Posts tagged ‘organization’

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.