Downward Communication in Business

Downward Communication

Downward communication in business usually dealt with job instructions, rationale, information and feedback. Downward communication is a supervisory communication, which is initiated by the upper management. It flows downward through lithe hierarchy of command. The effective downward communication is crucial to the success of the organization. The management or the supervisory staff has to communicate with the subordinates in order to organize, coordinate and direct the operational aspects of the organization. It is a very suitable channel to the organization in which the ‘chain of command’ is arranged in the ranks that are distinctly one below the other.

Media of Downward Communication

Oral media dominates the downward flow of communication. It is convenient for a departmental head to give oral instructions and orders to the supervisor. Instead of issuing lengthy written instructions, the Managing Director usually convenes a meeting of the departmental managers in order to impart the essential directives or to gather their suggestions on various issues. Yet, the management may use both oral and written media of downward communication. There are various alternatives of communication media at the disposal of every management. Some typical alternative devices of communication are letters, circulars, memos, company journals, video and audio recordings, telephone calls, meetings, face-to-face conversations, speeches to the employees and the posters.

Redundancy of Message

It is found that using a combination of media tends to give best results because it increases the effectiveness of communication. When the same message is sent through more than one media, it creates redundancy. Redundancy is helpful in receiving and memorizing the message. The busy people in the organization require more message redundancy in order to act on the direction they receive from their superiors. On the other hand, the law of diminishing returns is also applicable to the organization in which the employees are over burdened with the overflowing downward communication. The increasing number of phone calls, memos, letters and meetings may make each employee much busier but as it requires adequate time to attend each of these messages, the employee will not be able to give proper justice to the every piece of work in his hand. Therefore, the management must remember the proverb ‘more is better, up to a point’.

The objectives of Downward Communication

The superiors communicate with their subordinates with the objective that the employees may do their work with accuracy, neatness, sincerity, steadiness, thoroughness, honesty and punctuality. They give specific directives or instructions to the employees that clarity the ways and procedures of job performance. They expect that the employees should maintain the standards of work quality. The employee is instructed with the view that he does not commit mistakes in his operative or supervisory works. It is like an electric circuit in a house, which operates normally with the appropriate amperage demand. When the amperage demand overloads the circuit, a fuse blows. When the superiors over communicate with the subordinates, the balance of handling the messages is disturbed. The major cause of message overload is the increasing complexity of business life.

Incomplete Information

If an employee does not receive enough information to do the job, the possible outcomes are dysfunctional. The incomplete information or the lack of sufficient instructions to the subordinates, result in errors and unsatisfactory performance. The management then has to use up the additional time for correcting the errors and also for assessing them.

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