Salford Business School 03.01.20

Gossip in the workplace can be good for you

New research has revealed that gossip in the workplace can have a positive impact on employees.

The University of Salford’s Professor Kirk Chang, Professor of Human Resource Management, has conducted fascinating research into gossip in the workplace and the impact on employee cynicism, involving 307 employees in 24 companies operating in a range of industries in Taiwan.

His research found that 61% of gossip in the workplace is positive, and while the impact is not hugely significant, it could be considered beneficial. Encouraging a more open attitude towards positive workplace gossip – i.e. water cooler/kitchen chat should not be viewed as wasting time, but as an important mechanism for facilitating interactions.

It was also concluded that negative gossip causes employees to have feelings of cynicism, frustration, hopelessness and contempt towards the employer, thereby undermining management and the organisation as a whole. Cynics at work are more suspicious of the motives of their employers and believe that managers may exploit their contributions.

Professor Chang has had this study published in the January 2020 issue of The Chinese Journal of Psychology.

Photo credit: Professor Kirk Chang 

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