Advantages and Disadvantages of Horizontal Communication

Horizontal communication is essential for smooth functioning of organizational activities and for interdepartmental coordination. This type of communication is especially important for larger scale enterprise. The followings are the main benefits that can be derived from horizontal communication.
Coordination: Organizational activities are divided into various departments or groups. Horizontal communication facilities coordination of various departmental activities so that organization can reach its ultimate goal.

    • Reducing Misunderstanding: Misunderstanding and conflict among the mangers and staffs are very common in organizational life. Horizontal communication helps to reduce possible misunderstanding and conflict though meeting, discussion, face to face conversation etc.
    • Strengthening group efforts: Group efforts and teamwork are essential prerequisites for organizational success. Horizontal communication helps in reducing conflicts, controversies, and differences in opinions and thus establishes consensus among the managers and workers concerned. This consensus strengthens group efforts and team spirit in the organization.
    • Performing inter departmental communication: Horizontal communication occurs between people at the same level in various departments. Therefore interdepartmental communication occurs smoothly.
    • Gaining benefits of informal communication: Though horizontal communication is formal in nature, it enjoys some degree of informality in exchanging information as the senders and the receivers hold same position, status and honor.
    • Distortion free communication: Horizontal communication is usually free form distortion. Since the sender and the receiver of horizontal communication can exchange information directly, there is no possibility of distortion of message.
    • Bringing dynamism in workplace: Horizontal communication helps to overcome misunderstanding and confects among the managers. It creates an environment of cooperation, teamwork and team spirit. This brings dynamism in performing organizational activities.

In conclusion, we can say that flow of information through horizontal communication channel is inevitable for organizational success. In the present complex business world, efficient functioning of a large business organization mostly depends on effective horizontal communication.

Disadvantages of Horizontal Communication

Though horizontal communication is essential for smooth functioning of an organization, it is not completely free form defects or flaws. Followings are the possible drawbacks of horizontal communication.

  • Rivaling attitude: Horizontal communication occurs between the people at the same rank and position. If there exists any hostility or rivalry between them, they will not exchange information spontaneously. Moreover, they will conceal their information intentionally to deprive someone from the real news.
  • Interdepartmental conflict: The success of horizontal communication depends on good relationship between sender and receiver. If there is any conflict, distrust or suspicion between them, horizontal communication will be ineffective.
  • Discouraging attitude of top management: In some cases, top managers discourage horizontal communication thinking that workers may become friendly with one another and may create threat for the management.
  • Ignoring vertical communication: More concentration on horizontal communication may work as substitute of upward and downward communication. In that case upward and downward communications are ignored.

At last, we can conclude that the above stated factors can diminish the utility of horizontal communication. So the persons concerned should be well aware of those factors when they communicate horizontally.

Importance of Non Verbal Communication

The use or application of non verbal communication is as important as the verbal communication is in different areas of our life. Different non verbal cues are widely used, separately or along with the verbal messages. The importance of non verbal communication can be discussed through its various uses and applications as follow:

Instant Effect: All non verbal methods have almost instant effect as the receivers perceive them quickly. For example, it takes less time to see a color or picture and to hear a horn or bell than to speak out and understand or to read and understand words and sentences. This quality of being speedy in conveyance and response makes non verbal methods extremely useful in many situations.
For traffic control: For traffic sings and signals, non verbal communication is absolutely essential because there must be instant response from the drivers or pedestrians. There is no time or scope to read sentences, it is the red or green signal that tells the drivers and the pedestrians that when they are safe to cross the road and vice versa. None other communication except the non verbal one is effective here.

Aid to verbal communication: Non verbal methods are extremely useful as an aid to verbal communication. Maps, charts and graphs are absolutely necessary for conveying ideas related to geography, locations, data and most of the sciences. Beside these, non verbal methods can present a large amount of complex data in a compact form a single page can contain materials which would several pages to convey in language.

For illiterate people: For the illiterate people the only method of conveying important information is by non verbal symbols. Bottles and containers of poisons are market with skull and crossbones as a warning’ illiterate drivers can manage with the non verbal traffic signals and signs. Films are used to explain processes to people who may not follow oral explanations easily.

Arousing stronger response: All human beings respond more powerfully to pictures, colors and plain sounds than to language. A cry of agony arouses a much stronger response than a tale of woe, a film showing the actual events or representing a story is more effective than the verbal representation. News on the TV is more interesting, effective and realistic than on the radio. The audiovisual media like the cinema and the television which combine all possible methods of communication are the most powerful media.

Pictorial presentation for mass communication: Pictorial presentation is best for mass communication. In a country like India, with a large number of illiterate and semi-illiterate people, pictorial symbols are more suitable for mass communication. They are universally accepted and more easily understood. Graphs and charts are used as pictorial representations of statistical information. Signs and signals are also used as representation of something.

So, it is found that nonverbal communication is very important for us. We use different non verbal cues to mean different things on different occasions.