Diagonal Communication

What is Diagonal Communication?

Diagonal communication refers to communication that crosses both levels and functions or departments where staff members from different departments, irrespective of their reporting relationship, interact with one another within the organization.

A diagram of diagonal communication looks like this ...

Diagonal communication between staff members of different department.

Unlike verticalOpens in new window and horizontal communication,Opens in new window which follows the rigid norms of communication protocol in organizations, diagonal or crosswise communication is not affected by any lines of authority. For example, a junior staff from department A can interact with a senior staff from department C.

Diagonal communication is beneficial as it is fast, effective and efficient. A vice manager of an enterprise can want to learn operation properties of a device which was bought from a foreign country and at the stage of assembly. For this reason, he/she go beyond official channels and can demand technical data from an experienced engineer about that device. As a result, diagonal communication takes place (Arisoy 2007:27).

Advantages of Diagonal Communication

  • Diagonal communication may speed up the flow of information.
  • It can help create a healthy environment and relationship.
  • It can also build better coordination among staff members.
  • It can help in solving problems easily as different ideas are brought together.
  • There will be no distortion of information as individuals are in direct contact with others.

Disadvantages of Diagonal Communication

  • It can create doubts and uneasiness among superiors who are bypassed as it is likely to bypass the chain of command.
  • Superiors may see diagonal communication as interfering with their work.
  • It can easily lead to leakage of information and grapevine.