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Diagonal Communication Paper

Words: 1739, Paragraphs: 44, Pages: 6

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Communication

This sample essay on Diagonal Communication provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Directions of Communication


What Is Diagonal Communication


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Table of Contents:

Contents Page

Overview: 3

Downward Communication 3

Upward Communication 4

Horizontal Communication 6

Diagonal Communication: 7

External communication 8

Conclusion: 8

Works cited 9

Directions of Communication


Communications is an essential aspect of any organization if the organization is to meet its objectives. Communication enhances the relay of information from the source to where is required. However, there exist several categories of communication in the organizational set up each with its own purposes and weaknesses. The organizational structure of any institutional or business entity should enhance communication in the four main directions. These are downward, upward, horizontal and diagonal. The four directions indicate the structure under which the communication process of an institution occurs.

Downward Communication

Customarily, most to the organization have this kind of communication. In this type of communication, the information is mainly relayed from the top to the lower levels of the organizations (Greenberg, & Baron, 45). The organization or institution’s heads communicate the intended information through the word of mouth, internal memos, speeches, policy manuals or team meetings. Downward communication servers several purposes in any organizational structure that are inclusive of the following (Greenberg, & Baron, 45).

Downward communication is mainly used in the relay of information pertaining to the implementation of goals, strategies and objectives. The top-level mangers usually communicate to their juniors the new strategies and objectives and how they are going to be executed in the organization’s structure. This direction is also used in the communication of job instructions and rationale. The mangers use this communicational direction when explaining a given task is to be performed and the existing relationship between the task and other activities (International Ombudsman Institute, 65).

Downward direction is also employed when relaying performance feedback. The organization’s progress and performance is mainly relayed in the company using this mode. The juniors are usually informed by their seniors on how they are fairing in comparison to the laid out benchmarks. The various procedures and practices in the organization are also communicated through this mode. The information of the organization’s policies, rules, regulations, and structural arrangements is usually relayed to the rest of the staff through this mode. This mainly aimed at attaining some level of harmony and uniformity in the institution’s activities. This mode of communication is also used during the socialization between the senior staff members and the junior staff. Organizations usually hold staff parties where the entire staff is supposed to mingle around and create a sense of teamwork and belonging (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 102).

The downward mode of communication creates a means for the relay of directives and instructions to the members of staff within the organization. However, this information may end up being distorted if it relayed from one person to another or along a long chain through the organization’s hierarchy. To ensure this does not happen it is usually advisable to relay the information through print or electronic means with the letters addressed to each of the concerned personnel (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 102).

Upward Communication

Although traditional organizations did not employ this mode of communication, behaviorists usually advocate for the employment of upward communication flows. This mode of communication is whereby the junior staff members convey information to their seniors within the organization. This mode is crucial as it enables the senior staff to know whether the juniors have comprehended the information relayed to them and in meeting the ego needs to the personnel. This mode serves in the communication of various types of information.

Upward communication when employed in a company is used in the communication of the various problems and exceptions experienced by the junior staff. The mangers become aware of the serious problems and difficulties present in the organizational structure. This mode also enhances the relay of information of the possible suggestions for improvement. The junior staff usually relays crucial information on ideas for developing task related processes to enhance the quality of efficiency of the institution’s processes. This provides the management with crucial information on the relevant changes to execute in alleviating the underlying issues and problems.

This mode is also employed in an organization when the junior staff is communication of their grievances and disputes. The junior staff will often air their grievances and disputes to the management when the organizational structure of the institution avails the necessary avenues. The grievances are relayed to the management for hearing and possible resolution. Prudent managers usually follow the relayed grievances with the provision of logical and doable collective bargaining agreements. This works a lot in allaying drastic actions by the junior staff such as boycotts and strikes. Wise mangers usually enhance this aspect by encouraging the entire staff to express their feelings to the management.

Prudent management practices calls upon the provision of both upward and downward communication flows. Information is supposed to travel in both directions across the organization. Upward communication is mainly hindered when the management fails to address the grievances and issues raised by the company staff. The company will often feel neglected leading to low performance morale within the organization. This ends up in affecting the quality of production within the organization.

Horizontal Communication

In very great and complex organizational structures, another communication flow exists known as horizontal communication. As opposed to the normal, upwards and downwards communication flows that involve the flow of information across the hierarchy, this communication flow constitutes the flow of information within the hierarchy. During this communication flow, the information conveyed is mainly meant for harmony and coordination purposes. Horizontal communication harmonizes the activities across and within the various departments that constitute the organization. Horizontal communication flow is mainly categorized into three categories namely; intradepartmental problem solving, interdepartmental coordination and staff advice to line departments.

In the intradepartmental solving category, the information is conveyed within the same department where the members share ideas on how to allay the existing issues and concern task accomplishment. On the interdepartmental coordination category, the information is conveyed across different departments and is mainly aimed at harmonizing the various activities that are shared by different departments within the organizational system. Constant communication between the different departments is essential in ensuring there is harmony for the organization to meet its objectives. The category of staff advice to line departments is the information conveyed by specialist within the organizational structure who requires help in their areas.

Horizontal communication is mainly aimed at enhancing and ensuring harmony and coordination within the organization. The horizontal channels allows information to flow enhancing the departments to work smoothly and in harmony without having to rely on fixed and taxing upward and downward communication channels. Many of the organizations provide horizontal communication flow through the establishment of task forces, committees or the creation of matrix organizational structures aimed at enhancing coordination.

Diagonal Communication:

Diagonal communication flow is the relay of information between the higher-level employees of the organization with personnel working in different functional divisions. Diagonal communication flow was captured to capture the gap created by the irrelevance of vertical and horizontal communication in many of the modern organizational structures. Diagonal communication flow is mainly aimed at serving the communication needs of the modern organizational structures such as the matrix organizational structure and organizations that are based on projects.

This type of communication flow is enhanced by its ability in making an organization more elastic through the enhancement of communication flow across both directions, between the top levels of the organizations to those below and vice versa. The communication flow also alleviates the rigid command structure that tends to slow down organizations in “red tape”. The communication flow also enhances the efficient and quick responses to the issues raised by the junior staff (Lunenburg, & Ornstein, 96).

The interdepartmental communication evidenced in diagonal communication enhances the fast dissemination of information thereby facilitating the efficient utilization of time. The communication flow also tends to give the personnel a sense of empowerment thereby allowing more independence. However, the communication flow faces various criticisms in that it only works in theory as opposed to reality. In reality, the mangers become less involved and in the process may end up being angry. Information is not relayed to all the intended persons thus some people are left ignorant.

External communication

External communication is whereby information is communicated between the organization’s personnel with the organization’s stakeholders who are outside the organization’s structure. The stakeholders who are outside the organizational structure are the administrators, who do not work directly with the company, the serving government officials, the community neighboring the company etc. although these individuals do not work for the organization, they are affected either directly or indirectly by the affairs of the organization. This communication flow is mainly aimed at ensuring the organization is in harmony with the outside environment. It enables the organization abides with the government requirements, and is in good terms with the immediate community.


In conclusion, we find that all the four communication flows are essential in any organization’s structure. It is crucial for every organization to have horizontal, diagonal, upward and downward communication flows. Downward communication is the flow of information from the organization’s top-level managers to their juniors. This information mainly comprises of instruction and information on policy application in the organizational structure. Upward communication is the flow of information from the junior staff to the senior staff. The information relayed comprises mainly of possible suggestions, issues, and grievances. Horizontal communication is mainly aimed at coordinating the various activities shared by the different departments. Diagonal communication flow is the relay of information between the higher-level employees of the organization with personnel working in different functional divisions. External communication flows involves the relay of information between the company’s personnel with outside stakeholders who do not participate to the day-to-day running of the organization.

Works Cited

Greenberg John, & Baron Richards. Behavior in organizations (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

International Ombudsman Institute. The international ombudsman yearbook. Boston, MA: Brill Academic Publishers, 2009. Print.

Ivancevich James, Konopaske Richards, & Matteson Muntuls. Organizational behavior and management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.

Lunenburg Francis, & Ornstein Austins. Educational administration: Concepts and practices. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage, 2008. Print.

Diagonal Communication

About the author

This sample paper is crafted by Elizabeth. She studies Communications at Northwestern University. All the content of this paper is just her opinion on Diagonal Communication and can be used only as a possible source of ideas and arguments.

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