The rumour mill

19 March 2004

It’s been a busy week. John Gray has been visiting from Australia as we are working on a research project together. Because of this, I’ve also spent some time with an RA (Research Assistant) who is working on the project with me. As, it happens she is an alumnus of MGMT 301. Somewhat unexpectedly, she raised the question of “Would the simulation be reset after the practice roll-overs, or would it just carry on?”

It seems that she and has a number of friends who are currently in MGM 301, and the question is apparently up for many in the class, and apparently it has been the cause of some concern, as illustrated by the question and reflections below.

I have been told that the simulation was not reset after the practice rollovers in previous semesters.

For the next two hours, we were exactly like those people stuck in the Pyrenees but not with one map but two. I told the team that we needed to come to a decision a common ground, otherwise the strategies put forward would have conflicting underlying assumptions. Oh, I could see the other teams moving ahead with their strategies in blissful ignorance while we were going to die in the mountains due to information! So desperate was I that, I and the team) we visited Darl and Peter’s office three times. As it was outside office hours we were out of luck, I resorted to email. I really didn’t want to because I felt that I would be able to better gauge the response with some cues. I actually said this to Darl (in the email) and I got back a response from Peter about trust, reliability (Full story at Conspiracy theory)

The RA and I spent a pleasant 15 minutes talking about her experiences of MGMT 301 and the facts that people in her class believed about Net Mike. Our discussion got me thinking about the way rumours seem to spread through the class. I rarely think, or imagine, that people in the class talk about the class to one another; that’s probably a reflection of my own undergraduate experience–we never talked about the class as there was too much else going on. But, when remained about cases like this, it is fascinating to me that there is a grapevine and that it is alive and well.

It seems to happen most semesters that some new truth bubbles to the surface about what is will happen in the future. I’ve never been able to find out where these rumours start from. On the few times I’ve tried to track them down, I can never get past the I had a friend who did the course a few years ago; people are unwilling to share that confidence.

Of course, what comes to my attention are the cases when the grapevine disseminates bad information; I probably never hear about all the times the grapevine is 100 per cent accurate. I’d be interested to hear from the class (in the form of comments to this entry), about the useful information that has come through the grapevine (and perhaps how it has been useful). I say this, because I’m wondering if there should be something extra in the black book.

Talking about the black book, I’m wondering if there is too much in it–does information overload occur. Or, perhaps the black book needs to provide a better map to aid people’s understanding.

I could go on at some length about the things it would be helpful to know from the class–we glean a lot of information from the meetings with the teams, and from the assignments (that are yet to come). But often, the impact of little details (like the article How to win at Net Mike) do not get revealed to us in anything other than a off-hand way.

What I’m saying is, that perhaps it would be helpful to have a more complex and complete dialogue with people in the class–to see if there is a better way than the grapevine–but I’m not sure of the extent to which people want that sort of connection.