Based on social learning theory and regulatory focus theory, we propose that receiving positive and negative gossip from coworkers increases individuals’ vicarious learning, which subsequently improves their adaptive behaviours in the workplace, namely, increasing task performance and decreasing interpersonal deviance. Furthermore, we propose that gossip receivers’ regulatory foci determine the extent to which receivers engage in vicarious learning and change their behaviours. Results from two studies testing a moderated mediation model (Study 1: N = 214; Study 2: N = 189) showed that negative and positive gossip were indirectly related to increased receivers’ task performance and decreased interpersonal deviance through vicarious learning. The indirect effect of negative gossip was stronger for receivers with a high prevention focus, and the indirect effect of positive gossip was stronger for receivers with a high promotion focus. This research documents the beneficial role of receiving gossip from coworkers and advances our understanding of its consequences in the workplace.
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology|
|Early online date||21 Oct 2021|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2022|