Types of Business Communication in Organizational Settings

Communication flow within an organizational structure through a variety of pathways. Amanda McGreen, a business communication expert and an English to Italian translator, defines two types of organizational communication structure: informal and formal.

Formal communication is defined by the relationships between the various job positions in an organization. It takes place through the formal channels of organizational structure. Messages can flow upward (from a subordinate to a superior), downward (by the manager to the subordinates) and horizontally (between colleagues and peers at the same or similar levels).

Downward communication is best suited for organizations where the line of authority runs distinctly downward. Its main objectives include: to convey executive decisions and transmit work-related information that helps employees do their jobs. Upward communication provides a feedback on how well the organization is functioning as well as on how well the subordinates have understood the downward communication. The professionals from one of the leading Detroit Translation Services Agency believe that it is also an outlet for pent-up emotions – giving employees a chance to raise and speak dissatisfaction issues to their superiors. To summarize, we can say that upward communication provides insight into problems, opportunities, trends and performance- and thus allows executives to solve problems and make intelligent decisions. Horizontal communication facilitates communication between interdependent units and departments to help employees share information, coordinate tasks, and solve various organizational problems. It can also be used for resolving conflicts between departments or within the same department.

Every organization also has informal channels of business communication often referred to as the grapevine. It stretches in all directions irrespective of authority levels, practically encompassing all communication that takes place outside the formal network. Despite its disadvantages – since it contains unverified facts, rumor and unclear data it may harm, rather than help an organization. However, as translators with The Marketing Analysts Translation Services comment, efficient use of informal channels can fortify the formal communication network and every smart manager should make the best possible use of the grapevine.

Upward Information Flow In International Companies

Coming from the business’s perspective, upward communication is equally as important as downward communication. In order to resolve complications and make smart choices, management needs to understand what’s happening in the business, irrespective of where a company conducts business. Given that executives are unable be everywhere at one time, they rely heavily on supervisors to provide them with correct and prompt reports.

The threat, obviously, is the fact that when there isn’t sufficient trust in an organization, international employees will be likely to report just the pleasant facts. Employees, particularly those in remote areas are frequently frightened to confess their own errors or to report details that imply the person in charge was wrong. Companies attempt to protect against the “rose•colored glasses” syndrome by developing reporting techniques which require staff to provide essential accounts that are then translated by professional Dallas Translation workers on a routine basis. A number of of these reports contain a “red flag” aspect that signals diversions from established benchmarks.

Other formal methods for channeling information upward include group meetings, New York City Translation workers are sometimes hired to conduct interviews with international employees and who are leaving the company, and formal procedures for resolving grievances. In recent years, many companies have also set up systems that give employees a confidential way to get a message to top management outside the normal chain of command. If an employee has a problem or an idea that might be difficult to discuss with the person’s immediate supervisor, he or she can talk to a neutral third party (sometimes called an ombudsman) who will consider the issue and see that appropriate action is taken without putting the employee in an awkward position.

Horizontal information flow.
Besides sending information up and down the organization, the formal communication network also allows messages to flow horizontally from one office or department to a different office or department. For example, the operations manager might compose an e-mail that is translated to French by a provider of French Translation in Portland and then sent to a production manager who is located in China.  The message might contain a sales forecasts for the coming month.

The volume of horizontal communication that takes place through conventional routes relies on how much interdependence exists between departments. Should the company demand synchronized activity by its business units, horizontal communication may very well be regular and intense. However, if each department works separately, formal horizontal communication is nominal.