|Author:||Chan, Wai Ming William|
|Title:||Till gossip do we part : gossip, emotion, and interpersonal relationships|
|Subject:||Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations|
Communication in organizations.
|Department:||Faculty of Business|
|Pages:||v, 150 pages : color illustrations|
|Abstract:||"We all gossip but we feel we should not" (Sabini & Silver, 1982). Traditionally gossip has a bad reputation because it violates the privacy norm and damages the reputation of the target of gossip. However, researchers have found that gossip that entertains, informs, and influences can protect group norms and discourage free riding. Studies of gossip have focused on the tendency to gossip, its functions, and its effects on group and individual outcomes. Most of the studies are concerned with people who engage in gossip; little is known about the way in which gossip affects recipient of gossip.Defining gossip as "comments on an absent third party with or without an evaluative element, and applying the framework from appraisal theories, this study views gossip through the lens of emotion in order to explain how such seemingly casual chat affects the relationship between the people who talk and the people who listen. It is proposed that gossip is a stimulus. The gossip recipient will have a perception of the motive of a gossip and different perceived motives will lead to different appraisals eliciting different emotions. The emotion elicited should affect the perceived relational quality between the spreader and the recipient of the gossip. Applying appraisals dimensions from the appraisal theories for the analysis of gossip motives, it is proposed that gossip perceived by the gossip recipient to be for entertainment will elicit positive emotions; gossip perceived to be for influence will elicit negative emotions.|
Using a questionnaire survey based on 293 events from 71 subjects in managerial positions in private corporations in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, participants were asked to record five pieces of gossip about a colleague's work. The participants were requested to summarize the event and answer questions about the emotion elicited immediately after a gossip event initiated by a colleague at work. By end of work on that day, participants were asked to answer questions about the distancing effect to the gossiper and the target of the gossip. Empirical findings provide evidence that the motive of gossip perceived by the gossip recipient will determine whether and what type of emotion will be elicited. Depending on the motive of gossip perceived by the gossip recipient, gossip may have different effects on the relationship between the gossip recipient and the gossiper.The findings of this study should allow managers to understand how gossip in the workplace can be interpreted, and more importantly how to accommodate the gossip at work. Increase sensitive and awareness of the relation between perceived gossip motive and emotion and the perceived relational quality enable managers to be more proactive in establishing and maintaining relationships with their subordinates. Better manager-subordinate relations will create a more productive work environment.
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