Effective Techniques Managers Must Use to Combat Company Rumors

1.How Managers Should Deal with Company Rumors

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There are essentially three ways to manage rumor in a company.

The first is to try “to wait them out.” Some rumors dissipate over time and do little harm. Only rarely are rumors serious enough to require action.

Second, if waiting fails, the rumor must be publicly refuted. When the rumor is refuted and also made to look unreasonable in public it negates its “news value.” This strategy is the most straightforward and aggressive. The company (or other target) names the specific rumor and discredits its usefulness and the credibility of its source through an advertising campaign, a press conference or highly publicized event such as one used by a company while denying the accusation of promoting Satanism. This technique is effective in making people disregard those still interested to pass the rumor along.

Third, truth or authentic information should be released or positively advertised as swiftly as possible. The last point strives to associate the target of the rumor with positive features such as the company’s traditional commitment to quality, excellence and consumer satisfaction. For instance, a Canadian brewery has used this strategy in strengthening the link between its company and positive features, while simultaneously at the same time dissociating the company and the rumor that is it owned by a Pakistani shareholder.

2. How Supervisors Should Address Rumors

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Kaferer (1990) has suggested alternative, but not empirically acceptable, rebuttal strategies, such as creating counter-rumor and spreading disinformation.” If rumors seem to threaten the business organization, there are basically two ways to deal with them.

The first is to try to prevent them. The supervisor must recognize that rumors have definite causes, most anchored on the lack of information about things important to employees and on the insecurity and anxiety that go with them. Whatever the cause, it must remember that rumors are received and transmitted by people in terms of their biases. Thus, the general theme of the rumors may be maintained, but the details are often altered to serve vested interests.

The second is to try to vanquish rumors if they already affect productivity, community relations, or interdepartmental cooperation. “In refuting a rumor, a manager or supervisor should release the truth as quickly as possible. If a rumor is not subdued or quashed quickly, employees will interpret later events in the light of the rumor.”

“Communications is the primary weapon in putting an end to unwarranted gossip. The company story must be put across in a positive light. The media appreciates quick, accurate, and thorough responses, which should be provided. Staff members should also be used to spread the truth. Other potential allies can be contacted and persuaded to help. The best way to dispel a rumor is to establish a policy regarding the problem and let everyone involved know about it. Appoint one person or office as the source of information for the media. Above all, always give reasons for failing to answer to the media.”

The Structuring of Rumors

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During moments of organizational restructuring in a company where rumors bound, “effective change communication campaigns are said to reveal, rather than conceal, reduce uncertainty through collective planning, and proactively establish and maintain trust.”

The methods of spreading rumors follow the development of communication technologies. The personal and face-to-face transmission of rumors has gradually being dominated by online and electronic transmissions through the Internet and latest ICTs. The use of the Internet has emerged as  what  Kim and Bae (2016) as an “omnipotent precious sword” to spread rumors to build or destroy products and services “faster than the light” in the cyberspace is now the major concern of companies and consuming public.

What Does the Bible Say About Rumors?

1. Proverbs 26:20-21: Without wood, a fire goes out. Without gossip, arguments stop. Charcoal keeps the coals glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive.

2. Exodus 23:1 “You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand.

3. Leviticus 19:16 You must not go around spreading false stories against other people. Don’t do anything that would put your neighbor’s life in danger. I am the Lord.

4. Proverbs 20:19 Whoever spreads gossip betrays confidences; so don’t get involved with someone who talks too much.

5.Proverbs 11:13 People who tell secrets about others cannot be trusted. Those who can be trusted keep quiet.

6.Proverbs 11:12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.

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