Put people together in one place for long enough and inevitably there will be gossip.
In a paper published in the Review of General Psychology, Dunbar explains that originally gossip is a mechanism for bonding social groups. He argues that it allows people to augment the size of their networks and allows people to exchange information about these networks ». He then goes on to insist that such communication « is a fundamental prerequisite of the human condition » and that without it « we would not be able to sustain the kinds of societies that we do ». However, Dunbar seems to be referring to simply the discussion on social topics and not necessarily the wide interpretation of gossip.
While the sharing of social information may be critical for our societies, gossip has an extremely negative connotation attached to it. The reason is that when one thinks of gossip one most probably considers the spread of fabricated and negative messages, which in some cases can be harmful to the reputations of people and the integrity of organizations.
According to Careerstone Group, gossip in the workplace « can increase conflict and decrease morale. It results in strained relationships…and breaks down the trust level within the group. » What’s more, it’s described as being « the death of teamwork » and a direct cause of productivity loss.
The problem is that despite the fact we all know how harmful it can be, many companies are still searching for the optimal way to avoid its devastating effects. Watch this classic video from the 1950’s about the office grapevine and the troubles office gossip can cause.
Some of the key expressions are translated into French just below.
Les expressions traduites en français
Something big is brewing.
Quelque chose de grand doit arriver.
Do you think there’s anything to it?
It’s all over the office.
Tout le monde dans le bureau en parle.
…none of their business
n’avoir aucun lien avec l’affaire
through the grapevine
via le bouche à oreille
I’ll be running along.
Je m’en vais.
…get out a lot more work with less effort.
d’être plus productif avec moins d’efforts
…will be old hams at it.
de devenir spécialiste en quelque chose
The least he could have done is…
Le moins qu’il aurait du faire c’est…
Where there’s smoke there’s fire.
Il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu.
working your head off
travailler très dur
I guess this is it.
Je pense que l’on y est. (Nos relations sont terminées.)
What on earth are you talking about?
Mais de quoi parlez-vous donc?
They look at you like you’re a piece of furniture.
Ils vous traitent comme un objet sans valeur.
let somebody go
For pete’s sake…
Pour l’amour de Dieu…
…to break someone in on it
How in the devil…
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