Downward communication

Downward communication
See also

Downward communication is one of three different directions (downward, horizontal and upward) of communication that organization's structure should provide. Taking place of organizational communication is embedded within the framework which are established by those directions. Downward communication is made up of procedures, policies and rules that flow form the highest-levels to levels which are lower (F. C. Lunenburg 2010).

The downward communication regards to issues which are multiple i.e. instructions and information relating policies and procedures etc., to give guidelines for enforcing goals, objectives and strategies (P. Verma 2013).

Effectiveness of downward communication is the highest if senior executives communicate directly with direct supervisors and direct supervisors communicate with their personnel. Many of evidence show that expanding the power of direct supervisors expands both performance and satisfaction among employees. The downward communication has the most important role in organization. It states upward communication style, for grapevine and horizontal communication it sets background and it is also to a large degree in charge of establishing non-ideal or ideal communication climate. Multiple factors determine downward communication (P. Verma 2013).

General objectives

Downward communication has five general objectives:

  1. Objective which concerns implementanting of strategies, golas and objectives - passing new strategies and goals gives information about particular targets and behaviors which are expected. It provides direction for levels which are lower.
  2. Providing job instructions and rationales - those guidelines tell about way of doing a particular task.
  3. Explaining procedures and practices - those messages tell about organization's rules, policies, benefits, regulations and arrangements which are structural in order to obtain some level of uniformity in practices of organization.
  4. Providing performance feedback - informing about progress reports which are departmental, appraisaling of individual performance. Those things and other means are applied to inform individuals or departments about how well they are managing in relation to performance standards and aims.
  5. Socializing - trying to motivate employees to adopt mission of the institution and values which are cultural.

A channel for information, directives and instructions is provided by a downward flow of communication to members of organization. However, due to information passing form one person to another much of it gets lost. Furthermore, if the distance between a sender and a final receiver is great, the message may be deformed (F. C. Lunenburg 2010).

Downward communication and uncertainty

A study which was carried out, by Hannaway in 1985, found evidence implying that hierarchic level and uncertainty of environment may influence the communicational behavior of organization adherers. In terms of high uncertainty, lower level managers take less part in meetings ans conversations than do senior managers (P. Verma 2013).


Author: Justyna Kulesa