William (Bill) Sanders
Indiana Wesleyan University
NOTATION: The instructions for this week’s assignments cited this article as being written by Birkinshaw, J., & Crainer, S. No such article exists in any database in the OCLS written by either of these individuals. Here is my submission based on the only article by that title I was able to locate from the Harvard Business Review.
In the article “It’s not “unprofessional” to gossip at work” published for Idea Watch’s Defend Your Research series for the Harvard Business Review, Giuseppe “Joe” Labianca defended the research findings he achieved in a study of a branch of a U.S. company regarding gossip. Labianca conducted this study with the cooperation and assistance of two (2) doctoral candidates in management; Travis J. Grosser and Virginie Lopez-Kidwell. In the study, the team examined the social interactions of a group of thirty (30) of the company’s forty (40) employees by surveying them about their social networks in the office, who they gossiped with and how, and how much informal influence each colleague had. They found the more staff members gossiped, the better their understanding of their social environment and the higher their peers rated their influence. Labianca concluded that gossip can benefit individuals and organizations, though managers often consider all of it to be derogatory and tend to punish gossipers with lower performance ratings.
Significance to Organizational Behavior:
Gossiping usually develops as a result of a problem with an organization’s communication’s process; one of the tenets of organizational behavior assessments. Quite often, the flow of information from the top gets choked off. This often happens when companies are in crisis or undergoing change. If a few people know what’s really going on, gossip becomes the means of spreading that information to everyone else. What’s more, research shows that gossip...