Original Research

Towards A Typology Of Gossip In The Workplace

C. M. de Gouda, L. J. van Vuuren, A. Crafford
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 3, No 2 | a68 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v3i2.68 | © 1970 C. M. de Gouda, L. J. van Vuuren, A. Crafford | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 November 2005 | Published:

About the author(s)

C. M. de Gouda, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
L. J. van Vuuren, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
A. Crafford, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

In today’s communication-driven world, informal communication can at some point be construed as malicious gossip. Literature shows that certain areas of gossip are insufficiently studied, such as how gossip is defined in the workplace, when communication is construed as gossip, and what characteristics highlight the parameters between healthy communication and gossip. This research is of value because workplace gossip could have direct implications on trust in workplace relationships, might undermine principles espoused by corporate governance and could therefore lead to higher staff absenteeism and turnover. A qualitative research study was undertaken to explore individual constructions surrounding this phenomenon. Data was collected from structured individual interviews and the technique of card sorting, and a grounded theory analysis resulted in the formulation of a working definition of the concept, the identification of its parameters as well as the development of a typology of gossip in the workplace. The implications of the findings are discussed.

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