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Workplace friendship

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Title: Workplace friendship  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Toxic workplace, Workplace relationships, Cyber-aggression in the workplace, Employee monitoring, Employee surveys
Collection: Communication, Friendship, Organizational Theory, Social Sciences, Workplace
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Workplace friendship

Happy moment shared by employees demonstrating the friendly workplace

Workplace friendship is a relationship established in a workplace that goes beyond normal expected working relationships.


  • Definition 1
  • Significance in America 2
  • Outside of the United States 3
    • China 3.1
  • References 4


Workplace friendship is considered voluntary. This idea is related to the friendship aspect of the term, as true friendships are voluntary actions. In the workplace, a person cannot choose their co-workers but they can chose which of their co-workers with whom to be friendly and whom to socialize with. These relationships are distinguished from regular workplace relationships as they extend past the roles and duties of the workplace.[1] Workplace friendships are influenced by individual and contextual factors such as life events, socializing, shared tasks, physical work proximity, work related problems, and slack time.

Significance in America

Workplace friendship is directly related to several other areas of study including intention to leave. Perceived cohesiveness of a workplace is also positively related to opportunities for friendships in the workplace.[2] Career success and job satisfaction are both related to the quality of workplace relationships.[3] A positive relationship also exists between job satisfaction and the friendship opportunity in the workplace.[4]

Outside of the United States


Many social ties in China are socially constrained or at least socially dictated. This applies to the workplace as well. According to a study done in Tianjin on worker relationships, 76% of workers include at least one co-worker in their self identified social networks, which is twice the number as American workers. This higher rate of workplace friendships may also be related to the higher rate of kin within the workplace for many Chinese citizens. However it is clear that workplace relationships are equally important in Chinese society as they are in the United States.


  1. ^ Sias, P.M.; G. Smith; T. Avdeyeva (2003). "Sex and sex-composition differences and similarities in peer workplace friendship development". Communication Studies 54 (3): 322–340.  
  2. ^ Buunk, B.P.; B. Doosje; G. Liesbth; J. Jans; L. Hopsaken (1993). "Perceived reciprocity, social support and stress at work: The role of exchange and communal orientation.". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65: 801–811.  
  3. ^ Markiewicz, D.; I. Devine; D. Kausilas (1997). "Friendships of women and men at work: Job satisfaction and resource implication.". Journal of Managerial Psychology 45: 153–166. 
  4. ^ Morrison, R. (2003). "Informal relationships in the workplace: Associations with job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover intentions.". New Zealand Journal of Psychology 3: 114–128. 
  • Maslow, A.H. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Mayo, E. (1933). The human problems of an industrial civilization. New York: MacMillan.
  • Ruan, D. (1993). Interpersonal networks and workplace controls in urban China. The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 29, 89-105.
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