The positive and powerful side of office gossip

Gossip on the job is an inevitable part of corporate culture. No matter how hard supervisors and HR try to squelch it, gossip will find a way to live on. While hurtful gossip can be detrimental to company culture and may negatively alter coworkers’ perceptions of each other, new research is showing that a little bit of harmless gossip can actually be a good thing.

A recent SHRM article reviewed academic research revealing that women who engage in office gossip are seen as more powerful and as possessing more masculine traits than their other female coworkers.

The studies out of Albright College focused on women and the perceived relationship between gossip and power in an organization. Big gossipers are seen as “significantly more powerful, more masculine and less feminine than low gossipers.” They’re also seen as more controlling and less emotionally warm, even around friends, according to the Albright studies.

People who gossip in the office are perceived as more dominant and aggressive, as gatekeepers of information and "in the know." Those office gatekeepers will often use gossip to “reaffirm their own power within the organization."

Gossip may not always be a bad thing in the office. According to Pat Farrell at WebMD, it may help create group norms and strengthens bonds among those in a group.

It helps us to learn the “rules” of the office and eases the transition into a new corporate culture if one is new to a job.

Just like how a coffee break can help renew your energy level at work and de-stress, a few minutes of chatting about the latest gossip floating around the office “may be just what the doctor ordered,” Farrell says.

No comments:


Labels :

Copyright (c) 2010. Blogger templates by Bloggermint