Channel of communication/Communication Networks
A channel means a path or a way. Thus a channel of communication is the path or way through which information is transmitted throughout the organization. It is the route through which the message flows from the sender to the receiver. Human beings in an organization are inter-related to each other. They are related both formally as well as informally. These relationships are maintained by means of communication. Therefore there exists in an organization two channels of communication: -
1. Formal channel of communication
2. Informal channel of communication
Various forms of Formal channel of communication
Formal Channel of Communication are classified into following forms:
1. Downward communication: Communication that flows from the top level of the organization to the bottom level along with the scalar chain is known as downward communication. Example for such type of communication are orders, instructions, rules, policies, programs and directives etc. it specifies the extent of the subordinates authority and their responsibility.
2. Upward Communication: Upward communication is just the opposite of downward communication. In this communication system, the message is transmitted from the bottom of the organization upward to the top of the organization through the middle managers along with the line. Usually this includes workers grievances, suggestions and reactions. This communication system was not appreciated by the superiors. But it has assured importance in modern times and is considered to be a main source of motivating employees.
3. Horizontal communication: The flow of information between departments or people of equal level in an organizational structure may be termed as horizontal or lateral communication. The two departments may be under the same superior or may have different heads. Such communication may be written or oral. The main object of lateral communication is to co-ordinate the efforts of different departments or persons.
4. Diagonal communication: Diagonal communication is between people who are neither in the same department nor on the same level of organizational structure. It cuts across departmental lines. It generally takes place when members cannot communicate effectively through other channels.
These upward, downward, horizontal or diagonal communications may be oral, written, informal or gestural.
Various forms of Informal channel of communication
Keith Davis has identified four different networks for transmitting information via the grapevine:-
1. Single Strand Chain: In single strand chain one person communicate with only one person. In this the first person tells something to the 2nd, the 2nd to the 3rd person, the 3rd to 4th person and so on till the message is communicated to all.
2. Gossip Chain: In gossip chain one person communicates with many persons. As soon as a person gets some interesting non jog related information he conveys the same to every other person.
3. Probability chain: In probability chain communication takes place between many persons. There information is conveyed from one person to another irrespective of the fact that they are related to each other or not whether formally or informally. In this the information passes at random.
4. Cluster Chain: In cluster chain one person communicates with many other persons but selectively. In this one person may convey information to 4 or 5 persons whom he knows very well and can trust out of these 4-5 persons one or two may again pass on the information. As the number grows larger and larger and information staler, it gradually dies out. This is knows as cluster chain because one person while conveying message may from cluster.