How Information Is Used and How It Flows In an Organization
Information flows in different directions and different means: formally and informally, downward, upward and even horizontally through various levels. According to Opara, “information is the life blood of modern organizations” (Opara, 2003). Without “information”, organizations would most likely collapse as information is required to run the day-to-day doings of a business. Olowu states that “information entails data, facts, imaginations, ideas, opinions and cultural values in a variety of media which includes print, audio-visual materials and electronic processes” (Olowu, 2004). This shows how information flows within and between cultural groups. This represents an important part of “alternative conceptualization” (Nissen, 2002), which focuses on transaction (e.g. data to information, information to knowledge). This means data is necessary to produce information which, in turn, is necessary for creating knowledge that is conveyed (e.g. via paper, network, speech and observable action). And C.C. Aguolu feels that information is “the message of human experience” (Aguolu, 2002); rather, what is basically a stimulus assumes a response in the receiver, and possesses a response itself. This message can be made in any medium, in any language or in any subject.
Some psychologists have even described the flow of information as a “basic” human need, while philosophers go on to say that the flow of information is a right of the people which enables them to participate effectively in society, thus enhancing education, knowledge and the basic learning process. This flow of information allows people to make decisions on issues that affect them. This “basic human need” therefore is also a most important aspect of a company’s ability to make day-to-day decisions with regard to its future; without this ability, a company would not survive in the business world of today. The importance of the flow of information within a company cannot be stressed enough to ensure its survival.
This is the most basic flow of information in a business: it comes from the owner, CEO, or other higher officials within the organization down to those in lower levels within the organization. Media used to transmit this flow of information includes oral instructions, speeches, meetings and written instructions. This is done to pass down to the lower levels within the organization the decisions on specific issues or policies.
Information travels in the opposite direction: it comes from those in the “trenches” of a business to the managers, CEO or owner of the business. These include ideas to better serve the customer or resolve an issue within the organization that effects the employees themselves.
This is information that is shared people within the same level of the organization (e.g. managers, assistant managers, presidents, vice-presidents and the every day laborer). They may or may not have a direct relationship within a business, such as the ones between the CEO and the company lawyers that represent the company in legal matters.