How Does Workplace Gossip Benefit Gossip Actors? The Impact of Workplace Gossip on Power and Voluntary Turnover

Andrea Kim, Allison S. Gabriel, Youngsang Kim, Jinhee Moon, Christopher C. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although workplace gossip is ubiquitous, more scholarship is needed to determine how employees may use gossip to attain valuable social resources at work—namely, their experience of power. Drawing from the gossip literature and research on power in the workplace, we identify proximal (i.e., increased power accrual) and distal (i.e., diminished voluntary turnover) positive outcomes for employees enacting negative and positive gossip about the organization at work. Using a sample of 338 nurses, we found that positive workplace gossip about the organization increases expert power. Our analysis further revealed that positive workplace gossip about the organization had a negative indirect effect on the voluntary turnover of gossip actors via their expert power. Our findings contribute to the organizational literature on the benefits of gossip to actors and serve to further enrich the emerging literature which has considered the relationship between power and turnover. An important implication of our research is that organizations need to recognize the dynamics of organization-directed gossip and its potential to serve as a source of social power for employees and a retention driver for those who accrue power in expertise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGroup and Organization Management
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • power
  • social capital
  • turnover
  • workplace gossip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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