Types of Active and Passive Communication Strategies

Posted on 06. May, 2010 by in Blog

Traditional Approach — One-way (Usually a vertical approach to internal communication)

1. Senior Management (Top > Down) –– From senior management to all employees. Usually more strategic information about management and financial issues. Goals and Objectives focus.

2. Grass Roots (Bottom > Up) –– From employees/middle managers to all employees. Usually more tactical information about what is going on in function/departmental areas. Projec/human interest focus.

Proactive Communications — Teaming (High level of planning and support from senior management is necessary for the following internal communication strategies to work)

1. Behavior/Attitude Change (Horizontal) –– From senior management or designated change team to all employees. Emphasis is on specific areas that improve time management and the cost of doing projects/jobs. Bottom line and results focus.

2. Cascading Communications (Horizontal) –– From designated change agents to all employees. Emphasis on getting people throughout an organization to accept change and act as sponsors of change to those above, around and below in an organizational hierarchy.


  • protecting the reputation of the organization and the management
  • protecting the organizational good name (branding)
  • positioning the organization
  • differentiating the organization from competitors


  • heighten awareness of issues that matter to the organization
  • emphasis on individual/team role(s)
  • update staff on changes on a need to know basis
  • transmit senior management/leadership messages
  • sharing of knowledge and information on a need basis

Then create plan based upon feedback (survey, focus group, phone interviews):

  • what kind of information is necessary for people to do their jobs more effectively with intended results
  • how to get that info to them
  • determine best media delivery systems
  • what are the triggering events and ways to remind them
  • what are the ways to make them put into action the information they received
  • what are the ways to reward, recognize and reinforce positive performance


  • Series of articles in existing newsletters, blog, or e-newsletter which will build awareness and confidence
  • Create theme around change management
  • Communicate daily or on a need basis via e-mail, voice-mail hotline, direct meeting, posters, etc.
  • Create a hotline for feedback
  • E-mail to start, followed by supervisor meetings, and then newsletters, brochures, etc.

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