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Informal Communication

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Informal Communication

A wise man once said, “Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid” (Winchell, n.d.). To that end, informal communication in a law enforcement agency or not, has a very negative effect. However, informal communication does have its positive aspects, of which will be discussed later.
The late singer Marvin Gaye, etal, described it as “The Grapevine” however in business terms, it is likened to an informal network of communication in an organization. Just like a growing plant, information spreads randomly, going in whichever direction “the wind blows.” Take for example a supervisor that has common links with three or more different groups in an organization, whereas the first group might share brunch every Friday, etc. When one or more of the groups are in (agreement) about a given rumor, then the individual is bound to believe that it is true. The problem is that the more rumors afloat, the more tendencies for the rumors to turn into gossip. The truth is that gossip can ruin careers and reputations quickly. More so is the fact that they can destroy lives (Grapevine Communication Informal…, n.d.). Other negativity from informal communication may be a lack of productivity on the job due to constant chatting. Additionally, the informal talk may harm the goodwill of the organization, if false information is spread, concerning the leadership or higher- level members of the organization (n.d). Informal communication that is not verified or false could possibly have a detrimental effect, especially in a law enforcement organization.

As stated before, there are positive sides to informal communication. One such is that supervisors get to know their subordinates’ reactions to their policies through (feedback), very quickly (Grapevine- Communication-Advantages…, n.d.).The “grapevine” promotes unity and cohesiveness within groups or units, by way of conversations not particularly concerning the job, but about common interests. Emotional support, and like values are found informally, which may stave off stresses that pertain to the job (n.d.). Social bonds are formed, and more importantly, it fills a gap when formal communication is missing; in addition, it keeps people honest, due to the fact, that (everyone) would know of inappropriate behavior (Grapevine Communication Informal…, n.d.).
Management has opportunities to minimize the rumors, by way of meetings, either formal or informal, to quell any misinformation. Likewise, they can maximize the advantages of rumors as stated before, by obtaining fast knowledge of responses to internal conflicts, and defuse them as they see fit. Perhaps the most important response of the managers other than added formalities, would be to make information sharing quid pro quo (two-way exchange), through the much under-used open door policy (Grapevine- Communication-Advantages…, n.d.)...

Grapevine communication-Advantages and disadvantages (n.d.). Retrieved April 2012 from http:// www grapevine communication.html.
Grapevine communication. Informal business communication (n.d,). Retrieved April 2012 from http:// www management study guide. com/ grapevine_ communication.htm.
Winchell, W. (n.d.). Webster’s 21st century book of quotations. Nashville: Thomas Nelson…...

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