The informal channel of communication is that channel of communication which is not officially prescribed. It is that route which is used by workmen in an organization to maintain social (informal) relationship amongst themselves. It is thus created as a result of operation of social force in an organization. It can be said that informal communication flows through corridors to water coolers, down hallways through lunchrooms and where ever workmen get together in groups.
Informal communication co – exists along with formal communication and supplements it.
Informal communication is known as grapevine. Grapevine arises because of the desire of the people to communicate without following the formal channel of communication. It follows no setlines, nor any definite rules, but spreads like grapevine, in any direction anywhere
Advantages of Informal or Grapevine communication
- It is free from formal lines of authority.
- Communication is faster and quicker as the message has not to pass through prescribed route.
- There is no channel of command and it spreads to all directions.
- If properly utilized it may supplement formal channel of communication as it may be used to clarify managements viewpoints.
- It may also provide feedback to managers on the reaction of a decision taken by the management.
- Informal communication draws employees closer to each other and builds up a cordial relationship.
Disadvantages of Informal or Grapevine communication
- Grapevine often carries half-truth and distorted information with an alarming rate of speed.
- The people in an organization are likely to be misinformed and misled.
- Since there is no chain of command it is difficult to fix responsibilities on a particular
- Often the information transmitted is contradictory in nature.
- Grapevine is less orderly and less static and thus the image of the organization may be spoiled.
How to use Grapevine effectively
- The manager should adopt an open door policy and should keep each one well versed about plans, prospects policy matters or any other changes in the
- The manager should identify the leader and try to win his confidence. The manager should involve the leaders in the decision
- The manger should listen to every gossip or rumours and analyze it to get to the nerve of the feelings of employees.
- The manager should maintain a cordial relationship with his subordinates so as to reduce the possibility of grapevine.
- As far as possible the manager should work towards providing healthy atmosphere at the workplace. One cannot stop rumors or curb