Behavior: Tending the Grapevine

Employers who hope to conceal such impending changes as layoffs, work cutbacks and personnel shifts might just as well give up: the word will get to their employees on the company grapevine. So concludes Keith Davis, a professor of management at Arizona State University, who has been studying office and factory rumors for 20 years. "With the rapidity of a burning powder train," Davis asserts, "information flows out of the woodwork, past the manager's door and the janitor's mop closet, through steel walls or construction-glass partitions." Moreover, "well over three-fourths" of company rumors are accurate.

According to Davis, people underestimate the reliability...

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