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Channel of Communication: Types & Definition

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  • 0:01 What Are Communication…
  • 0:47 Importance of Communication
  • 1:35 Communication Channel Types
  • 3:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley D. Manker
In this lesson, we'll discuss what communication channels are and why we use them. We'll also cover the different groups of communication channels and some examples of each group.

What Are Communication Channels?

In an organization, information flows forward, backwards and sideways. This flow of information is called communication. Communication channels refer to the way this information flows within the organization.

In this web known as communication, a manager becomes a link. Instructions or decisions flow upwards, downwards or sideways, depending on the position of the manager in the communication web. For example, a report from a lower-level manager will flow upwards to upper-level managers or directors. This upward flow of information can be face-to-face conversations, emails or interdepartmental memos.

Importance of Communication

A breakdown in the communication channel leads to an inefficient flow in information. For example, if employees are unaware of what the organization expects of them, this could cause employees to become suspicious of motives and changes in the company. This could negatively affect productivity in the workplace. If productivity decreases, eventually this will harm the organization as a whole.

Therefore, in order for an organization to run well, a good manager should be able to effectively communicate to employees what is expected of them, make sure they are fully aware of company policies and inform them of any upcoming changes. This should help to optimize employee productivity and ensure that the organization runs smoothly.

Communication Channel Types

There are many different types of communication channels available for managers to use. Some of the possibilities are mobile technology, electronic bulletin boards, fax machines and video conferencing.

As organizations grow, managers cannot rely on face-to-face communication alone to get their message across. A challenge that managers face today is to determine what type of communication channel to use in order to carry out effective communication. The types of communication channels are grouped into three main groups: formal, informal and unofficial.

A formal communication channel transmits organizational information, such as goals or policies and procedures. Messages in a formal communication channel follow a chain of command. This means that information flows from a manager to an employee. Examples of formal communication channels are newsletters, business plans, annual reports and employer manuals.

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