A key element of any successful organization is an effective internal communication program. Internal communication in an organization ensures that all members of the organization are kept up to date with the company’s key information; it also helps to increase morale as well as motivate the employees (Lewandowski, 2011). Companies might be proficient at communicating with suppliers and customers, but they often fail to give the same degree of attention to their internal communications.
This is often a detrimental move. The company does not work towards a common goal, but everyone instead works towards their own goal, possibly creating confusion in the organization. There is a need for a smooth flow of communication between the people coordinating projects and the managers in order to ensure the success of a business (Morales, 2011). There is also a need for communication between those who manage a business and the people they manage. There are several methods of internal communication. This paper will discuss some of these methods and outline their pros and cons.
VERTICAL COMMUNICATION IN AN ORGANIZATION
The communication that takes place in every organization follows a common pattern, a common sense of approach, which involves a chain of command from the executive officers to the front lines. Most organizations use a form of communication following an up and down vertical pattern.
Vertical communication consists of the communication that occurs up and down in the organization’s chain of command. Downward communication often starts with the top management and trickles down through to the management levels to line workers, as well as non-supervisory personnel (Stephenson, 2011). Downward communication sets to serve several purposes, including advising, informing, directing, instructing, as well as evaluating employees in order to provide the organization’s members with information regarding its goals and policies (Berger, 2010). Rules and mandates come from the top leadership of the organization and trickle down to the front line supervisors, eventually reaching the workers. The purpose of an organization operating with a vertical communications system is to ensure that there is a control of information and decision making (Kappas, 2011). Upward communication, on the other hand, involves the flow of information from the workers up the chain to the top personnel of the organization. The function of upward communication is to ensure that there is a supply of information to the uppermost levels of the company in order for them to understand what is going on in the lower levels of the organizations. This type of communication often includes explanations, requests for aid, progress reports, or even suggestions (Guffey, 2010).
Vertical communication has several advantages. First of all, the communication channels throughout the whole organization get strengthened. The top management often entrusts work to the subordinates, and they act as a guide and mentor to the lower workers of an organization. When a subordinate is in doubt, he or she approaches a superior for explanations and clarifications (Fransson, 2010). This in the long run breeds trust, helps the employees of an organization to be motivated, and gears them towards gaining the management’s support and approval. Secondly, vertical communication systems can be said to be extremely feedback oriented. The hierarchical levels in the organization interact with each other, and they discuss matters pertaining to the organization (Dohen, 2010). The vertical communication system also helps in the establishment of chains of command in the organization; it helps the employees to understand who their superiors are and to respect them. On the other hand, the superiors understand who is accountable to them (Berger, 2010). Therefore, if work does not proceed according to the set standards and targets, the top management knows whom to question or reprimand.
Although vertical communication is used in most organizations, it still has its disadvantages. The main disadvantage of this method is the fact that information is often filtered as it moves up and down in the chain of command (Pierce, 2011). This often waters down the message, or even changes the nature of the information. For example, a manager might receive a request which is directed to the upper management of the organization. However, he might decide that the request is not valid and, therefore, slow its motion or even at times stop it altogether. Information which is meant for distribution to the lower levels of the organization might be stalled or slowed down with the bureaucracy of the organization’s structure.
FACE TO FACE MEETINGS AND THEIR IMPORTANCE
The 21st century has been marked as the century of technological revolution. In the context of communication, the century has had revolutions with the rise of text messaging, email, and paging. However, nothing can replace the value of face-to-face communication in an organization (Bartels, 2011). However, it must be noted that in a growing business, traveling to meet team members and customers is not economical or feasible. Therefore, there is a tendency to communicate over phone or email, but even then, there is often a tendency for messages to be misinterpreted, and a sense of personal connection is not truly established or maintained (Berger, 2010). Research has shown that 90% of the way humans communicate is through non-verbal cues such as gestures and facial expressions.
With this said, the power of face-to-face communication should be utilized in order to maximize the effectiveness of communication. An advantage of this style of communication includes the fact that it helps things get done. When there is an urgent issue which requires a quick decision, a consensus can be reached quicker and more efficiently. In addition, face-to-face communication enables reaction and adjustment to non-verbal cues; for example, if someone is checking their watch, it suggests that the meeting may need to end.
However, people cannot react and adjust to these non-verbal cues over the phone or through email (Berger, 2010). Lastly, face-to-face communication provides a personal touch. In the 21st century, there are many worthy competitors, and thus a personal touch might be the difference between the many competitors in the market. Face-to-face communication allows people to establish a bond and set the foundation of trust, which ultimately leads to a lasting business relationship (Whittaker, 2009). Meeting face to face helps an organization to breed motivation; this is because a face-to-face meeting makes the employees feel appreciated, and they can relate with the final product of the company…