Informal Communication Systems

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  • Ways of communicating, especially in organizations, that do not involve formal meetings, written reports, memos, and other similar modes. These methods can involve “hallway communications,” impromptu discussions, and spontaneous conversations. The groundbreaking theory of Leon Festinger (1950) illustrated how informal communication systems influenced group decision making. Whenever a group works together, the characteristics of individual members will affect the way they form opinions and conclusions. Festinger thought that the pressure toward conformity is the mediating variable. He took into consideration the group's cohesion, homogeneity, and factors such as standing against outside pressure. All these variables contributed to the group's accepting a uniform opinion. Such group pressure is endemic to most organizations, and many social psychologists and communication theorists have built on this theory. In another ...

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