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Graduation Term


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Communication

Committee Chair

John R. Baldwin


Informal social networks, and by extension informal communications, are ubiquitous in organizational settings. Although organizational communication scholars have studied these networks, a majority of these studies indicate that informal social networks have both benefits and drawbacks to the overall performance of the organization. However, these studies, particularly the ones focusing on gossip and rumors within the networks, posit that drawbacks are more prevalent than benefits. Likewise, previous literature fails to address the role of culture within the informal social networks. Therefore, the present study investigated the impact of informal social networks on employee productivity in Kenyan organizations. Given that a majority of the conversations within the networks involve gossiping, which sometimes is confused with spreading rumors (Dunbar, 2004), the first section of study quantitatively examines whether employee gossip and rumor, independently, predict their productivity, while the second section investigates the role of culture within social networks as well as the benefits and/or limitations associated with these networks. The results indicated that gossip and rumors lead to improved productivity among employees. Further, results found that Kenyan culture influenced the messages shared within these networks. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the findings are discussed in detail.

KEYWORDS: gossip, rumor, employee productivity, social exchange theory, culture


Page Count


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