Ghosts and Ghosting in Digital Communications

Am J Pharm Educ. 2024 May;88(5):100692. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpe.2024.100692. Epub 2024 Mar 28.


Ghosting, professionally and personally, occurs when there is an abrupt end to communication between 2 individuals without any explanation or when an individual does not follow through on commitments to others associated with their communication. The increase in the available communication channels and speed at which messages can now be transmitted between individuals is resulting in a greater incidence of ghosting or perceived ghosting in our colleges/schools of pharmacy. The impact of ghosting is the disruption of effective communication and communication strategies that are essential to the development of positive and thriving cultures and subcultures in our institutions. The causes of ghosting (real or perceived) in our pharmacy academy could be attributed to increased workload and speed of communication, increased workload and productivity expectations, and increased workload and information volume. The consequences of ghosting in our colleges/schools can result in decreased psychological safety in our cultures, adversely impacting individual well-being, resiliency, grit, and satisfaction and adversely impacting student academic performance and success. There are simple steps that individuals and institutions can implement to minimize ghosting or the perception of ghosting that may occur with online communication channels used by our faculty, staff, students, and outside individuals.

Keywords: Communication; Culture; Faculty; Ghosting; Students.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Education, Pharmacy* / methods
  • Humans
  • Schools, Pharmacy
  • Students, Pharmacy* / psychology
  • Workload / psychology