Is gossip functional?

Gossip not only helps clarify and enforce the rules that keep people working well together, studies suggest, but it circulates crucial information about the behavior of others that cannot be published in an office manual. As often as it sullies reputations, psychologists say, gossip offers a foothold for newcomers in a group and a safety net for group members who feel in danger of falling out.

Here is the story.  Gossip is also a means of signaling ability.  It is not easy to gossip well and gossip discreetly.  What better way of sorting people by their social and communicative abilities?  So when you gossip, you are the one being tested and evaluated.


Comments for this post are closed