Horizontal communication is the transmission of information between people, divisions, departments or units within the same level of organizational hierarchy. You can distinguish it from vertical communication, which is the transmission of information between different levels of the organizational hierarchy “Horizontal Communication”.
Horizontal communication presents some distinct advantages. It decreases misunderstanding between departments working on the same project, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity. It may result in better implementation of top-level decisions because employees on lower levels are permitted to coordinate directly with each other in the implementation of the decision made at the top. Horizontal communication facilitates teamwork if a project requires tasks from different people or departments. It may also increase job satisfaction and motivation by creating more employee empowerment in communication “Horizontal Communication”.
Horizontal communication does come with some disadvantages. Management may have a greater problem maintaining control as horizontal communication increases. This is, in part, because management can derive much control and power if it controls the flow of information. Horizontal communication can also create conflict between employees exposed to each other through the communication process. It is also more time-consuming if vertical communication is required to ratify decisions made during horizontal communication or to confirm information received through horizontal communication.”Horizontal Communication” Finally, it may create a lack of discipline if strict procedural rules of communications are not imposed and followed.
Horizontal Communication Let’s say that you are a vice president of the research division of a pharmaceutical company. Your division has just been given final FDA approval for a new anti-depressant drug. The president of the company wants the product on the market yesterday since the fiscal quarter ends in a few weeks and the annual shareholders’ meeting is in six weeks. Fortunately for you, the company permits horizontal communication. You are able to communicate and coordinate directly with your counterparts in production and marketing.