Concerned with the non-public affairs of a company or other organization.
When leaders and managers share information with lower-level employees, it is called downward, or top-down, communication. While downward communication may sometimes invite a response, it is usually one-directional rather than reciprocal–the higher-level communicator does not invite or expect a response from the lower-level recipient.
Examples of downward communication include explaining an organization's mission and strategy or explaining the organizational vision. Effective downward communication gives employees a clear understanding of the message they have received. Whether informative or persuasive, effective downward communication results in the recipients taking action or otherwise behaving in accord with the communicators' expectation.
In the workplace, directives from managers to employees are the most basic form of downward communication. These can be written manuals, handbooks, memos, and policies, or oral presentations. Another example of downward communication is a board of directors instructing management to take a specific action.
Business communication experts John Anderson and Dale Level identified five benefits of effective downward communication:
Ensuring effective downward communication is not necessarily an easy task. Differences in experience, knowledge, levels of authority, and status can make it more likely that sender and recipient do not share the same assumptions or understanding of context, which can result in messages being misunderstood or misinterpreted. Creating clearly worded and non-ambiguous communications and maintaining a respectful tone can overcome these issues and increase effectiveness.