Organizational communication is the process by which information is shared within organization as business; it uses concise messages and clearly defined terms. Individuals use and rely on communication if its processes and messages are perceived as understandable and trustworthy. Outside of informal social interactions, individuals in an organization typically communication coworkers in their departments which have attained the same status they have or they communicate with direct supervisors or their subordinate.
The modern business environment requires organization to develop effective communication processes to cope with increased employee involvement, flattered organizational structure advances in communication technology and the work towards an economy more on knowledge than traditional industrial and service skills. Diagonal communication is an informal way of passing on information. According to Wilson (1992) diagonal communication is communication that takes place between a manager and employees of other workgroup.
This concept was introduced to capture the new communication challenges associated with new organizational forms such as matrix and project base organizations. Diagonal communication offers employees the opportunity to communicate effectively within the organizational hierarchy. Diagonal communication have several important functions, however they are not without risk. Diagonal communication is also the cross-functional communication between employees at different levels of the organizational hierarchy. Like any other management strategy diagonal communication has its own limitations towards the achievement of organizational objectives.
Interpretation The communication is affected by non-verbally such that the use of tone or even body language may create potential barriers to communicate the correct intended message or just communication. Distortion of information and misunderstanding will be limited by encouraging interaction between relevant departments. This will enhance clarity of objectives among subordinates because they have room to ask directly to the top level managers if there are some misunderstandings. The managers can then propel the subordinates to focus towards their objectives. Importance of Diagonal communication in an organization
Necessity Diagonal communication allows functionally diverse groups to share information directly as required for the project`s execution, rather than according to hierarchy that has little relevance to the project. The business organizations are highly complex and so are the projects they undertake so diagonal communication then promote interactive sending and decoding of information between several classes. In business there are some variables which need active attention when solving problems to avoid some difficulties. Diagonal communication facilitates quick decision making when there is change in the organizations.
Subordinates report directly to the department where that scenario can be quickly solved. The top management will always be updated with the current situation on all organizational angles. Efficiency In an organisation the correct flow of information through different required levels is referred to as the hierarchical dissemination of information. The standard method of communication between a subordinate in one department and a higher-up in another is for the subordinate to engage in upward communications with her supervisor, and for that supervisor to escalate the message until it reaches the level of its intended recipient.
At that time, the message reaches the recipient via a horizontal engagement. It’s an inefficient process unnecessarily so, in many cases that risks miscommunication as the message passes from one individual to another, because some of the messages may be distorted along the way. Diagonal communication routes eliminate this inefficiency by passing the message directly to where it’s intended to reach by avoiding various communication barriers. Speed Communication involves relying particular messages at specific times at the right time to the right person, so at most times the factor of speed it’s inevitable.
Diagonal communication routes are the straight lines that speed communications directly to their recipients, at the moment communication is necessary. Communications that zigzag along horizontal and vertical routes, on the other hand, are vulnerable to the schedules and whims of the individuals who pass them along, besides the shortest distance is taking a straight line. Reduced communication overload Diagonal communication encourages coordination between workmates in the organisation.
Employees who receive a high level of communication over a short period of time may become overloaded and hence struggle to process all the information. Diagonal communication is very effective when eliminating information overload on managers. This communication structure gives subordinates room to report directly to the department where the issues may be solved and leaving others without. Challenges In an organisation challenges are always present, but what differs then will be the intensity and probably the cause or source of the challenge.
Ultimately, it’s up to management to determine when diagonal communications are appropriate. It’s important to trust diagonal communications to individuals who can be counted on to use them in a cooperative manner, for the benefit of the project, and also to minimize particular challenges by maintaining the exchange on a formal-communications level. Creation of social bonds Diagonal communication can enhance unity among different departments in the organizations. It facilitates free interaction between different members which results in strong team spirit among members.
It makes people interact more and work as one to achieve a certain goal. It also eliminates communication barriers between different classed personals in the organisation. Motivates subordinates According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs there is a stage which a worker reaches the social needs. This is a feeling of belonging to a group. In a banking situation, if a bank manager interacts with the lower level subordinates, every worker becomes motivated and hence may disclose information that, if the formal channel of communication was followed, the manager could not have obtained the information.
Diagonal communication promotes a friendly environment in the organisation. Diagonal communication gives a chance to subordinates to contribute their ideas that can be used in strategic making. Some members in the organization have some expertise in decision making but don’t have responsibility because of the level in the hierarchy in the organization. Subordinates can also advise the ways of operation that may have learned from other competitors in the area of operation, which helps the organization to gain a competitive advantage. However diagonal communication has its own restrictions.
These include leakage of private information, lack of control, it can destroy lines of authority and it is usually verbal and terms are untraceable if they go wrong. Leakage of vital private information The organization may have information which is not relevant to the public hence should not be disclosed. In a production industry some companies are privately owned to such an extent that for example their software’s and particular strategies should not be known by other competitors. This occurs especially when an organization employs temporary workers.
These when interacted to will take with them some information pertaining to the organization and give it to other competing organizations. Can destroy lines of authority. In diagonal communication there is no control since it does not recognize the normal chain of command. The fact that the top management informs the lower level subordinates of organizational changes without the attention of immediate supervisor or vice-versa undermines the authority of the former. By so doing this may become a violation of the formal chain of command, resulting in deterrence especially the supervisors.
The trend will become a hindrance in achieving organizational objectives. In conclusion, diagonal communication is effectual to a greater extent as it enhances coordination, creates a friendly environment and above all its quick and effective this increases efficiency as departmental conflicts are curbed by the increased communication between departments. This implies that the rate of production is increased and an organization would expand in a very short time to achieve its set goals and targets, but to a lesser extend it causes lack of control within the organisation as communication will not be via the correct formal chain of command.