Advantage or merits of downward communication
Downward communication benefits the organization in many different ways. Through this communication, superior provide necessary information and directives to the subordinates. The major advantages of downward communication are highlighted below:
- Delegating authority and responsibility: Delegation means entrusting the subordinates with some responsibilities along with due authority. It is essential to make the subordinates capable in performing their jobs. Since downward communication starts form higher level, it helps mangers in delegating authority and responsibility to the right persons.
- Marinating discipline: Downward communication occurs in conformity with officially recognized rules and regulations. So it helps in establishing official discipline in the organization.
- Increasing efficiency: Downward communication provides necessary guidance, orders, instructions and explanations of various complex issues to the subordinates that ultimately increase the efficiency of the employees.
- Informing organizational plans and procedures: In an organization, the top-level executives develop the plans, policies, strategies, procedures etc. downward communication plays a significant role in communicating those plans, policies, strategies’ and procedures to the lower levels of the organization.
- Explaining the complex issues: Sometimes subordinates need explanation of organizational policies and procedures. In such situations, managers rely on downward communication to provide necessary explanations and analysis.
- Issuing orders and instructions: Downward communication is the only means to circulate various orders, instructions, guidance, and advices to the subordinates. Without downward communication, organization is like a boat without boatman.
- Avoiding by-passing of hierarchy: Downward communication takes place by following the established chain of command of the organization. Thus, it reduces the chance of sending message to someone through by-passing the immediate subordinate.
- Maintaining good labor-management relationship: Downward communication helps to create and maintain good labor-management relationships in the organization. When top-level executives communicate with their subordinates sincerely and courteously, it develops good interpersonal and inter-group relationships between management and works. In turn, this will motivate the employees and ensure good labor-management relation in the organization.
In conclusion we can say that Downward communication ties together the entire organization and ensures the achievement of organizational goals.
Disadvantages or demerits of downward communication
Though downward communication provides many advantages to the organization, it is not free limitations. Its main limitations or disadvantages are discussed below:
- Time-consuming: Downward communication is a delayed process. In this communication, information flows through different levels of hierarchy. As a result, when information reaches to the lower level workers, it may have lost its significance or utility.
- Distortion of information: Downward communication also suffers form problem of distortion of message. People have a tendency to modify or manipulate information. Therefore, information is passed from one individual to another or form one level to another, authenticity of information is lost.
- Lack of explanation: In most cases, downward communication contains messages without necessary explanation and clarification. For this reason, subordinates fail to understand the message accurately.
- Deterioration of relationship: Heavy reliance on downward communication also deteriorates the labor-management relationships. Because it does not provide any scope of direct communication between them.
- Lack of feedback: Absence of feedback is another major drawback of downward communication. The top-level executives usually place little or no importance to the messages received from subordinates. Superiors hardly seek feedback from the subordinates. Due to negligence of the superiors, subordinates also seldom send feedback. As a result, communication becomes ineffective.
- Lack of enthusiasm: Managers send orders instructions and advices to the subordinates through downward communication. This form of communication energizes and activates the employees. Therefore, delay in the downward flow of information adversely affects the enthusiasm of the employees.
- Creation of frustration: Downward communication is directive in nature. This type of communication hardly allows the subordinates to discuss any matter with their superiors. Moreover, the subordinates are compelled to follow the orders and instructions of the superiors. Such coercion creates frustration in the mind of the employees.
From the above discussion, it appears that downward communication is not always effective and successful. Therefore, along with downward communication, managers should use other forms of communication.