Communication Channels | Formal and Informal
The path through which information flows from sender to receiver is known as the channel of communication.
There are two main channels of communication:
- Formal Communication
- Informal Communication
Official communication taking place in an organisation is known as formal communication. It is related to the status or position of the sender and receiver. It generally takes place either between employees of different levels, as in the case of superior-subordinate or at the same levels, as in the case of two managers from different departments.
Orderly flow of information is ensured and responsibilities can be fixed easily. It has some drawbacks, like it is time-consuming and flow of information is interrupted.
Formal communication can be of four types on the basis of direction:
- Downward Communication: The flow of information from a higher level (superior) to a lower level (subordinate) in an organisation is known as downwards communication.
- Upward Communication: The flow of information from a lower level (subordinates) to a higher level (superior) of an organisational hierarchy is known as upward communication.
- Horizontal Communication: The flow of information between people of different departments working at the same level in an organisation is known as Horizontal Communication.
- Diagonal Communication: The flow of information between persons holding different levels of authority in different departments is known as Diagonal Communication.
Unofficial communication that arises from social interaction of people is known as informal communication.
It takes place without following formal lines of communication. It is also known as grapevine communication, as it often leads to the spread of rumours. Since formal channels cannot fulfil the need of people to exchange their views, ideas, etc., the need to communicate through Informal communication arises. Information moves very fast in the case of informal communication, as it does not have to follow any hierarchal order.
It provides social satisfaction and fills the gaps of formal communication. It is used by managers to spread information rapidly, which is not possible through formal communication, but the information transmitted is not authentic and often leads to rumours.
Difference between Formal and Informal Communication
|Meaning||Official communication taking place in an organisation is known as formal communication.||Unofficial communication that arises from social interaction of people is known as informal communication.|
|Relation||It is based on the formal organisational relationship.||It is based on interpersonal contacts.|
|Flow of Direction||It flows vertically, horizontally and diagonally.||It flows in any direction.|
|Channel||It follows formal channel of communication.||It does not follow any hierarchical order.|
|Nature||It is rigid in nature.||It is flexible in nature.|
|Reliability||It is very reliable.||It is less reliable and often spreads rumours.|
|Aim||The main is to achieve organisational goals.||The main aim is to achieve personal and social needs.|
|Message||The messages are official and well planned.||The messages are unofficial and unplanned, like box office collection of a movie.|
|Speed||It is a slow means of communication.||It flows very fast as it does not follow any hierarchical order.|
|Fixing Responsibility||Fixing responsibility is easy as the source of information is known.||Fixing responsibility is very difficult as the source of information is not known.|
Please Login to comment...