Original Research

Minorities’ experiences of office gossip

Nasima M.H. Carrim
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1562 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1562 | © 2019 Nasima M.H. Carrim | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 June 2018 | Published: 18 February 2019

About the author(s)

Nasima M.H. Carrim, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Orientation: Office gossip can result in someone from a minority group feeling powerless, being resigned to the out-group and be deprived of social networks.

Research purpose: This article sought to explore the extent to which research has been conducted on minorities’ experiences of office gossip within organisations.

Motivation for the study: Previous organisational research on employees’ experiences of office gossip focused on employees in general and not on specific groups of employees such as minority workers. The literature review of this study therefore points to key areas identified in past studies where experiences of minorities related to gossip are lacking.

Research approach/design and method: Based on a systematic review of the literature published over the last 60 years, the author focused on key areas where office gossip related to minorities is lacking.

Main findings: The author found that existing research relating to minorities’ experiences of office gossip had focused only on two categories: women minorities and racial minorities. Limited research had been conducted on other minority groups’ experiences of office gossip.

Practical/managerial implications: Organisations could benefit from having knowledge about the experiences of minority employees, such as foreign nationals, gays, lesbians and obese individuals, to mention but a few. Managers could exert influence to change a work environment and culture to be more inclusive so as to minimise office gossip that would possibly make minorities feel excluded.

Contribution/value-add: This article aimed to fill the gap identified in the literature regarding research on workplace gossip as related to minority employees.


office gossip; minorities; workplace


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