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Business Corporate communication Notes

Business Corporate Communication Notes


Q. 2. Write a detailed note on the grapevine. Or What precautions are to be taken while grapevine?

Ans. Grapevine: “Man is by nature gregarious as he likes to move about groups. Whenever two or more persons meet they tend to talk on various topics. As a result there arises a secondary network of information in the organization. This network represents an informal channel of communication, which exists side by side with a formal channel of communication. Informal communication is also known as Grapevine.”

Informal communication or grapevine becomes routine under the following conditions :

  1. When an organization is passing through a difficult period and its members lack a sense of direction and develop a feeling of uncertainty.
  2. Employees form informal groups due to feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-confidence.
  3. Managers form a favored or coterie group due to which other employees get a feeling of isolation or insecurity.

Grapevine Chains: Keith Days has identified four types of grapevine chains which are as follows:

  1. Single Strand Chain: In this type, information flow through a long line of person to the ultimate receiver. P tells Q who tells R and so on until it reaches W. Thus, P communicates with W through intervening persons in a strand.
  2. Gossip Wheel: It involves the passing of information from a person in the center to all other around him.

This network is a wheel where P is at the center and the information passes along.

The spokes to all others on the rim. Thus, P communicates, non selectively with everyone, this chain is often used to convey information that is not related to the job.

  1. Probability Chain: Here P communicates randomly with others according to the laws of probability. One person transmits information at random to others who in turn transmit it further in a similar manner.
  2. Cluster Chain: It involves selective communication in a group. P selectively communicate with those whom he can trust who may, in turn, transmit the information to the selected person. Cluster is the dominant grapevine pattern and most informal communication flow through this chain.


An informal communication provides the following advantages::

  1. Speedy Transmission: Informal channels of communication transmit information very fast. This is because the message has not to pass through any prescribed routes. A rumor spreads like a wildfire. As soon as an employee comes to know something which he feels is confidential or ‘top secret’ he communicates it to his colleagues. Sometimes, managers also transmit information by using ‘just between you and me’ remarks.
  2. Valuable Feedback: Managers can obtain useful feedback concerning their decisions and actions through the grapevine. Informal channels provide feedback much faster than formal channels.
  3. Psychological Satisfaction: Informal communication draws employees closer to each other and creates in them a sense of belonging. It strengthens group identity and maintains the organization as a social entity.
  4. Support to Formal Channels: The grapevine serves as a supplementary channel of communication. The formal channels of communication impose certain constraints on the free flow of information and take more time. Grapevine can be used to transmit the information which is considered unsuitable for the formal channels of communication.


The grapevine, however, suffers from the following limitations :

  1. Misunderstanding: Grapevine often carries incomplete information. Therefore, it may not give a complete picture and may create misunderstanding.
  2. Incredible: Informal channels of communication enjoy less credibility. As the information spreads through word of mouth it cannot always be taken seriously.
  3. Damage to the Organisation: Gossip and rumor are an essential part of grapevine. Grapevine may distort the true picture. All kinds of stories may be spread about responsible people and the image of the organization may be spoiled. Rumors may cause serious damage before management gets aware of them and takes remedial actions.


How to Make Effective Use of Grapevine: Grapevine is quite powerful and influential. It can cause considerable damage and therefore, some managers take it very seriously. They try to crush it completely. But grapevine cannot be eliminated. More you try to crush its flow it erupts with greater force. Instead of trying to curb it, managers should learn to live with it and make constructive use of it. They should cultivate and feed it for the benefit of the organization. The following steps may be taken to make grapevine effective :

  1. Keep the employees well informed so that they may not spread rumors.
  2. As far as possible keep an open door policy without creating the impression of cheap popularity.
  3. Identify the leaders of informal groups and win their confidence so as to feel the pulse of employees.
  4. Organize fruitful group activities so as to increase the self-worth of employees. This will help to minimize small talk on the part of employees.
  5. Involves employees through their leaders in the decision making process.
  6. Create a healthy environment to provide an opportunity for a personal talk.
  7. Seek feedback on your style of functioning and use the feedback for continuous improvement of your style.
  8. Discourage, even penalize rumors aimed at maligning somebody or character assassination.
  9. Be a good empathic listener so that employees feel free to talk to you instead of indulging in rumor-mongering.

BBA Business Low Question Paper 2018-2020


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