June 16, 2022 In Uncategorized

Informal Communication Channels

Informal communication is the core of organizational social life.

Although the good managers keep checking both the degree of formality, – where a high level may kill the spontaneousness and turn to be mined numbing- in addition to the level of informality, –where it may turn to be time consuming and distracting the employees from organizational goals-.

Therefore, formality is always mix with informality to shape a healthy internal environment.

In light of the previous lines, we coin the next questions:

  • What is the meaning of informal communication channels?
  • What is the difference between formality and informality?
  • What are the types of informal communication channels?

The meaning of informal communication:

Informal Communication channels has generated by the social life between employees beyond the limits forced by the organizational structure.

In other words, they do not follow the chain of command, they skip management levels and cross the lines of authority.

Within the circle of informal communication, the employees feel more comfortable and alive in the workplace, and that may reflect positive energy.

The difference between formal channels and informal channels:

The formal channels in the organization strictly follow the chain of command, which full of rules and regulations and makes formal communication more reliable and trust from the first side and slower from the second side.

On other hand, formal communication is the pattern of communication that uses official words to transmit the ideas.

Types of Informal Communication channels:

We may split the informal communication channels into two main types:

  • Grapevine Communication
  • MBWA or (Management by Wandering Around)

Grapevine Communication:

In this type of informal communication the information flows with no specific directions, it goes beyond the formal relations to break the ice in the organizations.

The only rule, which controls this type, is the social life between employees.

Grapevine communication consists of two norms:

  • Rumors
  • Gossips

Rumors: refer to the casual talk about work life example, (rumors about bonuses, or extra salary, or even_ work perks …).

_Gossips: are casual talk about personal lives as (secret relation between the manager and his secretary).

Although the rumors and gossips are the salt of informal organizational lives, but the management should take into consideration the negative influence for both, such as:

  • Time consuming.
  • Low concentration about work tasks.
  • Low productivity level.
  • The problems of distortion and filtering.

Research shows that the grapevine is faster than formal communication, is about 75% accurate, and is used by employees to acquire the majority of their on-the-job information.

MBWA (Management by Wandering Around):

this type is a management style used to describe a manager’s literally wandering around his/her organization and speaking with employees across all lines of authority.

MBWA is a healthy managerial practice, where the managers’ put tie and suit aside and take the role of ordinary employees.

MBWA helps to reduce the problems of distortion that inevitably occur with formal communication flowing up the hierarchy.

Management by Wandering Around allows the managers to listen to employees and learn about their problems as well as to express to employees what values and goals are important.

At this point, you should notice that MBWA takes a lot of managers’ time where the balance between business life and personal life becomes difficult.

At the end, we should clarify a critical issue, that is;

The managers may invest the informal communication to the optimal benefits of the organizations, where they may employ the speediness of informal communication for transmission their messages within organization.

On the other side the managers may be part of informal communication instead of being the enemies, which allow managers tracking the employees’ feedback and opinions’ and let them to be part of employees’ social life’s.

As A Result, we cannot admit that formal communication is better than informal communication or vice versa, where to ensure the best internal environment as well as the best organizational behavior, the communication channels ought to be mix between formal and informal communication.

The degree of both determined by many factors like (the type of the organization, the level of employees

empowerment, the management style…).

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