Scholar: Lisa Maletsky
Major: Psychology and Sociology
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Ramona Houmanfar
Research Topic: The Effect of Rule Accuracy and Inaccuracy on Communication and Productivity in an Organizational Analogue"
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine one component of environmental ambiguity pertaining to rule following behavior. Specifically, we are interested in the impact of accurate and inaccurate organizational rules on the number of instances of rumor, rumor duration, response accuracy, and inter-response time. Findings from recent studies in Dr. Ramona Houmanfar's experimental lab at the University of Nevada Reno have shown that when consequences no longer match the stated rule more incidences of rumor appear and productivity (response latency and response accuracy) worsens. According to psychological literature, rumor and gossip are viewed by researchers as potentially harmful to organizations and a better understanding of the impact of rumor and gossip is needed (Rosnow, 2001). Many workplaces are filled with ambiguous instructions and rules regarding how employees should perform. By knowing the impact that is created through ambiguous environments, we can assist managers in creating workplaces that are more harmonious.
The present study defines "rumor" as "psychological events in which an individual engages in verbal problem solving under the antecedent and consequential control of an apparent absence of effective rules (e.g., clear specification of organizational contingencies) and implementation of the associated contingencies" (Houmanfar & Johnson, 2003, p. 128). In other words, talking about a situation when it is not clear what is happening with that situation.
With regards to experimental methodology, there is a total of six experimental sessions utilizing exposures composed of three conditions: (A) accurate, (B) inaccurate low, and (C) inaccurate high. There are two participants working cooperatively on mathematical and memory tasks towards a cumulative goal (points). In the inaccurate low condition every correct response will earn participants points - anywhere from one to five points, and in the inaccurate high condition every correct response will earn participants point - ranging from thirty to thirty five points.
New Scholar: Fall 2008
Graduated With Baccalaureate Degree: May 2011
Masters or Doctoral Program Update: Accepted into the University of Nevada, Reno masters program in Public Health, Fall 2011.