Formal Communication


Formal Communication
This is the transfer of relevant organizational matter from one person to another. It may be from the managing director to the sales managers or form the finance manager to the accountant on financial issues. It is closely associated with a formal organizational structure. The communication flows through formal channels, officially recognized. Formal communication in an organization may be internal or external depending on who the information is meant for.

Internal Communication
Internal communication is the transfer of information from one person to another within an organization. It is aimed at keeping the member of staff abreast of formal information about happenings in the organization. Internal communication in an organization could be vertical, horizontal, diagonal or all three combined.

Vertical Communication
This is the upward and downward transmission of information from the higher authority to lower authorities or from lower authority to higher authority.
 Downward transmission : in this context means the communication moving downward from top management officer to the junior officers. This downward channel of communication is used by higher level officers to communicate with subordinates. Through this channel they communicate job instructions, organizational policy, disciplinary measures, changes in operational patterns and other job rationale.
 Upward transmission : means the flow of information from the subordinate to the superior officer in an organization. It is to respond to messages or information from the top management by the subordinate members of staff by feeding back their response upward in form of answer to query or suggestion. The language in this channel of communication is usually mild and persuasive.

Horizontal communication
Horizontal communication communicates information across the organization. Here, communication transpires along the same level of staffs. In this situation, equal ranking officers communicate with one another. Horizontal communication helps to foster understanding and goodwill among colleagues.
Diagonal Communication : This is the communication that exists between superior and subordinate officers in the various units of an organization. For instance, when situations arise for cross-departmental interaction then various ranks-heads, supervisors, clerks, etc. must need to establish communication for the purpose of getting a task done in the general pursuit of the goals of the organization to which they all belong.
External Communication : This is the communication between two organizations. It may be in form of seeking for contracts or for supplies of raw material.

Advantages Of Formal Communication
1.It helps in maintaining the authority of line executives over their subordinates who are responsible to get the work done.
2. A better understanding is developed between the superior and subordinate since there is direct contact.
3. Communication is made more effective.
4. Since an executive is better informed than a subordinate about the organization and its problems, a better solution can possibly be found easily.

Disadvantages Of Formal Communication
1. Every happening in an organization cannot be foreseen; hence action required for unseen event cannot be formalized.
2. It increases the work load of the line superior because all communications are transmitted through them. Hence, it leaves the superiors with little time to perform other organizational functions well.
3. Any information in favour of subordinates is more often suppressed or delayed by the superiors.
4. In most big organizations, contact between the top executives and the subordinates at the lowest level are far remote.

Informal Communication
The informal form of communication does not follow the normal established channel of communication in organization instead it flows within members of work group with social relationships. Common forms of informal communication in organization is known as “grapevine” Another word for grapevine is rumour or gossip.
Grapevine Communication: Grapevine is an informal form of communication that is more lateral in nature and is built around the social relationship and social interaction among members of the organization.
Grapevine has also been described as the network of social relationships that arises spontaneously as people associate with one another. The grapevine is often associated with vague and incomplete communication, the credibility of which is rather questionable.
Rumour or gossip: It can also be defined as the mouth to mouth transmission of information or message between two or more person; which may or may not be true, especially about people private lives or official decision.

Grapevine usually has the following characteristics
1. The information conveyed to a large extent, is often correct but incomplete
2. It spread very fast and the originator of the information is not easily known.
3. It is often malicious and it has the capability of being used to vent personal prejudice and bias that can affect a person integrity.

Advantages Of Informal Communication
1. The communication travels at a faster speed because there is no formal line of communication.
2. It is multi-dimensional since there is no channel of communication.
3. It is dynamic and reacts quickly because informal channels have their sanctions in the group.
4. At time it may supplement the formal channel.

Disadvantages Of Informal Communication
1. It often carries half-truth as there is no mechanism for authentication of the news and views, members of the organizations are likely to be misinformed and misled by informal communications.
2. Sometimes the messages communicated through informal channels are so erratic that any action based on these cannot be taken.
3. There are greater changes of distortion of messages.
Communication is the heart of an organization’s performance. Without an effective communication in an organization, an organization cannot be perform maximally. I hereby recommend that an effective organization communication should be practiced in organization in order to increase productivity and good relationship between staffs.