Informal Communication definition

Informal communication in the workplace is communication that takes place outside the formal, communication structures of the workplace. Some people refer to informal communication as the ‘grapevine.’

Note that informal communication can occur in the same setting as formal communication, such as in a private meeting room during the appraisal process. A manager may conduct the appraisal process and then upon its conclusion tell the employer something about their personal life that is not meant for general workplace consumption or to be recorded formally.

Gossip is a form of informal communication in the workplace and often fuels shifts in culture and office politics. Gossip can be destructive to workplace relationships because it can introduce falsehoods and unproven information into the ecosystem.

Historically seen as completely negative, the grapevine is considered by some as a valuable, inexpensive peer-to-peer method of disseminating information, although its efficacy and consistency is questioned. 


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