Why and When Negative Workplace Gossip Inhibits Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Jun Xie, Ming Yan, Yongyi Liang, Qihai Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The potentially destructive effects of informal communication in the form of negative workplace gossip have recently attracted scholars’ interest. Beyond the perspectives of prior studies (e.g., the conservation of resources (COR) and self-consistency theories), we offer a new account based on social identity theory and propose that negative workplace gossip is related to target employees’ decreased organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) by undermining their identification with the organization. We also theorize that collectivism influences the extent to which employees identify with the organization when being targeted by negative gossip. By collecting three-wave supervisor–subordinate dyadic data from China, we demonstrated that organizational identification mediates the negative relationship between negative workplace gossip and OCB when the effects of other mediators studied by previous perspectives (i.e., organization-based self-esteem (OBSE) and emotional exhaustion) were controlled. In addition, we found that collectivism moderates the indirect effect of negative workplace gossip on OCB through organizational identification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-735
Number of pages26
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


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