A communication Network is a collection of methods that users employ to pass on valuable information. The communication network is the sum of all the means and methods that an organization employs to communicate. Let us learn more about the Communication Network below.
By this, we mean the patterns and methods that the members of an organization employ to pass on information to the desired nodes in the organization. Networks are ergonomic. They help managers to track and create different types of communication flow as per the requirement.
Different ventures will require a specific structure for their communication networks. As a result, there may exist several different patterns as we shall discuss below.
Networks in Communication
Following are the most common networks in various organizations:
This is a kind of a formal network. So consequently it is suitable for communications between different levels of employees. For example a higher ranking manager and a lower-ranking official.
This network thus enables two-way communication wherein immediate feedback is a common practice. This is a direct link between the employees and their subordinates and thus the chance of miscommunication is very low.
In this type of network, two people or nodes will communicate with each other continuously. One of the nodes will produce messages and the other a feedback to the messages. The communication is thus two people communicating with each other, sending messages and feedbacks and thus forming a loop or a circuit.
This circuit or loop is what we call the circuit network. Usually, the two people that are interacting via this form of networks are of the same hierarchical level. This is different from the Vertical Network where the feedback and the messages are two-way communication.
A company or the organization is like a platoon. It has its leader at the front and the troop following right behind. For communications that are for the more than two nodes or more than two levels of employees, we can employ this method of communication.
Here the network traces a chain of command. This may start with a senior or a high ranking employee or a manager, who hands it over to the next level and so on. For example, the communication starts from a C E O and trickles down to the employees of a lower level.
The C E O may pass the information on to the managers who will pass it to the lower levels without alteration. Notice that the message which generates at the higher level has to trickle down to the lowest level without any alteration.
Since in this communication, a large number of nodes or repetition points may be involved, there is a great chance of error and miscommunication.
In addition to this, the chain network is very time consuming and often results in messages that are not understood by at least some people in the chain.
Study the Barriers in Communication here.
Wheel and Spoke Network
This is like the vertical communication but with the difference that there are several people communicating with a central figure or person. Here a single controlling authority is involved in a vertical type communication and radiates instructions and orders to several of his employees who are working under him.
This is an improvement over the chain communication and provides a direct link between the top command and the employees. However, due to the nature of this communication, it constitutes a form of the micro-management and will thus be very taxing.
An advantage of the wheel and spoke network is that it relays instructions and orders directly from the highest level to any subordinate levels. There are no middle parties or disruptions to the communication channel.
Due to the micromanaging nature of this type of communication is only suitable for small organizations. Larger businesses will not have the resources to deploy this mechanism.
It should also be kept in mind that this way of communication is very effective and the miscommunication is the least.
The star communication network has several participants. Each of these participants enables two-way communication between each of the nodes or people that are participating in the network.
Consider this as a wheel and spoke network that does not have a central focus point. The members of this network are free to communicate. They can exchange data and information with each other without any hurdles or restrictions.
Which type of networks to be used and which type of networks are suitable, depends on the size of the organization and the nature of the projects.
The basis of good communication is a loyal and sincere transmission and reception of information. This will also require a well-defined set of processes and policies in the organization.
Solved Examples on Communication Network
Q1: Which of the network communication(s) is (are) a natural means of communication for a large organization? Give reasons.
Answer: As we have seen that in a large organization, the constraint is that of the micromanagement and miscommunication. We can avoid both in the star network. Thus a larger organization will naturally tend to optimize communication through the star network.