May 02, 2008

Studies Show Office Gossipers Accrue Power

The Society for Human Resource Management summarizes several recent studies into the effects of gossip in the workplace. One study finds that women who engage in gossip are viewed as more powerful and as possessing more masculine traits. People who are big gossipers are seen as more dominant, aggressive and overtly communicative and as having a greater need to exert influence, according to Professor Sally Farley of Albright College in Reading, Pa. Although gossip enforces group norms, creates a sense of intimacy, and signals group boundaries, Farley cautions that gossip should not be encouraged. Understanding gossip is an important skill for managers, but the experts have no advice for controlling big workplace gossipers. (SHRM Online.)

Related post: Managing Workplace Gossip.


  1. Having studied gossip myself, I completely disagree with the statement that gossip should not be encouraged. My research concluded just the opposite.

  2. What about the violation of integrity? Have we tossed aside our ethics to survive in the workplace?

    I think not. Read Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (Howard Gardner,Mihaly Csikszentmihalhi, and William Damon)