Rumors are here to stay

Evelyne Brown

Rumors, for better or worse, affect us in more ways than we realize. Consider the following juicy example: You’re building a small facility in the middle of nowhere, and everyone knows your name. Then, not once, but twice, someone notices you in a car with a married woman. Two people notice the two of you together and inform their friends that you are in a relationship. These friends tell their friends, and so on. This information is returned to you two weeks later. You are aware that nothing has occurred and that the lady is completely innocent. How can you deal with your embarrassment and shame? Kimmel (2004), the author of “Rumors and Rumor Control: A Manager’s Guide to Understanding and Combating Rumors” writes that rumors typically emerge in times of extreme stress, mistrust, and confusion. Furthermore, rumors can thrive on irrelevant facts or die slowly after the crisis has passed. The bottom line is that rumors are false claims, erroneous beliefs, and misunderstandings. Rumors create a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, and ambiguity.

Rumors, on the other hand, can spread positive information. Gossip is especially useful in businesses. According to some researchers, the grapevine transmits 75 to 90 percent of factual information. Others contend that a company’s grapevine reveals whether or not the organization is in good health.

So, rumors can both harm an individual or a group, and they can promote an ideal that you want others in your organization to be exposed to.

Allport and Postman concluded in their seminal study “Psychology of Rumors” (1947) that as rumors spread, they can become shorter and easier to understand. Seventy percent of the details in the message were lost during the rumor’s repeated transmission.

What is the point of spreading rumors? What are some of the inherent qualities of rumors? According to Kimmel (2004), rumors present fundamental elements of how humans interact. Rumors, whether negative or positive, have the ability to address our human desires, needs, and desires.

Organizational Advantage

The spread of rumors and gossip in the workplace can benefit organizations. Noon and Dell Bridge claim in “News from Behind My Hand: Gossip in Organizations,” (1993), that rumors or gossip in organizations can sustain and perpetuate positive factors. And these positive factors help to maintain clarity and understanding of the organization’s social structure. Second, they highlight significant implications for the workplace’s relationship and formal structure. Third, rumors or gossip can protect an organization by providing individuals with informal social mobility/influence and a means of escape.

I learned about it through the grapevine

Controlling the information transmitted via the grapevine allows organizations to positively influence the flow of communication. The grapevine is a form of informal communication. According to Robbins (2004), the grapevine experience can be beneficial to managers by revealing organizational morale. Second, the grapevine experience can assist managers in understanding the uncertainties and stresses that their employees are experiencing. Third, managers can understand and assess how formal and informal communication integrates effectively within the organization.

Stop spreading rumors

Finally, if you want to put a stop to rumors or gossip, there are a variety of methods available, both credible and not. It all depends on your situation and how effective you want the outcome to be. Dealing with rumors and gossip head on is the best advice.


In conclusion, rumors and gossip can be upsetting. They have the ability to send both positive and negative messages throughout an organization. And, as long as people communicate, rumors and/or gossip will exist.