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The Impact of Friendships in the Workplace: Testing a model of Organisational Relationships Rachel Morrison Massey University Albany.

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Presentation on theme: "The Impact of Friendships in the Workplace: Testing a model of Organisational Relationships Rachel Morrison Massey University Albany."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Impact of Friendships in the Workplace: Testing a model of Organisational Relationships Rachel Morrison Massey University Albany

2 The aim of this research was to develop and test a theoretical model of friendships in the workplace organisational variables 1.To see if these relationships have a positive or a negative impact on organisational variables such as job satisfaction, organisational commitment and retention. individuals 2.To understand how organisational or workgroup variables might impact on the relationships of individuals in an organisation.

3 Why is the study of informal relationships important?

4 Informal social relationships may offer significant and rewarding benefits to individuals in organisations. Friendships can provide increased communication, trust, respect, co- operation, support and security which, in turn, can influence work related attitudes and behaviours.

5 BUT there may also be negative consequences of close friendships. The potentially incompatible demands associated with the role of "friend" and the role of "work associate" may cause very real stress for individuals in organisations.

6 On an Organisational Level Informal relationships developed within the workplace represent a key element in the informal structure of an organisation. Friendships are potentially powerful structural units that can either hinder or facilitate organisational effectiveness. The question of how friendships might impact on organisational variables such as satisfaction and commitment in an organisation is one that has yet to be answered fully; and one which I address in this study.

7 Variables Measured Opportunities for, and Prevalence of, friendship Measured by the Workplace Friendship Scale (Nielsen et al., 2000) Job Satisfaction Measured by the Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (Warr, Cook and Wall, 1979). Organisational Commitment Measured by the the OCQ (Meyer & Allen, 1991) Cohesion Workgroup Cohesion Measure (Campion,1993) Needs Measured by the Needs Assessment Questionnaire (Heckert et al., 2000) Autonomy / Interdependence of job

8 The Hypothesised Model

9 Friendship opportunities Job satisfaction Organisational commitment Intention to leave Cohesion Friendship prevalence

10 Friendship opportunities Job satisfaction Organisational commitment Intention to leave Cohesion Friendship prevalence

11 Friendship opportunities Job satisfaction Organisational commitment Intention to leave Cohesion Friendship prevalence

12 Friendship opportunities Job satisfaction Organisational commitment Intention to leave Cohesion Friendship prevalence

13 Previous models

14 Riordan and Griffeth’s (1995) Latent Variable Representation of Friendship Opportunity Model

15 Richer, Blanchard and Vallerand’s (2002) Motivational Model of Work Turnover

16 Study 1 Testing a model of Organisational Relationships in a NZ Hospital

17 Sample Questionnaires were sent to 400 employees of the Waitemata District Health Board 124 Questionnaires were returned Demographics 95% female Mean age 44 years Over half had been employed for more than 5 years 89% European, 6% Maori, 3% Pacific Island

18 Results Variables which were hypothesised to correlate at the simple bivariate level, did… Path analysis and linear regression were used to test the model Some of the relationships between variables were found to be “mediated relationships”.

19 Results

20 Path from friendship opportunities and cohesion to organisational commitment

21 Path from job satisfaction and organisational commitment to intention to leave

22 Path from friendship opportunities and cohesion to friendship prevalence

23 Path from friendship opportunities to intention to leave

24 Model 1 redrawn showing only the significant regression weights

25 Study 2 Internet based study: Testing the generalisibilty of the theoretical model

26 Study responses to an online questionnaire were used to test the proposed model Wide range of respondents in terms of country of origin, job, gender, age. 31% were male. Most respondents were from New Zealand (68%) with 13% being from the United States. Respondents ranged in age from 19 years to 64 years, with a mean age of 35. The largest reported sector was tertiary education (universities and polytechnics, n = 92) followed by health care (including psychology, psychiatry and physiotherapy n = 53).

27 Larger sample size allowed more in depth data analysis Structural Equation Modelling was used to analyse the data and, again, results supported the model

28 SEM (AMOS): Study 2 The AMOS output indicated that all the regression paths shown here were significant (p<0.05). In addition the indices of fit indicated that a good fit to the data

29 Indices of fit of the data to the hypothesised model SEM analysis performed using AMOS computer programme (Arbuckle, 1999) IndexResult Criteria for good fit (Byrne, 2001)  df 582 PCFI.85>.50 CFI.91>.90 RMSEA.05<.08

30 Model showing Significant regression paths: Study 2

31 Model showing Significant regression paths: Study 1

32 Comparison of the two models Factor analysis of scales in the second study indicated both cohesion and satisfaction to have two factors (only 1 in first study). The main difference between the two models however is the relationship between friendship prevalence and intention to leave, which was significant in study 1 but not in study 2.

33 An explanation Sample in study 1 was primarily middle-aged women, a group who have been shown to place great importance on their relationships. The salience of friendships for this group may mean that there will be a direct relationship between friendships and leaving intentions, i.e., a friend at work will be enough to influence leaving decisions. While for a more heterogeneous, widely spread group (as in study 2), job satisfaction and organisational commitment will be more influential in the decision to leave than will friendship prevalence.

34 Study 3 FRIENDSHIPS AT WORK, JOB TYPE AND NEEDS: INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN THE IMPACT OF FRIENDISHIPS ON ORGANISATIONAL OUTCOMES

35 Study 3 Investigated the hypothesis that there will be individual differences in the impact of informal relationships, specifically: –That those with high needs for affiliation or autonomy will be differently affected by the presence or absence of close friends at work than those without such needs. –That the level of interdependence of work role (i.e. working in roles requiring social interaction) will impact on the salience friends will have.

36 Hypothesis 1 That the previously supported model will be invariant across two groups of randomly assigned respondents, thereby validating the model. Hypothesis 2 That the model will be non-invariant (i.e. different) across groups of individuals who report having: (a) relatively less or more interdependent jobs. (b) relatively high versus low needs for affiliation. (c) relatively high versus low needs for autonomy.

37 Invariance-testing strategy This procedure is outlined by Byrne (2001) and involves comparing a constrained model with a multi group model, in which no equality constraints are imposed, to determine if the causal structure is invariant. The change in chi-square value (  2 ) provides the basis for comparison with the initial multi group model.

38 Results  2  df Significance Random sample (calibration versus validation sample) Non significant High versus low interdependence of job p <.05 High versus low Affiliation needs Non significant High versus low Autonomy needs Non significant

39 When groups were compared in terms of the interdependence of their work roles… In order to fulfil my duties at work, regular communication and/or interaction with my colleagues is important. The type of work I do can be done satisfactorily on my own, without regular interaction and/or communication with my colleagues (R). … the change in Chi square (23.99) with 12 degrees of freedom (  2 (12) = 23.99) is significant

40 Thus the group of respondents reporting having relatively more autonomous work roles are significantly different from the group occupying relatively more interdependent work roles. The data from the high interdependence group was better fitting indicating the causal model (showing the impact of workplace friends on organisational outcomes) is more “true” for those in highly interdependent work roles.

41 On the other hand findings indicate invariance in the causal model when the samples compared were divided on the basis of needs for affiliation or autonomy Thus, respondents’ reported needs seem not to influence the way the measured variables in the tested model relate to each other.

42 It seems reasonable to expect that data gathered from individuals with high needs for affiliation or autonomy would differentially fit a causal model of friendships compared to those not reporting such needs. But this was not found. A possible explanation for this unexpected finding may be that individuals expressing higher order needs are having them fulfilled outside the workplace. This relates to the concept of “compensation” from the work-family balance literature (Campbell-Clark, 2001; Lambert, 1990; Sumer & Knight, 2001).

43 Conclusion It seems that the degree of interdependence in an individual’s job influences the relationships between the measured variables, while the subjective needs of employees will not. I.e. the actual job someone does, and whether or not it is necessary to work with others in order to perform ones job, will affect the salience of informal interpersonal relationships at work, while whether or not individuals self-report having needs for autonomy and affiliation, will not.

44 Quotes from respondents: How have friends benefited you at work? “Friendships encourage openness, cooperation and joy in ones work.” (#33) “I feel the friendships at work make the shifts more enjoyable on a busy day we help each other and offer support and encouragement to each other.” (#126) “Friendships help us to work cooperatively with each other and support each other at times of stress. A friendship that continues outside the work environment is also an opportunity to debrief and put things into perspective if necessary.” (#125) “Having a social side gives you a fuller happier life, so you are happier person at work.” (#120)

45 “Makes work more pleasant, knowing there are people who are pleased to see you each day.” (#118) “Has given me someone to confide in, in regards to work situations, and has improved my job satisfaction.” (#103) “We have enhanced each other’s work and commitment at times. [Friends at work] build confidence and enabled me to challenge myself and apply myself to new skills.” (#93) [Friends at work] “… make it more enjoyable to go to work each day.” (#30) [Friends at work] “… increase happiness, contentment, security” (#28)

46 An End Note “Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor, in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.” Studs Terkel (1972)

47 Peer Types Definition of a Special Peer (friend) You consider this person a best friend. You would be friends with this person even if you didn’t work together. You consider this person much more than merely a co-worker and feel you know each other very well. Adapted from : Kram, K. and L. Isabella (1985). “Mentoring alternatives: The role of peer relationships in career development.” Academy of Management Journal 28:

48 Definition of a Collegial Peer This person is a work buddy. You might not share every detail of your life with this person, but this person is more than merely an acquaintance. You may consider this person a friend or a colleague and interact with this person fairly regularly on an equal basis.

49 Definition of a Information Peer You do not know this person very well or feel very close to this person. You consider this person an acquaintance more than a friend. You do interact with this person on a fairly regular basis but you would probably not continue the relationship if you did not work here.

50 Definition of Negative Relationship This person is not one of your friends. You do interact with this person on a fairly regular basis but you would definitely not continue the relationship if you did not work here. Your interaction with this person is characterised by conflict, disagreement, dislike, animosity and/or disrespect. You would rather not have to interact with this person.


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