About the Author(s)

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


Carrim, N.M.H. (2019). Minorities’ experiences of office gossip. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology/SA Tydskrif vir Bedryfsielkunde 45(0), a1562. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1562

Original Research

Minorities’ experiences of office gossip

Nasima M.H. Carrim

Received: 26 June 2018; Accepted: 30 Oct. 2018; Published: 18 Feb. 2019

Copyright: © 2019. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.


Think gossip, think negative outcome! However, not all gossip is negative. Most religious scriptures and society do not sanction negative gossip. Nevertheless, because of its pervasive nature, individuals constantly engage in some form of gossip, be it positive or negative. Hence, whether at a wedding or at work, gossip forms a major part of social interactions (Carrim, 2016). The reputation of an individual can be tarnished or uplifted within a split second as a result of gossip.

Gossip can be categorised into malicious or non-malicious gossip (Smith, 2014). In their study, Kiss, Meester, Kristensen and Braeckman (2014) state that individuals who support unacceptable behaviour, such as gossip, are likely to experience social wealth in their organisations. Those who are the targets of such unacceptable behaviour generally receive insufficient support and are usually isolated (Duffy & Sperry, 2007). Grosser, Lopez-Kidwell and Labianca (2010) suggest that one can choose to steer clear of gossip on public forums but it is difficult to avoid gossip in everyday face-to-face social interactions. According to these authors, gossip is perceived as a socially destructive activity as it can damage a person’s reputation.

Smith (2014) cautions organisations against malicious observers: these are individuals who come across as charming most of the time in an attempt to disguise their negative behaviour. Therefore, it is essential that organisations make their employees aware that gossip can cause damage, even to third parties (Vickers, 2014). However, Michelson, Van Iterson and Waddington (2010) point out that gossip is not always negative – talking about others behind their back does not translate into stabbing them in the back. They give the example of a supervisor who advises an employee on how to improve his or her chances of being promoted by his or her manager (absent third party). This behaviour on the part of the supervisor cannot be regarded as gossip if the manager is not opposed to such knowledge being shared with the employee.

Much research has been conducted on the causes (positive and negative), processes and outcomes of workplace gossip in recent years (Farley, Timme, & Hart, 2010; Grosser et al., 2010; Kanteti, 2015; Kiss et al., 2014; McAndrew, 2014; Smith, 2014). In the majority of studies, the focus has been mainly on malicious gossip, its processes and outcomes as experienced by employees (McAndrew, 2014). Some research has been conducted on positive gossip, which has been found to assist in facilitating group membership and information transmission (Georganta, Panagopoulo, & Montgomery, 2014; Kuo, Chang, Quinton, Lu, & Lee, 2015).

Previous research indicates that women, as a marginalised group and racial minorities in the workplace, have been targets of malicious gossip (Carrim, 2016; Crothers, Lipinkski, & Minutolo, 2009; McAndrew, 2014). Recent studies on office gossip have contributed to knowledge in the field of management. These studies, which focus on managers as a minority group, have found that employees’ gossip about their managers is positive (Ellwardt, Labianca, & Wittek, 2012a; Kniffin & Wilson, 2010).

The first objective of the current review is to ascertain the extent to which gossip literature focuses on the experiences of minority employees. The second objective is to determine the theoretical perspectives used to investigate workplace gossip.

This article firstly summarises the most recent topics, specifically why gossip is a complex phenomenon to explore. Some of the causes of gossip, positive and/or negative, are also investigated. The process and outcomes of both positive and negative gossip are also examined from the literature. Also, the extent to which previous research on gossip focused on theories is examined. This information is used to inform suggestions regarding how gossip relating to minority employees can be explored to advance future research in this area. Overall, the author hopes that a better understanding of office gossip will assist in providing a more complete picture which will inform organisational researchers on how they can conduct research on an unexplored area.

Scope of the literature review

The author’s review includes articles that focus on gossip in the workplace that have been published in psychology and sociology journals and general journals (Annual Review of Psychology, Review of General Psychology, Social Psychological and Personality Science, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Qualitative Research in Psychology, Psychologist-Manager Journal, Social Networks, Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Psychoanalytic Inquiry and Journal of Sociology), business and management journals (Group & Organization Management, Academy of Management Review, Organizational Dynamics, Organization Studies, European Journal of Business Research, Journal of Human Resources Management Research and International Journal of Human Resource Management), communication journals (Southern Journal of Communication and Australian Journal of Communication) and other miscellaneous journals (Burnout Research, Living, Working and Learning Beyond, Family Journal, Asia Pacific Journal of Research, International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, Contemporary Nurse, and Hudson Review).

The first step in the article selection process was to search for journals in the period 1950–2018 for the following terms: office gossip, minority, employee, workplace, positive, negative, mobbing, bullying, malicious, causes, process and outcomes. A total of 233 articles met the initial search criteria.

The second step concerned closely reviewing each article to determine if it focused on empirical research that was related to office gossip and the above-mentioned search terms. This process resulted in identifying 41 articles that formed the foundation of the review (see Table 1 for a summary of the studies).

TABLE 1: Office gossip target articles.
TABLE 1 (Continues...): Office gossip target articles.
TABLE 1 (Continues...): Office gossip target articles.


Main themes covered

The review of the identified articles is organised into the following themes: challenges studying the phenomenon of office gossip, causes of gossip: positive and negative, gossip as a process and outcomes of gossip as depicted in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1: Display of results.

A review and integration of the findings within each of the themes in Figure 1 follows highlighting some of the salient areas of research in these sections. In so doing, the review commences with the first research area, namely, challenges studying the phenomenon of office gossip followed by the remaining themes.

Challenges studying the phenomenon of office gossip

Office gossip, although ubiquitous in the workplace, is not a simple construct to investigate. There are various challenges related to the study of office gossip. Firstly, office gossip does not consist of simple fixed definitions or standardised explanations (Foster, 2004) and is therefore a contested issue (Shallcross et al., 2011). Organisational researchers have defined the concept from various perspectives. For example, Noon and Delbridge (1993, p. 25) define gossip as ‘the process of informally communicating value-laden information about members of a social setting’. This definition explains which type of conversation relates to gossip (Michelson & Mouly, 2004). Thus, harmless information is discarded as it is believed that information that is communicated should have some impact on targets (Michelson & Mouly, 2004). Gilmore (1978, p. 92), on the other hand, defines gossip as ‘critical talk about third parties’. Spacks (1982, p. 20) regards the term as almost synonymous to ‘women’s talk’. Michelson and Mouly (2004) argue that the inclusion of value-laden information only in the definition of gossip is limiting as it ignores the different functions and purposes that gossip may serve. Kniffin and Wilson (2010, p. 4) point out that the reason for inconsistent definitions of gossip lies in the fact that the concept arises coincidentally in the investigation of other phenomena in the workplace and not as an explicit attempt by organisational researchers to study the concept.

Yerkovich (1977, p. 196) four decades ago mentioned that no matter how scandalous or salient information is, it is not gossip unless participants personally know the individuals being gossiped about as this element adds to the thrill of revelation. Dodig-Crnkovic and Anokhina (2008) pointed out that the term ‘gossip’ is mainly used with negative connotations hinting at the spreading of malicious, unreliable and unchecked information. However, several scholars have suggested generalising and neutralising the term to include any talk about others (De Backer, 2005; Dodig-Crnkovic & Anokhina, 2008; Dunbar, 2004; Kurland & Pelled, 2000). Therefore, given these suggestions, organisational scholars need a universally accepted definition of office gossip in understanding this phenomenon (Wert & Salovey, 2004a).

Secondly, considering that office gossip is a private conversation, it poses another challenge that results in a dearth of research related to this phenomenon (Wert & Salovey, 2004a). Besides being private conversation, gossip occurs within diverse complex situations, which are subtle and in most cases too subtle for outside observers, such as organisational researchers, to decode. This subtlety makes it challenging to determine the purpose of gossip and whether the conversation in question is actually gossip (Wert & Salovey, 2004b).

Thirdly, another challenge related to office gossip is its purpose. The majority of researchers regard the purpose of gossip to be a social function. For example, Dunbar (2004) regards the purpose of gossip as the central element in the evolutionary story of social life and human intelligence. Some researchers argue that the purpose of office gossip is to teach social norms and to transmit social information (Baumeister et al., 2004; Wert & Salovey, 2004b). On the other hand, Foster (2004) argues that the purpose of office gossip is to obtain valuable information that one works with. Office gossip is also used to hurt a high-fliers’ reputation or to ensure that certain people remain powerless in the organisation (Carrim, 2016).

Fourthly, when we deliberate on valence, that is, positive and negative evaluations made by the gossiper, many alternatives and intricacies are included in the construct. Social conversation without valence is basically the propagation of news, for example, who has been admitted to university and who has a baby. As long as these conversations do not carry any evaluative connotations, they may be regarded as gossip of a benign nature and for informational purposes only (Foster, 2004).

Lastly, another challenge that Carrim (2016) points out in researching office gossip is that different ethnic groups may perceive gossip differently. Thus, when investigating office gossip in relation to ethnic minority employees, one needs to be aware of the fact that what the majority ethnic group may perceive to be gossip, ethnic minorities may regard this as conversational remarks and discussions, and not related to gossip in any way.

Causes of gossip: Positive and negative

A vast body of research has examined the negative causes of gossip, but to a lesser extent on the positive sources of gossip (Carrim, 2016; Grosser et al., 2012; Shallcross et al., 2011). More recently, scholars are increasingly calling to focus on both the positive and negative elements of gossip in a single study (Altuntaş et al., 2014; Grosser et al., 2010). Despite the importance and ubiquitous nature of positive and negative gossip for organisations and employees, limited research has been conducted on who the objects of gossip are, especially for those who are part of formal work groups and those in informal social status groups who may interact in an informal manner (Ellwardt et al., 2012a). Ellwardt et al. (2012a) elaborate on the latter point, as they indicate that employees who are part of the formal group experience both positive and negative gossip. They further add that employees who are low on social status and have few friends or acquaint unpopular staff are more likely to experience negative gossip. A worthwhile study would be to investigate the friendship links of minority employees and the extent to which they experience positive and negative gossip. Ellwardt et al.’s (2012b) study does not explicitly state the characteristics of the object that may lead to positive or negative gossip about the employee. The question to be asked here is whether there are other factors, except the characteristics of an individual that may lead to the person receiving either positive or negative gossip. One therefore needs to consider being the recipient of gossip in a holistic manner. In addition, Ellwardt et al.’s (2012b) study is deterministic and does not account for a high-status manager who may be gay (in terms of the organisational culture, the latter identity may be considered a low-status position), which in some organisational cultures may result in a high–low status position for the individual minority.

Previous research has also been based on majority groups within organisations and how they handle gossip without explicating the role and experiences of minorities (Hafen, 2004). Research on gossip has also been associated with gender without clearly stating that women comprise a minority group within the organisations under study. Previous research reveals mixed results related to gossip engaged in by both male and female employees. Some studies, for instance, indicate that women tend to gossip more than men (Akgeyik, 2012; Leaper, Carson, Baker, Holliday, & Myers, 1995). Yet, Anthony’s (1992) research reveals that men spread gossip to more people and tend to engage in gossip to a greater extent than women. Nevo, Nevo and Derech-Zehavi (1994) also attest that men gossip more than women. These studies have once again been conducted on majority group employees. Most research on office gossip has, however, not accounted for how minority men and women engage in gossip.

Research on office gossip has also been conducted on managers as a minority group (Altuntaş et al., 2014). The results are, however, mixed, as Ellwardt et al.’s (2012b) study indicates that when employees have high trust in managers, managers are gossiped about in a positive manner. However, when trust in managers is low and there is infrequent contact, then gossip is negative (Altuntaş et al., 2014). Research on office gossip related to the experience of managers from minority groups who may be part of the out-group is scant. There is a lack in the above-mentioned studies on how gossip may empower some minority individuals to reach senior managerial positions compared to some others.

Carrim (2016) elaborates on racial minorities as being targets of negative office gossip within one organisational setting. The study states that minorities gossip to inform each other about how majority group members gossip about them. However, the study does not elaborate on the extent to which minority employees within their groups engage in office gossip. Secondly, the study does not account for what type of gossip minorities engage with majority employees, if at all such episodes take place. Unlike Carrim’s (2016) study which was based on minority employees’ experiences in one organisational setting, Hafen (2004) studied workplace gossip across four different types of organisational settings (electricity utility, college, manufacturing and restaurant). The results of Hafen’s study revealed that where informal conversations are discouraged, gossip does not thrive. Office gossip scholarship on minorities, such as Hafen’s (2004) study, can benefit from research in diverse settings, as well as based on multi-level analysis (both individual and organisational levels) (Kniffin & Wilson, 2010).

Wert and Salovey (2004b) point out that positive gossip assists individuals in understanding their work environments and alerts them to information regarding promotions and rewards. While this may be true for majority group employees such as white men, for example, this type of positive gossip may not resonate with the experience of minority employees who may face structural workplace impediments.

Gossip as a process

Noon and Delridge (1993) point out that individuals, including minority employees, will have several choices to make before they engage in gossip. Some of the guiding factors in individuals engaging in gossip are their perceptions of the group’s values, individual relationships, as well as both formal and informal power relations. Being from the out-group, minorities have the risk of being subjugated and marginalised in the workplace and therefore their voices may not be heard (O’ Farrell, 2005). Gossip is also the process of passing value-laden information (Noon & Delridge, 1993). Thus, minorities will ensure that they pass accurate information across, especially when dealing with majority group members. The reason is that passing on inaccurate information will make them seem untrustworthy in addition to their already marginalised status. However, if a message provided by an individual is well received by a group, then the employee’s status within the organisation will tend to be enhanced. The converse is also true. Thus, as a process, gossip includes both individual choices and group dynamics (O’ Farrell, 2005).

A study by Kurland and Pelled (2000) indicates that gossip can affect the amount of informal power one has in an organisation. Power in this context is used regarding the ability of a person to influence others to do what they would not normally do. For example, Grosser et al.’s (2012) study indicates that groups occupying lower level positions can exert informal power. In the vast majority of organisations, women are relegated to lower level posts as gender inequality still exists within the corporate environment (Carrim, 2012). Grosser et al. (2012) found in their study that Japanese women in lower level positions in a traditional organisation exerted tremendous informal power through gossip. The men in this organisation were afraid of the women’s gossip and tried to stay on their good side by buying them expensive presents and taking them to lunch. This case provides a good example of how low-status employees can use gossip to equalise formal power differentials (Ferrari, 2015). In some instances, those lower in the social hierarchy may find it difficult to transmit gossip as they may violate group norms and may face punishment from those higher up in the organisational hierarchy (Kieffer, 2013). Nevertheless, limited research exists on how minorities transmit gossip in the workplace.

Alternatively, Logli, Keltner, Campos and Oveis (2008) found that individuals who harm the interest of the group are likely to become the targets of gossip. In a study of sorority sisters, they found that targets of gossip were those who were in high pursuit of power and status. There is therefore a need to develop an in-depth analysis and understanding of office gossip pertaining to minorities, especially related to the amount of power or lack of power within groups and how they become targets of gossip (Kurland & Pelled, 2000). Moreover, Beersma and Van Kleef (2011) argue that group gossip can also enhance the social reputation of individuals by painting them as likeable or, in contrast, portraying them as immoral and selfish. Not much is known about how majority group members may destroy or enhance the image of minorities through gossip.

Gossip can also serve as a process where management decisions are questioned. Gossip allows for the creation of workers’ sub-cultures which break down managerial control and provide employees greater opportunity in their work environment. The collapse in management respect through the process of gossip also undermines management power as they try and execute their plans, especially those involving change (Noon & Delridge, 1993). Carrim (2016), for example, indicates in her study that the majority of employees use gossip as a means to discredit racial minority managers. Besides this study, there is limited research that addresses this issue from a gossip perspective related to diverse minority managers. Nevertheless, the gossip process can have a positive role for all employees as it can clarify information, thus relieving anxiety and tension (Moore, 1962). Also, gossip can be a means of influence to those in less powerful positions, as noted to Kanter (1977), where secretaries gained power through their access to important information. However, gossip may render minorities powerless if they do not have access to important information in the workplace.

Mobbing is another gossip process that usually results in humiliation, doubt, damaged reputation and, in severe cases, loss of employment for an employee (Duffy & Sperry, 2007). Mobbing is a group activity, where group members aggressively target a fellow employee through malicious gossip to marginalise and make the individual’s further employment in the organisation intolerable (Leymann, 1990). Leymann refers to mobbing as a psychological terror being enforced on the target through gossip. Those targeted through mobbing are seen as being outsiders as they are seen as outside the gossipers’ boundaries of fairness. This is evident in Carrim’s (2016) study where racial minorities were gossiped about by the majority groups regarding their perceived ‘poor’ work performance. Additional research is required regarding mobbing related to minority employees.

Gossip can lead to bullying, especially when it is associated with lies. Kieffer (2013) points out that individuals in the workplace are bullied and become scapegoats through the process of gossip if they represent a threat to the group power structure or they possess traits that threaten the power and prestige of an in-group. Those who are bullied only need to have one key quality different from the group, for example, female managers in a group of male managers or older employees in a group of younger personnel (Ettin, 1999). Some individuals are bullied because they possess traits that are secretly envied but openly rejected (Kieffer, 2013). Gossip then becomes a basis for discrimination and racism as illustrated in Carrim’s (2016) study.

Outcomes of gossip

The outcomes of office gossip can be both positive and negative. On the positive side, gossip functions to reinforce social bonds amongst colleagues (Noon & Delbridge, 1993). It is also a way to relieve stress and tension (Michelson et al., 2010). In some instances, gossip also provides power to some marginalised groups, as was the case of Japanese women at lower levels (Ogasawara, 1998).

On the negative side, being the target of negative gossip can result in victimisation, such as preventing work-related success and obstructing the psychological need to belong (Ellwardt et al., 2012a). For instance, a study by Burt (2005) related to bankers uncovered that those who were targets of negative gossip had difficulties in forming supportive working relationships with peers, and exited the organisation sooner than those who were not victims of such negative behaviour. Employees who are victimised find it difficult to trust others and to cognitively control their social environments (Beersman & Van Kleef, 2011). Thus, targets become the victims of social undermining where they are unable to establish and maintain favourable reputations and positive interpersonal relationships (Aquino & Thau, 2009). Alternatively, negative gossip may have favourable outcomes for the group. For instance, previous research reveals that negative gossip is used to sanction and socially control employees who do not conform to group rules (De Pinninck, Sieraa, & Schorlemmer, 2008). Employees usually conform to group norms as they are afraid of negative gossip and being ostracised (Foster, 2004).

Negative gossip has also been linked to decreased productivity, hurt reputations and feelings, poor morale and increased turnover rates in valued employees (Michelson et al., 2010). However, these consequences can be avoided if managers tap into employee gossip networks regularly to avoid negative results (Grosser et al., 2010). Baumeister et al. (2004) contend that managers who are not part of the gossip network or who are kept out of such networks tend to leave the organisation sooner than those who are privy to such information. Other consequences of negative gossip are damaging the targets’ reputation, resulting in targets being disciplined, spreading false information about the individual and also using such behaviour to enhance one’s own upward mobility (Shallcross et al., 2011). Research related to the outcomes for minorities related to the outcomes of gossip is, however, lacking. Carrim (2016) found in her study that for racial minorities who were targets of gossip, their willingness to leave the organisation was decreased as they were cushioned by fellow minority employees who protected them against the dire outcomes of malicious gossip.


Taking into account the studies covered in the review, the author suggests potential theoretical perspectives and research on minorities to this body of literature. Firstly, two potential theoretical perspectives related to minorities are suggested. Then potential research questions associated with gaps identified in the current review related to minority experiences caused by office gossip are presented (see Table 2). The literature on workplace gossip has historically consisted of studies driven by describing literature and/or data-driven. Only eight (19.5%) researchers used one to two theoretical perspectives in the current review. This is not surprising as gossip has only been recently examined by organisational scholars. The author suggests researching office gossip from two potential theoretical perspectives. However, it should be noted that there are many other theoretical perspectives from which office gossip can be researched and that they should not be limited to the following possible theories: the social identity theory and the contact theory.

TABLE 2: Recommendations for future research on gossip related to minorities.
Social identity theory

Social identity theory states that individuals classify themselves and others in terms of diverse social categories, such as age, sex and religion, and attach an emotional component to these groups. Thus, social classification allows an individual to define himself or herself and others in the social environment (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). In-group bias, that is, preference for one’s in-group over the out-group, is expressed in evaluating, liking or allocating resources and rewards (Tajfel, 1978). Usually, in-group favouritism is associated with out-group negativity and has its roots in ethnocentrism. Social identity theory postulates that a positive social identity is a result of favourable intergroup comparisons. Therefore, there is a strong link between the strength of group identification and the extent to which individuals positively differentiate themselves from out-groups (Allport, 1954). This view has been questioned by others who maintain that the strength of identifying with the in-group and the extent of bias towards the in-group, as compared to the out-group in some cases did not exist (Reynolds & Turner, 2001). Allport (1954), however, points out that out-group, hostility could strengthen in-group belongingness, but this does not imply positive feelings towards the in-group. In the author’s opinion, using social identity theory as related to in-group and out-group relations may enhance an in-depth understanding of office gossip and social relations within the workplace. For example, are there certain minorities who can become part of the in-group and not be ostracised through malicious gossip?

Contact theory

Contact hypothesis (Allport, 1954) advocates that deep-rooted hostilities towards another group can be diminished through regular dealings with members of that group. The groups should preferably have equal status and common goals, cooperate with each other and external parties should support intergroup contact through legislation, policies and customs (Ata, Bastian, & Lusher, 2009). When such a situation exists, contact between groups can decrease feelings of discrimination and prejudice. However, research indicates mixed and conflicting results that racial discrimination and prejudice indeed decrease (Dixon, Tropp, Durrheim, & Tredoux, 2010). For example, Pettigrew and Tropp (2006) conducted a meta-analysis of 713 independent samples from over 500 studies and concluded that intergroup contact reduces discrimination; they opined that while Allport’s (1954) conditions are pivotal facilitating factors, they are not necessary for discrimination reduction. As contact amongst groups does not take place in isolation, social norms in the broader context are imperative in explicating how and why intergroup contact reduces discrimination (Hughes, 2007). In addition, although stereotypes and attitudes may be reduced through intergroup contact, the systems that sustain discrimination may still persist and minority groups may still be targets of negative gossip. What is especially important for workplace gossip in terms of intergroup relations using social identity theory and the contact hypothesis, is that these frameworks shape the interactions at the micro and group levels (Dixon et al., 2010). The focus now is on recommendations for future research generated from the current review.

Recommendations for future research

Table 2 depicts the main themes reviewed. The author highlights some main aspects of each theme that may be investigated in the future. This does not, however, mean that several other research questions cannot be generated. However, for the brevity of the article, one aspect from each theme is extracted only and one to two questions are asked for each section.


Although the topic of gossip has been studied from various perspectives such as anthropology, sociology, psychology and organisational behaviour, the area is still in its infancy in the workplace. While some research has been conducted in the field through observations, case studies and interviews and quantitative analysis, the author suggests that more research should be conducted through in-depth interviews and narratives from potential participants. The author believes that by focusing on the lack of theoretical perspectives and identifying the area where there is a lack of research, an impetus can be created to move the field forward in terms of future research to decrease the detrimental effects of negative gossip and enhance the use of positive gossip.


Competing interests

The author declares that she has no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced her in writing this article.


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