Direction of Communication

  1. 2 Contrast downward, upward, and lateral communication through small-group networks and the grapevine.

Communication can flow vertically or laterally, through formal small-group networks or the informal grapevine. We subdivide the vertical dimension into downward and upward directions.5

Downward Communication

Communication that flows from one level of a group or organization to a lower level is downward communication. Group leaders and managers use it to assign goals, provide job instructions, explain policies and procedures, point out problems that need attention, and offer feedback.

In downward communication, managers must explain the reasons why a decision was made. Although this may seem like common sense, many ...

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