Research Paper: Grapevine in Organization

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Grapevine in Organization

The Grapevine: An Overview

Treece and Kleen (as cited in Ferreira, Erasmus, and Groenewald, 2010) define the grapevine as a "person-to-person method of spreading rumors, gossip and information, by informal or unofficial conversation, letter writing, or the like" (p. 100). ABC on the other hand defines the grapevine as an informal communication likely to be in existence in most organizations. Although it surpasses the official channels of communication within an organization, the grapevine cannot be ignored. The sheer amount of information that is 'processed' through the grapevine sometimes surpasses that transmitted through the official channels of communication.

It is often assumed that being a social animal, man is likely to make use of informal channels of communication even in those instances where there are clear and well-defined formal channels in an organization. The grapevine is an informal business communication channel.

It is also assumed that the grapevine occurs 'naturally' once the distribution of information in the organization is stifled in one way or another. Employees in this case according to Sims (2002) try to fill the information vacuum by amongst other things "providing bits of information to each other, even if these are based on speculation rather than facts" (p. 156).

Although it does have its costs (as will be pointed out elsewhere in this text), the grapevine could be advantageous in some specific scenarios. To begin with, top managers of business entities could tap on this communication channel to 'test the waters' with regard to various ideas prior to implementation. One of those who have in the past leaked ideas to the grapevine in an attempt to test their relevance include Anita Roddick -- The Body Shop's founder (ABC). Roddick in this case successfully used the grapevine to know subordinates' reactions to various policies. In a hypothetical case, a C.E.O of a leading firm could for example be interested in finding out whether or not… [END OF PREVIEW]

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