Formal and Informal Types of Communication

Formal communication is that which devices support from the organisation structure. It is associated with the particular positions of the communicator and the recipient in the structure.

Formal communications are mostly of the written type such as company manuals, handbooks magazines, bulletins annual reports and are designed to meet the specific need s of the organisation.

Informal communication is based on the informal relationships that grow up in an organisation and is commonly referred to as “the grapevine”. It may be conveyed by a nod, a glance, a gesture, a smile, and even silence.


Whereas formal communication is generally more articulate, direct and has got official backing, informal communication is more indirect, less explicit and somewhat spontaneous and flexible. It serves the social needs of the individuals in the organisation and a manager can utilize the grapevine as a positive aid.

However it may also contain distorted information and may even degenerate into gossip and rumour and other negative outlests of expressions by people in the organsiation.

The speed at which information flows through a grapevine is often astounding. The grapevine cannot be destroyed and hence should receive conscious attention of management.