The Experience of Followers: Investigating a Link between the Informal Communication Network and Leadership
Allan J. Martel
The informal communication network (the grapevine) generally present in any workplace varies in form and function in a manner related to the leadership stance and feedback prevalent in that workplace. A survey of relevant literature revealed that there is a significant shortfall of information and available research relating the leadership style of leaders to the form and function of the grapevine. Blake and McCanse's Leadership Grid (1991) was created using scales to rate a leader's orientation with respect to concern for production and concern for people. Applying the Leadership Grid, an organization can determine the positioning of an identified leader relative to his or her concern for production or people. The literature review also revealed that there were no currently known theories that connected the grapevine to the identified leadership style of a leader within an organization. The purpose of this dissertation was to detail the results of research focused on establishing a potential connection between the grapevine and leadership positioning. Utilizing an inductive research design and grounded theory approach allowed the connection between leadership and the informal communication network to emerge and provides the basis for the establishment of grounded theory regarding that connection allowing for further study of the implications concerning the grapevine and its use as a tool for leaders.
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