Differences Between Formal and Informal Communication
Formal vs Informal Communication
Here is the list of 10 key differences between formal and informal communication based on some important parameters.
|Basis||Formal Communication||Informal Communication|
|Information Control||Follows a proper chain of control||Moves freely in all directions|
|Reliability||More reliable, backed by evidence||Less reliable, and leaves no trail|
|Time||Takes time to be communicated||Takes very less time to flow through different channels|
|Scope||Has a predefined agenda on the topics||Has no boundary or agenda|
|Secrecy||Dependent on official policies and procedures||No guaranteed secrecy due to the involvement of various individuals|
|Records||There is appropriate documentation involved||No documentation is involved|
|Hierarchy||Usually has a long chain of command||Has a very short chain of command|
|Agenda||Has a motive for organizational objectives||Has no motive other than personal engagement|
|Language||Uses a fixed, formal, and respectful language, prohibits the use of slang||Can use any language with no prohibition for slang|
|Examples||Meetings, speeches, one-on-ones, conferences||Gossip, singular talks, text messages|
What is Formal Communication?
Formal communication is the form of communication in which information is conveyed through a proper structure and defined channels. It usually involves transferring official information through a specified hierarchy, in a chain-like structure.
Typically, in an organization, the structure starts with leaders and senior staff in different departments and then flows down to lower-level employees. These employees are expected to use formal communication channels when carrying out their responsibilities.
What is Informal Communication?
Informal Communication is multi-faceted; it does not follow any structure or proclaimed norms. It is a candid form of communication moving freely within an organization. The topic of interest in informal communication is not predetermined and individuals engaging in it usually involve in a diverse range of topics.
Informal communication, known as the ‘grapevine’ in organizations, is faster and doesn’t leave a written record. It allows employees to openly discuss work-related issues, saving time and money for the company. Examples include team chats and discussions about salary issues.