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Article
Publication date: 9 July 2018

Subin Sudhir

Employees often engage in informal interpersonal communication within organizations. Such communication is essential for creating a better work environment. While there…

Abstract

Purpose

Employees often engage in informal interpersonal communication within organizations. Such communication is essential for creating a better work environment. While there are documented advantages of such communication, often, such communication is plagued by rumors. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the menace posed by rumors, the motivations for employees to engage in rumormongering, and possible ways to manage the spread of these rumors.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws from published literature on rumor research to illustrate the menace of rumors within organizational contexts, motivation to engage in rumormongering, and possible management strategies.

Findings

The paper identifies the menace of rumors in organizations, illustrates the reasons why employees share rumors, and discusses the possible methods to manage the spread of rumors.

Originality/value

Rumor propagation in organizations is an extremely dynamic process. The key element in rumor management is the swiftness and agility in intervention and management of rumors using strategies described in this paper. HR managers can monitor conversations to identify potentially harmful rumors and tackle this menace.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1994

Adebowale Akande and Funmilayo Odewale

Rumour behaviour is an “instinctual behaviour” elicited in the workplaceusually involving unverified information of uncertain origin that istransmitted by word of mouth…

Abstract

Rumour behaviour is an “instinctual behaviour” elicited in the workplace usually involving unverified information of uncertain origin that is transmitted by word of mouth. Examines the ways in which rumours spread and how organizations can stop them. To do so requires that practical sense be made be made of a potentially chaotic and complex set of factors which interact together to produce and elaborate rumours. With a better understanding of the nature of rumours and techniques of rumour rebuttal, organizations can prevent rumour build‐up among the staff.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Chris Frost

The Internet‘s email system is a fast and efficient communication method and one that has become particularly popular for rumours and hoaxes. These include virus alerts…

Abstract

The Internet‘s email system is a fast and efficient communication method and one that has become particularly popular for rumours and hoaxes. These include virus alerts, one of the favourite types of hoax, and urban myths or contemporary legends. An interesting element of these types of rumours and hoaxes is: the apparent reduction in caution about their retransmission; the speed and ease of re‐transmission that email offers; the extensive detail that is often included at variance to standard word of mouth transmission of rumour. This paper examines a single case study in order to investigate the differences between e‐rumours and word of mouth rumours. Theory suggests that detail adds verisimilitude to a rumour and this could certainly explain why such emails often provide extensive detail. The email system eases the job of re‐transmitting and this might explain why readers are prepared to broadcast such rumours without further checking.

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 52 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Thomas Kobinah, Dick Mizerski and Katherine Mizerski

Commercial rumour can have a very negative impact on companies and products. As soon as a negative rumour begins to spread, sales often fall drastically. The major battle…

Abstract

Commercial rumour can have a very negative impact on companies and products. As soon as a negative rumour begins to spread, sales often fall drastically. The major battle is not only to recover sales but how to recover consumer confidence before buyers eliminate the company’s brands from their evoked set. The literature on commercial rumour implicitly assumes that consumers will react to commercial rumours in a homogenous manner. However, most marketing scholars involved in studying cultural effects suggest that the culture of the buyer will influence their reaction specifically through their acceptance/rejection of the source attempting to refute the rumour. Therefore, any attempt to address commercial rumour without regard to the buyers’ cultural backgrounds may not be effective. An experiment was developed to test the effect of cultural background on choice of spokesperson to refute commercial rumours. The results of this experiment show that consumers from Eastern and Western cultural backgrounds respond in a different manner to spokespersons addressing commercial rumours. Their cultural backgrounds and values appear to influence their belief about the veracity of the source responding to the commercial rumours and their message. It is recommended that marketing personnel consider consumers’ and buyers’ core values when developing strategies for and selecting sources for controlling commercial rumours.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 15 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2021

Jenette Villegas Puyod and Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol

This study examines the effects of workplace rumors and organizational formalization on the degree of role ambiguity and emotional exhaustion that university employees in…

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines the effects of workplace rumors and organizational formalization on the degree of role ambiguity and emotional exhaustion that university employees in the Philippines are experiencing during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The interaction between the two variables is also analyzed.

Design/methodology/approach

Online survey data were obtained from 522 faculty members and staff at three public universities in the Philippines. The data were analyzed using partial least squares structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results show that both workplace rumors and organizational formalization are associated positively with role ambiguity and emotional exhaustion, and role ambiguity mediates workplace rumors' effect on emotional exhaustion. Moreover, the moderating effect analysis shows that workplace rumors and organizational formalization interact and intensify the degree of role ambiguity and emotional exhaustion that employees experience.

Originality/value

This study extends previous research by showing that employees who work in a highly formal structure can be extremely sensitive to workplace rumors during a period of uncertainty.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2021

Ping Wang, Yixia Hu, Qiao Li and Hanqin Yang

Journalism students, a special user group with the dual perspective of both social media general users and online journalists, and their trust in rumours is a valued but…

Abstract

Purpose

Journalism students, a special user group with the dual perspective of both social media general users and online journalists, and their trust in rumours is a valued but understudied topic in relation to preparing rational information users and professionals for rumour control. To reveal these trust mechanisms, this paper aims to identify salient psychological and behavioural factors related to journalism students’ different levels of trust.

Design/methodology/approach

Using structural equation modelling to analyse the survey data of 234 journalism students, this paper tested a theoretical model that considers self-efficacy and the expressive and consumptive use of social media rumours as the antecedents and consequences of trust belief and trust action, respectively.

Findings

Self-efficacy has a positive effect on trust belief but a negative effect on trust action. Trust belief positively affects expressive use of rumours, whereas trust action negatively affects consumptive use.

Practical implications

This study contributes to the cultivation of future online news gatekeepers.

Originality/value

This paper distinguishes journalism students’ trust mechanisms from those of general users and online journalists. The integration of dual process theories provides insights into trust-building processes related to rumours and advances the understanding of the anchoring and adjustment effects of self-efficacy on trust.

Details

The Electronic Library , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article
Publication date: 28 May 2021

Anumegha Sharma and Payal S. Kapoor

Technology has eased access to information. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ease of access and transmission of information via social media has led to ambiguity…

Abstract

Purpose

Technology has eased access to information. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ease of access and transmission of information via social media has led to ambiguity, misinformation and uncertainty. This research studies the aforementioned behaviours of information sharing and verification related to COVID-19, in the context of social media.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies have been carried out. Study 1, with Indian social media users, is a two-factor between-subjects experimental design that investigated the effect of message polarity (positive versus negative) and message type (news versus rumour) on the dissemination and verification behaviour of COVID-19-related messages. The study also investigated the mediation of perceived message importance and health anxiety. Study 2 is a replica study conducted with US users.

Findings

The study finding revealed significantly higher message sharing for news than rumour. Further, for the Indian users, message with positive polarity led to higher message sharing and message with negative polarity led to higher verification behaviour. On the contrary, for the US users, message with negative polarity led to higher message sharing and message with positive polarity led to higher verification behaviour. Finally, the study revealed message importance mediates the relationship of message type and message sharing behaviour for Indian and US users; however, health anxiety mediation was significant only for Indian users.

Practical implications

The findings offer important implications related to information regulation during a health crisis. Unverified information sharing is harmful during a pandemic. The study sheds light on this behaviour such that stakeholders get insights and better manage the information being disseminated.

Originality/value

The study investigates the behaviour of sharing and verification of social media messages between users containing health information (news and rumour) related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Peer review

The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-07-2020-0282

Details

Online Information Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 30 April 2021

Yung-Cheng Shen, Crystal T. Lee, Ling-Yen Pan and Chung-Yuan Lee

Dealing with online rumors or fake information on social media is growing in importance. Most academic research on online rumors has approached the issue from a…

Abstract

Purpose

Dealing with online rumors or fake information on social media is growing in importance. Most academic research on online rumors has approached the issue from a quantitative modeling perspective. Less attention has been paid to the psychological mechanisms accounting for online rumor transmission behavior on the individual level. Drawing from the theory of stimulus–organism–response, this study aims to explore the nature of online rumors and investigate how the informational characteristics of online rumors are processed through the mediation of psychological variables to promote online rumor forwarding.

Design/methodology/approach

An experimental approach to this issue was taken; the researchers investigated how the informational characteristics of online rumors and the psychological mediators promote online rumor transmission.

Findings

Four information characteristics (sense-making, funniness, dreadfulness and personal relevance) and three psychological motivators (fact-finding, relationship enhancement and self-enhancement) promote online rumor-forwarding behavior.

Originality/value

Because any online rumor transmitted on social media can go viral, companies may eventually encounter social media-driven crises. Thus, understanding what drives rumor-forwarding behavior can help marketers mitigate and counter online rumors.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Anjan Pal and Snehasish Banerjee

The Internet is a breeding ground for rumors. A way to tackle the problem involves the use of counter-rumor messages that refute rumors. This paper analyzes users'…

Abstract

Purpose

The Internet is a breeding ground for rumors. A way to tackle the problem involves the use of counter-rumor messages that refute rumors. This paper analyzes users' intention to follow rumors and counter-rumors as a function of two factors: individuals' risk propensity and messages' prior endorsement.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper conducted an online experiment. Complete responses from 134 participants were analyzed statistically.

Findings

Risk-seeking users were keener to follow counter-rumors compared with risk-averse ones. No difference was detected in terms of their intention to follow rumors. Users' intention to follow rumors always exceeded their intention to follow counter-rumors regardless of whether prior endorsement was low or high.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes to the scholarly understanding of people's behavioral responses when, unknowingly, exposed to rumors and counter-rumors on the Internet. Moreover, it dovetails the literature by examining how risk-averse and risk-seeking individuals differ in terms of intention to follow rumors and counter-rumors. It also shows how prior endorsement of such messages drives their likelihood to be followed.

Originality/value

The paper explores the hitherto elusive question: When users are unknowingly exposed to both a rumor and its counter-rumor, which entry is likely to be followed more than the other? It also takes into consideration the roles played by individuals' risk propensity and messages' prior endorsement.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2020

Xiaohui Wang and Yunya Song

The spread of rumors on social media has caused increasing concerns about an under-informed or even misinformed public when it comes to scientific issues. However…

Abstract

Purpose

The spread of rumors on social media has caused increasing concerns about an under-informed or even misinformed public when it comes to scientific issues. However, researchers have rarely investigated their diffusion in non-western contexts. This study aims to systematically examine the content and network structure of rumor-related discussions around genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Chinese social media.

Design/methodology/approach

This study identified 21,837 rumor-related posts of GMOs on Weibo, one of China's most popular social media platforms. An approach combining social network analysis and content analysis was employed to classify user attitudes toward rumors, measure the level of homophily of their attitudes and examine the nature of their interactions.

Findings

Though a certain level of homophily existed in the interaction networks, referring to the observed echo chamber effect, Weibo also served as a public forum for GMO discussions in which cross-cutting ties between communities existed. A considerable amount of interactions emerged between the pro- and anti-GMO camps, and most of them involved providing or requesting information, which could mitigate the likelihood of opinion polarization. Moreover, this study revealed the declining role of traditional opinion leaders and pointed toward the need for alternative strategies for efficient fact-checking.

Originality/value

In general, the findings of this study suggested that microblogging platforms such as Weibo can function as public forums for discussing GMOs that expose users to ideologically cross-cutting viewpoints. This study stands to provide important insights into the viral processes of scientific rumors on social media.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

Keywords

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