What Are the Functions of Business Communication?

Business communication, whatever the mode, serves one of four main functions.
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For a group or organization to perform effectively, some control over members is needed. They must be stimulated to perform, and they must be provided a means by which to express themselves and make decisions. Stephen P. Robbins, author of “Organizational Behavior,” says that any business interaction is performing one or more of four main functions.


    Staff rules, guidelines, instructions and procedures, are all examples of business communication that directly controls the way employees act and behave. Following specific rules and procedures is often imperative for safety and, if not safety, then there is usually a good business or financial reason for imposing them. Formal rules are enforced by management, or by law, but there are also social rules and norms that control and influence the way people behave in a work setting. Informal groups exhibit controlling elements when members are required to adhere to meeting times, for example, or a particular mode of communication, such as social media.


    Business communication seeks to motivate various stakeholders. An obvious example of this is a performance appraisal process, where development goals are set for the employee to reach and are linked to compensation. Another example could be open communication from management to staff regarding a new work process that will benefit staff through faster turnaround times. The creation of enthusiasm in staff for the new process would be a positive outcome of management communication.

Emotional Expression

    Social interaction is a significant interpersonal dynamic in the workplace, and one reason many people go to work. An article in CNN Living, published in September 2007, describes some telecommuters who reported feelings of social isolation and a lack of creativity due to a lack of peer interaction on a day-to-day basis. Informal communication with coworkers is an opportunity to gossip, express feelings of frustration or satisfaction, and is a natural human behavior designed to build and nurture relationships. Business communication also fills an emotional need.

Transfer of Information

    Communication of information ensures the right information is available to the right individual at the right time. Information and data are required so that options can be evaluated and strategic decisions made. When communication breaks down in an organization, if rules are not respected or enforced, if employee social interaction is stifled, or data lost, dysfunction and chaos are often the result.

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