Archive for ‘Rumor control’

July 9, 2015

Rumors, they’re Here to Stay


Derrick C Darden


Rumors, fortunately or unfortunately affects us all and in many ways then we care to remember.   Take for instance this juicy example, you’re working on a small facility in the middle of no where and everyone knows your name. Then one day someone spot you  riding  a car with young single  women, not once but twice.   Two people have spotted both of you together and they tell their friends that a relationship is happening between both of you. And now these friends tell others and so on.  Two weeks later this information gets back to you. You know that nothing has happen and the married lady is innocent. Also, how can you stop this embarrassment and shame that have made your name mud?   According to the author of “Rumors and Rumor control: A Manager’s Guide to Understanding and Combating Rumors,” Kimmel (2004), writes that rumors usually appear either through situations of extreme stress, mistrust and confusion.  Further, rumors can also thrive on these irrelevant facts or die a slow death when the crisis has subsided.   Bottom-line is that rumors are unsubstantial claims they’re inaccuracy, mistaken beliefs and misconception. Rumors, causes high anxieties when people have uncertainty with ambiguity.   But, on the other hand rumors can help promote positive information as well.  Rumors or gossip are particularly useful in organizations.  You may ask how? It’s through the grapevine method.    Some researcher credits the grapevine with transmitting 75 to 90 percent of information to be factual.  Others claim that a company grapevine show if an organization is healthy or not.  So, rumors can hurt or harm an individual or a group of people and rumors can promote whatever ideal you want to expose others to in your organization.

In the landmark study conducted by both Drs. Allport and Postman (1951), “Psychology of Rumors.”  They concluded that as rumors travel from person to person, they can become shorter and easier to comprehend as they are told from recipient to recipient. Seventy percent of the details in the message were lost during repetitive transmission of the rumor.

So, why do people bother with rumors? What are some of the intrinsic values do rumors present?    Researcher Kimmel (2004) evaluates that rumors present a basic elements   of how humans interact with each other.  So, whether these rumors are negative or positive they have the capacity to address our human desires, needs and wants. .


Benefit to organizations

Organizations can benefit through the spreading of rumors and gossip in the workplace.  Researchers Noon and Dell Bridge (1993) cites in their article “News from behind my hand: Gossip in Organizations” that rumors or gossip in organizations can sustain and perpetuate positive factors within the organization.   And these positive factors perpetuate clarity and understanding of the social structure within the organization.  Second, they point out important ramification for the relationship and formal structure within the workplace.  Third, rumors or gossip can protect the organization by offering individuals, informal social mobility influence and an escapism.




I heard it through the grapevine


Another positive influence that organizations can have on the flow of communication within the workplace is to use the grapevine to control what information is transmitted.  It’s the grapevine that transmit informal communication occurs within the organization.  .  According to Dr. Robbins (2004), the grapevine experience can be beneficial to managers by knowing the morale levels within the organization. Second, the grapevine experience can help manager understand the uncertainties and stresses among us their employees. Third, manager can understand and evaluate how formal and informal communication effectively assimilates within the organization.

Stop the rumors

Lastly, if you want to stop the rumors or gossip from spreading?  There are a number of methodologies, both credible and non-credible. It depends on your situation and how effective you want the result to manifest. Bottom-line, deal with rumors and gossip head on.


       So, the bottom line with rumors or gossip can be mentally stressful to an individual or a group. they can convey positive as well as negative messages throughout any organization.  And rumors and/or gossip will always be around as long as people cohabitant.





Allport, G. W & Postman, L. (1947). Psychology of Rumor. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Cauldron, S. (1998). On the Contrary: They heard it through the Grapevine. Workforce, Vol. 77, (11), p.25-27.

Delbridge, R. & Noon, M. (1993). News from behind my hand: Gossip in Organizations. Organization Studies. 14(1), p.23-26.

Kimmel, A. (2004). Rumors and Rumor Control: A manager’s Guide to Understanding and Combating Rumors. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc .

Robbins, S (2004). Essentials of Organizational Behavior (8th ed.) New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

July 29, 2012

Is praise always a good thing?

Is it detrimental to praise a child for their intelligence or abilities? As a society we tend to praise and show admiration of our young for their intelligence or abilities. The problem with praising a child is not the act, but how it’s conveyed and how it’s delineated to the individual child. Praising a child for their intelligence and not for their effort or hard work will harm them emotionally in the future.  By praising a child for their ability you are opening them up to not only potential failure, but disappointment should they not be as successful the next time around.  Praising a child for their ability draws attention to them and makes a big deal of the accomplishment, regardless of whether it is from effort or intelligence and ability.

    There is research that supports this thinking about the effects of praise. In 1998, Dr. Carol C. Dweck, a psychologist from Columbia University, published some startling findings.  She administered a simple test to over 700 school-age children in New York City. Afterwards, researchers praised half the group for their intelligence and ability with phrases such as “you are so smart” or “you really used your brains on that test.” For the other group, she praised them for their effort and the hard work in getting the grade that they received.  Later, she offered the group a choice of an easy and a harder test. One test was the same level as the previous and the other was slightly harder. Surprisingly, the majority of the students praised for their intelligence picked the same test level as before and those that were praised for their effort and hard work chose the harder test. Dr. Dweck (1998) found that children praised for effort increased their test score by 30% and those praised for their intelligence scored 20% lower. 

     Dr. Dweck explains that when a child is praised for their intelligence, this puts that child in a fixed mindset that then leads to avoidance of new challenges in the future because of a fear of looking less intelligent. Dr. Dweck’s research suggests to all parents, teachers and leaders that praise of a child should be for hard work, perseverance and resiliency; she called this a growth mindset (Dweck, 1998).     

     In 2006, Dr. Dweck expanded the study to adults and those in leadership positions, and again the results were remarkable. She found that those with growth mindsets were willing to embrace challenges, learn from criticism and adapt by applying themselves with more effort in order to overcome tough assignments in the workplace. The opposite was true for those who were of a fixed mindset, and they instead tended to run away from challenges, had no resilience, made no effort to finish the job, and avoided unfavorable criticism. Furthermore, those from a fixed mindset perspective must continue to validate their expectations and abilities on the job. Those with a mindset opposite to that of a fixed mindset embraced new challenges, didn’t rely on others to validate them, and were open to potential for getting the job done.   

    Therefore, the bottom line is that praise and motivation of your child with an emphasis on their innate intelligence will be detrimental to their future in society. Instead one should praise children for hard work and perseverance. In this way, they will surely succeed as a child and in future work. To reemphasize, praise for effort, rather than intelligence, fosters a growth mindset that highlights the notion that taking risks and putting forth effort can bring with it rewards, even if the risk of getting there is uncertain.  These findings are the same for both children and adults.

Derrick Darden, PhD

January 18, 2008

Men in crisis (middle-age)

    By the time everyone reaches their mid-age they will have experienced some major transition in life such as a new job, a new wife, or a new child. The most commonly known major transition for middle age adults is called by many “midlife crisis,” I call it “finding one’s identity.” The famous psychologist, Carl Jung, calls this the psychological change.”  He further states, that many of our values and beliefs carried in the first half of life we should let go and face the second half unconsciously.  He suggests taking up a creative activity, such as art or writing. 


  Who goes through this midlife crisis?  Researchers point out that serious midlife problems are actually experienced by only 2 % to 5 % of middle-aged. Louis Tamir calls this period a deep-seated, self-doubts of confusion.

    Much of the evidence against the existence of widespread midlife crisis seems to me to be compelling.  For example, Costa and McCrae developed a midlife crisis scale that includes items about a sense of inner turmoil, a sense of failing power, marital dissatisfaction, and job dissatisfaction.  When they used this scale in a cross-sectional study of over 500 men ages 35-70, they concluded that there is no particular age when deep depression occurs.     The most effected ethnic group is white males and the suicide rate is higher than other subgroups, which remain high well into old age. One reason this group is affected the most is they are usually well educated and they have more extravagant dreams, according to experts.     Many couples that experience turbulence during this period, studies point to the major cause as being martial dissatisfaction.  Professional counseling seen to become the only variable remedy, couples need to talk it out and avoid the divorce courts.