What is Horizontal Communication? Definition, Advantage, Flow

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What is Horizontal Communication?

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

Horizontal Communication
Horizontal Communication

Horizontal communication is the flow of information across departmental boundaries, either laterally or diagonally.

Horizontal communication is a communication among people at the parallel or same level, position, rank or statues people of the organization.

Horizontal communication is the communication that flows laterally within the organization, involves persons at the same level of the organization. Horizontal communication normally involves coordinating information and allows people with the same or similar rank in an organization to cooperate or collaborate.

Horizontal Communication Definition

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

Horizontal communication involves colleagues and peers at the same level of the organizationRicky W. Griffin
Horizontal communication is lateral or diagonal message exchange either within work – unit boundaries, involving peers who report to the same supervisor or across-work unit boundaries, involving individuals who report to different supervisorsBartol and Martin

Horizontal Communication 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 Flow of Communication

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 Horizontal Flow of Communication where messages or information flows among the similar or same level positions of people in the organisational structure.

Horizontal Flow of Communication

Following are the essentials of effective horizontal communication:

  1. Direct supervision
  2. Act as Lubricant
  3. Recognition
  4. Clear understandability
  5. Emergency communication
  6. Interdepartmental communication increase
  7. Discipline

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.


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 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.

Disadvantages 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

Business Communication Notes

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  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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Business Communication Notes

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