QS Study

Characteristics or Features of Grapevine Communication

Grapevine refers to the informal channel of communication that possesses a set of distinct features as compared to the formal channel of communication. The features are as follows:

Un-official channel of communication: Grapevine is an informal and unofficial means of communication. Normally, grapevine passes the facts, opinions, suspicions, and rumors that do not move through formal channels.

Flexibility: As grapevine is free from any prescribed rule and formality, it enjoys flexibility in transmitting information. It can communicate information to any person, anywhere and at any time.

Pervasiveness: An organization may have several grapevine systems depending on as nature, size, levels etc. That meant, people working at the same level or position may have one grapevine while people at another level may have another grapevine.

Speedy transmission: Another feature of grapevine is its fast pace. It spreads information very quickly. A message sent through formal channels may take days to reach its audience. But the message sent through the grapevine can travel within hours.

Incomplete message: Grapevine message is usually incomplete. It hardly carries details of information. Therefore, grapevine message creates misunderstanding in the organization.

Distortion of information: Grapevine also transmits distorted information. The message transmitted through grapevine may be correct and true, but it fails to communicate the message completely. Consequently, when the receiver of the message further transmits it, he may admixture his own thoughts that lead to distortion of the message.

Free from accountability: Grapevine does not follow any set rule and it is independent of the established organizational structure. Therefore, the organization cannot hold anyone responsible for passing rumor or untrue information.

Influential: Grapevine is highly influential. It is so influential that it can break the tightest security measures of the company and can collect confidential information. It can also strongly affect the organization positively and negatively.