The Grapevine is a type of informal communication network which is not actually sanctioned by the organization. It links employees from in direction ranging from higher authorities to least workers. It always exist in an organization and it becomes most when all the formal channels are closed. The discussions can be anything about the organization or personal. Mostly grapevine communication develops rumors about the firm and to less extend about personal. It is estimated that more than half percentage of communication in an organization is carried through this. Most of the messages passed through the grapevine are accurate. In a survey of 22,000 shift workers in varied industries, 55% said that they got most of their information via the grapevine. Smart managers understand the company’s grapevine. They recognize who’s connected to whom and which employees are key players in the informal spread of communication. Information transmitted through the grapevine tends to undocumented and thereby susceptible to variation and interpretation.
An auto supply firm JEL INC. was under great pressure from Ford and GM to increase quality. Management changes to improve quality and others which all started out as rumors and were generally accurate.
Organizational grapevine probably should not be taken too seriously. It involves not only the current employees, but also the former employees and total strangers. An overabundance of grapevine rumors undoubtedly can be as a sign of organizational dysfunction, reflecting the loss of confidence in company’s hierarchy, excessive secrecy and fear, and political problems in the company.
In all cases, but particularly in time of crisis, executives need to manage communication effectively so that the grapevine is not the only source of communication.