CASE STUDY NO 1:
Carl, a director of operations at a large pharmaceutical company, sees office gossip as an important communication tool.
He admits that he has both listened to and fed news into gossip channels. “Those who were the most active gossipers were the gatekeepers of company information,” he says. “It’s useful to take advantage of these people and put your own information in the f low, even adding some positive company spin.” When his f irm was negotiating a move from its current premises to another site 8km away, Carl mentioned to a few of the gossipers the possibility of relocation and t he l i kelihood t hat staff would receive a bonus if it all went well. He wanted to gauge reaction. When he heard positive feedback, he gradually fed more information about the move and its benefits.
“It proved successful – by the time we publicised the move, most people were accustomed to it, and we averted the need for a long consultation process,” he says. Carl strongly believes that this sort of communication is critical. “Ignoring it or treating it as nonsense without hearing what’s being said is negligent, in my view,” he says.