RUMORS IMPACTING ORGANIZATION CULTURE

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“One of the easiest ways to keep your mouth,ears and reputation clean – Keep RUMORS
out of them” -Ty Howard, Motivational Keynote Speaker & Coach

Rumors…………. In Organization’s context

As organizations are made up of individuals with different talents, personalities, and goals, the organization will have a distinct culture. The anatomy of an organization’s culture – how the business functions on a day-to-day base – can strongly influence that organization’s potential for success or failure. The dysfunction of workplace rumor may attribute to its negative attributes.

A sense of urgency among employees arises when organizational change initiatives are not communicated accordingly. In some cases, organizational change may not have been officially announced, which leads to employees seeking the truth. Most rumors have the potential to creep into most organizational settings. Consequently, if rumors are not addressed by the organization, this lack of action can be seen as validation by the employees, which can drain work productivity leading to profit reductions and ultimately damaging the organization’s image.

Workplace rumors, defined as exchanges of information and judgmental opinions about other people while not in their presence are frequently observed in workplace.

What are Rumors…….

Rumors are like dusts – they are everywhere in spite of our social spheres. Rumors are also the oldest form of communication, even before writing existed. It is believed that rumors are capable of transmitting news; build but also ruin reputation of Individual and organizations.

Few examples of office rumors, will sound familiar to all of us;

“Our CEO has announced that her contract shall be over in 3 months’ time, however when the time comes, she’s still here. Some people said that the MD renewed her contract. But these things make us feel unsure what exactly happening”.

“I heard that this person was hospitalized for 6 months and yet he got promoted… for what reason eh? There are other people in the department who are more deserving than a sick person?”

“The reason for him to be transferred is unclear, but the most common issue for things like this to happen is due to taking bribes. Many of us here believed that”

Rumors…………………Ignore or treat them as information?

Information cannot be ignored just because it comes to you as rumor. But at the same time this cannot be a reason for giving encouragement to rumors. There are much better channels for gathering the information and addressing the queries and curiosities of people.

The magnitude of rumors depends largely on the culture of organization. Having healthy, transparent and multiple communication channels across the levels can minimize the rumors. Also, by sharing the ‘shareable’ information proactively, we can avoid ambiguous situations which results into generation of rumors.

Venus Williams has so rightly said, “I guess rumors are more exciting than the truth”. Even after having best communication channels, almost all organizations face the challenge to grab the rumors. And it creates distraction resulting into unhealthy work environment.

Maintaining silence may not always be the wisest reaction in dealing with rumors. That doesn’t mean that we should glorify inconsequential things with a response.

Leaders should identify the source of rumor and confront and counsel the individual. It will help in discouraging such behavior in the future. Many organizations have included this in the general conduct of behavior in their Corporate Code of Conduct.


Author –Dinesh Dhir is Assistant Vice President & Head – Group HR Operations, Bhartiya Group

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