPES OF COMMUNICATION
NETWORKS IN AN ORGANIZATION
• Formal communication
• Informal communication
• Refers to the flow of official information through
proper, predefined channel and route.
• It has hierarchical structure and a chain of command.
• The structure is typically top down, from leaders in
various departments and senior staff in the
organization to lower level employees.
• Employees are bound to follow formal communication
channels while performing their duties.
• it is considered effective as it is timely and systematic.
TYPES OF FORMAL COMMUNICATION
• Formal communication can further be divided
into the following;
i. Upward communication
ii. Downward communication
iii. Horizontal communication.
i. UPWARD COMMUNICATION
• Involves the transfer of messages from subordinates to
superiors or from low-level employees to those at high
levels in an organization. Example when workers report to a
supervisor or a team leader report to a department
• It provides management with needed information for
• Helps employees release pressure and frustrations at work
• Enhances the employees sense of participation in an
• Helps to promote harmony between management and the
MERITS OF UPWARD
o It helps the subordinates to get an outlet for
their suggestions, feelings and opinions.
o It make subordinates feel they are
contributing towards the goals of the
organization hence improving a sense of
ownership and goodwill to the organization.
DEMERITS OF UPWARD
• Employees fear that their criticism may be
interpreted as a sign of their personal weakness.
• They find it difficult to participate in it for the
reason that being frank with superiors can be
risky especially when the ideas, opinions, or
suggestions are not what the leaders want to
• Bypassed superiors may feel insulted which may
lead to conflict between the superior and the
ii. DOWNWARD COMMUNICATION
• This occurs when the information flows from the top
management to the employees or from superior to the
subordinates working in the same organization.
Example; an announcement of a new C.E.O
• The supervisors or managers pass messages in order to
give orders, motivate them to work better or inform
about new policies.
• The forms of downward communication includes,
employee handbooks, performance evaluation,
bulletin boards where notices are posted, news letters
and publications, letters and memoranda as well as
MERITS OF DOWNWARD
• It helps the management to explain to the
employees the organizational plans,
policies,program and procedures.
• Helps to convey to the subordinates the
expectations of management.
• It provides motivation to the subordinates.
• This type of communication involves exchange of
information among people working at the same
level of authority. Example; manager of purchase
department communicate with manager of sales
• It is done through face to face interaction,
• It is sometimes known as peer communication.
• The forms of horizontal communication includes
committee meetings, team building seminars
and cross departmental visitations.
• This refers to any communication that does not follow the
formal channels of the organization but emerges out of
natural social interaction among organization members.
• It is characterized by the emergence of spontaneous
channels through which facts, half truths, and rumours
pass. Such channels are often labelled “rumour mill” and
• Any information about an organization and personal
matters outside the official network constitutes grapevine.
• Grapevine communication has both advantages and
MERITS OF GRAPEVINE
• It gives the members of an organization an outlet
to freely express their fears, attitudes and
• It supplements the formal channels in clarifying
the manager views points.
• It provides feedback to managers to meet
• There is flexible and fast flow of ideas since
grapevine is multi-directional- it doesn’t follow
the chain of command.
DEMERITS OF GRAPEVINE
• It may spread malicious rumour.
• It may cause distortion of information.
• It may transmit incomplete information.
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