Talking behind their backs: Negative gossip and burnout in Hospitals

Katerina Georganta*, Efharis Panagopoulou, Anthony Montgomery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Gossip can both hinder and help in a hospital environment. Despite the fact that research indicated that it occurs most frequently in healthcare, it has not been studied in relation to other organizational manifestations such as burnout and engagement, or quality of care outcomes. We hypothesize that negative gossip, defined as negative evaluative talk about an absent third party would function as an indicator of organizational dysfunction.

A quantitative survey was conducted among doctors, nurses and residents in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Croatia and Republic of Macedonia (N = 532). Specifically, we examined the role of negative gossip, in relation to burnout, job engagement, suboptimal care and patient safety in public hospitals.

Results indicate that, after controlling for negative affect, negative gossip is positively related to emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Negative gossip negatively correlated with job engagement and patient safety and positively correlated with suboptimal care, even after controlling for burnout. Negative gossip was positively related to the number of event reporting.

Gossip is an important aspect of organizational functioning. The degree to which negative gossip is a coping mechanism of healthcare professionals is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalBurnout Research
Issue number2
Early online date7 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


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