Regardless of size, industry or structure, businesses must maintain clear and precise internal communication structures that allow managers to issue directions to front-line workers and allow workers to give feedback so managers can adjust their plans. Communication can flow downward from the top of the organization, upward from the lower ranks, horizontally among peers or diagonally among departments. The structure of the organization's communication networks dictates the methods and speeds by which ideas flow among managers and employees.
The "chain" or "line" communication structure involves direct lines of communication between members of each rank directly above and below the message's origin point but not with members on any other point in the chain. For instance, a department head can communicate directly with the vice president directly above him or the manager directly below him but not with the line worker several steps below him or the company president several steps above him.
The "circle" structure resembles the chain structure, in that each link only connects to the two links on either side. The difference is that two links in the chain "close" to form the circle. The circle structure is less concerned with hierarchy than the chain structure, so the circle does not have the authoritarian weight found in the chain. However, the lack of a clear authority can lead to inefficiencies, such as a reduction in clarity as the message gets passed around the circle.
In the "star" structure, communications revolve around a central point. Each participant in the outer branches of the star communicates her message to a central authority, who then distributes the message to the other participants. For instance, a sales representative will communicate a customer's wishes to the sales manager, who will then pass on the message to the rest of the sales staff. While the star structure maintains the clarity of the message, by requiring that the message goes through a central point, it can inhibit the participants from communicating such important messages directly with each other.
The "all-channel" structure blends the features of the circle and the star structures. The all-channel structure allows each participant to communicate directly with every other participant. This structure is highly effective for accomplishing complex tasks, as it allows all participants the opportunity to contribute to solving the problem. However, the lack of a central authority can lead to communication overload and can slow decision making.
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images
What Are the Benefits of Internet & Social Networking?
Social network sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn provide more than just a way to beat loneliness or chat with celebrities....
The Impact of Organizational Structure
"Organizational structure" refers to the way people are organized ---the company's reporting structure. This structure varies from company to company. "Tall" organizations...
Definition of Network Organizational Structure
The organizational structure of a company is the formal and informal framework of organizational policies, such as hierarchical levels, lines of communication...
Supply Chain Communication
Effective communication throughout the supply chain helps a company improve the efficiency of its supply and logistics operations. Networked communications enable all...
Organizational Communication Styles
America's employees demand communication within their organizations. Employees believe only 64% of the information that they receive from their managers, according to...
What Are Communication Channels Within an Organization?
Communication allows an organization to coordinate and unify to achieve a common goal, whether the organization is a business, government entity, public...
Organizational Barriers to Communication
The success or failure of an organization often depends on its ability to communicate with its members, according to The Communications Department...
Types of Organizational Communication
Communication within an organization happens in a number of different ways, which is why it's so important to realize the types of...
Different Types of Communication Networks
Modern society is dependent on communication networks to transmit information. These networks use a system of symbols, writing, signals or speech to...