Everyday secrecy: boundaries of confidential gossip

Ziyun Fan*, Christopher Grey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gossip is an everyday part of organizational life and has been increasingly researched. However, some gossip has a particular character, whereby it is to some degree secret. Drawing on studies of both gossip and secrecy, in this paper we explore this ‘confidential gossip’ via a participant observation case study. This was based on an internship with Quinza, a British media company, and had a covert element which is discussed and justified. Specifically, we show how the boundaries around confidential gossip are marked in organizational interactions. The paper contributes to existing knowledge about organizational gossip by showing the particular significance of secrecy which makes confidential gossip a more potent source of group inclusion and exclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalCulture and Organization
Issue number3
Early online date13 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • confidential gossip
  • Gossip
  • groups
  • participant observation
  • secrecy

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