Leaders and managers are faced daily with an avalanche of information. Sorting through the information and separating disinformation and misleading information from valuable information that provides insights can be challenging to say the least.
Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.
Unlike traditional propaganda techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole.
Misinformation, or misleading information is information that is unintentionally false. In other words the sender of misleading information may only have a portion of the entire story which when told unintentionally misleads an audience into the wrong conclusion.
People whom propagate disinformation usually have an agenda of manipulation for numerous reasons. Whether motivated for power or insecurity people will use disinformation to gain power or protect themselves from the truth. You can expect this type of propagation in any organization that has not effectively defined or developed an operating culture for the organization or its individual strategic business units. It is also true for organizations who have not defined the line between leadership and management.
On the other hand people whom propagate misinformation do so unintentionally by simply reporting information either as they hear or experience it being disseminated by internal and external word of mouth. Misinformation can also be created by reporting facts then adding ones own opinion to the facts reported.
In an organization whose culture and power is controlled by the few, disinformation and misinformation is used for internal positioning for more power and control. A 21st Century organization avoids disinformation and misleading information because power and control is decentralized making control and manipulation of information useless.
Organizational confusion can be significantly reduced if leadership and management have transformed their thinking and unleashed the power of empowerment. Then and only then can confusion be reduced and the organization can focus on useful information to serve the customer. The worst organizational confusion is when people think they serve management rather than the customer.