Formal, Informal, Intentional andUnintentional Communication

Barker and Gaut (2002: 378) define formal communication as “structured Communication situation in which more attention is paid to both verbal and non-verbal messages”. In formal communication specific rules, regulations and procedures are adhered to. Furthermore formalised channels are used to communicate messages. Formal communication is mainly
used in many organisations and formal communication either takes an upward or downward direction. Upward communication is usually when messages flow from employees to
management usually in form of feedback. On the other hand downward communication is when messages flow from management to employees or subordinates usually in form of
instructions. Formal channels of communication include meetings, emails, internal organisational newsletters, letter, etc.
Informal communication involves “relaxed communication situations in which speakers are free to be themselves” (Barker & Gaut 2002: 380). Unlike formal communication, informal
communication emerges on its own from interpersonal relationships and usually situated around social groups within an organisation. Informal communication provides an
opportunity for social interactions among group members. In many instances, formal communication is in form of grapevine in organisational contexts.

Intentional communication is when messages are send with some specific goals in mind. The sender conveys messages with some intended reason.

Unintentional communication occurs
when messages are sent without the sender being aware. Usually such type of communication is in form of non-verbal communication. Unintentional communication usually occurs when people are not aware how their experiences, attitudes, beliefs are different from other people. In such instances there is a possibility of people misinterpreting the Non-verbal Communication behaviours of others. According to Barker and Gaut (2002) some of the ways of avoiding non-verbal communication is be aware of the context where one is situated. Context influences non-verbal communication and how people respond to such non-verbal messages. Also the stereotype people have about other people influence unintentional communication. Stereotypes people hold about other people might contribute to the misunderstanding of certain non-verbal cues in unintentional communication situations.

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