Perceptions of Negative Workplace Gossip: A Self-Consistency Theory Framework

Long Zeng Wu, Thomas A. Birtch, Flora CHIANG*, Haina Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    125 Citations (Scopus)


    We present and test a self-consistency theory framework for gossip: that perceived negative workplace gossip influences our self-perceptions and, in turn, this influences our behaviors. Using supervisor-subordinate dyadic time-lagged data (n = 403), we demonstrated that perceived negative workplace gossip adversely influenced target employees’ organization-based self-esteem, which, in turn, influenced their citizenship behavior directed at the organization and at its members. Moreover, by integrating victimization theory into our framework, we further demonstrated that negative affectivity, an individual’s dispositional tendency, not only moderated the self-consistency process but also predicted perceived negative workplace gossip. Our study therefore shifts attention to the target of negative workplace gossip and in doing so offers a promising new direction for future research. Implications to theory and practice are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1873-1898
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of Management
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Finance
    • Strategy and Management

    User-Defined Keywords

    • negative affectivity
    • organization-based self-esteem
    • organizational citizenship behavior
    • perceived negative workplace gossip
    • self-consistency theory


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