What Is Communication Network? Definition, Types, & Importance

What is Communication Network? Definition, Importance, and 4 Types (Explained)

What is Communication Network?

A communication network is a pattern or form that is implemented in the organization to communicate information effectively. The communication network is the established system where the message may flow in one or too many directions in the organization based on requirements.

Broadly there are two types of communication i.e. formal and informal. Depending upon the nature and size of the organization and types of communication, different communication networks can be implemented based on their effectiveness.

In large organizations, it is complex to develop an effective communication network. In such organizations, the main communication network is divided into many subnetworks that maintain links with the main network for their effectiveness.

The communication network is helpful to determine the speed, accuracy, and smoothness through which the messages flow in the organization.

Types of Communication Networks

There are four types of communication networks consisting of wheel, chain, circle, and all-channel networks.

communication network or forms

Wheel Network

Under the wheel communication network, the leader of the organization works as a central person to accumulate information and disseminate it to all the members.

In-wheel network, the top-level manager is the source of information. He provides information within and outside the organization. Within the organization, he provides information to subordinates and also accumulates required information from them.

In this network system, subordinates have no authority to communicate with each other to exchange official information. Similarly, the manager receives all the information coming from outside. It is faster and suitable for simple routine types of work. However, it is the most authoritarian type of network.

In short, in the wheel network, a top-level manager is the source of information, he collects, generates, and disseminates information to all the organizational mechanisms.

Chain Network

The chain network has all the appearance of an organizational chain of command. It is the vertical upward and downward form of the formal chain of communication. In this communication network, a person can communicate only with his immediate superior and subordinate.

In this structure, information about an organization is communicated in a chain from the upper level to the subordinate levels and also from subordinate levels to the upper level in the sequence.

This type of network is common in all organizations where the hierarchy of authority and responsibility are clearly defined among the members.

In short, a chain network is a vertical form of communication in which a person can communicate only with his immediate superior and subordinate.

Circle Network

It is a horizontal or sideward form of a circle network. In this network, a person can communicate with another person next to his right or left but not with any other member of the group. Such a network offers a wider option of channels and provides satisfaction to members.

In short, a circle network is a horizontal form of communication in which a person can communicate only to the person next to his right or left.

For example, in a meeting, a member converses with the member on his right or left. Similarly, in formal organizations, a production manager communicates with the marketing or finance manager to get official information.


All Channel Network

In all channel networks, all members can communicate with all the members without any formal restrictions.

It is an informal form of the network where all members can communicate their ideas, views, and suggestions to all the members of the group. In this communication structure, members have no restrictions and boundaries to convey their information.

Members have more freedom to flow information among the group members. The leader of the group does not hold exceptional power to control group members. Therefore, it is known as an open communication network.

Importance of Communication Network

A communication network determines how messages flow and are transmitted among individuals or groups. Here are five key reasons why communication networks are important in the workplace:

Also read: What is Organizing? Definition, Features, Principles, Process, and Importance

Efficient Flow of Information

Communication networks ensure the efficient and timely flow of information throughout the organization. By establishing clear channels and protocols, messages can be transmitted quickly and accurately, enabling employees to access the information they need to perform their roles effectively.

Enhanced Collaboration

Communication networks promote collaboration among employees and teams. They provide structured pathways for sharing ideas, knowledge, and feedback, fostering a culture of teamwork and synergy.

When communication flows smoothly, employees can collaborate more effectively, leading to improved problem-solving, innovation, and productivity.

Reduced Ambiguity and Misunderstanding

Clear communication networks help to minimize ambiguity and misunderstanding. By defining roles and responsibilities, as well as providing designated channels for communication, organizations can ensure that information is communicated accurately and comprehensively. This reduces the risk of misinterpretation, confusion, and errors in tasks or projects.

Increased Engagement and Employee Satisfaction

Effective communication networks contribute to increased employee engagement and satisfaction. When employees feel connected, informed, and included in the communication processes, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and satisfied with their work.

A well-designed network encourages open dialogue, active participation, and recognition of employee contributions.

Alignment with Organizational Goals

Communication networks play a crucial role in aligning individual and team efforts with organizational goals. By providing a clear framework for sharing goals, objectives, and progress updates, they help to ensure that everyone is working towards the same outcomes. This alignment enhances overall organizational effectiveness and facilitates goal attainment.

Next Read: What is Communication Process?

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