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Gossip can lead to vital information needed in the workplace

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While many business executives may associate "office gossip" with a negative connotation, some experts believe those conversations are a vital source of information spread throughout the workplace, according to BusinessNewsDaily.

Eric Gilbert, assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech University, told the news source that employees talking about each other can help business owners form opinions about people in the workplace, and these impressions can be both good and bad.

"There is a rich literature in anthropology and sociology on the universality and utility of gossip among human social groups," Tanushree Mitra, a Ph.D. student who worked with Gilbert on the research, told the website. "A recent survey of that literature summarized gossip as having four main purposes: information, entertainment, intimacy and influence."

The two composed the report "Have You Heard? How Gossip Flows Through Workplace Email," which discussed how many office emails contain gossip, and how that information can be valuable when it comes to promotions and firings within the office, said the news source.

Business owners should understand this research and not discourage all forms of gossip in the workplace. However, managers and executives also want to foster a positive workplace environment, not only to maximize productivity but to avoid the bad feeling that can lead to lawsuits if a disgruntled worker is fired. When making claims that lead to the firing of employees, owners should be sure they have business insurance policies to protect them from potential lawsuits.

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