Downward Communication

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  • A traditional management practice for the dissemination of information through a formal chain of command. Organizations using downward communication pass down verbal and written information from the upper rungs of the administrative ladder to the lower rungs. The information, handed down through chains of managers to subordinates, may include messages about organization policies and work practices to be instituted, as well as employee evaluations.

    Studies and evaluations of downward communication have pointed to positives and negatives in the practice. Downward communication does delineate the hierarchy within an organization, giving employees at various levels direction about job performance expectations. On the other hand, as a message gets passed down, it gets larger, and sometimes distorted, with additions made in the process of manager-to-subordinate clarifications; information passed down ...

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