Gossip

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Peter Vajda identifies gossip as a form of workplace violence, noting that it is "essentially a form of attack. " Gossip is thought by many to "empower one person while disempowering another" (Hafen). Accordingly, many companies have formal policies in their employee handbooks against gossip. Sometimes there is room for disagreement on exactly what constitutes unacceptable gossip, since workplace gossip may take the form of offhand remarks about someone's tendencies such as "He always takes a long lunch," or "Don’t worry, that’s just how she is. " TLK Healthcare cites as examples of gossip, "tattletailing to the boss without intention of furthering a solution or speaking to co-workers about something someone else has done to upset us. " Corporate email can be a particularly dangerous method of gossip delivery, as the medium is semi-permanent and messages are easily forwarded to unintended recipients; accordingly, a Mass High Tech article advised employers to instruct employees against using company email networks for gossip. Low self-esteem and a desire to "fit in" are frequently cited as motivations for workplace gossip. There are five essential functions that gossip has in the workplace (according to DiFonzo & Bordia):

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