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.