Communication – Review Notes

Part 1 of the article

Communication: Importance and Definition

Important Issues in Communication in Organizations

Communication Media and Technology

Choosing the Medium
Nonverbal Communication
Management Information System

Interpersonal Communication

In interpersonal communication, the major emphasis is on transferring information from one person to another. To create, change in behavior, communication is used.  Communication process involves cognitive processes such as perception, learning and motivation. Variables such as trust, expectations, values, status, compatibility influence and communication process and its effectiveness. Communicators have to pay attention to feedback to confirm that the message is understood by the receiver.

Downward Communication

Luthans cited Katz and Kahn and gave five basic purposes of downward communication.

1. To give specific directives and instructions related to tasks and jobs.
2. To give information about organizational procedures and practices.
3. To provide information about the rationale of the job.
4. To tell subordinates about their performance (give feedback)
5. To provide ideological information to facilitate the indoctrination of goals.

Luthans says, managers are undertaking only the first two types of communication. Such a practice is having negative effect. Communicating the ideology of the organization (mission and vision), explaining the role of the job in the vision achievement and feedback about job performance greatly benefit the organization. 

Facilitating Upward Communication

Failure of Upward Communication Process

Classical organization structure and theory formally stated the need for information flow downward and upward. But upward communication process has been stifled as facilitating mechanisms were not put in place in many organizations.

According to surveys conducted by InTouch Management Communications Systems, 90 percent of employees believe that they have good ideas for improving the effectiveness of their firms, but only 50 percent of them ever share these ideas with the company.

Facilitating Mechanisms for Upward Communication

1. The open door policy

2. Use of email

3. Attitude questionnaires and exit interviews

4. Participative techniques

5. Empowerment strategy

6. Grievance procedure

7. Ombudsperson

Active Listening Skills

To facilitate upward communication, executives have to improve their active listening skills. Some of the guidelines to improve listening are:

1. Maintain attention. Focus on the speaker.

2. Use restatements to confirm to the speaker that you are with him.

3. Show empathy.

4. Use probing questions to elicit more information on issues of interest.

5. Encourage more suggestions by noting down the suggestions given

6. Speak in between appropriately and allow the conversation to continue.


Fred Luthans, Organizational Behavior, McGraw-Hill, New York, 9th Edition.

Web References

Updated on 19 May 2019, 4 December 2011