How much of office gossip is true?
The informal communication network — i.e. the grapevine — is an inherent part of the organization. This network helps employees to make sense about the world around them and in this way it provides a relief from emotional stress. If left unguarded, the grapevine can become an organization’s worst enemy, but when it is managed properly it can significantly increase the productivity and job satisfaction of employees (Simmons 1985L 39).
The grapevine’s communication does not really concentrate on gossip regarding individuals; about 80% of it pertains to business-related politics. It is also interesting to note that 70-90% of a message’s details are usually correct. The rumours that are apread along the grapevine are in direct proportion to their importance to the employees and to the lack of information on the subject from official sources. Sending or receiving information on matters such as who is going to be transferred, who is in line for promotion, and which new jibs are available, fulfills a basic human need in the workplace (Simmons 1985: 41)
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