Gossip is a mass medium or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling.
Gossip has been researched in terms of its origins in evolutionary psychology,which has found gossip to be an important means for people to monitor cooperative reputations and so maintain widespread indirect reciprocity. Indirect reciprocity is a social interaction in which one actor helps another and is then benefited by a third party. Gossip has also been identified by Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary biologist, as aiding social bonding in large groups.
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The word is from Old English godsibb, from god and sibb , the term for the godparents of one's child or the parents of one's godchild, generally very close friends. In the 16th century, the word assumed the meaning of a person, mostly a woman, one who delights in idle talk, a newsmonger, a tattler.In the early 19th century, the term was extended from the talker to the conversation of such persons. The verb to gossip, meaning "to be a gossip", first appears in Shakespeare.
The term originates from the bedroom at the time of childbirth. Giving birth used to be a social event exclusively attended by women. The pregnant woman's female relatives and neighbours would congregate and idly converse. Over time, gossip came to mean talk of others.
Others say that gossip comes from the same root as "gospel" — it is a contraction of "good spiel", meaning a good story.
Mary Gormandy White, a human resource expert, gives the following "signs" for identifying workplace gossip:
White suggests "five tips ... [to] handle the situation with aplomb:
Peter Vajda identifies gossip as a form of workplace violence, noting that it is "essentially a form of attack." Gossip is thought by many to "empower one person while disempowering another" (Hafen). Accordingly, many companies have formal policies in their employee handbooks against gossip.Sometimes there is room for disagreement on exactly what constitutes unacceptable gossip, since workplace gossip may take the form of offhand remarks about someone's tendencies such as "He always takes a long lunch," or "Don’t worry, that’s just how she is."
TLK Healthcare cites as examples of gossip, "tattletaling to the boss without intention of furthering a solution or speaking to co-workers about something someone else has done to upset us." Corporate email can be a particularly dangerous method of gossip delivery, as the medium is semi-permanent and messages are easily forwarded to unintended recipients; accordingly, a Mass High Tech article advised employers to instruct employees against using company email networks for gossip.Low self-esteem and a desire to "fit in" are frequently cited as motivations for workplace gossip. There are five essential functions that gossip has in the workplace (according to DiFonzo & Bordia):
According to Kurkland and Pelled, workplace gossip can be very serious depending upon the amount of power that the gossiper has over the recipient, which will in turn affect how the gossip is interpreted. There are four types of power that are influenced by gossip:
Some negative consequences of workplace gossip may include:
Turner and Weed theorize that among the three main types of responders to workplace conflict are attackers who cannot keep their feelings to themselves and express their feelings by attacking whatever they can. Attackers are further divided into up-front attackers and behind-the-back attackers. Turner and Weed note that the latter "are difficult to handle because the target person is not sure of the source of any criticism, nor even always sure that there is criticism."
It is possible however, that there may be illegal, unethical, or disobedient behavior happening at the workplace and this may be a case where reporting the behavior may be viewed as gossip. It is then left up to the authority in charge to fully investigate the matter and not simply look past the report and assume it to be workplace gossip.
Informal networks through which communication occurs in an organization are sometimes called the grapevine. In a study done by Harcourt, Richerson, and Wattier, it was found that middle managers in several different organizations believed that gathering information from the grapevine was a much better way of learning information than through formal communication with their subordinates (Harcourt, Richerson & Wattier).
Some see gossip as trivial, hurtful and socially and/or intellectually unproductive. Some people view gossip as a lighthearted way of spreading information. A feminist definition of gossip presents it as "a way of talking between women, intimate in style, personal and domestic in scope and setting, a female cultural event which springs from and perpetuates the restrictions of the female role, but also gives the comfort of validation." (Jones, 1990:243)
In Early Modern England the word "gossip" referred to companions in childbirth, not limited to the midwife. It also became a term for women-friends generally, with no necessary derogatory connotations. (OED n. definition 2. a. "A familiar acquaintance, friend, chum", supported by references from 1361 to 1873). It commonly referred to an informal local sorority or social group, who could enforce socially acceptable behaviour through private censure or through public rituals, such as "rough music", the cucking stool and the skimmington ride.
In Thomas Harman’s Caveat for Common Cursitors 1566 a ‘walking mort’ relates how she was forced to agree to meet a man in his barn, but informed his wife. The wife arrived with her “five furious, sturdy, muffled gossips” who catch the errant husband with “his hosen [trousers] about his legs” and give him a sound beating. The story clearly functions as a morality tale in which the gossips uphold the social order.
In Sir Herbert Maxwell Bart's The Chevalier of the Splendid Crest  at the end of chapter three the king is noted as referring to his loyal knight "Sir Thomas de Roos" in kindly terms as "my old gossip". Whilst a historical novel of that time the reference implies a continued use of the term "Gossip" as childhood friend as late as 1900.
Judaism considers gossip spoken without a constructive purpose (known in Hebrew as an evil tongue, lashon hara) as a sin. Speaking negatively about people, even if retelling true facts, counts as sinful, as it demeans the dignity of man — both the speaker and the subject of the gossip. According to Proverbs 18:8: "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels: they go down to a man's innermost parts."
The Christian perspective on gossip is typically based on modern cultural assumptions of the phenomenon, especially the assumption that generally speaking, gossip is negative speech.However, due to the complexity of the phenomenon, biblical scholars have more precisely identified the form and function of gossip, even identifying a socially positive role for the social process as it is described in the New Testament. Of course, this does not mean that there are not numerous texts in the New Testament that see gossip as dangerous negative speech.
Thus, for example, the Epistle to the Romans associates gossips ("backbiters") with a list of sins including sexual immorality and with murder:
- 28: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
- 29: Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
- 30: Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
- 31: Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
- 32: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:28-32)
According to Matthew 18, Jesus also taught that conflict resolution among church members ought to begin with the aggrieved party attempting to resolve their dispute with the offending party alone. Only if this did not work would the process escalate to the next step, in which another church member would become involved. After that if the person at fault still would not "hear", the matter was to be fully investigated by the church elders, and if not resolved to be then exposed publicly.
Based on texts like these portraying gossip negatively, many Christian authors generalize on the phenomenon. So, in order to gossip, writes Phil Fox Rose, we "must harden our heart towards the 'out' person. We draw a line between ourselves and them; define them as being outside the rules of Christian charity... We create a gap between ourselves and God's Love." As we harden our heart towards more people and groups, he continues, "this negativity and feeling of separateness will grow and permeate our world, and we'll find it more difficult to access God’s love in any aspect of our lives."
The New Testament is also in favor of group accountability (Ephesians 5:11; 1st Tim 5:20; James 5:16; Gal 6:1-2; 1 Cor 12:26), which may be associated with gossip.
Islam considers backbiting the equivalent of eating the flesh of one's dead brother. According to Muslims, backbiting harms its victims without offering them any chance of defense, just as dead people cannot defend against their flesh being eaten. Muslims are expected to treat others like brothers (regardless of their beliefs, skin color, gender, or ethnic origin), deriving from Islam's concept of brotherhood amongst its believers.
Bahais consider backbiting to be the "worst human quality and the most great sin..."Therefore, even murder would be considered less reprobate than backbiting. Baha'u'llah stated, "Backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul." When someone kills another, it only affects their physical condition. However, when someone gossips, it affects one in a different manner.
From Robin Dunbar's evolutionary theories, gossip originated to help bond the groups that were constantly growing in size. To survive, individuals need alliances; but as these alliances grew larger, it was difficult if not impossible to physically connect with everyone. Conversation and language were able to bridge this gap. Gossip became a social interaction that helped the group gain information about other individuals without personally speaking to them.
It enabled people to keep up with what was going on in their social network. It also creates a bond between the teller and the hearer, as they share information of mutual interest and spend time together. It also helps the hearer learn about another individual’s behavior and helps them have a more effective approach to their relationship. Dunbar (2004) found that 65% of conversations consist of social topics.
Dunbar (1994) argues that gossip is the equivalent of social grooming often observed in other primate species.Anthropological investigations indicate that gossip is a cross-cultural phenomenon, providing evidence for evolutionary accounts of gossip.
There is very little evidence to suggest meaningful sex differences in the proportion of conversational time spent gossiping, and when there is a difference, women are only very slightly more likely to gossip compared with men.Further support for the evolutionary significance of gossip comes from a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Science Anderson and colleagues (2011) found that faces paired with negative social information dominate visual consciousness to a greater extent than positive and neutral social information during a binocular rivalry task.
Binocular rivalry occurs when two different stimuli are presented to each eye simultaneously and the two percepts compete for dominance in visual consciousness. While this occurs, an individual will consciously perceive one of the percepts while the other is suppressed. After a time, the other percept will become dominant and an individual will become aware of the second percept. Finally, the two percepts will alternate back and forth in terms of visual awareness.
The study by Anderson and colleagues (2011) indicates that higher order cognitive processes, like evaluative information processing, can influence early visual processing. That only negative social information differentially affected the dominance of the faces during the task alludes to the unique importance of knowing information about an individual that should be avoided. Since the positive social information did not produce greater perceptual dominance of the matched face indicates that negative information about an individual may be more salient to our behavior than positive.
Gossip also gives information about social norms and guidelines for behavior. Gossip usually comments on how appropriate a behavior was, and the mere act of repeating it signifies its importance. In this sense, gossip is effective regardless of whether it is positive or negativeSome theorists have proposed that gossip is actually a pro-social behavior intended to allow an individual to correct their socially prohibitive behavior without direct confrontation of the individual. By gossiping about an individual’s acts, other individuals can subtly indicate that said acts are inappropriate and allow the individual to correct their behavior (Schoeman 1994).
Individuals who are perceived to engage in gossiping regularly are seen as having less social power and being less liked.[ citation needed ] The type of gossip being exchanged also affects likeability, whereby those who engage in negative gossip are less liked than those who engage in positive gossip. In a study done by Turner and colleagues (2003), having a prior relationship with a gossiper was not found to protect the gossiper from less favorable personality-ratings after gossip was exchanged. In the study, pairs of individuals were brought into a research lab to participate. Either the two individuals were friends prior to the study or they were strangers scheduled to participate at the same time. One of the individuals was a confederate of the study, and they engaged in gossiping about the research assistant after she left the room. The gossip exchanged was either positive or negative. Regardless of gossip type (positive versus negative) or relationship type (friend versus stranger) the gossipers were rated as less trustworthy after sharing the gossip.
Walter Block has suggested that while gossip and blackmail both involve the disclosure of unflattering information, the blackmailer is arguably ethically superior to the gossip.Block writes: "In a sense, the gossip is much worse than the blackmailer, for the blackmailer has given the blackmailed a chance to silence him. The gossip exposes the secret without warning." The victim of a blackmailer is thus offered choices denied to the subject of gossip, such as deciding if the exposure of his or her secret is worth the cost the blackmailer demands. Moreover, in refusing a blackmailer's offer one is in no worse a position than with the gossip. Adds Block, "It is indeed difficult, then, to account for the vilification suffered by the blackmailer, at least compared to the gossip, who is usually dismissed with slight contempt and smugness."
Contemporary critiques of gossip may concentrate on or become subsumed in the discussion of social media such as Facebook.
Social norms are regarded as collective representations of acceptable group conduct as well as individual perceptions of particular group conduct. They can be viewed as cultural products which represent individuals' basic knowledge of what others do and think that they should do. From a sociological perspective, social norms are informal understandings that govern the behavior of members of a society. Social psychology recognizes smaller group units may also endorse norms separately or in addition to cultural or societal expectations.
Job satisfaction or employee satisfaction is a measure of workers' contentedness with their job, whether they like the job or individual aspects or facets of jobs, such as nature of work or supervision. Job satisfaction can be measured in cognitive (evaluative), affective, and behavioral components. Researchers have also noted that job satisfaction measures vary in the extent to which they measure feelings about the job. or cognitions about the job.
Workplace politics is the process and behavior in human interactions involving power and authority. It is also a tool to assess the operational capacity and to balance diverse views of interested parties. It is also known as office politics and organizational politics. It involves the use of power and social networking within a workplace to achieve changes that benefit the organization or individuals within it. "Organizational politics are self-serving behaviors" that "employees use to increase the probability of obtaining positive outcomes in organizations". Influence by individuals may serve personal interests without regard to their effect on the organization itself. Some of the personal advantages may include:
Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive. In the field of psychology and psychotherapy, it is a skill that can be learned and a mode of communication. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines assertiveness as:
Absenteeism is a habitual pattern of absence from a duty or obligation without good reason. Generally, absenteeism is unplanned absences. Absenteeism has been viewed as an indicator of poor individual performance, as well as a breach of an implicit contract between employee and employer. It is seen as a management problem, and framed in economic or quasi-economic terms. More recent scholarship seeks to understand absenteeism as an indicator of psychological, medical, or social adjustment to work.
Expectancy violations theory (EVT) is a theory of communication that analyzes how individuals respond to unanticipated violations of social norms and expectations. The theory was proposed by Judee K. Burgoon in the late 1970s and continued through the 1980s and 1990s as "nonverbal expectancy violations theory", based on Burgoon's research studying proxemics. Burgoon's work initially analyzed individuals' allowances and expectations of personal distance and how responses to personal distance violations were influenced by the level of liking and relationship to the violators. The theory was later changed to its current name when other researchers began to focus on violations of social behavior expectations beyond nonverbal communication.
The uncertainty reduction theory, also known as initial interaction theory, developed in 1975 by Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese, is a communication theory from the post-positivist tradition. It is one of the only communication theories that specifically looks into the initial interaction between people prior to the actual communication process. The theory asserts the notion that, when interacting, people need information about the other party in order to reduce their uncertainty. In gaining this information people are able to predict the other's behavior and resulting actions, all of which according to the theory is crucial in the development of any relationship.
Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships. Dunbar explained it informally as "the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar."
Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes either physical or emotional harm. It can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation. This type of workplace aggression is particularly difficult because, unlike the typical school bully, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society. In the majority of cases, bullying in the workplace is reported as having been done by someone who has authority over the victim. However, bullies can also be peers, and occasionally subordinates.
A workplace is a location where someone works for their employer, a place of employment. Such a place can range from a home office to a large office building or factory. For industrialized societies, the workplace is one of the most important social spaces other than the home, constituting "a central concept for several entities: the worker and his/her family, the employing organization, the customers of the organization, and the society as a whole". The development of new communication technologies have led to the development of the virtual workplace, a workplace that is not located in any one physical space.
Positive affectivity (PA) is a human characteristic that describes how much people experience positive affects ; and as a consequence how they interact with others and with their surroundings.
Negative affectivity (NA), or negative affect, is a personality variable that involves the experience of negative emotions and poor self-concept. Negative affectivity subsumes a variety of negative emotions, including anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, fear, and nervousness. Low negative affectivity is characterized by frequent states of calmness and serenity, along with states of confidence, activeness, and great enthusiasm.
Workplace deviance, in group psychology, may be described as the deliberate desire to cause harm to an organization – more specifically, a workplace. The concept has become an instrumental component in the field of organizational communication. More accurately, it can be seen as "voluntary behavior that violates institutionalized norms and in doing so threatens the well-being of the organization".
Emotions in the workplace play a large role in how an entire organization communicates within itself and to the outside world. "Events at work have real emotional impact on participants. The consequences of emotional states in the workplace, both behaviors and attitudes, have substantial significance for individuals, groups, and society". "Positive emotions in the workplace help employees obtain favorable outcomes including achievement, job enrichment and higher quality social context". "Negative emotions, such as fear, anger, stress, hostility, sadness, and guilt, however increase the predictability of workplace deviance,", and how the outside world views the organization.
Social undermining is the expression of negative emotions directed towards a particular person or negative evaluations of the person as a way to prevent the person from achieving their goals. This behavior can often be attributed to certain feelings, such as dislike or anger. The negative evaluation of the person may involve criticizing their actions, efforts or characteristics. Social undermining is seen in relationships between family members, friends, personal relationships and co-workers. Social undermining can affect a person's mental health, including an increase in depressive symptoms. This behavior is only considered social undermining if the person's perceived action is intended to hinder their target. When social undermining is seen in the work environment the behavior is used to hinder the co-worker's ability to establish and maintain a positive interpersonal relationship, success and a good reputation. Examples of how an employee can use social undermining in the work environment are behaviors that are used to delay the work of co-workers, to make them look bad or slow them down, competing with co-workers to gain status and recognition and giving co-workers incorrect or even misleading information about a particular job.
Workplace relationships are unique interpersonal relationships with important implications for the individuals in those relationships, and the organizations in which the relationships exist and develop.
This article is about stigma management.
Multicommunicating is the practice of engaging in more than one conversations at a time. The possibility and likelihood of such interactions has accelerated with the advent of digital technology and its ubiquitous nature in the form of the smartphone.
Bullying is abusive social interaction between peers can include aggression, harassment, and violence. Bullying is typically repetitive and enacted by those who are in a position of power over the victim. A growing body of research illustrates a significant relationship between bullying and emotional intelligence.
Machiavellianism in the workplace is a concept studied by many organizational psychologists. Conceptualized originally by Richard Christie and Florence Geis, Machiavellianism refers to a psychological trait concept where individuals behave in a cold and duplicitous manner. It has in recent times been adapted and applied to the context of the workplace and organizations by many writers and academics.
[...] I described a study of the role of gossip in controlling the lives of young people in a London Punjabi community. Gossip is effectively a device for the assertion and maintenance of the background assumptions about the way that a community lives its life.
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