ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Flows of Communication

Updated on April 25, 2018

Communication Flows in an Organization

Communication flows in five main directions in an organization as follows:

  • Upwards
  • Downwards
  • Lateral
  • Diagonally
  • Externally

Downward Flow of Communication

Downward Flow of Communication: Downward communication is that form of communication which flows from a high level to a low level in an organization. In other words, downward communication is that form of communication or a chain of command that flows from the superiors to their juniors. This flow of communication is carried out by the managers in order to convey professional information to the lower-level subordinates. Employees or subordinates need this information to do their work and also for fulfilling the managers expectations. Managers use this form of communication for the following intentions:

Presenting a feedback on the performance of the employees

  • Providing directions about the job
  • Providing a full knowledge about the job to the employees and to convey to them about their job relevance with other organizational jobs.
  • Conveying the goal and the vision of the organization to the employees.
  • Stressing the areas that require attention.

Some important examples of downward communication are circulars, holding group meetings, organizational publications etc. For downward communication to be error-free and efficient, managers must observe the following:

  • Specify the objectives of communication
  • Make certain that the message is precise, specific and clear-cut.
  • Make use of the best method of communication to put across the message to the recipient in the correct manner.

Upward Flow of Communication

Upward communication is that which flows to a high level in any organization. It gives an insight on the functioning of the organization. In order to communicate their problems to their superiors, the subordinates use this upward communication. The subordinates also use this mode of communication to convey about their understanding of the downward communication. The employees also use this to covey all their opinions and ideas and also to take part in the process of making any decisions.

Upward communication gives a chance to the employees to raise their voice against any issues which they find as dis-satisfactory and in this way they will be fully committed and faithful to the organization. The managers also get a chance to know about the feelings of the subordinates regarding their peers, their jobs, their seniors and also the organization generally. The managers can then take certain actions to improvise the situation in the organization.

There are many ways to improvise upward communication such as the complaint and suggestion box, the Grievance Redressal System and job satisfaction surveys etc. Some other examples of upward communication are conducting surveys about the attitude of employees, employee’s letters, reports of performance which are made by the lower management for evaluating by the higher management.

Horizontal Flow of Communication

Communication which happens at similar levels of hierarchy in an organization is known as lateral communication. i.e., interaction between managers at identical levels, or between peers, between the members of a horizontal level in an organization. The advantage of this kind of lateral communication is as follows:

  • It saves a lot of time.
  • It aids in coordinating the task or job.
  • It also aids in teamwork among all the team members.
  • It offers social help and emotional help to the members of the organization.
  • It aids in resolving different problems of the organization.
  • It can also be utilized to solve all the disagreements of a department within it and also with other departments.

Diagonal Flow of Communication

It is that type of communication which happens between a manager and employees belonging to other work groups It does not show on any chart of an organization. For instance - a training manager’s interaction with Operations personnel in order to design a training module.

External Flow of Communication

Communication which happens between a manager and outside groups such as banks, suppliers, financial institutes, vendors etc. For instance – the managing director would have to communicate with the Bank Manager in order to raise capital.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting and insightful Hub thanks for this one

    • Sullen91 profile image


      6 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Region, US

      Expound on the last two flows of communication or risk the impression of generalities.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)