For the communication process to be effective, the information being transferred should be efficient, timely and accurate. While companies pay particular attention in planning and controlling the formal communication process within the organization and have set policies and procedures pertaining to the formal communications, informal communication takes place fairly unregulated and in juxtaposition with the existing official communication process. Survey reports indicate that informal communication account for over 75% of the total organizational communication taking place and thus, it warrants a closer look at the pros and cons of informal communication, and grapevine in particular from a management perspective.
Formal communication is defined as “communication, which occurs through the official organizational channels or is undertaken by an employee to do their job” (Weiss 2001). These formal communications take place within different types of networks. These types of formal communication networks include “Chain Networks” which has serial, centralized transmission. “Y Networks” which are also centralized and the “Wheel Network” with central message unit and separate transmission/reception units in all directions and the “Circle Network” which operates on serial transmission but is decentralized (Baskin & Aronoff 1989). Formal communication, which takes place within such a formal network includes meetings, memorandums, brainstorming workshops, official media releases and all other forms of written or verbal communications, which are officially recognized. These formal communications usually follow the hierarchical line of the organizational structure. Due to the slow process associated with the formal structures, the communication process, which follows the organizational structure too is affected by such inefficiencies leading to the perceived inadequacy of formal communication within organizational settings (Weiss 2001).