Rumors and gossip in radiology

Radiol Manage. Nov-Dec 1997;19(6):46-9.


Rumors and gossip have long been popular topics in literature. Social scientists have even studied the topic and defined four main types of rumor: wish rumors; fear or bogey rumors; wedge-driving or aggressive rumors; and anticipatory rumors. In general, people believe rumor and gossip are synonymous. Rumormongering--the spreading of rumors--occurs among all cultures and types of people. Both men and women gossip and women's gossip is not more vindicative than men's, as is often thought. With such new means of communication as the Internet, transmitting rumor is possible beyond the traditional oral and written forms. Rumor is spread in both the higher and lower levels of an organization. Typically, disproving a rumor is more difficult than proving a rumor. The financial impact of a rumor must be considered also. If people believe, for example, that a radiology department does not have its act together or offers poor customer service, the department may lose revenue because people have lost confidence in it. Originally, the word gossip had positive implications. It referred to a family friend or the woman who delivered a child and announced the event to the community. Because well-intentioned gossip often turns into a damaging story, various approaches for stopping rumors have been identified. They include analyzing the grapevine, identifying the habitual spreaders of rumor and keeping employees informed. In most cases, a person of authority who provides facts can stop or at least slow down rumors spreading at the employee level.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Deception*
  • Employee Discipline
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Radiology Department, Hospital*
  • Workforce