Organizational Grapevine and its impact...

There is so much good in the worst of us, And so much bad in the best of us, That it hardly becomes any of us, To talk about the rest of us. ~Edward Wallis Hoch


Grapevine is the most uncontrolled form of communication which spreads in all directions informally and unofficially by means of gossip and rumor and at a very fast pace just like a grape fruit vine and that is how it got its name.

We will find people pretty much in every organization who enjoy spending time being part of grapevine and also some people who would act friendly face to face, however, try to make their capital out of gossip mongering and twisting facts and at times would not hesitate a bit in drifting towards the personal. Unfortunately at times such folks, even get away with good ratings / raise as well. The worst scenario happens when the whole base of information is incorrect. Hence it becomes a total waste of time and energy both at individual and organizational level. It has been witnessed that organizations spend lots of time and resources in validating the information through this communication channel and doing damage control thereafter.

You all must have played Chinese whisper during your child hood and would be able to relate that how a communication gets distorted when it flows from mouth to ear of one person to another.  Similar thing happens in grapevine most of the time as information gets distorted during the flow more so because those people are not authorized and trained to handle such communications and also they tweak it to their convenience.  We are normally taught to believe that there is no smoke without fire, you will be surprised that this proverb can completely falter when it comes to grapevine.  

It is a well accepted fact, however, ignored by most of us that whoever gossips to us will gossip about us and what is told in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles, in spite of it, we tend to engage and become party to grapevine.

In its most uncontrollable and devastating form people start making critical decisions basis the grapevine without validating the authenticity. Research and studies have concluded that informal communication occurs either when insufficient or ambiguous information is transmitted through formal communication.

The flip side is that surprisingly, large part of all organizations’ practices, policies, and procedures are shared through grapevine communication. Though there is a negative thought about grapevine communication, studies have shown that the employees find informal communication such as grapevine communication to be more effective than formal channels of communication when it coexists with the formal communication system. Grapevine at times,  is also used by management to spread the information that either cannot be shared officially or they just want to test the waters before taking critical decisions.

It is imperative that leadership at organizational level do not become susceptible to Grapevine and misdemeanor of gossip mongrer. They should make conscious efforts to avoid leveraging it for short term gains.

1 comment:

  1. In fact grapevine can be useful if it is tackled in a right way. Noemally the informal leaders in the iorganizations, if tapped properly by the innovatve manager, they wil be much useful in propogating the future plans through grapevine this will helps manager to know in advance the employees reaction

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