Grapevine Communication | Meaning and Definition

What is Grapevine Communication? 

Grapevine communication is a type of informal communication where people at the workplace communicate with the intention of social interaction and knowing each other better. In an organization, there are various modes of communication followed among the employees. For example, speaking at the workplace about the weather or sending birthday cards to one of the employees is a form of grapevine communication. Grapevine communication helps in building interpersonal relationships between colleagues and improves the alignment toward achieving a common goal.


Types of Grapevine Communication

There are four types of grapevine communication.

  •       Single Stand – It occurs between two individuals, which may later get transferred on a one on one basis to another.
  •       Gossip Chain – It involves a group of individuals talking in an informal manner.
  •       Probability Chain – When the same message is passed from employee to employee, it is called a probability chain.
  •       Cluster Chain – Information shared by an individual with a group is called a cluster chain. The information later can be passed to others through each individual.


Advantages & Disadvantages of Grapevine Communication

As with any form of communication, grapevine communication also has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.


Resolving employee grievances: One of the advantages of grapevine communication is that sometimes employees feel more comfortable talking about the challenges they are facing in informal meetings. In a formal environment, they may feel hesitant to raise the issue.

Build Teamwork: Informal communication helps in creating a positive work- culture by allowing colleagues to communicate with each other more openly.

Improves efficiency: When there are good relationships between the employees, they can align more easily with each other toward the common objective. As a result, the individual, as well as team efficiency, improves.


Risk of miscommunication: When employees communicate with each other informally, there is a risk of miscommunication, which can lead to a wastage of time and effort.

Risk of information spread: As the grapevine communication follows no set of rules or policies, sometimes it becomes difficult to control the spread of information. As a result, there is always a risk of spreading sensitive information from one department to another. In case of some financial information spreads, it can cause a problem in the professional environment,

Streamline Your HR Tasks with Zimyo HRMS
Get Free Trial