About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2030-2031 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2020
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.0633

Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain


Our paper presents a social reflexive exercise and auto-ethnographic text for initiating and developing ‘workplace friendship.’ We present an interactive method in seven choreographed steps for ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ that proved useful for learning about each other. Specifically, our method elicits textual material regarding attitudes, agency and motivations that are not adequately elicited by other methods. Berman et al. (2002) define workplace friendship as “nonexclusive voluntary workplace relations that involve mutual trust, commitment, reciprocal liking and shared interests and values” (p. 218). Previous empirical research in psychology, sociology, and management commonly reveal that workplace friendship can influence employees’ work-related attitudes, intentions, and behaviors such as job satisfaction, job performance, and absenteeism (Ross, 1997). Based on these functional values of workplace friendship, Hamilton (2007) suggested that when employees have trustful friends at work, they can get help or advice from their co-workers and, therefore, gain feelings of security, comfort, and satisfaction with their job at work.

In groups of three, 135 participants formed 45 groups. Each group held a Social Meeting outside their workplace to have an open-ended conversation. Workplace issues were taboo. Each individual evoked symbols and felt-experiences regarding their Social Meeting and posted them on an electronic bill-board which was visible to all groups. Through constructed word structures and felt experiences, we became aware of details of our social meetings. The methodologies underlying our seven step process were participant-observation, symbolic interactionism and social reflexivity. We used self-reflection to explore anecdotal and personal experience of the Social Meeting and connected our ‘auto-ethnographic’ contents to wider meanings and understandings (Gallop, Jane. 2002). By the end of the exercise, some fundamental and important transformations indeed took place in our groups.

Among the many issues ‘friendship’ raises, we believe it existed among us whenever enough threads of intellectual exchange and reciprocated sentiment were present. By sharing experiences from our lives, we saw some of the possibilities that auto-ethnographic text can create. A sympathy and understanding developed and a definite personal relationship was formed and acknowledged. The sharing of private thoughts were of great value in getting a sense of identity for oneself in the group. Our written descriptions of the exercise were interior maps. When we apprehended these maps, we evoked new perspectives and new possibilities. We learnt that in a safe and free setting, surrounded by words, any one can write ‘friendship’ into their working lives —often very good ones.

[1] Berman, E.M., West, J.P., Maurice, W., & Richter, N. (2002). Workplace relations: Friendship patterns and consequences (According to managers). Public Administration Review
[2] Gallop, Jane. (2002) "Anecdotal Theory"
[3] Ross, J.A. (1997). Does friendship improve job performance? Harvard Business Review
[4] Hamilton, E.A. (2007). Firm friendship: Examining functions and outcomes of workplace friendship among law firm associates (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), Boston College.
author = {Dugal, S. and Singh, S. and Troiano, M. and Singh, R. and Fontes, Z. and Buckley, Z. and Bolofsky, B. and Schultheiss, S. and Orr, E. and Nathanson, H. and Milder, J. and Higgins, B. and Ciccone, C. and Faiss, N. and McGowan, N. and Naranjo, K. and Xiao, C. and Pihery, C. and Young, J. and Sneyd, L. and Oppliger, M. and Machado, C. and Downing, J. and Crawford, C. and Chagnon, D. and Bergantine, K. and Baez, V. and Moak, I. and Day, J. and Hoang, B. and Watson, J. and Tan, E. and Osmanski, M. and McGowan, N. and Holmes, C. and Wynne, S. and Dwyer, S. and Dolan, S. and DeGiacomo, A. and Cole, M. and Cheslo, V. and Capasso, A. and Benco, L. and Blake, K. and Asselin, J. and Beck, M. and Allen, C.},
series = {14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2020 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-17939-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2020.0633},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2020.0633},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {2-4 March, 2020},
year = {2020},
pages = {2030-2031}}
AU - S. Dugal AU - S. Singh AU - M. Troiano AU - R. Singh AU - Z. Fontes AU - Z. Buckley AU - B. Bolofsky AU - S. Schultheiss AU - E. Orr AU - H. Nathanson AU - J. Milder AU - B. Higgins AU - C. Ciccone AU - N. Faiss AU - N. McGowan AU - K. Naranjo AU - C. Xiao AU - C. Pihery AU - J. Young AU - L. Sneyd AU - M. Oppliger AU - C. Machado AU - J. Downing AU - C. Crawford AU - D. Chagnon AU - K. Bergantine AU - V. Baez AU - I. Moak AU - J. Day AU - B. Hoang AU - J. Watson AU - E. Tan AU - M. Osmanski AU - N. McGowan AU - C. Holmes AU - S. Wynne AU - S. Dwyer AU - S. Dolan AU - A. DeGiacomo AU - M. Cole AU - V. Cheslo AU - A. Capasso AU - L. Benco AU - K. Blake AU - J. Asselin AU - M. Beck AU - C. Allen
SN - 978-84-09-17939-8/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2020.0633
PY - 2020
Y1 - 2-4 March, 2020
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2020 Proceedings
SP - 2030
EP - 2031
ER -
S. Dugal, S. Singh, M. Troiano, R. Singh, Z. Fontes, Z. Buckley, B. Bolofsky, S. Schultheiss, E. Orr, H. Nathanson, J. Milder, B. Higgins, C. Ciccone, N. Faiss, N. McGowan, K. Naranjo, C. Xiao, C. Pihery, J. Young, L. Sneyd, M. Oppliger, C. Machado, J. Downing, C. Crawford, D. Chagnon, K. Bergantine, V. Baez, I. Moak, J. Day, B. Hoang, J. Watson, E. Tan, M. Osmanski, N. McGowan, C. Holmes, S. Wynne, S. Dwyer, S. Dolan, A. DeGiacomo, M. Cole, V. Cheslo, A. Capasso, L. Benco, K. Blake, J. Asselin, M. Beck, C. Allen (2020) WORKPLACE FRIENDSHIP: A SOCIAL REFLEXIVE EXERCISE, INTED2020 Proceedings, pp. 2030-2031.