The politics of gossip and denial in inter-organizational relations

Sage Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Human Relations, 2008, 61 (8), pp. 1117 - 1137
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Organizational gossip has largely been discussed in terms of effects at the individual level. In this article we turn our attention to the organization level. The article makes a research contribution that addresses gossip that spreads fact-based rumours about organizations in terms of their shifting role in circuits of power. The research question asks what happens when organizations officially formulate themselves as doing one thing while other organizational actors that are influential in significant organizational arenas (in which these formulations circulate) counter that these formulations are patently false. Theoretically, we draw on the literature on organizational gossip and rumour as well as on the politics of non-decision-making. Our argument is advanced by reference to a case study of the Australian Wheat Board and UN Resolution 661. Basically, organizational gossip plays a key role in the production of interorganizational power dynamics, an insight previously neglected.
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