Grapevine is an informal channel of business communication. The management can use grapevine to supplement the formal channels of communication. The patterns, types or kinds of grapevine may divide into different ways. Keith Divide grapevine into four categories-single strand, gossip, probability and cluster chain which are as follow:
- Single strand
Single strand or straight-chain: Single strand network is an information network where one person will tell a message to another person and he will communicate it to another one person. The third person also will tell the same message to another one person.
Gossip or star chain: Here all the persons in the communication network talk one another informally. In this network someone stays in the center of the system. He is the main or pivotal person.
Probability chain: Probability network is an informational network where each of the individual randomly tells others the same message. The source of information for each of the person hearing the message is different.
Cluster chain: Cluster network is an informational network where someone first tells the message to the selected individuals and those selected individuals pass the same information to other selected individuals and the process continue in the same way. Most of the informal communication follows this chain. Here the pivotal or the center person passes the information to the other persons who pass the information to the other selected persons.
Reasons or causes behind the grapevine to be action:
Some of the situations that make people active in the grapevine are listed below:
- Emotion and excitement of employees.
- Insecurity of job. Involvement of friends and associations.
- Recent and exceptional information.
- Job itself. Personality or personal nature of the employee.
- Organizational climate. Conversation opportunity.
- Working environment.
Informal communication spreads rumor, untrue and distorted information
Since informal communication follows no rule, direction or formality, it can quickly transmit any message in various directions. The information which the grapevine or informal communication circulates is generally ill-informed, rumor and often untrue. Let us see how this happen:
- Absence of set rules: Since informal communication networks follow no set rules, so they convey any kind of message to anybody in the network without any fear.
- Fabrication or untruth: Some people prefer to fabricate facts and events. They enjoy fiving a false account of events.
- Cheap admiration: Some people prefer to spread rumor and distorted messages to get cheap praise.
- Complexity of message: Informal communication also spreads rumor if the message is transmitted through complex and unfamiliar channels.
- Lack of understanding: When the employees fail to understand the real meaning of the messages, they interpret it in their own way.
- Inattention: If the receiver hear any message without full concentration of mind or the absence of mind or the absence of attention, such a situation may develop. They spread false information unconsciously.
- Tendency to resists of changes: Sometimes the employees do not like changes in their present working conditions and procedure. If any changes occur, they resist and spread rumor, untrue and false news to prevent the coming changes.
- Conflict: Conflict between sender and receiver is also responsible for communicating untrue information through informal channels.
- No control: As there is no standard mechanism to control informal networks, rumors may spread and spread very quickly at any time at any place and the organization nothing to do.