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Informal communication occurs when two or more people in an organization spontaneously exchange information outside of an official context. Informal communication relies on interpersonal relationships, such as those between friends, coworkers, family, and club members, and is therefore exempt from formality and organizational conventions. Since it can be challenging to determine when a conversation begins and ends, informal communication in the business world is referred to as a ‘grapevine.’
Formal vs Informal Communication
Official information must travel through authorized, predetermined channels and methods in order to be considered formal communication. Information is regulated and must be intentionally communicated in order to be effective. A hierarchical structure and chain of command are followed in formal communication. While carrying out their job responsibilities, employees are required to adhere to formal communication channels.
Informal communication, in contrast, refers to multifaceted communication. Informal communication is unrestricted by pre-established channels and communication routes and can flow freely throughout the organization.
Types of Informal Communication