The Impact of Workplace Gossip on Newcomers’ Attitudes and Behaviors toward Supervisor and Organization: The Moderating Effect of Newcomers’ Attribution

Project: Research project

Project Details


Gossip consists of informal and evaluative information transmitted among individuals, which can cover topics ranging from a specific targeted person to the organization (Dunbar et al., 1997; Nevo et al., 1993). The informal information about supervisors and organizations transmitted via workplace gossip is expected to serve as a key source of information to help newcomers during their socialization process. This research project aims to explore the impact of two forms of gossip transmission on newcomers’ attitudinal and behavioral reactions to supervisors and organizations. On one hand, newcomers proactively seek out information about their supervisor and organization through social media platform (e.g.,
Meta, WeChat). On the other hand, newcomers are passively exposed by coworker gossip via in-person conversations in the workplace. The proposed research suggests that both written and verbal gossips have profound impacts on newcomers, a phenomenon that has been overlooked in managerial studies. By exploring the influence of workplace gossip (via social media platform and coworker gossip) on newcomers, this research advances our understanding on the role of workplace gossip in newcomer socialization and provides unique insights to practitioners in terms of training and maintaining newcomers.

The proposed research project is distinct from previous gossip studies in three ways.

First, the focus of prior managerial studies on gossip largely addresses the negative impact of gossip and treats workplace gossip as employees’ counterproductive behavior. This research considers gossip as a unique channel to transmit informal information to newcomers and proposes a theoretical model that depicts both positive and negative influences of workplace gossip in the context of newcomer socialization. Second, this research explores both written and verbal gossip. Because of the speedy development of social media, young generations are likely to seek out information about their supervisor and organization before and after their job entry. Meanwhile, newcomers are social with their coworkers via group chat or online posts on social media to exchange information at and off work. However, current literature on gossip overlooks the exchanged information among employees via the use of social media. The proposed research aims to examine how the transmission of gossip through social media and coworker gossip influences newcomers’ attitudes and behaviors during organizational socialization. Finally, how gossip makes influence and shapes the attitude and behavior of newcomers is an unanswered question. Drawing from the attribution theory, the project further explores the attribution process of newcomers to examine how they make judgments on workplace gossip.
Effective start/end date1/01/2431/12/25


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