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. It 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.

How to handle grapevine communication in organization?

In order to handle grapevine communication at work following methods can be used:

1. Communicate often

It is recommended to communicate with your colleagues at regular intervals. Effective communication can result in building trust between you and your colleagues. When communicating more often make sure to talk about relevant things only. 

2. Ask for employee opinions

Providing proper chance and space to employees in order to express their opinions can result in less matter for talk. There should be a proper method to provide opinion anonymously. It reduces the chances of clashes in the organization. Enabling employees to share their ideas make them realize that they are also contributing to company’s growth.

3. Recognize leaders

Recognize those employees who motivate, share information and serve as a role model for other employees. It may prove to be helpful for organization when they wish to make certain necessary improvements or implement a certain policy as other employees are more likely to follow it.

4. Ensure easily accessible communication medium  

Make sure that the communication medium is easily accessible to every single employee. This ensures transparency in the organization. Having a common medium to share everything helps to reduce clashes between employees.

5. Analyze workplace communication

It becomes necessary to analyze workplace communication as it helps organizations to choose which communication channel would work best for them.
For example- You may organize surveys in order to analyze that which channel of the communication would work well.

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.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

It is a kind of informal communication that occurs only through words of mouth.

Grapevine communication occurs in the form of rumors, gossips, false statements and half false statements.

It is called as grapevine communication as it stretches throughout the organization irrespective of authority levels.

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