Around 15% of all work emails are gossip . . .

work emails - 15% are gossip

The average corporate email user sends more than 100 emails a day, and almost 15% of them are simply gossip, according to a recent US study.

The study, conducted on behalf of the Georgia Institute of Technology (‚ ≤Georgia Tech’) in Atlanta, Georgia defined ‚ ≤gossip’ as messages that contain information or comments about a person or persons not among the recipients of the email. It found that employees sent an average of 112 emails a day, of which 14.7% could be classified as containing gossip.

Although lower level employees were more prone to gossip, it was prevalent at all levels of the organisation. The second-highest extent of gossip occurred among vice presidents and directors.

But is gossip always a bad thing?

Gossip may be described as how we know what we know about each other, but this study defined it broadly as a means of sharing social information.
The study found that negative gossip was almost three times as prevalent as neutral (merely sentiment-free information) or positive gossip.
The word ‚ ≤gossip’ has a negative connotation to most people, but the study authors also point out that it is still an important form of communication. It also has a cumulative effect. For example, the message: ‚ ≤X said he would be late for our meeting’ is on face value a simple statement of information but, after a few similar messages, the impression is conveyed that X is a habitually late person.

Gossip has four basic elements:

  1. information
  2. entertainment
  3. intimacy
  4. influence

All of these elements showed up in the business emails that were studied, referring to both personal and business relationships.

Further information ‚ ≤Have You Heard? Nearly 15 Percent of Work Email Is Gossip’, Georgia Institute of Technology, 6 June 2012

Source: (27/08/2012)