Workplace gossip could be a good thing. Weh, di nga? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

office gossip could be a good thing

From wild rumors to whispers at the coffee machine, gossip is an integral part of corporate life. While this practice often has negative connotations, one study claims that it can be beneficial in certain circumstances.

The authors of this paper, published in the journal Group & Organization Management, came to this surprising conclusion after surveying 338 healthcare professionals. They discussed with them several topics relating to the social function of gossip in the workplace. They asked them about their perceptions of gossip when it concerned colleagues, superiors or the company employing them.

The researchers found that gossip can be useful when it concerns management or the company. And, surprisingly, participants in the study gave more credence to hearsay when it was of a positive nature. They are more interested in gossip that could improve or solidify corporate culture, than in that which conveys negative, anxiety-provoking ideas.

You might expect the more negative rumors to be seen as a tactic to gain power, the person spreading them wanting to attract attention and have their moment in the spotlight. But the academics noted that the study participants didn’t think this way.

“If anything, we found that people didn’t value that type of gossip as information and just saw it as someone who wants to complain,” study co-author, Jinhee Moon, said in a statement.

This research also reports that “positive” office gossip, ie, that which serves to initiate discussion and encourage dialogue, can contribute to employee loyalty.

“If you’re experiencing difficulty where you work, maybe you want to participate in positive gossip with your colleagues and talk about some of the more bearable aspects of the organization. Eventually, that can help you gain some personal power. It’s a very convenient way to reduce negative feelings toward your own workplace, which can help you more in the long run,” says Jinhee Moon.

According to the academics, it’s important for employers to be aware of the positive and negative impact that gossip can have. They need to create a sufficiently serene working atmosphere so that their teams don’t see gossip as the only possible alternative to their need for recognition or their fear of the unknown.

“To make employees participate in positive gossip, the organization should do the right things by treating their employees well, and being aware their behaviors can show they care about their employees,” concludes Jinhee Moon.

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