Upward Communication: Advantages and Limitation

Upward Communication

Upward communication is also known as Up steam communication. It involves the flow of information from lower-level management to top-level management. It is very important for the survival and success of this competitive business world.

The upward communication involves.

  • Employees communicating with lower-level managers and top-level managers.
  • Lower-level managers communicating with middle-level managers and event top-level managers.
  • Middle-level managers communicating with top-level managers.

Upward Communication

Through upward communication, the manager depends on lower-level employees to provide them with an accurate and timely report on problems, performance, emerging trends, opportunities, or suggestions for betterment, and grievances.

Essentials elements of  effective upward communication

  1. The chain of communication should be kept as short as possible to avoid the distortion of messages.
  2. Managers or superiors should develop a positive attitude towards upward communication and encourage subordinates to speak to their superiors.
  3. Suggestions provided by the employees have to be looked into and rewarded appropriately.
  4. Complaints and grievances must be sorted out as early as possible
  5. The superior may adopt an open-door policy or any other technique to encourage the subordinates to participate in upward communication.
  6. The manager should develop good listening skills to pay attention to the Complaints and suggestions of the subordinates.

Method of Upward Communication 

  1. Open-Door Policy: Where employees are given the freedom to enter the cabin of the superior and speak without any hesitation about any problem or issue.
  2. Social Gatherings: In social gatherings, employees get an opportunity to speak informally/casually with their superiors regarding their problems or another issue.
  3. Suggestion Schemes: The employees are free to suggest improvements in the plans policies and working of the organization. The valued suggestion is commonly rewarded publicly.
  4. Complaint Boxes: The employees may write down their complaint or problems and deposit the same in such boxes
  5. Direct Corresponding: The employees would write about problems or issues to their superiors.
  6. Reports: The employees provide reports of progress or performance of their work to the manager.
    Counseling: Some organization manager provide advice and encouragement to the workers on their problems

Advantages of upward communication

  1. Feedback: The management can get feedback from the employees in respect of the plans and policies of the organization. Employees can also provide reports on the performance of the organization.
  2. Complaints and Grievances: It helps the employees to express their complaints and grievances to higher authorities. It helps the management to be aware of the genuine problems faced by the employees within the organization. Some problems may be solved immediately and others maybe later.
  3. Suggestions: The management must encourage the employees to the suggestions because employees know better than superior.
  4. Schemes: The management can introduce various schemes like reorganization for restructuring, on the basis of suggestions given by the employees or at their own initiative.
  5. Harmony: upward communication brings harmony within the organization. The management and the employees work as a team and work for the success of the organization.

Disadvantages/Limitation of upward communication

  1. Distortion: Employees may report only the good news.  People are often afraid to admit their own mistakes or to report information that suggests their boss was wrong.
  2. Effect Superior Subordinate Relations: Upward communication may affect the relations between the superior and subordinate when the subordinate directly reports to the top level.
  3. Reluctance on the part of subordinates: The subordinates are hesitant to complain or suggest to higher authorities as they feel that such complaints or suggestions may reflect the inefficiency of the higher Ups. This problem can be solved by creating a favorable environment in the organization for providing suggestions and complaints.
  4. Resistance from Traditional Manager: Upward communication is resisted by the traditional managers. They do not encourage upward communication in their organization. They do not like to be told by their subordinates. They do not like to accept the complaint and suggestions. This problem also can be solved through the development of a professional attitude or approach in the managers.

Conclusion: Informal communication when the messages go from lover level that s subordinates to top-level that is superiors it is called upward communication.

  1. Grapevine communication is associated with………….communication.  a. Formal b.Informal c.Horizontal d.Vertical.
  2. Informal communication is otherwise known as………communication  a.Grapevine. b.Lateral. c.Visual. d.Horizontal.
  3. Communication with superiors involves:
    a. Directions b. Orders c. Complaints d. Instructions


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Reference: Manan Prakashan, Smart Notes


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