IACMR Research Seminar Series #40

Title: The functions and dysfunctions of workplace gossip
: Huiwen Lian, Texas A&M University
: 9:00- 10:15 am, September 27, 2023 (China Time, UTC+8)
Language: Chinese


Workplace gossip, defined as evaluative talk—whether positive or negative—initiated by one employee (referred to as the “gossiper”) to another (the “gossip recipient”) about an absent colleague (Brady et al., 2017; Foster, 2004) is a ubiquitous phenomenon. Remarkably, it draws the participation of over 90% of employees (Grosser et al., 2012), with American workers dedicating approximately 40 minutes per week exclusively to such exchanges (Vitukevich, 2019). Its pervasive nature stands in contrast to its commonly assumed reprehensible standing: gossip is often dubbed a “social weapon,” and censured by most societies, a sentiment reinforced by a plethora of disapproving gossip quotes (Gluckman, 1963, p. 309; Peters & Kashima, 2013). This presentation unveils multiple research endeavors in which my coauthors and I examined the dual facets of workplace gossip, studying its positive and negative effects. I seek to present a balanced and comprehensive perspective on workplace gossip, delving into the motivations underpinning individuals’ engagement in gossip, the specific types of gossip they partake in, and the consequent rewards or sanctions they encounter as active participants or recipients of workplace gossip.


Huiwen Lian is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M’s Management department. Prior to joining Mays, Huiwen was an Associate Professor of management at the University of Kentucky and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on leadership, motivation, and workplace deviance. Her work has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Annals, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Personnel Psychology, among others. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Personnel Psychology.