In the process of downward communication, messages of the top executives reach the lower levels moving through the chain of hierarchy. Though downward communication provides many advantages to the organization, it is not free from limitations.
Limitations of Downward Communication: Its main limitations/disadvantages are discussed below:
Downward communication is a delayed process. In this communication, information flows through different levels of hierarchy. This communication is time unbearable communication because it moves along the line of control of the hierarchy. As a result, when information reaches to the lower level workers, it may have lost its significance or utility. It results in the misuse of time as the line of communication is long.
- Distortion of information
Downward communication also suffers from the problem of distortion of the message. This communication has to exceed through numerous levels of authority, so there is an interruption as well as distortion of the message. People have a tendency to modify or manipulate information. Therefore, whenever information is passed from one individual to another or from one level to another, the authenticity of information is lost.
- Lack of explanation
In most cases, downward communication contains messages without necessary explanation and clarification. For this reason, subordinates fail to understand the message accurately. As people in the subordinate levels are simply receivers of decisions. So they automatically receive such message and miscommunication results.
- Deterioration of relationship
In downward communication, there is too much concentration of authority at the higher level. Heavy reliance on downward communication also deteriorates the labor-management relationship. Because it does not provide any scope of direct communication between them.
- Lack of feedback
Absence of feedback is another major drawback of downward communication. It takes time for messages to go down the organization and then up the organization and then back down again. The top-level executives usually place little or no importance to the messages received from subordinates. Superiors hardly seek feedback from the subordinates. This means that feedback can be time-consuming, resulting in problems, particularly in an active environment. Due to the negligence of the superiors, subordinates also seldom send feedback. As a result, communication becomes ineffective.
- Lack of enthusiasm
Managers send orders, instructions. and advice to the subordinates through downward communication. This loan of communication energizes and activates the employees. Therefore, delay in the downward flow of information adversely affects the enthusiasm of the employees
- Creation of frustration
Downward communication is directive in nature. This type of communication hardly allows the subordinates to discuss any matter with their superiors. Moreover, the subordinated are compelled to follow the orders and instructions of the superiors. Such activities create frustration in the mind of the employees.
- Different priorities
In downward communication, the employees try to find information about job protection, remuneration, endorsement, and other helpful schemes, but the organization prefers to overtake down orders and instructions only. The gap between their priorities leaves the employees and employers unhappy.
From the above discussion, it appears that downward communication is not always effective and successful. Therefore, along with downward communication, managers should use other forms of communication.