Grapevine operates within and outside the organization linking almost every one of the organization and spreads the message quickly. It does not follow any definite direction or pattern of flow of information. Though grapevine is considered as a channel of horizontal communication, it is equally effective in vertical and diagonal communication. Prof. Keith Davis has done some research on the nature of grapevine and has identified four basic patterns/ types of grapevines. These are:
- Single Strand; 2. Gossip; 3. Probability and 4. Cluster
Single Strand: In single strand pattern, each tells one another and it continues until the information has reached to the ultimate receiver. In the picture, A tells B, B tells C, C tells D and so on. The process will continue until the information has reached to most of the persons concerned.
Gossip: In this type of grapevine, one person actively seeks information and tells all surrounding him. This chain is just like a wheel. Here someone stands at the center of the wheel and passes the information to others.
Probability: The probability pattern is a random process in which each randomly tells others. Though one person is at the center, the recipients of the message also act as the sender. In the picture, A transmits the information to others in accordance with the law of probability and then others tell in the same way.
Cluster: In the cluster pattern, someone first tells the information to the selected individuals. Later on some of those selected individuals pass the same information to other selected individuals and the process continues in the same way. This is the most commonly used pattern of grapevine in organization.