• Sakshi

Understanding social communication in workplace in 2021

Updated: Jan 18

The literal meaning of the two main words in the title are- workplace i.e. the place where we work and the next one is communication i.e. the activity of communicating or transmitting thoughts.

The workplace is a physical, concrete thing, that is tangible and actually holds people, relationships and goals.

The importance of sharing our thoughts, our views, our questions or anything that comes to mind is the utmost thing needed at a place where we spend most of our adult life which is like a second home.

Workplace communication involves speaking, listening, observing and the ability to understand verbal and nonverbal meanings in the communication process.

Hence, effective communication should involve maximum participation between everyone. There are various types of Communication happening at Workplace. They are: -

1. Formal Communication:

2. Informal Communication

Formal communication: Communication through officially designated channels of the message flow between organization positions. Official information exchange takes place. Usually found in organizational charts, policy manuals or hierarchical structures.

Informal Communication Episodes of interaction that do not reflect officially designated channels of communication.

It is inherent and even a necessary aspect of organization life. It creates a relaxed, comfortable climate Communication process within an organization is characterized and moulded by the nature of the organization structure.

In general, there are three types of formal communications in an organization:

1. Vertical Communication

2. Upward

3. Downward

4. Diagonal

Upward Communication

· Transmission of messages from lower to higher levels (commonly initiated by subordinates with their superiors).

· Types of messages: performance on the job, job-related problems, fellow employees and their problems, subordinates’ perceptions of organization policies and practices, tasks and procedures.


· Employees gain the opportunity to communicate upward

· Promotes morale among all employees

· Facilitates downward communication

Downward Communication Flows from upper to lower (such as manager to employer or superior to subordinates).

Types of messages: job instructions, procedures and practices information and feedbacks.


· Information overload

· Lack of openness - withhold information even if sharing is important

· Filtering - some information is left out

· Message can be distorted by adding personal interpretation

· The fewer the number of authority levels through which communication must pass, the less information will be lost or distorted

Diagonal Communication.

· In the interest of efficiency and speed.

· Important when members cannot communicate through upward, downward, or horizontal channels.

· Communication that cuts across both work areas (functions) and organizational levels.

Horizontal Communication

· Flow of messages across functional areas at a given level of an organization (this permits people at the same level to communicate directly).

· The flow of information between colleagues and peers

· Trend of flattening org has enhanced its importance

· Informal communication

· Facilitates problem solving

· Does not follow the chain of command

· Not recognized as official

It should have an optimum balance of the downward communication with the usual formality as well as the informal nature to formulate a friendly environment and equal proportion of the upward communication which should be a feedback indicator.

Transmission of messages should be flawless and the problems encountered in the process should be effectively managed at the grassroots level.

The subordinates should be instructed properly about the procedures without any excess overload that may hamper the progression.

In the same way, there should be an upward transmission of the problems as well as accurate evaluation of the performance and encouragement should be done to boost productivity and build loyalty.

The effective communicable environment is an important asset of a company and the benefits are manifold and ever-increasing, this concludes the very importance and the basic need of communication at any workplace.

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