I will have the pleasure of presenting my paper: “An Intercultural Analysis of Gossip” at the ICA Conference: Interventions: Communication Research and Practice, taking place in San Diego, from 25-29 May.
An Intercultural Analysis of Gossip -Abstract
The range of studies that have been conducted on the role of gossip in organizations suggest that gossip in the workplace plays a variety of important roles in organisational processes. However, very few studies have explored its role in intercultural situations. This is surprising given how organisations are becoming increasingly diverse and operating in various countries. This paper addresses this gap in the literature. It reports on an exploratory project that seeks to determine how perceptions of organisational gossip vary between members of different cultural backgrounds. Using a sensemaking, interpretative approach, we show three gossip scenarios to 8 Chinese, 8 German and 8 Dutch first year students, and, conducting semi structured interviews, ask them how they perceive the gossiper, the object of gossip and the listener. Analysing the data with ATLAS TI, we observe certain patterns already emerging: for example, the Dutch and Chinese students perceived the object of gossip differently when s/he was the boss and had different expectations as to how a boss should behave. After reflecting on our research methodology, this study will set the stage for the next phase of our research.
Key words: gossip, sensemaking, intercultural communication