All you need to know about 'grapevine communication' and its impact

All you need to know about 'grapevine communication' and its impact

Learning & Development

Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

15 Jun 2021, 10:30 — 7 min read

Communication is the process of sharing some meaningful information from one person to the other or to a group of people. For an effective communication to take place, the sender’s intended message must reach the receiver in the same form with the same meaning.

Be it an informal or a business environment, effective communication is very important. The process of communication involves a sender (person who sends the message), a message, the medium through which the message is spread, the receiver (the person or group of persons to whom the message is sent) and a response in the form of a feedback from the receiver. 


Communication can thus be of two types: formal and informal. A formal communication happens in a business or any such official environment. Here specific, sophisticated words are used.

What happens in a grapevine communication is that you convey some information to a person or a group of people, those people in turn convey the same information but with added or subtracted facts to others and thus a chain is formed.


In fact research paper writing and your homework answers, all form a part of formal communication and we will discuss later as to why this happens. There are some reliable academic support sources like study help me that can guide you through it.

The author of a popular novel, Colleen Hoover, once said, Sometimes not speaking says more than all the words in the world. Communication plays the same important role in our lives.

Both formal and informal communication have their respective importance in the field of communication. 

What is Grapevine Communication?

Grapevine Communication is a type of informal communication. This type of communication can follow any channel to spread among people. Thus information here is spread very quickly and does not follow any predetermined rule.

Information flows in every direction and thus reaches every person in the organisation or to say every intended person. It not only passes information but also rumors and opinions. 

What exactly happens in a grapevine communication is that you convey some information to a person or a group of people, those people in turn convey the same information but with added or subtracted facts to others, these people in turn convey the information in the same manner to others, thus a chain is formed.

In this way, the information that reaches the last person is a way more different than the information that was initially shared. The communication usually happens in a horizontal manner but since it does not follow any set pattern, the communication can be horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. 

Also read: 5 Powerful Ways to Charge your Business Communication Skills


How can impact of grapevine communication be changed?

The impact of the grapevine communication can be changed when:

  • If you supply true information to people. Since grapevine is all about added stuff to the original information, therefore true information disrupts the purpose.
  • If somebody in the chain contradicts the rumor being spread, the purpose of the grapevine is not fulfilled.
  • If people in the chain analyze the information being shared and try to come to a common conclusion, the chain is again disrupted.
  • In case you develop such a climate in the organization that prevents the spread of such rumors, then the intended purpose of the communication is not achieved.
  • Since grapevine is a medium of communication where rumors are spread and judgments and discussions are held, therefore employers use this method to keep a check on the thought process of the employees. Thus the negative purpose of the grapevine communication is not achieved.


Types of grapevine communication

According to Prof. Keith Davis, grapevine communication is of 4 types:


  • Single Strand Chain: In this form of communication one person communicates a piece of information to the other and in turn, the other person communicates to the other, and then the process goes on. For example, A tells something to B, then B tells the same thing to C and then further C tells other people and the chain goes on increasing.
  • Gossip Chain: In this type of chain, the information goes from one person to a group of persons, or specifically a cluster. The one who conveys the information acts as the center of a wheel and the people to whom he communicates act as the spoke of the wheel. For example, A tells something in his friend group which comprises of B, C, D, E, F, G, and so on. 
  • Probability Chain: A probability chain is a random process of communication of information. You come to know about a piece of certain information certain information from somewhere and then you randomly convey the information to some person following the law of probability. Therefore the target person cannot be known in this process of communication.
  • Cluster Chain: In the case of a cluster chain, one conveys information to the other people in contact and then these people tell another group of people and so the process goes on. For example: A tells information to B, C, D, then B tells to E,F,G,H; C tells to I,J,K; D tells L,M, and in turn E tells to N,O,P and the process goes on. Thus information is shared to a large group of people here. 


There are certain reasons why grapevine communication exists in organisations:

  • Conveys the emotions of employees. The employees discuss their agreements and disagreements of the decisions of the organisation in the form of this communication. For example, this may even happen when you people have gathered information for research paper writing and are then discussing on it, even then you analyze and interpret the information your way and convey it to others as well.
  • The existence of peer groups in office facilitates the communication. Friends gather and communicate informally.
  • People who are gossip-mongers and like to communicate information adding spices to it, act as a catalyst to this process of communication.
  • The existence of some exceptional information also facilitates this conversation. Employees like talking about this information and thus the process goes on.


So now you know all the ifs and buts of grapevine communication. Its clearly predictable that it may begin from a small group gathered to do their homework and crack homework answers to large business organizations.


Also read: ‘I’ in communication


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