Gossip in organizations: contexts, consequences, and controversies

G. Michelson*, A.T.M. van Iterson, K. Waddington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

78 Citations (Web of Science)


This article examines the key themes surrounding gossip including its contexts, the various outcomes (positive and negative) of gossip, as well as a selection of challenges and controversies. The challenges that are highlighted revolve around definitional issues, methodological approaches, and ethical considerations. The authors’ analysis suggests that the characteristics and features of gossip lend itself to a process-oriented approach whereby the beginning and, particularly, end points of gossip are not always easily identified. Gossip about a subject or person can temporarily disappear only for it to resurface at some later stage. In addition, questions pertaining to the effects of gossip and ethical-based arguments depend on the nature of the relationships within the gossip triad (gossiper, listener/respondent, and target).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-390
JournalGroup & Organization Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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