Is Workplace Grapevine An Important Source Of Workplace Communication?

Finding of a Gallup survey indicated that 73% of people used texting, 82% used cell phones to make calls, 70% sent and received emails, and 55% used social media for communication.

Modes of communication are changing. People would rather text than draft an email. Similarly, workplace dynamics are also evolving, making other modes of communication, like workplace grapevine, necessary for a conducive environment.

What Is Workplace Grapevine Communication?

It is an informal way of communication. There are three patterns that workplace grapevine communication follows.

Single Stand Chain

The message reaches the recipient following a single chain of people.

Gossip Groups

In an office setting, a single person can be a part of many groups; he might eat lunch with one group, and play golf with another. This makes them a sole communicator of gossips in different group settings.

Cluster Chain

A single person in authority might select specific people to communicate with. These selected people may pass the information in their specific departments.

Advantages Of Workplace Grapevine

Employee Bonding

Human crave interaction; communication allows them to make associations with people at work. This creates bonds, which provides them with an added incentive to show up at work.

A little chat over a drink makes teams cohesive and efficient. Gossip allows people to take a break while at work. This, in return increases, productivity. Moreover, work life balance is important; bonding with like minded people in and outside work can be beneficial for the company.

Missing Pieces

Not everyone in the organization can be a part of the inner circle. By following an informal communication, information transmission can be allotted to a person who is an effective communicator.

Sometimes management fails to communicate relevant information to all employees. Gossip helps by filling in the missing gaps. This keeps the employee informed and updated.

A Correction Tool

If employees learn that a certain behavior is discouraged, they self-correct in order to avoid conflicts.

Disadvantage Of Workplace Grapevine

Lack of Authenticity

The information that reaches employees through informal channel is not verified and can lead to suspicion and misunderstanding within a company.

Rise To Rumors

In the process of spreading unverified information to others, employees may add credibility to rumors. A rumor culture can create a hostile environment and damage the company’s reputation.

Prevalence Of Gossip Culture

Spontaneous chit-chat may become a culture at an organization. Gossips are generally about personal matters, and this may lead to specific individuals being targeted by a group or person. Gossip culture can cost a company valuable human resource, and even hurt company’s reputation in the industry.

Is the office grapevine creating workplace conflicts? Get in touch with DFRI. They provide consultancy and HR advisory services to individuals and organizations. They specialize in conflict resolution, and provide strategic solution that ensures strong employee relationships.

Lisa Scholfield

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