Horizontal communication occurs between people occupying same positions in the organization hierarchy. It helps to share ideas, information, wishes and attitude between peers and colleagues. It also promotes mutual understanding and ensures cross-functional coordination. The following points highlight the importance ofhorizontal communication:
- Co-ordination of activities: Organizational activities are grouped into various functional departments. All those departments must work in a coordinated way to achieve organizational goal. Horizontal communication permits the managers of various departments to harmonize and coordinate inter-departmental activities for easy attainment of organizational goal.
- Decreasing misunderstanding: Large and complex organizations employ both line and staff personnel for smooth functioning of organizational activities. But in practical situation conflicts and misunderstandings arise between the line and staff personnel. Effective horizontal communication helps to solve or mitigate conflicts and misunderstandings among them.
- Quick solution of problems: Horizontal communication allows quick transmission of message in a warmly communication. So it becomes easy to mitigate or solve complex problems in the organization.
- Increasing the efficiency of inefficient peers: Managers holding the similar positions may not be equally competent in all respects. Some of them may lack required efficiency, ability, and intelligence in some areas. In such a situation, if them managers share their ideas, opinions and attitudes among them, the inefficient managers can improve their deficiencies and can contribute a lot in achieving organizational goals.
- Developing informal relationships: Horizontal communication promotes informal relationships among the parties involved in communication. Informal relationship is created as it provides the opportunity of free, fair and friendly exchange of information. As a result, healthy and congenial working atmosphere prevails in the organization.
- Guarding against distortion of message: Since horizontal communication takes place between the managers at the same level, information reaches directly from sender to receiver. This direct communication reduces distortion of information.
- Enhancing mutual understanding: Horizontal communication permits mangers to exchange information between them without any hesitation or confusion. Through this channel of communication managers can discuss any matter at their convenient time and can easily reach to a mutually agreed decision.
In conclusion we can say that like other types of communication, horizontal communication is essential in performing organizational activities effectively and efficiently.