In an organization, information flowing forward, backwards and sideways is referred to as communication. Communication channels refer to the way this information flows within the organization and with other organizations.A breakdown in the communication channel leads to an inefficient communication and hampers the flow of information.
With respect to the corporate world, the organizational structure creates natural communication channels and barriers for the communication among employees, managers, internal and external entities. The employees are supposed to follow the communication levels/ hierarchies while communicating within the organisation. Similarly, a code of set rules is to be followed by employees while dealing with external clients.
The types of communication channels can be segregated into three main categories:
Formal: Information is passed through company procedures. E.g. Business plan, annual reports.
Informal: Channels outside the chain of command. E.g. Guidance from senior authorities
Unofficial: Interpersonal communication within the organisation. E.g. Grapevine, social gatherings.