Dec 21, 2012

Keep it quiet, but gossiping is good for an office

According to a recent study gossip can benefit a workplace as it increases awareness of colleagues who aren’t pulling their weight.

The research, conducted by a Dutch university, found up to 9 out of 10 everyday conversations could be described as ‘gossip’.

The study revealed how this can be beneficial in an office, as it can inform colleagues they are not contributing enough.

Even the risk of office gossip was found to be enough to make people increase their productivity.

The findings come as a result of 3 separate studies carried out on 220 respondents.

The first asked people to describe the last time they gossiped and their motives for doing so. It found collating and checking information was the most important reason for gossiping.

The second asked if people would gossip about someone who wasn’t pulling their weight at work. Findings showed people were more likely to gossip with someone from their social group, about someone from their social group who was shirking responsibility.

Would-be gossips said their main motive was to protect their group.

Finally 123 respondents were asked to imagine someone gossiping with them about another person. When they imagined this gossip was regarding a person avoiding work, it was viewed as less immoral

Dr Bianca Beersma from Amsterdam University where the research was conducted said:  “Gossip is often seen as exclusively self-serving behaviour aimed at manipulating others and influencing them in some malicious way.

“The results of our studies show that gossip may not always be as negative as one might believe at first.

“Gossip allows people to gather and validate information, to enjoy themselves with others, and to protect their group.”


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