Office Gossip Ain’t All That Bad

gossip whisper secret kids
flickr: Photo Denbow

Office gossip isn’t always worthy of the bad rap it receives, according to a new study by sociologists Tim Hallett and Donna Eder, who researched the practice for two years. (Yes, you can get a grant for anything!) They found that gossip “serves as an informal organization chart, which can help employees understand who the go-to people are in their department.”

However, gossip can still be a productivity problem, which is one of the reasons why managers try to clamp down on it.

“In my firm, we have agreed to face each other with our truths, or to keep it to ourselves, rather than to say it behind someone’s back,” Sam Chapman, CEO of Empower Public Relations in Chicago, and author of The No Gossip Zone, told HRE Online.

But researcher Hallett says that banning gossip is “like putting out a fire with gasoline.”

“I would think that the surest way to get people to gossip would be to implement a policy that says, ‘No gossip,’ ” he said. “Gossip is a ubiquitous feature of life.”