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Hotel gossip creates career block for hospitality workers says study

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Workers in the hospitality industry can see their career progress damaged by gossiping colleagues, a new study reveals.

Experts found that negative workplace gossip damages employees’ personal reputation –staff who worry about how colleagues perceive them are more likely to take such chatter seriously and see their career growth prospects weakened in their organisation.

They call on managers in the hospitality industry to mitigate the impact of negative gossip by creating a harmonious work environment, providing reputation-focused training programmes, and supporting employees concerned about their personal reputations.

Publishing their findings in International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, researchers note that the career impact of negative workplace gossip has been ignored – their study is the first to examine the influence of negative workplace gossip on employees’ career outcomes in the hospitality sector.

Co-author Ahmed Shaalan, from the University of Birmingham Dubai, commented: “Negative workplace gossip hinders career growth by damaging people’s personal reputation. Such gossip is common and can permeate its targets’ work and daily lives – it must be considered to understand employees’ career growth in their organisations.

“Personal reputations can be built by an individual’s behaviours and shaped by gossip in an organization. Employees with high regard for their reputation experience lower personal reputations from being negatively gossiped about – resulting in more negative assessments of their promotion prospects.”

Supported by funding from National Natural Science Foundation of China, researchers from the University of Birmingham and several Chinese universities analysed data from 379 individuals working in Guangzhou’s hospitality industry.

They note that, because frequent and long-term interactions, relatively fixed interpersonal circles, and high turnover rates feature highly in the industry, investigating the relationship between negative workplace gossip, career growth and reputation has significant value.

The experts call on industry leaders to introduce company policies prohibiting negative workplace gossip – helping to create a friendly organisational climate that results in less negative workplace gossip. Collaborative activities would allow employees to become familiar with each other and reduce such gossip.

Training sessions focussed on career would help employees to gain a clearer understanding of their personal positions and career development paths – emphasising how a strong personal reputation can help to break the link between negative workplace gossip and lack of career growth.

“Organisations providing employees with training in workplace reputation and interpersonal skills will help them maintain a good reputation and build their potential for career growth,” added Dr Shaalan.

“Managers and organisations should strive to ensure that employees with high concern for reputation are not adversely affected by negative workplace gossip and other reputation-damaging events.”

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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