Difference Between Upward Communication and Downward Communication

Communication which starts from lower level to upper level is defined as upward communication.

On other side, Communication which starts from upper level to lower level is defined as downward communication.

Upward communication and downward communication are contrary in nature. These two differ many characteristics in nature and other elementary factors. The following differences between upward communication and downward communication are noticeable:

Difference Between Upward Communication and Downward Communication
DiffirencesDownward Communication Upward Communication
01. Definition Downward communication is a process of starting communication process from upper level to lower level. It is just opposite communication to downward communication i.e. it initiate from employees/subordinates/workers to superiors/boss.
02. Nature Such communication is for instruction, orders, advices and the  like.So, Downward communication is directive naturally. It is for providing suggestions, complaints and the like to superiors. So, it is not directive in nature.
03. Application An authoritarian communication environment need to apply such communication.A Democratic environment may ensure the application of such communication.
04. Purpose Downward communication is to provide relevant information, orders, instruction to subordinates.  It works as like as Feedback.
05. Frequency It happens frequently because of keeping organizational functions smooth and active.Upward communication does not happen so frequently.
06. Distortion People can't distort or get very little scope to distort message or information in such communication because of existing higher authoritarian communication. In Downward communication, Usually Messages can be distorted due to many reasons of sender.
07. Initiative Higher authority or Top level of organization take the initiative to start such communication.Lower level/Employees/Workers of organization take the initiative to start upward communication.
08. Management Downward communication is called as instruction type communication system.
Upward communication is stated as like as consultative management.