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Do loose lips sink ships? The meaning, antecedents and consequences of rumour and gossip in organisations

Grant Michelson (Work and Organisational Studies, School of Business, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
V. Suchitra Mouly (Department of Management and Employment Relations, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



This paper examines an important, albeit neglected aspect of communication in the workplace, namely, rumour and gossip in organisations. Drawing on literature from multiple disciplines the paper provides an analysis of the role played by rumour and gossip within organisations, including, but not limited to, its meaning, hidden reasons and its management. The paper discusses both antecedent and outcome variables that are associated with organisational rumour and gossip. It is contended that the different types of rumour and gossip serve different purposes which, in turn, result in a range of outcomes. Moreover, and in spite of the tendency to ascribe rumour and gossip as morally reprehensible, not all of these outcomes are shown to be harmful within organisations. The authors use this finding to argue that scholars and managers alike should avoid making negative judgements about rumour and gossip in all such cases.



Michelson, G. and Suchitra Mouly, V. (2004), "Do loose lips sink ships? The meaning, antecedents and consequences of rumour and gossip in organisations", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 189-201.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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