Dr. Sharkey Publishes Research on Breaking Bad News

What do you think about before breaking bad news to someone? New research from Communicology Professor, Dr. Bill Sharkey, and Associate Professor Jayson Dibble of Hope College explores the answer to this question. Their research article, “Before Breaking Bad News: Relationships Among Topic, Reasons for Sharing, Messenger Concerns, and the Reluctance to Share the News,” was recently published in Communication Quarterly. In this study, Drs. Dibble and Sharkey examined the decision making process that people engage in when they have to reluctantly deliver bad news. In this, they focused on the topics of the news, individuals’ reasons for giving bad news, the concerns individuals had prior to giving bad news, the perceived negativeness of the news, the degree of reluctance experienced by individuals prior to sharing the bad news, the origin of the bad news (i.e., locus), and the associations between each of these variables. The researchers found that messengers reported more reluctance to share bad news when they (the messengers) were the origin of the news than when they were not, and that messengers’ reluctance to share bad news was greater when the topic was seen as more extreme or negative.

The full research article is available at the journal’s website: http://tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01463373.2017.1286363?journalCode=rcqu20