Cluster Chain Network:
By it has been found which informal communication carries accurate information about three-fourths of the time, there are strong possibilities of its communications being highly distorted. This happens since of the procedure of 'filtering' whereby every member of the chain passes on only which part of communication which s/he regards significant. The receiver is left to fill in the gaps and full the story according to his/her own imagination. This might at times cause serious problems in the organisation.
Because the grapevine is a fast channel of communication along with tremendous capacity to carry information both helpful and harmful, as a manager, you are expected utilize the positive aspects and minimize the negative aspects. In sequence to do this, you could identify the members of the organisation who commonly find and spread information. It is possible that various individuals are active at different times but commonly it will be found that some individuals tend to be more active carriers of information than others. After identifying such individuals, you could use them as sounding boards. If it is discovered that misleading rumours are circulating, it might be desirable to release the official information to clarify the situation. At times, management may even find the informal communication channel more meaningful in transmitting information than the formal channel. A general method of using informal communication is through 'planned leaks', or strategically planned 'just among you and me' remarks, that would obviously reach all elements of the organisation far quicker than any kind of communication through formal channels.
Figure: Cluster Chain Network of Informal Communication