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A self-presentational approach to transmission of good and bad news

People are reluctant to transmit bad news, a tendency named as the MUM effect. One explanation of this effect suggests that people do not want to construct negative impressions by being associated with bad news. In this study, transmission of good and bad news was examined from an impression management perspective. University students (N = 275) participated in a scenario study, with the valence of the news (good/bad) and outcome dependence on the recipient (high/low) as independent variables and transmission likelihood as dependent variable. Four variables, anticipated likeability, gratitude, perceived favor doing and ulterior motives, were assessed to form an ingratiation mediator. Results showed that participants were more likely to transmit good news than bad news. Also a significant interaction effect was obtained. In a high dependence condition participants were more likely to transmit good news and less likely to transmit bad news than participants in a low dependence condition. Moreover, the ingratiation construct significantly mediated the relationship investigated. In the second study (N = 74) similar findings were obtained except the interaction effect of dependence and news valence.