WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
Gossip is an important part of life, not just office culture. “We learn who we are through what people say to us and about us,” says Kathleen Reardon, a professor of management at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and author of Comebacks at Work: Using Conversation to Master Confrontation. Because we’re social beings, we want to connect to people, and talking about others is one way to do that.
This is particularly difficult to avoid in an office setting. “Gossip happens all the time, so you’re going to hear it,” says Linda Hill, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and co-author of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader. and chances are that you sometimes perpetuate it, too. “Research shows that everyone participates in all kinds of gossip: positive, neutral and negative,” says Joe LaBianca, a professor of management at the University of Kent uc k y ’ s LI NKS Center f or Research on Social Networks in Business. Is that wise? Or should you try harder to refrain from gossiping? Here are several principles to help you decide when to stay above the fray and when to get involved.