What are the disadvantages of two way communication in business?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For the most part, two-way communication in business is good.  It allows higher-ups in a firm to understand what their subordinates think.  It allows the subordinates to ask questions that give them a better understanding of what they are expected to do.  However, there are limited instances in which two-way communication can be a bad thing.

One disadvantage of such communication is that it might work to confuse the lines of command.  A subordinate who is given the chance to give a lot of feedback might come to think that they are as high up in the hierarchy as their bosses.  The fact that they are being consulted and allowed to communicate their opinions may erode their willingness to simply accept being told what to do by those who are above them in the hierarchy.

The major disadvantage of two-way communication in business is that it can be a time-consuming process.  A boss giving orders to a subordinate is one-way communication, but it is also fast and efficient.  By contrast, a boss and a subordinate having a discussion is two-way communication, but it is not necessarily fast.  At many times, this is not a problem.  But there are times when action needs to be taken quickly and discussion is not desirable. 

Although two-way communication is generally a good thing, it can waste valuable time and it can reduce some employees’ understanding and acceptance of their place in the company hierarchy.

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