Workplace Gossip, Paranoia, and a Deviance Dilemma: A Warning for Deviance/CWB Research
MetadataShow full item record
Organizational research has long conceptualized workplace gossip as a form of deviance and included gossip in many measures of deviance and counterproductive work behaviors (CWB). However, empirical evidence regarding the nature of workplace gossip is extremely limited. In this paper, five studies are performed with the goal of addressing three fundamental research questions: (1) is workplace gossip a form of deviance, (2) why is there so much confusion surrounding workplace gossip, and (3) how does treating workplace gossip as a form of deviance affect organizational research? Together, the research advances our theoretical and conceptual understanding of workplace gossip and deviance/CWBs. Further, it advances our understanding of paranoia, a construct which has an important, but previously overlooked relationship with workplace gossip and deviance/CWBs. Evidence from this research indicates that workplace gossip is not a form of deviance/CWB, and that paranoia uniquely affects perceptions of workplace gossip, making workplace gossip appear more like a form of deviance/CWB than it otherwise would without the influence of paranoia. Importantly, the long-standing practice of treating workplace gossip as a form of deviance/CWB can have a significant, and potentially very misleading, effect on organizational research. Specifically, including workplace gossip in deviance/CWB measurement can result in false discoveries of deviance/CWBs and systematic measurement contamination which significantly biases relationship estimates between deviance/CWB and other commonly-studied variables. Overall, treating workplace gossip as a form of deviance/CWB clouds our understanding of deviance/CWBs and can dramatically increase the probability of Type I/II errors in deviance/CWB research. Implications, recommendations, and future research directions are discussed.
Cite this version of the work
Daniel Brady (2018). Workplace Gossip, Paranoia, and a Deviance Dilemma: A Warning for Deviance/CWB Research. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14199