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Gossip: a channel for the development of personal reputation

Robert Zinko (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)
Charles Tuchtan (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)
James Hunt (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia)
James Meurs (University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
Christopher Furner (East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
L. Melita Prati (Department of Management, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to empirically test the extent to which gossip plays a role in individual reputation development in the context of contemporary organizations. This study answers the continuous calls to integrate theory across fields by exploring the theoretical links between these two constructs.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides a conceptual analysis and general review of the literature on gossip and reputation. The relationship between these two constructs is investigated through a two-study package (lab and field) yielding convergent results.

Findings

The findings of this study are that gossip contributes to organizational identity in that it reinforces the social norms of groups and that gossip serves as an important enabler of reputational development. This study provides empirical evidence that gossip serves a more significant role in the development of personal reputation than more formal methods of communication.

Practical implications

As organizations and individuals attempt to develop and capitalize on the effects of individuals’ reputations, this study provides practical insights into the knowledge that needs to be built regarding the method by which this development can occur. This study points to the practical value of gossip in the creation of personal reputation.

Originality/value

The theoretical framework in this study highlights the centrality of gossip as a primary enabler of reputation development in contemporary organizations. Reputation theory is advanced by studying a segment of the construct that has, until now, been excluded from consideration in this field.

Keywords

Citation

Zinko, R., Tuchtan, C., Hunt, J., Meurs, J., Furner, C. and Prati, L.M. (2017), "Gossip: a channel for the development of personal reputation", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 516-535. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOA-07-2016-1041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited