This article made me change how I think of gossip. Normally I would think of someone who gossips as some one who I would not want to be around because I usually don’t care and gossip is in bad taste. However this article showed a different side of gossip. The difference in good, or prosocial, and bad gossip is if it’s true or not. This gossip is shared not for the sake of slandering someone or to hurt their reputation but to protect the people who may be effected. This same concept can be applied to the work place. One dutch study actually found that “gossip helps keep offices running more smoothly and can actually improve people’s productivity.” (Schepp) This speaks to how people may alter their behavior to save their reputation or also this prosocial gossip may offer insight to how they are perceived by their colleagues. The research they sited for the article states that 90% of all human conversations include gossip and that it’s just a product of our evolution and not something to be ashamed of. In other words, it’s important to be intentional with your gossip and make sure that you’re not just saying something about a person to say something but that you are benefiting someone else by letting them know about someone’s unfavorable characteristics.
Feinberg, M., Willer, R., Stellar, J., & Keltner, D. (2012, January 9). The Virtues of Gossip:Reputational Information Sharing as Prosocial Behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026650.
Schepp, David. “Gossip Is Good For The Office — And Your Productivity, Study Finds.” AOL. AOL, 12 Dec 2012. Web. Feb 5 2013. <http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/12/07/gossip-is-good-for-the-office-and-your-productivity-study-fi/>.