Workplace friendship deterioration

Joseph Reagle

Workplace relationships

Are romance and friendships more likely in the workplace today?


Don’t screw the crew

Romance is seen as an inevitability of young flirty work staff who are acting on natural instincts. Authors find:


Friendship Deterioration

ex. Six questions??

  1. What is workplace friendship?
  2. What is novel about workplace friendships?
  3. What is an example of each narrative of deterioration; how common was each?
  4. What are dialectical tensions and which ones relate to blended relationships?
  5. What tactics were used to implement deterioration?
  6. What were the consequences?

Workplace friendships?

Workplace friendships

A relationship of mutual affection; stronger than association. Workplace friendships

have a personalistic focus in which individuals come to know and treat each other as whole persons rather than simply workplace role occupants (SiasEtal 2004, p. 322)



Permit people to communicate about work-related issues with a depth and efficiency unavailable in other friendships

Narratives of deterioration?

Narratives of deterioration

Dialectical tensions?

Bridge and Baxter (1992)

Dialectical tensions

Tensions of blended relationships?

Subordinate/superior and promotion relationships exhibited the tensions of:



Nods to nothing

Language types

verbal non-verbal
auditory speech paralanguage (e.g., sigh, gasp)
non-auditory sign language, IM

direct nonverbal

  • appearance
  • kinesics (gestures and expressions)
  • oculesics (eyes)
  • haptics (touch)
  • proxemics (closeness)

Why is this funny?



What to do?

Concluding questions?