1st Edition

Gossip, Organization and Work A Research Overview

By Kathryn Waddington Copyright 2022
    120 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The premise of this book is that research into gossip, organization, and work is an important idea whose time has come. A key feature of the book is the inclusion of ‘practice points’ showing how – and where – theory and/or research intersect with practice and vice versa. They are intended as signposts to future thinking and theorizing, tempting readers to venture outside of their ‘home’ disciplines and territories, conceptual comfort zones, and methodological mindsets. The overall aim of the book is to: (i) provide enough information for readers to decide where they might want to go next; (ii) offer some theoretical directions and ethical principles; and (iii) make suggestions regarding what academic-practitioner tools and techniques will help them along the way, including arts-based and mixed-methods research that focuses on real-world lived experience(s) of gossip.

    It will be relevant to researchers at all stages of their career: from students at the start of their academic journey, to ‘seasoned’ scholars with more extensive experience. The book is also intended to be readable and relevant to practitioners with academic interests, who seek to reflect critically upon, and develop, their practice in times of turbulence and change and in the COVID-19 era.

    1. Introduction: Gossip, organization, and work 2. Key literature and theoretical perspectives 3. Research methods and practices 4. Researching organizational gossip: Ethical considerations 5. Future directions and pathways to practice-based knowledge


    Kathryn Waddington is reader in work and organisational psychology at the University of Westminster, UK.

    "Too much gossip scholarship languishes in disciplinary silos, and focuses on its small-talk, small-topic aspects. Kathryn Waddington manages to reorient our thinking about gossip as applied social epistemology that has real relevance individually and collectively, and in so doing, she lays out a productive path forward for researchers. She both efficiently surveys the existing work on gossip while also highlighting the kinds of forensic questions researchers could ask that would yield fruitful results about why gossip happens in organizations, what it signifies, and what it reveals about power relations. The book is stuffed to the brim with practical and practicable advice, while not neglecting new and experimental directions for gossip research, such as its visual and digital expression." Karen C. Adkins, Co-Editor, Social Philosophy Today

    "Gossip, Organization and Work: A Research Overview takes a long overdue look at the role of gossip and organizations, arguing that it is constitutive of organizational life. This book is a must read for students of organizations wanting to understand the social, organizational, and ethical functions of gossip." Gail T. Fairhurst, Distinguished University Research Professor, University of Cincinnati USA

    "Rather than being discounted as trivial talk, Kathryn Waddington vividly captures the ubiquity and functionality of gossip as it pertains to work and organizational life. Her book presents a rich and engaging narrative that offers new insights to everyone who experiences organizations and who shares, listens to, reads, or observes gossip." Grant Michelson, Professor of Management, Macquarie University Australia

    "Gossip is the stuff of a workplace’s culture and may be an important alarm bell that leaders need to hear. Waddington outlines research strategies for approaching this slippery and changing phenomenon in the COVID era, when work and workplaces are also slippery and changing." Nick O’Connor, Clinical Lead, NSW Excellence Commission Australia

    "It is rare for a text to be scholarly and enjoyable, yet Kathryn Waddington’s new book Gossip, Organization and Work: A Research Overview achieves just that. Aimed at academics and practitioners, both groups will find much to engage, provoke, and stimulate their thinking, on this important yet neglected topic." Jo Silvester, Professor of Work Psychology, Loughborough University, UK

    "Organizational gossip is a specific form of voice, of having oneself heard on the work floor. It excites, delights and troubles all parties involved: gossiper, recipient, and target. Indeed, gossip can have tremendous effects, positive and negative ones. These ‘functions’ of gossip are by now well-studied. Time for new perspectives! In this book, Kathryn Waddington calls for gossip research to be ‘eclective, evocative, and imaginative’. She paves the way." Ad van Iterson, Maastricht University, Netherlands

    "Thank goodness we can finally take gossip seriously! This fascinating book manages to be both scholarly and accessible, synthesizing many ideas to provide comprehensive coverage of the field. Importantly, it outlines fruitful directions for research and, for this reason, I almost wish I was starting out on a PhD again with this in my hand/bookbag!" Helena Cooper-ThomasProfessor of Organisational Behaviour, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

    "All practising business psychologists need to read and fully digest the pearls of wisdom in this book. If you are in the business of shaping culture, you need to know about gossip. Waddington insightfully shows how practitioners can engage with gossip as an essential and valid data source that helps them better understand an organisation’s culture and shed light on the sometimes hidden narrative/story that shapes it." Stewart DessonAssociation for Business Psychology (ABP) Board Member, CEO of Lumina Learning 

    “An invaluable and highly accessible resource that confirms the author’s place at the forefront of the field of gossip and work.” James Greenslade-Yeats, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

    "This book celebrates gossip as an art form, as a social interaction ritual (in which most of us love to engage) and as vital to knowledge-exchange and know-how in organizations. That the author has been was able to deliver such breadth of information in a relatively slim volume is a testament to her deep understanding of this topic." Alison Fixsen, Senior Lecturer and Ethics Coordinator, School of Social Sciences, University of Westminster, UK