Horizontal Communication – Advantages and Disadvantages

Since an organisation is not an arrangement of vertical levels of authority alone, and the nature of work requires team effort, it is imperative that employees at the same level of authority exchange official information.

Horizontal communication is communication that takes place between employees belonging to the same or comparable status. Communication between two marketing managers, or between two directors, is horizontal communication.

Meetings, seminars, inter-office-memos, e-mails are some of the modes of this communication.
Horizontal Communication is needed

  • to exchange official information
  • to create understanding and team-spirit among members
  • to solve difficulties
  • to seek and extend co-operation
  • to save time when quick decisions have to be made.

Advantages

Horizontal communication helps in clarifying doubts, taking quick decisions and eliminating mistrust that may hamper the pace of work in an organisation. It brings about better coordination, builds team spirit and ensures faster implementation of decisions. It also checks the grapevine.

Requirements

For horizontal communication to be successful, employees must learn to extend cooperation and work towards achieving collective goals. The authority should delegate responsibilities to subordinates in order to quicken the pace of work. Horizontal communication, however, needs to be monitored, as its uncontrolled transmission can invite problems for the organisation.

Disadvantages

Ungoverned horizontal communication disrupts the lines of vertical communication, which in turn leads to indiscipline. Employees also tend to waste precious time arguing and debating over issues and decisions.

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