Upward Communication: The Subordinate’s Viewpoint

by Margaret Fenn, George Head



This article attempts to view the subordinate as a goal-oriented individual, operating within the framework of a formal organizational structure, who may or may not communicate upward. It presents information on a subordinate's viewpoint on upward communication in an organization. The obvious best means of upward communication is direct personal contact. Informal conversation anywhere, at any time-seems to be the most effective method for goal achievement by the subordinates. In terms of initiation, control, directness and emphasizing common interests, it is superior to other media suggested. However, it too has many serious disadvantages. Inability to establish personal contacts is probably the overriding disadvantage. Positions within the formal structure often prevent personal contacts between subordinates and superiors due to both the physical and the social distance. These distances often carry beyond the boundaries of the work environment into the community. A second disadvantage to this means lies in the peer group, whose censures and pressures directed against superior-subordinate contacts provide further barriers to overcome.

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