Pruning The Grapevine

The formal system isn’t the only communications network found in organizations. There’s also an informal one called the grapevine that can also be an important source of information.

According to Stephen Robbins, the grapevine has three main characteristics: First, it’s not controlled by top management. Second, it is perceived by many employees as being believable and reliable. And third, it is largely used to serve the self interest of the people within it. What conditions foster an active grapevine?  According to various studies, rumors emerge as a response to situations that are important to us when there’s ambiguity and under conditions that arouse anxiety.

The grapevine is an important part of an organization’s communications network. It gives managers a feel for the morale of their organization, identifies issues that employees consider important and helps tap into employee anxieties. It also acts as both a filter and feedback mechanism. Rumors cannot be eliminated entirely, but management can minimize their negative consequences by limiting their range and impact.

(#31WriteNow Day 17)

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