During the organizational crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, rumors that spread in the workplace seem to have considerable effects on employees’ psychological well-being by aggravating panic and fear. Rumors also confuse employees and lead to distress. They ultimately produce a poor working environment and reduce work productivity.
The research evidence about the negative impacts of workplace rumors during the COVID-19 pandemic is recently documented in the study conducted by the faculty of ICO NIDA, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol, and his colleague, Dr. Jenette Villegas Puyod, which is published in the International Journal of Corporate Communications (Scimago Quartile 2)
From the analysis of the online survey data obtained from 522 faculty members and staff at three public universities in the Philippines, their research shows that employees who were exposed frequently to workplace rumors were likely to feel more ambiguous about their work role and be more emotionally exhausted during the pandemic. Their research additionally found that employees in the highly formalized workplace who were also exposed to more workplace rumors tended to be those who experienced the greatest degrees of role ambiguity and emotional exhaustion.
In the conclusion, their study suggests that management should be concerned about the negative side of rumors that could potentially create more uncertainty and ambiguity during such times. Because rumors normally abound in an organization when official communication is not managed effectively, it is imperative for management to communicate to employees constantly and clearly to ease their concern and uncertainty related to the extra roles they must undertake during a crisis.
Puyod, J. V., & Charoensukmongkol, P. (2021), Effects of Workplace Rumors and Organizational Formalization During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study of Universities in the Philippines, Corporate Communications: an International Journal. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-09-2020-0127