After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Rumours 2. Causes of Rumours 3. Effects 4. Management.

Meaning of Rumours:

Rumour is an “instinctual behaviour” arising at the workplace usually involving unverified information of uncertain origin transmitted by word of mouth. It arises in grapevine communication and usually spreads unauthentic information though, however, sometimes, the information may be true and accurate.

Rumour is information, often a mixture of truth and untruth, told by one person to another. It is a gossip or common talk especially about the personal or private affairs of others.

While gossip forms one of the oldest and common means of spreading and sharing facts and views, it introduces errors and other variations into the information transmitted. Gossip also usually carries implications that the news transmitted is of personal or trivial nature. Some people commonly understand gossip as spreading of rumour and misinformation.

Causes of Rumours:


Rumours originate because of the following reasons:

1. Poor communication system:

A poor communication system where people do not openly share formal information often leads to spreading of rumours. People get information from unauthenticated sources and spread it like wild fire.

2. Pressurise the management:


When employees want to pressurise management to accept their demands, they may spread false information in the organisation in the hope to enter into dialogue with the management.

3. Malintentions of employees:

Employees who are not committed to the organisation spread wrong information to cause harm to it.

Effects of Rumours:

Rumours are harmful for the organisation and employees. Spreading of rumours can lead to the following:


(1) It can build a sense of community with shared interests and information.

(2) It can entertain and divert participants in gossip-sessions.

(3) It can develop various types of stories not related to facts.

(4) It can build structures of social accountability.


(5) It can promote mutual social grooming. People gossip at the workplace, waste their time and deviate from organisational goals.

(6) It results in loss of productivity and time.

(7) There is loss of trust and morale.

(8) It increases anxiety among employees as rumours circulate without any clear information as to what is fact and what is not.


(9) It grows divisiveness among employees as people “take sides”. People form groups and promote the group goals.

(10) It hurts the feelings and reputations of people high in the hierarchy.

(11) It obstructs career advancement opportunities of the gossipers as they are perceived as unprofessional.

(12) It increases labour turnover as good employees leave the company due to unhealthy work atmosphere.

Management of Rumours:


As rumours are harmful for the organisation, management must deal with them effectively.

The following measures help in overcoming the effects of rumours:

(1) As soon as management senses rumour in the organisation, it should identify its cause and remove it. It is always better to remove the cause of rumour rather than cure once it begins in the organisation. (Prevention is better than cure.)

(2) Managers should discuss facts with employees, interact face-to-face, remove their grievances and avoid spreading of false information.


(3) A strong communication system can help to reduce rumours. Repeated rumours may lead to confirmation of that information. Managers should spread true information in writing before the rumours are repeated.

(4) Union leaders are the mediators between management and workers. Managers should seek their help to reduce rumours in the organisation.