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Home > Blog > Psst. Did You Hear....
Out of Our Minds
Thursday, August 18, 2005 10:50 AM
Psst. Did You Hear....
Kevin Salwen on Culture

Great piece on the role of gossip in The New York Times. The point, in brief, is that gossip actually serves a purpose in offices. Consider this section of the story: 'Gossip not only helps clarify and enforce the rules that keep people working well together, studies suggest, but it circulates crucial information about the behavior of others that cannot be published in an office manual. As often as it sullies reputations, psychologists say, gossip offers a foothold for newcomers in a group and a safety net for group members who feel in danger of falling out.'

Can gossip really be a force for good? Have you seen that happen?


2 comments

Jackson T. - 8/19/2005 10:38:21 AM
I agree with Crawdaddy -- that the evidence isn't there. But I think about this from a whistleblowing perspective: Most valid exposes of sexual harrassment or corporate wrongdoing start first in the gossip mill, then move to more valid means of communication. Don't they?
Crawdaddy - 8/19/2005 7:28:53 AM
The quotation above is an extremely positive spin on gossip. Sure, all that might be true, but 'clarify and enforce rules' really means 'keep everybody the same,' and 'offers a foothold for newcomers' really means 'ensures that newcomers won't be their original selves.' Just because gossip makes some people feel good doesn't mean it's a positive force for good.

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