Title page for ETD etd-0606103-074108

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Berkos, Kristen Marie
URN etd-0606103-074108
Title The Effects of Message Direction and Sex Differences on the Interpretation of Workplace Gossip
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Speech Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Renee Edwards Committee Chair
Andrew King Committee Member
Loretta Pecchioni Committee Member
Marcia Simmering Committee Member
Lori Haussegger Dean's Representative
  • perception of individual politics
  • upward communication
  • downward communication
  • gossip purpose scale
  • organizational communication
  • horizontal communication
Date of Defense 2003-04-07
Availability unrestricted
Gossip occurs in the organization and individuals exposed to these gossip messages must decide how to interpret the gossip. This dissertation explains the definitions and research for gossip, message direction, sex differences, message interpretation, politicalism, and believability. Applying symbolic interactionism and social exchange theory, seven relationships between variables are proposed. The seven hypotheses are tested via a web-based questionnaire that manipulated the message direction and sex of the gossiper and gossip receiver. Two hundred seventy-six full time employees completed instruments measuring gossip believability, purpose, and politicalism. Data were subjected to a MANCOVA, and correlation statistics. Results supported three of the seven hypotheses. Specifically, message direction and sex of the receiver influenced gossip interpretation. Data confirmed a predicted negative relationship between believability and politicalism. Interpretations of results, limitations, implications, and directions for future research are included.
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