Advantages and Disadvantages of Downward Communication

A father in the family tells some task to elder brother and elder brother tells that task to the younger brother than this flow of information or task is called downward communication. Downward communication as the name suggests in case of companies refers to that communication where the information and message flow downwards that is from top to down through a formal chain of command. In order to understand more about this concept, one should look at advantages and disadvantages of downward communication –

Advantages of Downward Communication

Discipline in the Company

Since communication flows through set channel and process there is discipline and as one is expected to flow the orders of seniors which leaves no scope for ambiguity as far as employees are concerned. Hence for example, if top management has given orders to production manager then it is the duty of production manager to give or pass orders to factory supervisor who in turn will pass those orders to workers under his or her command

Easy to Fix Responsibility

Another benefit of downward communication is that it is easy to fix responsibility under this form of communication since the chain of command is known. Hence any employee cannot escape the responsibility on account of lack of knowledge about the flow of information and chain of command.

Good Labor-Management Relations

Another advantage of downward communication is that it results in good labor-management relations as there is no scope for any fight because subordinates have to follow the orders of their superiors and they cannot deny or contest the orders. Hence in a way, the discipline arising from downward communication results in the better atmosphere in the company as a whole.

Disadvantages of Downward Communication

Lower Response Time

The biggest disadvantage of downward communication is that it results in lower response time for crunch situations because the chain of command is such that for any message or communication a set path is followed and if company wants to do some work urgently than this chain of command can be problematic and will lead to lower response time for any situation leading to fall in competitiveness of the company

It can be misleading

In downward communication, the communication has to go through many people and it is not a direct communication between the top management and the staff which will actually implement the work and therefore any error on the passing of communication can lead to distortion of the whole message which ultimately affects the performance of the company.

Lack of Flexibility

Another disadvantage of downward communication is the lack of flexibility because communication is strictly from top to down which leaves no scope for any suggestion from subordinates leading to the implementation of even those decisions which are wrong from the operational point of view and hence lack of flexibility is another major limitation of this communication.

As one can see from the above that downward communication has pros, as well as cons and any company thinking of adopting downward communication, should carefully read above points and then decide whether this strategy will be a success or failure for the company.

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