Workplace gossip: An integrative review of its antecedents, functions, and consequences

Tianjun Sun, Pauline Schilpzand, Yihao Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The workplace gossip construct is currently divergently interpreted by organizational scholars, with perceptions of its origins, functions, and impacts varying widely. In this comprehensive narrative review, we seek to provide much needed clarity around the often studied and frequently demonstrated employee behavior of workplace gossip by synthesizing gossip studies conducted during the past four decades in both the organization and psychology literatures. The first section of our review considers measures, designs, and theoretical frameworks featured in these studies. In the second section, we consolidate and integrate research findings from the extant literatures into three emerging categories of gossip antecedents (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational antecedents), four categories of gossip functions (information exchange, ego enhancement, social integration, and social segregation), and three categories of gossip consequences (consequences for gossip senders/recipients, for gossip targets, and beyond the triads). In the last section, we propose an integrative model to guide future investigations on the antecedents, functions, and consequences of workplace gossip. Our review aims to provide a clear overview of existing gossip research across the organization and psychology literatures and to highlight several important trends to open up various opportunities for future impactful workplace gossip scholarship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-334
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • gossip antecedents
  • gossip consequences
  • gossip functions
  • review
  • workplace gossip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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