Exploring Workplace Friendships in Business: Cultural Variations of Employee Behaviour
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Teams, and their inherent friendship networks, are an increasingly important architectural dimension of local, national and international business organisations. Indeed, there is worldwide recognition that team based organisational arrangements, such as self managed, cross functional and semi autonomous work groups manifest the ‘workplace friendship’ phenomenon to underpin more creative and informed business related decision making that can lead to improved customer service and heightened productive quality. This paper reports a preliminary exploration of the construct of workplace friendship, and in particular, the generalisability of the Workplace Friendship Scale with data from 359 respondents from five different countries. The study results demonstrate the scale was multi faceted in terms of time, context, informality and communication. Also, the study results indicate that the Workplace Friendship Scale is reliable and can be used with confidence in multi cultural research to evaluate HRM variable related frameworks. The findings of the study indicate that employees consider workplace friendships are a critical component of a healthy, supportive working environment. Friendship and teamwork can have a significant impact on organisational stability and productivity. Therefore, subsequent implications for HRM policy and practice are likely to be profound.
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