You know gossip is an unfortunate part of every workplace. But we’re guessing you didn’t know it was this widespread.
Nearly 15% of email at work is gossip, according to a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Researchers at GIT studied 517,431 emails in search of gossip, which the study defined as “the absence of a third party from a conversation.”
Each employee in the study sent on average 112 emails each day — and 1 out of every 7 qualified as gossip.
Worse, gossip was also prevalent at all levels of a company — low-level employees play a major role in circulating gossip up the ladder, and VPs and directors are most likely to spread gossip both up and down the chain.
Other interesting facts turned up in the research:
- Gossip is 2.7 times more likely to be negative than positive
- The sent folders of some CEOs had nothing but gossip
- After VPs and directors, in-house lawyers were the next most likely to spread gossip, and
- Gossip is as frequent in formal conversations as in personal communication.
Guess where these emails came from
What companies need to understand: Gossip can be destructive, and open communication is key to the success of any organization.
Need further proof? The data from this study came from the emails of failed energy company Enron.