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Short Term Effects of Gossip Behavior on Self-Esteem



Gossip is a frequent social activity, yet there is little research on the experience of providing gossip and how it impacts upon well-being of the gossiper. The present research aimed to investigate the effect of gossip behavior on the self-esteem of the gossiper. In Study 1, 140 participants were asked to write either a positive or negative description of a target person. Self-esteem was significantly reduced after providing a negative description but there was no effect of providing a positive one. In Study 2, 112 participants were asked to share information about someone they knew. Self-esteem decreased significantly regardless of the valence of the information. This research suggests that the act of gossiping is one which leads to self‐criticism regardless of valence.
Short term effects of gossip behavior on self-esteem
(Final published version available at
Jennifer M. Cole1, BSc., PhD, and Hannah Scrivener1, BSc.
1 Staffordshire University
Keywords: gossip, communication, subjective well-being, self-esteem
Jennifer Cole
Psychology, Sport and Exercise, Staffordshire University
The Science Centre, Leek Road,
ST4 2DF.
Telephone: +44(0)1782 294672
Gossip is a frequent social activity, yet there is little research on the experience of providing
gossip and how it impacts upon well-being of the gossiper. The present research aimed to
investigate the effect of gossip behavior on the self-esteem of the gossiper. In Study 1, 140
participants were asked to write either a positive or negative description of a target person. Self-
esteem was significantly reduced after providing a negative description but not after providing a
positive one. In Study 2, 112 participants were asked to share information about someone they
knew. Self-esteem decreased significantly regardless of the valence of the information. This
research suggests that the act of gossiping is one which leads to self-criticism regardless of
KEY WORDS: gossip, communication, subjective well-being, social support, self-esteem
Short term effects of gossip behavior on self-esteem
The act of engaging in evaluative talk about an absent third party or ‘gossip’ has traditionally
been considered as “trivial” (Fine and Rosnow, 1978, p. 161), however research on gossip in
recent years suggests a view of gossip as a frequent (Dunbar, Marriot and Duncan, 1997; Emler,
1990) and important (Dunbar, 2004; Foster, 2004) aspect of our social communication.
In modern gossip research, gossip is commonly referred to as “the exchange of personal
information (negative or positive) in an evaluative way (negative or positive) about absent third
parties (Foster, 2004, p 83). Key features of this definition are that the person being discussed is
not present, and that the discussion of them involves some evaluation. This may be observed in
what is said, or how it is said, although for the purposes of experimental scenarios, this often
refers to the content of the gossip.
Despite the shift in how gossip is viewed by psychologists away from being ‘trivial,’
there still remains little research on the causes and consequences of gossiping. Researchers have
argued that gossip is essential for the development and maintenance of social groups
(Baumeister, Zang and Vohs, 2004) but that gossipers are often disliked (e.g. Turner, Mazur,
Wendel and Winslow, 2003) due in part to potential negative effects on the victim of the gossip
(Bok, 1983; Einarsen and Skogstad, 1996). The gossiper may therefore be taking a risk by
engaging in gossip behavior. Yet gossip still takes place, with little known about how the
gossiper feels about being involved in this important but potentially socially undesirable
behavior. The aim of the current report is to present initial findings which examine the short term
effects of gossip on self-esteem.
There are four main functions of gossip: influence of others, provision of information,
provision of entertainment and facilitation of social bonding (Foster 2004; Stirling, 1956).
Gossipers therefore perform an important role in social groups. For example, through
identification of black sheep (Marques Yzerbyt and Leyens, 1988) and free riders (Enquist and
Leimar, 1993) they are able to negotiate group membership and could potentially enjoy elevated
social status within their group. For example, Jaeger, Skleder and Rosnow (1994) found that in a
group of sorority sisters those who were perceived as being gossipers within the sorority were
also seen by the other girls as being central to the group.
Potential benefits for gossipers are not only at group level; the social bonding function of
gossip may mean that gossipers feel closer to their listeners. Indeed, Peters and Kashima (2007)
found that even when talking negatively about others, if a listener shares a speaker’s emotional
reactions to the person being talked about, the listener feels closer to the speaker when those
reactions are shared. Rosnow and Fine (1976) also point out that often the sole purpose of gossip
is to pass the time and alleviate boredom; an activity which may also endear the gossiper to their
It would seem, therefore, that gossipers may feel good when engaging in gossip; that their
increased closeness with others, and elevated group status would result in increases in self-
esteem. However, much of gossip is negative (Leaper and Holliday, 1995). Talking about
someone negatively when they are not present could be considered as a violation of privacy
norms (Bok, 1983) or as attempting to interfere with the target’s reputation for the gossiper’s
own ends. Research by Wilson, Wylczinski, Wells and Weiser, (2002) shows that those who
engage in gossip are generally disliked, especially when their motives are seen as self serving.
There have been several studies which support the conclusion that those who gossip are disliked
even when the gossip is positive in tone (Turner et al., 2003.; Farley, Timme and Hart, 2010).
Gossipers may be aware of this effect; research demonstrating the ‘MUM’ effect shows
that participants are unwilling to pass on negative evaluations of someone even when they have
not authored the description (Blumberg, 1972; Uysal and Oner-Ozkan, 2007). It is also possible
that gossipers are aware of a general privacy norm not to speak about others when they are not
present (Bok, 1983) or not to be critical of others when they cannot defend themselves
(Holtgraves, 2001). An additional possibility is that gossipers suffer when they gossip due to
experiencing guilt about harming the target’s reputation. There appears to be no research which
looks at the effects of engaging in gossip behaviour on how the gossiper feels about themselves.
When examining the effects of gossiping experience on self-esteem it is clear that there
are theoretical factors which may predict both a decrease in self-esteem and an increase. Factors
which feed into an increase in self-esteem are related to feelings of closeness to others (related to
the social bonding functioning of gossip, Peters and Kashima 2007), providing that these views
are shared by the audience and that the gossip is responded to in a positive fashion by the listener
(i.e. encouraged, Leaper and Holliday 1995). Alternatively there may be tacit awareness of a
dislike of gossipers, (Farley, Timme and Hart, 2010) due to general awareness of the negative
consequences of gossip for the target of gossip, which provokes a decreased in self-esteem.
Of course all gossip behavior occurs in a social context; in a laboratory setting the
bonding experiences and group effects of gossip cannot easily be replicated. Therefore the
current research aims to provide a starting point for research into this area; to examine potential
effects of gossip on self-esteem where the gossiper cannot benefit from the social effects which
may offset any negative impact. If the effects of describing someone positively or negatively (i.e.
gossiping about them) merely represent the effects of encountered positive/negative stimuli, then
the pattern observed may simply be that self-esteem would increase with a positive description
and decrease with a negative description. However, if it is the specific act of gossiping which
affects the gossiper, then a detriment to self-esteem may be observed regardless of the valence of
the gossip.
Study 1
In this first study, the aim was to examine the effects of describing someone else on self-
esteem. Here all participants were asked to look at information about a target person. However,
some participants were required to formulate a negative evaluation of them, and some were
asked to formulate a positive one. An increase in self-esteem following positive descriptions, and
decrease following negative one, would suggest that gossipers suffer only when they describe
others negatively and that this may merely be due to the exposure to negative stimuli. This
explanation would also be suggested by an asymmetrical pattern where the decrease caused by a
negative description was greater than the benefit gained from a positive one. This asymmetrical
pattern has been observed frequently in social psychology when encountering positive and
negative stimuli (see Lewicka, Czapinski and Peeters, 1992, for a review). Alternatively, a
decrease in self-esteem following both positive and negative descriptions would suggest that it is
something specific about the act of gossip-type behavior which affects the self-esteem of
Participants and Design
140 participants took part in a 2 (valence of description; positive, negative) x 2 (time of
measurement: before description, after description) x 2 (sex of participant; male, female) mixed
design, where time of measurement was the within subjects variable. Participants were mostly
students from a British University or non-students visiting the University campus, consisting of
70 males and 70 females, aged 18 84 (M = 29.04, SD = 12.84). Participants were randomly
allocated to conditions (excepting allocation to groups by sex of participant).
Materials and procedure
Participants were told on the consent form for this study that they were taking part in an
information processing study. They were first asked to complete five items from the Rosenberg
(1965) self-esteem (SE) scale which asks participants to indicate the extent to which they agree
with statements pertaining to their perceived general personal worth, for example ‘At times I feel
that I am no good at all’ on a 5 point scale where 1 = not at all and 5 = very much so. This scale
was split into two halves to measure change in SE, to avoid demand characteristics, with one half
presented before the experimental task and one half afterwards. As this scale is very short,
participants may easily be able to remember their previous responses and attempt to replicate
them after the experimental task. Alternatively they may recognise that a change may be
expected and respond in line with what they perceive to be the expected change.
Participants were then presented with a photograph of a target person (there were four
possible target persons, two males and two females, the presentation of which was randomised
across conditions) and some demographic information about the target, including hobbies and
interests (this was the same across conditions). Participants were asked to imagine what the
person described might be like and write a description of them. Crucially, half of the participants
were asked to focus on any negative aspects of that person’s personality and the other half were
asked to focus positive aspects. Following the description, participants were asked to fill out the
second set of self-esteem items (there was a significant correlation between the two halves of the
scale; r(138) = .727, p < .001). Participants were then fully debriefed and thanked for their
Results and Discussion
The self-esteem items were averaged for ‘before description’ and ‘after description’ and
were entered into a 2 (valence of description; positive, negative) x 2 (time of measurement:
before description, after description) x 2 (sex of participant; male, female) mixed ANOVA,
where time of measurement was the within subjects variable. There was a main effect of sex on
self-esteem [F(1, 136) = 5.394, p = .022 η2 < .0.05] as men had higher self-esteem generally than
women, but there was no statistically significant interaction of sex with time [F(1, 136) = 2.483,
p = .117 η2 = 0.003] or with valence [F(1, 136) = 5.394, p = .022 η2 = 0.005] and no significant
three-way interaction between sex, time and valence [F(1, 136) = 0.020, p = .657 η2 < .0.001].
For this reason, the analyses below are collapsed across sex of participant.
The main effect of time on self-esteem was not statistically significant [F(1, 136) =
1.778, p = .185 η2 = 0.002]; the same applied to the main effect of valence [F(1, 136) = 0.496, p
= .483 η2 = 0.004]. However, there was a significant interaction between time and valence [F(1,
136) = 9.678, p = .002 η2 = 0.010]. Self-esteem was higher after a positive description (M = 3.18,
SD = 0.62) than it was before (M = 3.12, SD = 0.54), but this was not statistically significant
[t(69) = -1.186, p = .240, d = 0.108]. However, for negative descriptions, self-esteem was lower
after the description (M = 3.01, SD = 0.62) than it was before (M = 3.17, SD = 0.45) and this
difference was significant [t(69) = 3.337, p = .001, d = 0.288].
It appears, then, that negative descriptions have a much more pronounced effect on the
describer’s self-esteem than positive ones. This could be explained by positive-negative
asymmetry observed in other areas of social psychology where participants are asked to engage
in tasks involving positive versus negative stimuli (see Skowronski and Carlson, 1987, for
explanations of this effect). This study suggests that when taken out of the social context in
which gossip takes place, providing negative gossip about unknown others exposes the gossiper
to experience of negative stimuli. These negative stimuli, potentially pertaining to the character
and behavior of others, may transfer on to the gossiper, reducing self-esteem.
This task, where all participants describe the same of set of targets, does allow for a
degree of experimental control, but the extent to which this study simulates a transmission-of-
gossip scenario is limited. Generally the gossip which is most encouraged is that where the
listener shares the gossiper’s views (cf. Peters and Kashima, 2007); gossip is therefore usually
about someone known to at least the gossiper, if not also the listener (Baumeister et al., 2004). It
could therefore be argued that the effects of descriptions in Study 1 are in fact limited to those
resulting from experience of positive versus negative stimuli. This issue is addressed in Study 2,
where participants were required to think of someone they know, and share some information
about them.
Study 2
In this study, participants were placed in a scenario which, while still retaining some
control over what is shared, more closely simulated a gossip scenario. Participants were asked to
think of someone they knew, and share something about them (anonymously) by writing down a
few sentences for the experimenter; self-esteem was again measured before and after this task.
Similar predictions were formulated as for Study 1. A replication of the pattern in Study 1 would
support the theory that the effects of providing gossip on self-esteem are due to experience of
positive versus negative stimuli. If self-esteem is reduced in all conditions, however, this would
suggest that it is the act of gossiping alone which adversely affects self-esteem.
In this study an additional measure was included; the extent to which participants felt that
the information, should it also be shared in real life, would harm the reputation of the person
described. The aim of this measure was to explore the possibility that an act of gossip’s effect on
self-esteem can be explained by the gossiper’s perceptions of how the act would affect those they
discuss. It was predicted that any change in self-esteem would be associated with the extent to
which the gossiper perceived the description would harm the person described.
Participants and design
Participants were 112 female students studying Psychology at a British University. There
were no interactions of the key IVs with sex in the previous study, so the all-female sample for
Study 2 was not considered problematic. Participants were aged 18 44 years (M = 21.13, SD =
5.16 ) and were randomly allocated to a 2 (valence of gossip: positive, negative) x 2 (time of
measurement: before gossip, after gossip) mixed design where ‘time’ was the within subjects
Materials and design
Participants were asked to take part in a study about sharing information about others.
A decision was made not to label the task as ‘gossip’; people engage in gossip behavior without
labelling it gossip and may have individual ideas of what constitutes gossip. Half of the
participants were asked to share some information about the person they knew which portrayed
them in a negative way, and half were asked to share information which portrayed them in a
positive way. Participants were asked directly after the description about the extent to which they
thought the sharing of this information ‘in real life’ would harm the target (on a seven point scale
where 1 = Not very much and 7 = Very much so).
Self-esteem was again measured using Rosenberg’s (1965) self-esteem scale and the
change was measured by splitting the scale into two; half of the scale was rated before the
description and half afterwards. There was a high correlation between the two measures of self-
esteem [r(110) = .641, p < .001]. After completing the second half of the self-esteem scale,
participants were debriefed and thanked for participation.
Results and Discussion
The effect of gossip on self-esteem was analysed in a 2 (valence of gossip; positive,
negative) x 2 (time of measurement of self-esteem; before gossip, after gossip) mixed ANOVA
where time was the within subjects factor. The main effect of valence of gossip on self-esteem
was not statistically significant [F(1, 109) = .006, p = .941, η2 < .001], although there was a main
effect of time [F(1, 109) = .6.791, p = .010, η2 = 0.059]. There was however no statistically
significant interaction between time and valence [F(1, 109) = 2.49, p = .117, η2 = .022]. It would
seem that self-esteem was lower after the sharing information (Mpos = 4.75, SDpos = 1.44; Mneg =
4.57, SDneg = 1.57) than before sharing the information (Mpos = 5.47, SDpos = 1.10; Mneg = 5.60,
SDneg = 0.91), regardless of valence.
The extent to which change in self-esteem was associated with perceptions of harm for
the target was then explored. The change in self-esteem between the two time points (before and
after the description) was calculated by subtracting self-esteem before the description from self-
esteem after the description; a negative value would therefore indicate a drop in self-esteem.
This difference measure was then correlated with the perceptions of harm measure. There was no
significant correlation between the two measures for positive descriptions [r(55) = .123, p =
.363], or for negative descriptions [r(52) = -.049, p = .723].
This study suggests that there may be some effects of sharing information about others
which cannot easily be explained by mere exposure to negative stimuli. In this study, talking
about someone you know when they are not present resulted in a reduction in self-esteem for
both positive and negative descriptions. However, the drop in self-esteem suffered by
participants involved in the sharing information task in Study 2 cannot be explained by
anticipated consequences for the person discussed (should the information be shared). This could
be explained by the hypothetical nature of the ‘harm’ measure. Realistically, no harm can come
to the person described through the information being shared anonymously to a psychology
researcher. Participants had to imagine that they shared the information in real life. It is possible
that this was not compelling enough for any perceived harm to be picked up by the simple
perceived harm measure used here.
General discussion
The research presented here suggests that there may be adverse effects of gossip-type
behavior on self-esteem. In Study 1, participants who were asked to describe an unknown target
person positively benefited slightly in terms of increased self-esteem, but this was not
significant. The effect of describing an unknown target negatively produced a much larger effect
and resulted in a significant drop in self-esteem. This could be explained by positive-negative
asymmetry; that participants experienced a lack of significant increase and a larger decrease in
self-esteem due to the asymmetrical effects of exposure to positive and negative stimuli. The task
in Study 2 improved upon Study 1 in that participants were asked to share information about
someone they knew. This task was much closer to the experience of everyday gossip, though it
still lacked the social context. The results of Study 2 suggest that sharing information about
someone known to you causes a decrease in self-esteem regardless of the valence of the
description. This was not explained by the extent to which the descriptions would be harmful if
shared in real life; another feature of gossip may be causing participants to feel bad when they
Potential candidate variables for explaining the effect in Study 2 include the extent to
which participants feel they are violating social norms. Several theorists (e.g. Barkow, 1992;
Taylor, 1994) argue that gossip represents a morally reprehensible act because it violates the
privacy of the person being described as well as politeness norms which dictate that we are not
critical of others when they cannot respond to the criticism (Holtgraves, 2001). If gossipers are
aware that they are violating these privacy norms then they may feel guilty when sharing the
information (Yerkovich 1977), resulting lowered self-esteem (O’Connor, Berry and Weiss,
Alternatively, it is also possible that gossipers possess implicit knowledge of the dislike
suffered by those who gossip. It has been found in previous research that gossipers are not
considered likeable by others (Farley, 2011; Turner et al., 2003; Wilson et al., 2002) and
gossipers may be no different in holding this view, despite their engagement with gossiping. This
could operate in a mechanism similar to stereotype threat; gossipers are aware that gossiping is
socially undesirable so sharing information about others leads them to feel disliked, reducing
self-esteem. Future research would need to explicitly address the extent to which perceptions of
norm violation and/or awareness of meta-stereotypes regarding gossip behavior can explain
drops in self-esteem following an information sharing activity such as this.
The picture provided by the present research of how gossipers feel when they gossip is
not complete. This research represents only a starting point for further research into the
interaction between gossip behavior and self-esteem of the gossiper. Research on the causes and
consequences of certain types of gossip behavior is sparse; there are recent exceptions to this
(e.g. Farley, 2011) but the present research shows that there are many unanswered questions
about the mechanics of gossip and effects of gossip behavior on those involved, both in the long
and short term.
It appears from the present findings, however, that gossipers may suffer twofold from
evaluations following their gossip behavior; previous research shows that they may be evaluated
harshly by onlookers, and the present research suggests that they may evaluate themselves
harshly for sharing information about others. As well as looking more closely at the explanations
for this effect, more investigation is needed into why gossipers continue to engage in such
behavior when there are such potentially negative consequences. One plausible explanation is
that the immediate social bonding benefits afforded by sharing gossip override any thoughts
about potential negative consequences. In the present research the sharing information activity in
Study 2 fits the technical definition of gossip, but the social context and therefore social bonding
opportunities were missing. This could be rectified by introducing a confederate into an
experimental gossip scenario. A clearer picture could then be gained about whether social
bonding benefits offset any resulting drops in self-esteem.
In summary, although the present research raises many questions, it is clear that gossip
behavior does affect the self-esteem of those who engage in it. This may merely be the result of
exposure to potentially negative stimuli, or from engaging in behavior which is perceived to be
anti-normative. It remains clear that the act of gossiping warrants further investigation.
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... Yang kedua, ucapan tersebut merugikan orang lain. Beberapa kerugian yang mungkin didapat dari ucapan tersebut adalah hilangnya harga diri (Cole & Scrivener, 2013;Dijksterhuis, 2004), rusaknya nama baik, dan kerugian lain yang timbul akibat ucapan tersebut, seperti depresi, kesedihan, kecemasan, atau ketakutan (Aghbolagh & Ardabili, 2016;Kong, 2018;Zou et al., 2020). ...
... Perhaps participants felt they would want to share positive gossip more because they knew negative gossip was wrong (Caivano et al., 2020). The decision to further transmit negative gossip could have led them to feel poorly about themselves (Cole & Scrivener, 2013). Together, the findings from the current study and previous gossip research might suggest that there is a disconnect between how children and adolescents think they should respond to gossip and how they actually spontaneously behave. ...
Full-text available
The current study examined children and adolescents' hypothetical responses to hearing negative or positive gossip shared by a friend or a classmate that targeted either a friend or a classmate. Participants (N = 134, ages 8-16) read eight stories and were asked to take the perspective of the gossip listener and indicate how they would respond, a 2 (valence: negative or positive) Â 4 (relationship type: friend or classmate of the sharer and target) design. Participants' responses to how they would react were coded as encouraging, neutral, or discouraging. The findings showed that negative gossip shared by a classmate that targeted a friend had more discouraging responses than negative gossip shared by a friend targeting a classmate. Furthermore, positive gossip shared by a friend that targeted another friend had more neutral responses than positive gossip shared by a classmate that targeted a friend or another classmate, which had more encouraging responses. Age and gender differences revealed that adolescents provided more neutral responses overall, compared to children, and girls provided more discouraging responses for negative gossip than boys. This study provides information on how children and adolescents think they should respond to gossip. This can help school
... Most other studies address the frustration of particular needs, including self-esteem and relatedness. With regard to self-esteem needs, studies have reported that self-esteem is reduced after perpetrating various transgressions, including ostracism (Zadro, Williams, & Richardson, 2005), rejection (Jamieson, Valdesolo, & Peters, 2014), and gossip (Cole & Scrivener, 2013), partly because these acts run counter to one's positive self-view and can lead actors to feel bad about themselves. ...
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Negative workplace behavior has received substantial research attention over the past several decades. Although we have learned a lot about the consequences of negative behavior for its victims and third-party observers, a less understood but equally important research question pertains to the consequences for bad actors: How does engaging in negative behavior impact one’s thoughts, feelings, and subsequent behaviors? Moreover, do organizational members experience costs or benefits from engaging in negative acts? We address these questions with an integrative review of empirical findings on various actor-centric consequences of a wide range of negative behaviors. We organize these findings into five dominant theoretical perspectives: affective, psychological-needs, relational, psychological-resources, and cognitive-dissonance perspectives. For each perspective, we provide an overview of the theoretical arguments, summarize findings of relevant studies underlying it, and discuss observed patterns and contradictory findings. By doing so, we provide a very tentative answer to our initial questions, contending that engaging in negative acts is a two-edged sword for actors and its costs seem to slightly prevail over its benefits. Nevertheless, we make this preliminary conclusion based upon an incomplete knowledge base. In order to further our understanding of actor-centric outcomes of negative behavior, we also identify several important research gaps and needed future research directions.
... Besnier, 1989), diary studies that utilize a structured diary record with seven-point scale questions and open questions (Waddington, 2005), experimental research (e.g. Cole & Scrivener, 2013), online research that focuses on conversations on electronic bulletin boards (Harrington & Bielby, 1995), questionnaire studies (e.g. Baumeister et al., 2004;Grosser et al., 2010) and interview studies (e.g. ...
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This essay sets out the case for regarding confidential gossip as a significant concept in the study of organizations. It develops the more general concept of gossip by combining it with concepts of organizational secrecy in order to propose confidential gossip as a distinctive communicative practice. As a communicative practice, it is to be understood as playing a particular role within the communicative constitution of organizations. That particularity arises from the special nature of any communication regarded as secret, which includes the fact that such communication is liable to be regarded as containing the ‘real truth’ or ‘insider knowledge’. Thus it may be regarded as more than ‘just gossip’ and also as more significant than formal communication. This role is explored, as well as the methodological and ethical challenges of studying confidential gossip empirically.
... (De Even before the actual performance of a product is known to (or perceived by) relevant others, they may make judgments about the adopter based on their own assessments of the performance and financials risks of a follower product. Importantly, in many cases the potential adopter's perception of perceived risk will be shared with others in his or her social circle as a means of social bonding (Baumeister and Leary 1995;Cole and Scrivener 2013;Dunbar 2004). These shared assessments typically reflect interpersonal exchanges of information, as well as the use of common information sources (e.g., exchanges with acquaintances who have product-relevant expertise and exposure to impersonal information sources such as websites and blogs). ...
The authors examine the roles of four dimensions of risk (performance, financial, social, and emotional) in decisions to switch from a pioneer product to a follower product in a collectivist culture (Japan). The authors hypothesize that the emotional risk of switching is positively related to the perceived levels of performance, financial, and social risks of switching. These hypotheses are tested with data collected from over 500 iPad owners in Japan using structural equation modeling. Findings indicate that emotional risk has a negative relationship with follower-product purchase intent and positive relationships with the perceived performance and social risks of Android tablets. In addition, perceived social risk has a positive relationship with perceived performance and financial risk. Finally, performance, financial, and social risk have indirect relationships with purchase intent that are partially mediated by emotional risk.
... However, academic research devotes little attention to what gossipers perceive and experience when they share this non-official information and personal judgments in the organization [13,14]. Gossip is viewed as a mean of informal knowledge sharing, and this valuable personal knowledge is taken as personal property in workplace competition [15]. ...
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Increasing attention is drawn to the effect of workplace gossip on the organization. Negative workplace gossip is a negative evaluation of others behind their back in the workplace. Based on the cognitive dissonance theory, the study explored the relationship between negative workplace gossip and knowledge sharing, through the mediation of organizational trust and the moderation of self-efficacy. The regression results of a two-stage questionnaire survey on 173 Chinese employees suggested that negative workplace gossip negatively influenced employees’ knowledge sharing through organizational trust. Additionally, findings also showed that self-efficacy moderated the mediation of organizational trust in the relationship between negative workplace gossip and knowledge sharing. This research provided a new theoretical perspective on the impact of workplace gossip, which has management implications for informal communication and team-building.
This paper presents a meta-analysis on workplace gossip as a predictor of individual, relational, and organizational outcomes. Our systematic review yielded 52 independent studies ( n = 14,143). Results suggested that negative workplace gossip has a more deleterious association with workplace outcomes than positive gossip. Furthermore, findings indicated that negative gossip has a disproportionately negative association with attitudinal/affective outcomes and coworker relationships for targets of gossip. Unexpectedly, results also suggested that senders and recipients of negative gossip may also experience highly deleterious outcomes; in fact, the relations between negative gossip and well-being, engagement/performance, supervisor relationships, and organizational outcomes were more negative for gossip participants than targets, although the direction of causality for these relations has yet to be conclusively determined. Overall, our results suggest that organizations and managers should take seriously the threat of negative gossip to the health of the organization at large, while simultaneously leveraging the potential benefits of positive gossip. Plain Language Summary This paper presents a meta-analysis on the topic of workplace gossip as a predictor of work-relevant outcomes. Results—which were based on 52 independent studies that, in total, employed 14,143 independent research participants—suggested that negative workplace gossip has a worse impact on individual, relational, and organizational outcomes than positive gossip does. Furthermore, our findings indicated that targets of negative gossip experience the worst outcomes in terms of attitudes/affect and coworker relationships, when compared with the outcomes of individuals who exchanged the gossip. Unexpectedly, patterns of results also suggested that individuals who exchange negative gossip at work may also experience highly deleterious outcomes, although the direction of causality for these relations has yet to be conclusively determined. Overall, our results suggest that organizations and managers should take seriously the threat of negative gossip to the health of the organization at large, and may also be able to leverage the potentially beneficial effects of positive gossip. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our results.
Amaç – Bu çalışmanın amacı örgütsel dedikodu kavramının örgütsel davranış yazını başta olmak üzere sosyal antropoloji, sosyal psikoloji, sosyoloji gibi yönetim yazını ile ilişkilendirilen çalışmaların bibliyometrik analiz yöntemi ile değerlendirilerek, Türk yazınında örgütsel dedikodu olgusuna yönelik yapılacak olan çalışmalara yön göstermektir. Yöntem – Web of Science Core Collection veri tabanında yer alan dedikodu ve örgütsel dedikodu kavramlarına yönelik 1990-2020 yılları arasında yayınlanan 681 makale bibliyometrik analiz yöntemiyle atıf analizi, bibliyografik eşleştirme, ortak atıf analizi, ortak-varlık analizi, ortak yazar ve bibliyometrik haritalama analizleri aracılığıyla değerlendirilmiştir. Bulgular – Araştırma sonuçlarına göre dedikodu alanında en çok çalışılan konuların sosyal medya, sosyal ağ, kurumsal itibar, güç, iletişim, güven, şiddet olduğu örgütsel dedikodu kavramına yönelik olarak ise en çok çalışılan konuların proaktif davranışları, örgütsel dışlanma, kurumsal sosyal sorumluluk, sosyal sermaye, duygusal düzenleme, negatif duygular, sinizm, güç, itibar yönetimi, örgütsel sapma davranışı, örgütsel güven, mobbing, tükenmişlik, bilgi arama davranışı olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Tartışma – Dedikodu yazınına yönelik literatüre önemli katkılar sağlayan çalışmalar bulunsa da, konunun örgütsel davranış yazını kapsamında bütüncül bir incelemesine yönelik çalışmalar yetersiz kalmaktadır. Bu nedenle gelecek araştırma yönelimlerinin mevcut yazında yer alan perspektiflerden hareketle, örgütsel dedikodunun örgütler arası ve örgüt düzeyinde incelenmesi önerilmektedir.
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Reputation effects are crucial for social life. There has been important work done in the social sciences on this topic and Raub's contribution has been widely recognized. It builds on Granovetter's seminal work on embeddedness. However, Raub's contribution is unnecessarily limited by the fact that he copied Granovetter's error by assuming that all we need for dealing with reputation effects is attention to social structure (in the sense of networks) and to rational choice as a theory about actors. In our contribution, we argue that if reputation effects in the moral domain (compared to reputation effects in the domain of competence) work properly they inform people about the salience of overarching goals, including the very goal to follow normative obligations. To understand the conditions under which this happens necessitates attention to normative embeddedness, to norma-tive heterogeneity, to structural features beyond networks (ingroup/outgroup dynamics and power differences), and to the mechanisms that govern the dynamics of overarching goals. This requires a serious correction of Granovetter's error, by approaching reputation effects in the moral domain on the basis of microfoundations that can deal with the interdependence between psychological processes and social structure.
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The authors examine the role of three social motivations (social bonding, social comparison, and the sharing of social norm information) in generating word-of-mouth (WOM) among consumers in a culture (Japan) where many consumers have an interdependent construal of self. Based on existing discussions of East Asian cultures in general and Japanese culture in particular, the authors hypothesized that these social motivations would be positively associated with the generation of WOM among Japanese consumers. To test these hypotheses, the authors surveyed 618 Japanese mothers who had purchased products designed to protect the health, safety, or well-being of their children. The resulting data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Findings indicate that, among Japanese consumers, the generation of both positive and negative word-of-mouth is a function of the desire to share social information. In addition, positive WOM is positively related to the desire for social comparison, while negative WOM is positively related to the desire for social bonding. Finally, the desire for social bonding has positive and significant indirect relationships with both positive and negative WOM.
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Recent research has focused on the positive consequences of guilt as opposed to shame. The present studies investigated the relationship between interpersonal guilt related to the fear of harming others, shame, and various measures of psychological distress and symptoms. The Interpersonal Guilt Questionnaire, The Guilt Inventory, the Test of Self-Conscious Affect, the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory were administered to samples of college students. These results suggest that interpersonal guilt, when elevated and linked to pathogenic beliefs, may also be associated with psychological problems and indicate that there may be a down side to guilt.
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Although scholars have discussed the occurrence of gossip in social situations, gossip's function as a social influence tool has received little theoretical attention. Of particular interest is the issue of whether gossip is untrustworthy, leading to relational demise, or whether gossip can lead to perceived liking, trust, and expertise. The prediction was made that whether gossip acts as relational ruin or social glue depends on the valence of the gossip and the type of relationship among the communicators. It was proposed that source cue perceptions will be the function of an interaction between relationship type and gossip valence. Specifically, friends' judgments will not be affected by gossip valence, but strangers' assessments of liking, trust, and expertise will increase when gossip is positive and will decrease when gossip is negative (when controlling for propensity to gossip). An experiment was designed to test these predictions. The data indicated that both positive and negative gossip are perceived negatively for both friends and strangers.
THE functions served, the motivations at work, and the psychological mechanisms employed in gossip are varied and multiple and may be beneficent or malevolent in nature. Gossip, or an equivalent, appears to be common to all mankind. In its news-bearing aspects, gossip serves a useful purpose in communicating information. It is also a means of passing time, and, as chit-chat, it offers a means of recreation and tends to solidify group-member identification.
The nature and meaning of gossip are discussed, drawing upon interdisciplinary observations. Gossiping is not restricted to one modality of expression. Nor is gossip merely "idle talk!' (the common definition), but instead purposeful communication that appears to serve three primary functions-information, influence, and entertainment. Implications for further inquiry and theoretical integration are noted.