Common Business Communication Models For Effective Collaboration


Traditional communication models often include a sender, a receiver and a message. Generally, they are simple and easy to follow. However, business communication models slightly differ. There are many more moving parts involved in business communication. A message may be sent to multiple parties through multiple channels, which is where things can get complicated. As a business owner, it is your job to ensure effective communication throughout your organization. That is why it is important to understand the four basic communication models for business listed below. If you want to understand the different ways you can communicate within your business, keep reading below.


The circular model of communication, developed by Osgood and Schramm, outlines a constant flow of information between a sender and a receiver. In this communication model, both parties act as sender and receiver for different messages. The process is a two-way street that requires constant sharing and interpretation of these messages. According to Schramm and Osgood’s theory, communication is a non-stop process. As a business owner it is important to keep the circular communication model in mind so that you can acknowledge and receive feedback from your employees.


The grapevine is an unofficial form of communication. However, it is an inevitable part of the workplace. This communication model follows an unpredictable spread of information. Often through word of mouth, grapevine communication leaves no record for how and where the message originated. Coworker gossip, interdepartmental rumors and even formal information can be passed on in your business through the grapevine communication model. It is important to be alert of this particular communication model because it can bring a sense of unity to your employees through the sharing of information, but that information can also be inaccurate or even hostile.


Vertical communication is one of the most commonly practiced models in business today. This top-down format involves communication from the highest executive to subsequent managers, all the way down to front-end employees. These messages are often passed along through multiple channels. As a business owner, you may recognize the vertical communication model. Whenever you speak to an employee or manager that works for you, that is vertical communication. The process often follows the layout of the company, which is why it is important to note. The vertical communication model offers accountability for the messages you and your employees send and pass along.


Lateral or horizontal communication is another formal form of business communication that is completed between two equal parties. Unlike vertical communication, which is focused on management and supervision, lateral communication puts trust in coworkers and departments to communicate effectively on their own. The spreading of information is not required to go through different levels of the business. Instead, the two parties involved in lateral communication will interact as peers. This allows different departments to share information and problem solve as a team. This is a great communication model to keep in mind for your business, as lateral communication can help to foster a more collaborative environment.

In order to manage your business effectively, it is important to have a good communication strategy. Keeping your employees, managers and business partners in the loop is essential to a successful organization. Utilizing a combination of these four types of communication models can help to make your business prosper.

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