Types of Communication Flow

by Karishma Johnson; Updated September 26, 2017

Communication, defined as the exchange of information and ideas, manifests itself in business and other organizations with four main types communication flow. These are upward, downward, horizontal, and multi-directional. All are important to the success of an organization. The main method of communication depends upon its structure.

Upward Communication

Upward communication is the flow of information from the bottom of an organization to the top. Businesses use upward communication to gauge how well an organization is doing and to express feedback and concerns to superiors. Upward communication is important to an organization because it allows employees to raise issues and express concerns, which leads to a more loyal work force. Grievance redressal systems, complaint and suggestion boxes and job satisfaction surveys are examples of this type of communication.

Downward Communication

Downward communication begins at the top of an organization and flows down. This information, required for employees to do their jobs, includes employee performance feedback, job instructions and promoting understanding of the organization's mission and vision to its employees. This information can be conveyed through circulars, letters and in meetings and organizational publications.

Horizontal Communication

This type of communication is the communication between peers or any other horizontally equivalent member of an organization such as managers communicating with other managers. The many advantages to this kind of communication includes facilitating cooperation of team members, resolving conflicts, and saving time.

Multi-Directional Communication

Multi-directional communication is the integration of horizontal, upward and downward communication. Through this kind of communication, organizations achieve more accurate feedback. Business ca use it to motivate employees and generate a feeling of inclusion to all people on all levels of a company. It also helps to promote understanding within an organization.

About the Author

Karishma Johnson began writing professionally in 2010 and has written for the Salmon River Fine Arts Center as well as the "Salmon River News." She is a recent graduate of St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications journalism with a minor in sport management.