Horizontal Communication

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What is Horizontal Communication?

When communication takes place between two or more persons who are working at the same levels it is known as horizontal communication.

Communication between managers, between peers at the same levels or between any horizontally equivalent organisational members. The main object of such communication is to establish inter-departmental co-ordination.

Horizontal Communication Definition

Definition: Horizontal communication relates to messages communicated among people on a similar level of the hierarchy.

For example, in terms of the workplace, if two board members raise an issue or if two supervisors have a discussion then this is termed as horizontal communication.

Horizontal Communication Flow

Horizontal communication generally involves coordinating information and permits people with the same rank in an organisation to collaborate or cooperate.

The graphical presentation of horizontal communication is shown in Figure

Figure shows the flow of communication where messages or information flows among the similar or same level positions of people in the organisational structure.

Following are the essentials of effective horizontal communication:

  • Direct supervision: To make the communication system more effective a manager should persuade the employees by supervising.

  • Act as Lubricant: To ensure effective communication, departments must be developed in a way that they act as lubricants in the process of effective horizontal communication.

  • Recognition: To make horizontal communication effective top executives must recognise it is a useful and realistic means to exchange a message.

  • Clear understandability: Care should be taken that managers have a clear understanding that horizontal communication is a functional part of the total process of communication.

  • Emergency communication: To make it effective this communication system should be considered a form of emergency communication to affect a quick resolution to a particular problem.

  • Interdepartmental communication increase: To make it effective, organisational structure should be made in such a manner that the opportunity for inter-departmental communication can be confirmed.

  • Discipline: Discipline should be maintained strictly at each level so as to maintain effective communication, otherwise management experience gaps in the working atmosphere.

Advantages of Horizontal Communication

The advantages of horizontal communication are as follows:

  • It provides emotional and social assistance to the organisational members.
  • It helps in solving various organisational problems.
  • It is time-saving.
  • It can also be used for resolving conflicts of a department with other department or conflicts within a department.
  • It facilitates co-operation among team members.
  • It is a means of information sharing.
  • It facilitates coordination of the task.

Disadvantage of Horizontal Communication

The major disadvantage of horizontal communication is that as the responsibility is spread out over team members and project leaders, there is very little real authority.

This can result in a loss of control, which can slow productivity when things go wrong. It can be very problematic to change from a vertical to a horizontal structure.

  • There is a lack of motivation to communicate
  • Usually, they hide information due to rivalry between them
  • It lacks authoritativeness


  1. Business Communication: “ K.K. Sinha, Golgotia Publishing Company.
  2. Business Communication: “M.K. Sehgal, Vandana Khetrapal, Excel Books.
  3. Essentials of Business Communication: Rajendra Pal, J.S Korlahalli, Sultan Chand & Sons.

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