Corporate Communications: A Comparison of Japanese and American Practices

By William V. Ruch | Go to book overview

8
Downward Communication in the American Corporation: Print
Downward communication moves from superior to subordinate, whether from the chairman to all employees of the company or from one superior to one subordinate. It is the predominant form of communication in American corporations. In this chapter we discuss print channels of downward communication.More media carry more messages down the management chart than carry them upward or horizontally combined. That is not to say that formal communications in the business organization are mostly downward or even vertical. Most are horizontal, as noted previously. However most formal ones are downward, as one writer notes: "It is obvious that the bulk of communication in most organizations is downward--directing, instructing, explaining, and the like. The passing on of orders, policies, and plans is the backbone of managerial communication." 1 Katz and Kahn list five purposes of downward communication:
1. Specific task directive: job instructions.
2. Information designed to produce understanding of the task and its relations to other organizational tasks: job rationale.
3. Information about organizational procedures and practices.
4. Feedback to the subordinate about his performance.
5. Information of an ideological character to inculcate a sense of mission: indoctrination of goals. 2

The day is past in America when items one through three dominate downward communication. Directing is important, but it is no longer

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