Patterns of Communication

Patterns of Communication

Communication patterns are such structures in which communication will flow in an organization. We can understand it as a link which helps organizational workers to communicate according to these patterns structured by a particular organization. These communication patterns are responsible for work efficiency and who answerable to whom. It also helps in the decision making the process.

Communication patterns were developed by Harold J. Leavitt in 1950. It is also known as Leavitt experiment, where the experiment included 5 people who had to play a game similar to clue.

Here, every person had five symbols with them and had to find out which symbol they had in common. If all the information could be gathered, the puzzle could be solved. Five people were placed in cubicles with slots 6 switches to exchange information.

The cubicles were placed in different shapes: star (wheel), Y, chain (line) and circle. People had slots in which they could write messages and send according to these patterns.

It was done to find out which pattern could be better to communicate effectively and quickly (businesstopia, by Palistha Maharajan ).

Types of Communication Patterns:-

  1. Circle Pattern- in circle pattern there is a leader and all group member are in a hierarchy. The leader can communicate with the group member who presents net to him/her. The leader can not talk to the members who are lowest in the hierarchy.

circle pattern

All group members can communicate with the leader through the members who present above and below that person. The message flows in a single direction. It is not possible for the group members to communicate directly with the leader in circle communication pattern which is also a disadvantage of this pattern. They can only communicate with the leader through other group members senior to them.

  1. Chain patternchain pattern appears like a circle pattern it also follows few chains of command. In this pattern last person receives the message from the leader. It is a one-way flow communication.

chain-pattern (1)

In chain communication all members did not get the opportunity to talk to the leader directly so they might receive modified lecture of the leader. Thre is no feedback to identify message distortion. A leader does not know wheather last member receives the message or not.

  1. Y Pattern – the group is separated into three and the group members can communicate with the leader only. This pattern is little complicated as three different groups are situated into one single group. According to Levitt these three groups are controlled by a single leader. There are three members in each subgroup.


There is a chain of command in the subgroup. The lowest level member of each subgroup communicates with the members senior to them. Members communicate with their senior member of each group and that senior member communicate to the leader directly.

  1. Wheel pattern- in this pattern team leader stands in the middle and all other members stand at the same level of the structure. This pattern is one of the best patterns while comparing to the other three. Here all member can communicate with the leader directly. One disadvantage of this group is members can not talk to each other and sometimes it happened other members even do not know who is the other member presents at his/her same level.


Communication problems are less in this pattern and method is really quick. No distortion of information by other members of the group while passing the message.

Source:- palistha Maharjan, 9th January 2018, businesstopia.

9 thoughts on “Patterns of Communication

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