Definition and Types of Grapevine Communication

Meaning and Definition of Grapevine Communication

Grapevine is an informal communication, unorganized and unofficial channel of communication in an organization. When the formal channels fail or do not work properly and some over-smart people spread rumors, false and irresponsible statement or half-truths in all the directions. It is called the communication on the grapevine channel.

Grapevine communication, information spreads very fast in all directions as this vine of grapes spreads. Grapevine means a source of secret information. It is kind of horizontal communication, which takes place within a group, between persons of equal status. Grapevine is an integral part of the communication system in an organization. This is the highly sensitive channel as it is a great boon as well as a curse.

The grapevine consists a complex network of informal contacts between the workers at all levels, wherever there are human beings, there is grapevine. It is the natural activity of workers and denotes a basic human weakness.

Types of Grapevine Communication

Types of grapevine communication are given in the diagram below.

Types of grapevine communication

Image credits © Manoj Patil.

Different types of grapevine communication are as follows:

  1. The Wheel,
  2. The Cluster,
  3. The Chain and
  4. Free Flow.

Grapevine communication types are discussed below.

The grapevine is the most sensitive and sensational channel of communication. It is made of complex network of informal contacts among workers at all levels. There are different types of grapevine.

1. The Wheel

In this type of grapevine, one person is predominant. He transmits grapevine to different persons or group of persons. He is at the center and various lines of communication become the stokers of the wheel. Every person in the wheel becomes the causative factor for starting another wheel.

Types of grapevine communication the wheel are given in the diagram below.

The Wheel

Image credits © Manoj Patil.

2. The Cluster

The cluster like grapes, have several groups of people linked together by a cluster or chain of communication.

Types of grapevine communication the cluster are given in the diagram below.

The Cluster

Image credits © Manoj Patil.

3. The Chain

Chain is the most common pattern in which information passes through a series of people linked together in the organization.

Types of grapevine communication the chain are given in the diagram below.

The Chain

Image credits © Manoj Patil.

4. Free Flow

Most of the rumors or idle gossip is spread by random, free flow or haphazard network, which includes a number of people who are not necessarily linked by any organizational thread.

Types of grapevine communication free flow are given in the diagram below.

Free Flow

Image credits © Manoj Patil.


  1. Wonderful! Thank you very much for taking your time to put this down in details.

  2. Very interesting article and i never had any ideal what is grape vine communication is.