Rumor Psychology: Social and Organizational Approaches Hardcover – Oct 27 2006
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About the Author
DiFonzo is an associate professor of psychology at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Bordia is an associate professor in the School of Management at the University of South Australia, Adelaide.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
With over 70 concepts that I wrote down for this review, I will provide a few here:
The definition of a rumor: "...as unverified and instrumentally relevant information in circulation that arise in contexts of ambiguity, danger, or potential threat and that function to help people make sense and manage risk...(it) also functions to manage threat; it is a response to the core human motivations to control one's environment or to protect one's self image...rumors attract attention, evoke emotion, incite involvement, and affect attitudes."
The definition of gossip: "...is evaluative social talk about individuals, usually not present, that arises in the context of social network formation, change and maintenance, that is, in the context of building group solidarity...and is done with an apparently aimless or idle purpose, or simply to pass the time."
The definition of urban legend: "...are stories of unusual, humorous or horrible events that contain themes related to the modern world; are told as something that did or may have happened, variations of which are found in numerous places and times; and contain more implications...is a misnomer--urban legends often involve any location, not just cities; they are more properly termed modern or contemporary legends."
On rumor transmission: "...is motivated by three broad psychological motivations--fact finding, relationship enhancement, and self-enhancement---all of which help individuals make sense in the face of uncertainty."
On their importance: "They cause or contribute to a variety of important outcomes. Furthermore there is evidence that these effects do not depend on belief in the rumor. Rumor effects (on a company/organization) are both intangible (including attitude and reputation) and tangible (including sales, (worker) productivity, and stock prices."
On the authors survey of public relations professionals: "...our survey of corporate PR officers found that they perceived the most serious consequences of rumor to be negative impacts on employee attitudes." Page 47 lists off 17 rumor effects presented to the sample of 74 experienced PR officers. The #1 effect was Lowered Morale, #2 Bad Press, #3 Loss of trust between management & workers/staff and #4 Increased employee stress at work.
On organizational rumors: "The context of rumor activity...is ambiguity and threat. In organizational settings, change is often the reason behind ambiguity and threat; restructurings, downsizing, new technology, staff changes, and other events like these raise questions among and carry potentially deleterious effects for employees."
On the correlation with trust and rumors: "...trust is a key variable in rumor transmission and is likely to play a central role in organizational rumor activity in at least two ways. First, distrust in the organization is likely to fuel rumor activity....Second, trust is likely to alter the relationships between uncertainty, anxiety, and rumor. When trust in the company is low, employees may be especially prone to engage in rumor discussions, regardless of their levels of uncertainty or anxiety; when trust is high, such discussions are necessary only under conditions of high uncertainty or anxiety."