One common phenomenon along with all communications is the effect of filtering. This effect is produced although the communication passes through a large number of persons. Each individual through whom the information is passed interprets facts differently, judges from her/his own point of view what is important or relevant, and passes it on along with her/his own interpretations, with the result in that the original communication gets altered in the process. The process of filtering involves a biased choice of what is communicated, on the part of either the sender or the receiver. Thus filtering refers to the process of 'selective telling' or 'selective listening'. For example, a subordinate might tell the boss what s/he (the boss) requires to hear. Similar, though several factors affecting productivity in the organisation might have been identified by the staff, yet the manager may hear and respond only to those factors that fit in the process of communication leading to a distortion in communication.
Organisations are particularly prone to the filtering effect. In large organisations, filtering takes place at multiple levels. In order to save the time of the busy executive and to save him/her from information overload, it is common in organisations for subordinates to prepare notes or abstracts of the communication before passing it on to the superior. The higher an information has to travel, the higher is the degree of abstraction, along with the possibility which important pieces of information might be entirely missed or their significance diluted or distorted. The larger the number of filtering points in an organisation, the greater is the chances of distortion.