Chapter 1 GOSSIP CULTURE: Cruel conversations

WHAT’S GOING ON

It’s human to want to understand situations, read the play of social activity and recognise the motivations of others. We like to guess at what’s going on, and, in our less honourable moments, we may feel smug satisfaction when people we envy or dislike are struggling. Gossip exists in many workplaces, and it can be destructive.

What is gossip?

The positive sharing of information can be healthy. Constructive speculation about what’s going on in the company, “building social connections with colleagues, discussion of who might get that sought-after promotion — these conversations are quite natural. As humans, we try to make sense of what’s happening around us, even when we have little information on which to base our understanding. Whether out of competition, curiosity or a genuine wish to see our colleagues succeed, we’re inherently interested in what other people are doing.

If the speculation is negative ...

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