Communication is a basic organisational function, which refers to the process by which a person (known as sender) transmits information or messages to another person (known as receiver). The purpose of communication in organisations is to convey orders, instructions, or information so as to bring desired changes in the performance and other attitude of employees. In an organisation, supervisors transmit information to subordinates. Proper communication results in clarity and securing the cooperation of subordinates. Faulty communication may create problems due to misunderstanding between the superior and subordinates. The subordinates must correctly understand the message conveyed to them.


Communication Cycle :-


Sender—> Message—>Encoding—>Channel/Medium—>Transmission of message—> Receiving & Decoding—>Response & feedback—> Receiver.


Classification of Communication :-


  • On the basis of Organizational Structure:


  • Formal and Informal Communication

The path through which information flows is called channel of communication. In every organisation we have both formal and informal channels. The paths of communication which are based on relationship established formally by management are the formal channels.

For example, The Collector of the district communicates a decision to the SDM who may then issue orders or instructions to the Tahsildaar.


Communication, which takes place on the basis of informal or social relations among staff, is   called informal communication.

For example, any sharing of information between a police inspector and an accountant, as they happen to be friends or so. Mostly informal channels are used due to friendly interaction of members of an organisation. In fact, it may be purely personal or related to organisational matters.




  • On the basis of Direction


  • Upward: When employees make any request, appeal, report, suggest or communicate ideas to the superior, the flow of communication is upward i.e., from bottom to top. For instance, when a typist drops a suggestion in the suggestion box, or a foreman reports breakdown of machinery to the factory manager, the flow of communication is upward. Upward communication encourages employees to participate actively in the operations of their department. They get encouraged and their sense of responsibility increases when they are heard by their supervisors about problems affecting the jobs.


  • Downward: When communication is made from superiors down the hierarchy it is called a downward communication. For instance, when superiors issue orders and instructions to subordinates, it is known as downward communication. When the General Manager orders supervisors to work overtime, the flow of communication is downward i.e., from top to bottom. Similarly, communication of work assignments, notices, requests for performance, etc. through bulletin boards, memos, reports, speeches, meetings, etc, are all forms of downward communication.



  • Horizontal: Communication can also be amongst members at the same level in the organisation. For instance, production manager may communicate the production plan to the sales manager. This is known as horizontal flow of communication. Here, the communications among people of the same rank and status. Such communication facilitates coordination of activities that are interdependent.


  • Diagonal: when communication is not made between people who are in the same department nor at the same level of organisational hierarchy, it is called diagonal communication. For example, cost accountant may request for reports from sales representatives not the sales manager for the purpose of distribution cost analysis. This type of communication does take place under special circumstances.


  • On the basis of Mode of Expression


  • Verbal and Non verbalCommunication : On the basis of the mode used, communication may be verbal or non-verbal. While communicating, managers may talk to their subordinates either face to face or on telephone or they may send letters, issue notices, or memos. These are all verbal communication. Thus, the verbal modes of communication may be oral and written. Face to face communication, as in interviews, meetings and seminars, are examples of oral communication. Issuing orders and instructions on telephone or through an inter-communication system is also oral communication. The written modes of communication include letters, circulars, notices and memos. Sometimes verbal communication is supported by non-verbal communication such as facial expressions and body gestures. For example – wave of hand, a smile or a frown etc. This is also termed as the gestural communication



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