In an organization, there are basically two ways of COMMUNICATION namely:

  • Formal and
  • Informal communication


  • Communication takes place through the formal channels of the organization structure along the lines of authority established by the management.
  • Such communications are generally in writing and may take any of the forms; policy; manuals: procedures and rule books; memoranda; official meetings; reports, etc.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Formal Communication:

The advantages of formal communication are:

  • They help in the fixation of responsibility and
  • Maintaining of the authority relationship in an organization.

The disadvantages of formal communication are:

  • Generally time consuming, cumbersome and
  • Leads to a good deal of distortion at times.


  • Communication arising out of al those channels of communication that fall outside the formal channels is known as informal communication.
  • Built around the social relationships of members of the organization.
  • Informal communication does not flow lines of authority as is the case of formal communication.
  • It arises due to the personal needs of the members of n organization.
  • At times, in informal communication, it is difficult to fix responsibility about accuracy of information. Such communication is usually oral and may be covered even by simple glance, gesture or smile or silence.

What Is Informal Communication?

Informal communication arises out of all those channels that fall outside the formal channels and it is also known as grapevine. It is established around the societal affiliation of members of the organization. Informal communication does not follow authority lines as in the case of formal communication.

Informal communication takes place due to the individual needs of the members of an organization and subsists in every organization. Normally, such communication is oral and may be expressed even by simple glance, sign or silence. Informal communication, is implicit, spontaneous multidimensional and diverse. It oftenly works in group of people, i.e. when one person has some information of interest; he passes it on to his informal group and so on.

An organization can make efficient use of informal channels to fortify the formal channels of communication. It acts as a valuable purpose in expressing certain information that cannot be channeled via the official channels. It satisfies the people desires to identify what is happening in the organization and offers an opportunity to express dreads, worries and complaints. Informal communication also facilitates to ameliorate managerial decisions as more people are involved in the process of decision-making.

Inspite on many advantages, informal communication has certain disadvantages. Informal communication contains facts, deceptions, rumors and unclear data. The informal channels of communication may transmit completely imprecise information that may harm rather than help an organization. In addition, it is impossible to fix the responsibility for its origin or flow of information. However, for the efficient working of any organization both formal and informal communications are required.

What Is Formal Communication

The messages which are circulating on regulated, preset channels, of an organization are creating the formal communication. The content of the communication is related to the organization’s activity, to the work and to anything which is related to those. The formal communication can consist in verbal messages, nonverbal messages, written, under the shape of letters, telephone messages, radio messages, printed, internal notes. Even some gestures can consist in formal communication. The messages are transmitted by the authorized ones: on official channels, these arrive to the ones who need to react, to people or machines which need to know the content of these messages.

Usually, all formal communications are recorded and kept in the organization’s evidence. Are retained copies of these by the transmitter, by the receiver, by all of the desks from the organization which need to know and keep the information. Examples of formal communications are given by work commands, reports and financial evidence, reports over sells / inventory, statements referring to the company’s policies, post descriptions, etc.

The formal communication can sometimes take place on the horizontal, along the parallel directions of authority. The formal communication network from an organization along with the keeping spaces of these communications, are serving to more purposes. It defines the channel on which will be sent important messages. It will be created a transmitting plan of this information, both for the transmitter and for the receivers. It will be indicated the direction towards the persons who will react and to the persons who need to be informed about these actions, their steps and result. It offers an information storage space which will be necessary on planning the operations and control. It is created an ordered system for the superiors and subordinates, in order to keep each other informed constantly.

The formal communication network is formed out of formal channels, created by setting a formal system of responsibilities according to the hierarchical structure of the organization. The perfect network is the one which contains communication channel from bottom up, downwards and horizontally. Often the direction of horizontal communication is missing or it is inefficient and in this way the accuracy of the information decreases. The situation is appearing because of the lack of permanent circulation of the information between departments, although this is vital for the organization in conditions of existent competition, or the lack of specialists in organizational communication.

The downwards communications, from top to bottom, is performed by the manager to the subordinates. There are transmitted provisions and instructions, are identified the employees responsibilities. In an efficient organization, this type of communication has its purpose in motivating the employees, their continuous information about policy, goals and organization strategy. The periodicity is important because it ensures the constant communication. Sometimes this type of communication is gaining a preferred tempt, moving only towards the employees, considered as having priority responsibilities. It can have place even when only the manager is transmitting orders and instructions to the employees, without being too preoccupied about their information.

If the organization is in changing, the downwards communication must be used to change opinions, attitudes, to waste restrictions and fear towards misinformation in order to support the employees to comply with these changes. This type of communication requires a feedback. That is why it is completed with bottom up communication, from the employees to the manager. These, as they understand the downwards communication, can communicate their answers. The manager must pay attention to the information he receives, thanks to the employees tendency to say only good stuff to the boss: it may appear the deliberate misinformation.