Did You Hear? When Rumors Are Used As Revenge At Work

scandal-1113908-mAccording to a 2008 study done by the publishers of the Myers-Briggs Assessment and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, 85% of employees at all levels are involved in workplace conflict to some degree. In the United States alone, time spent dealing with this conflict equates to an average of 2.8 hours weekly, or approximately $359 billion in paid hours. This conflict can take many forms, including that of workplace bullying and revenge. A recent study published in Group and Organization Management entitled “Rumor as Revenge in the Workplace” looks at rumors as retaliatory tool in an organizational setting.

The abstract:

Two studies that examined the role of revenge in rumor transmission and involved working adults as participants are reported. Study 1 used hypothetical 06GOM10_Covers.inddscenarios to manipulate organizational treatment of an employee and the believability of a rumor. Participants had higher intention to transmit a harmful rumor when the organization broke job-related promises (i.e., breached the psychological contract) and revenge motivation mediated this relationship. Believability of the rumor had no effect. Study 2 used a field survey methodology and, controlling for social desirability, replicated the results for self- and peer-reported rumor transmission behavior. Study 2 also showed that participants’ belief in negative reciprocity norm strengthened the relationship between breach and revenge motivation.

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