Is Downward Communication or Upward Communication More Important to the Success of an Organization Term Paper

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downward communication or upward communication more important to the success of an organization?

In the context of present day business the communication confronts the complex criticalities in devising strategies and processes to address the communication function in the ways that improve the success of organization. (How to Craft Successful Employee Communication in the Information Age) The effective communication is considered to be an essential instrument in respect of the variation elements. (First-Rate Communication Skills) An effective communication is considered inevitable for infusing morale and enhancing productivity among the workforce so as to ensure the management the benefits of employee input etc. (Checklists for Upward and Downward Communications) The organization is evidentially becomes effective and efficient and workers are found to be contented and committed while the communication is successful. When it is unsuccessful the organization as well as the individual members is to suffer. (Thinking through Communication: An Introduction to the Study of Human Communication, 4/e) Practically the organization finds itself not viable to survive or to fulfill the objectives for a secular period in absence of the effective communication in the organization as well as with others outside the organization. (Chapter 2: Organizational Communication)

The Downward Communication refers to the communication flow from a higher authority to the lower. To illustrate an immediate authority may communicate a memo to his assistants. The downward communication may be verbal or printed. This normally includes instructions, directions and rules or regulations like an orientation manual. Sometimes, businesses endorse communication from one level of an organization to another, flowing downward through many varied levels. This circumstance often leads to twist the message as it is conveyed through such various levels. The Upward Communication indicates the transmission of communication from below to the higher authority. (Business Writing Introduction-Page Two) The Upward Communication makes the higher level authorities aware of the facts about the staff at the lower strata. (Concepts of Organizational Behavior) Such type of communication is considered more difficult as a result of the status differences and due to fear of consequences attached to the possibilities of inappropriate communication. As a consequence the upward communication thrives less recurrently in organizations than that of the downward communication flows. (Business Writing Introduction-Page Two)

Upward Communication normally refers to the communication starting from the employees and likely to be non-instructional in nature. Usually it is of two types consisting of the communications of the personal grievances and recommendations or technical opinions as an element of the control system of the organization. (Understanding the importance of communication) The Upward Communications consists of regular staff meeting of the General Manager with the supervisors as a matter of routine, the regular meeting of the General Manager with the non-supervisory employees, the regular meeting of the supervisors with the assistants, the employee newsletter for home circulation, newsletters for supervisors, Bulletin board program, the manual of employees and supervisors. (Checklists for Upward and Downward Communications) Downward communication involves endorsement of orders or instructions from senior management. This type of communication sometimes can very easily be comprehended. The very objective is to provide specific instructions, supply information about the guidelines and practices or supply information about the task in hand. The regulation of employees and information about their performance is a significant application of downward communication as is the supply of information on organizational and departmental goals. (Understanding the importance of communication)

The downward communication is normally addressed with job related directives, underlying principles, information and feedbacks. (Assignment: 1) The illustration of downward communication are regular discussion meetings between the lower staffs and supervisors; the assessment of the staffs by the supervisors, the assessments of supervisors by the manages; the survey questionnaires endorsed to the employees annually so devised as to make the management aware of finding out the trouble spots; endorsements to the family members or employees with monetary rewards and other forms of appreciations for acceptable opinions; to prevail a conducive environment to ensure the employees fell unhindered in putting forth their complaints and grievances across their immediate supervisors; encourage employees to sought queries and sympathetic to any other staff in the company. This also involves interaction with all the staff that leaves the company and to record their views and opinions on working environment and morale. (Checklists for Upward and Downward Communications)

The downward communication is observed to be more rampant than the upward communication. The traditional organizations concentrate on downward flows at the cost of the upward. (Communication in the workplace) The effectiveness of the downward communication as suggested by Larkin and Larkin, the downward communication is observed to be most efficient when the top managers communicate directly with immediate supervisors and immediate supervisors communicate with their staff. Plenty of evidence is there to indicate that enhancement of the authority of the immediate supervisors raises both contentment and functioning among the employees. Donald Pelz revealed this at first and expressed in terms of Pelz effect. The Pelz effect is concerned with the searching out of the forms of leadership styles that gives rise to the employee contentment. He could reveal out that the leadership style of the supervisor is considered most significant and not the authority of the supervisor. The direct communication with the supervisors and to supply them the necessary additions to their decisions are considered as a method of bestowing power with them. The authority of the supervisors are strengthened with making the supervisors aware of the organizational issues or changes normally much prior to the knowledge of the staffs and then delegating them to communicates such changes to their staff. (Chapter 13: Organizational Communication)

When the supervisors are supposed to have adequate authority, the employees rely much on the supervisors and have great inclinations to communicate with their supervisor and are prone to believe that the information stemming from the supervisor is more correct. Assessing the researches of about 30 years Jablin opined the Pelz effect to be a widely accepted concept about the organizational communication. On the basis of the survey conducted on 30,000 employees by the Opinion Research Corporation, Morgan and Schieman could reveal that a bulk of the employees was observed to feel their organization to be not so effective in downward communication. The International Association of Business Communication and the Firm of Towers, Perrin, Forster, Crosby, Foehrenbach and Rosenberg conducted survey on 32,000 employees and revealed out a higher level of contentment with downward communication. About 71% of the employees opined that their organization attempted to maintain the employees well conversant; abut 65% are settled with the fact that they had been provided with adequate information to do their jobs and about 51% are of the opinion that the downward communication is considered to be more sincere and accurate. The employees are found to be keener on receiving the organizational information directly from the top executives. Such revelations are just contradictory to the Pelz effect and related analysis pointed out earlier. (Chapter 13: Organizational Communication)

But in case of companies experiencing transformations, upward communication is vital. Regrettably, in majority of the companies, internal communication is often unidirectional, aimed downward originating from top management to the worker, stated by Linda Dulye, President of L.M. Dulye & Company, an important consultancy firm dealing with change management. (Ways to Encourage Upward Communication) Hence, the popularity of upward communication is less compared to downward communication. An unvarying outcome is that worker contentment with upward communication is likely to be lower compared to their contentment with downward communication.

It was discovered by Larkin and Larkin that there exists low levels of contentment with every strategies usually employed to improve upward communication, as well as employee surveys, suggestion programs, employee grievance programs, and employee participation programs like quality groups and team meetings. Gibson and Hodgetts put forth a lot of management-based factors for this dearth of contentment especially that these strategies frequently do not entail bi-directional communication, are not presented in the proper format, are inadequately timed, and are pertinent to set-off self-protectiveness by the managers. This apart, McCelland discovered several worker-based factors for which upward communication is likely to be inadequate, as well as: panic of retaliation -- people are scared to disclose what is there in their minds; Filters- workers believe their thoughts / apprehensions are changed while it flows upwards; Time- managers give an idea that they so too busy to hear from their workers. (Chapter 13: Organizational Communication)

It must therefore be bore in mind that downward communication is more vital compared to upward communication. In cases where downward communication is inadequate, gossips and half-truths will level the void. (Checklists for Upward and Downward Communications) These are the avenues that are employed to notify, convince, clarify and show enthusiasm give timely action and give a feeling of proper course. They are especially vital during period of change. (Internal communication mechanisms) A majority of types of downward communication are inherent to leader, several of whom consider that this is the lone type of communication available. (The information role) Other categories of communication…[continue]

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