What is Grapevine Communication? Types of Grapevine

What is Grapevine Communication or Informal communication. If communication is done without maintaining the formalities prescribed by the organization, it is called informal communication. The basis of informal communication is personal or informal relationship between the members of a group. It is also known as grapevine that takes place when the people of an organization or group, especially of same level or rank gather or meet tighter and discuss informally. It has no definite pattern or direction though it is largely horizontal in nature. It is a complex web of oral information flow linking all the members of the organization. Definition of Grapevine Communication, Meaning of Grapevine Communication, Types of Grapevine discussed below here-

What is Grapevine Communication

According to Bovee and Others, “Grapevine is an informal interpersonal channel of information not officially sanctioned by the organization.

In the opinion of R.W. Griffin, “The grapevine is an informal communication network that can permeate an organization.”

Newstrom and K. Davis said, “Grapevine is an informal system that arises spontaneously from the social interaction of the organization.” Business Communication

So, grapevine is an informal, unofficial and personal communication channel or system that takes place within the organization as a result of rumor and gossip. It is a complex web of oral information flow linking all the members of the organization.

What is Grapevine Communication
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Patterns or Types of Grapevine

The grapevine does not have any definite pattern or direction, though it is largely horizontal in nature. It can be effective horizontally, vertically and even diagonally. Prof. Keith Davis, who has done some research work on the nature of grapevine, has classified it into four basic types-

  • Single Strand Chain: The single strand chain involves the passing of information through a line of persons to the ultimate recipient. In the figure, the person A tells B, who tells C, who tells D, and so on, till the information has reached most of the persons involved or concerned.Grapevine Single Strand Chain
  • Gossip Chain: In the gossip chain, one person seeks and tells the information to everyone. This chain is just like the wheel where one person stays at the centre and the information passes along the spokes of the wheel to others stationed on the rim. In the following figure, A is at the center and passes the information to others staying on the rim of the wheel.
  • Probability Chain: The probability chain is a random process in which someone transmits the information to others in accordance with the laws of probability and then these others tell still others in a similar way. This chain may also be called random process. The probability chain is shown below-Grapevine Probability Chain
  • Cluster Chain: In the cluster chain, a person tells the information to the selected persons who may in turn relay (pass) the information to other selected persons. Most of the information communication follows this chain. Cluster chain is shown in the following figure-Grapevine Cluster ChainSo we find four major patterns of grapevine available in different organizations. They are not mutually exclusive rather than inclusive.

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