Horizontal communication (or lateral communication) occurs between people at the same level, or between people at corresponding levels in different divisions, within an organization. Effective horizontal communication can help people to coordinate projects, solve problems, provide a collation of information, resolve conflicts, and pave the way for business relationships.
All too often, horizontal communication is blocked because of jealousy, the barriers of technical specialization or separate locations, and because too much information flows for any one employee to process the data meaningfully. For example, people in a unit may feel that they are in competition with the production staff for all sorts of “perks” –bonuses, information, new positions, and so on- and they may seek to limit the amount of information that is shared. Insightful managers create an environment in which cooperation has more reward than competition; thus, they improve the communication environment of the entire organization. Recognizing and rewarding a group- a team- of employees is one way to encourage a cooperative spirit.
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