Perish in gossip? Nonlinear effects of perceived negative workplace gossip on job performance

Jun Xie, Qihai Huang, Hongli Wang, Minghao Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the curvilinear relationship between perceived negative workplace gossip and target employee’s task performance, and the moderating roles of perceived organizational support (POS). Design/methodology/approach: Using a sample of 275 supervisor–subordinate dyads in a two-wave survey, the authors adopted a hierarchical regression analysis to test the hypotheses. Findings: The results revealed that there is a U-shaped relationship between perceived negative workplace gossip and task performance. Moreover, POS moderated the curvilinear relationship such that the curvilinear relationship is more pronounced among those with lower POS. Research limitations/implications: This study does not explore the mediating mechanism of how perceived negative gossip affects the target’s task performance. Moreover, as this research was conducted in a Chinese context, the question of the generalizability of the findings calls for more attention. Practical implications: When the negative gossip is still in its early stages, managers should realize the potential threat to target employees and take measures to stop and minimize negative gossiping and rumormongering. Furthermore, managers should do their best to find the optimal levels of organizational support for target employees. Originality/value: This study is among the first effort to understand how perceived negative gossip can influence the target employees’ performance by proposing and demonstrating a nonlinear relationship. Moreover, by illuminating how POS plays a role in the curvilinear relationship between negative gossip and task performance, the authors not only complement but also extend the literature on workplace gossip and organizational support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-405
Number of pages17
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


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