Water-cooler gossip can prove helpful in testing business ideas

January 6th, 2009 - 3:48 pm ICT by ANI  

London, January 6 (ANI): A new study has revealed that water-cooler gossip can prove very helpful in testing business ideas.
The researchers behind the study are of the opinion that the informal channels that such chat provides could prove the perfect environment to sound out ideas.
They even reveal how once a Sydney-based recruitment agency’’s managing director, who could not afford to award all staff a pay rise but was worried that only doing so for some could adversely affect morale, opted to start a rumour by telling a trusted lieutenant that he was planning to award some people pay rises in return for their taking on more responsibility.
They say that the rumour spread rapidly, and the employees proved so supportive that the notion was adopted as policy.
Grant Michelson, the research director at Audencia Nantes Business School in France who has written a book about gossip in the workplace, suggested that employers better used water-cooler gossip to their advantage, rather than fruitlessly seeking to stamp it out.
He, however, insisted that it was important to choose the right person to spread any message.
“They have to be a subordinate who you have built up some trust (with), either through social or professional activities. But they can”t be so far below you in the pecking order that such easy exchanges would be unlikely,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
“It doesn”t mean you should take action on every bit of information you hear but if it’’s from a reliable source, it is probably worth listening to,” he added.
However, Mike Emmott, adviser on employee relations at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, warned that rumours about job losses and change could be damaging in such uncertain times.
He recommended that employers should seek to ensure that such rumours were managed well.
“Managers must be honest and credible. You”ve got to be honest even if you don”t know what’’s going on. You”ve got to be available,” he said. (ANI)

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