The co-evolution of gossip and friendship in workplace social networks

Lea Ellwardt*, Christian Steglich, Rafael Wittek

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

58 Citaten (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates the co-evolution of friendship and gossip in organizations. Two contradicting perspectives are tested. The social capital perspective predicts that friendship causes gossip between employees, defined as informal evaluative talking about absent colleagues. The evolutionary perspective reverses this causality claiming that gossiping facilitates friendship. The data comprises of three observations of a complete organizational network, allowing longitudinal social network analyses. Gossip and friendship are modeled as both explanatory and outcome networks with RSiena. Results support the evolutionary perspective in that gossip between two individuals increases the likelihood of their future friendship formation. However, individuals with disproportionately high gossip activity have fewer friends in the network, suggesting that the use of gossiping to attract friends has a limit. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)623-633
Aantal pagina's11
TijdschriftSocial Networks
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
StatusPublished - okt-2012

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