Cupid's Cubicle: Co-Workers' Reactions to Workplace Romance Characteristics

Barratt, Clare L.; Nordstrom, Cynthia R.
June 2011
Journal of Organizational Psychology;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p9
Academic Journal
Workplace romances are commonplace yet widely debated due to organizational policies, roles, and fairness issues. They involve more than just physical attraction and love; promotions, rewards, and access to information may also be shared. Despite such issues, little research has examined reactions to workplace romances. This experimental study examined the impact of power dynamics (hierarchical/ lateral), sexual orientation of romance participants (homosexual/heterosexual), and organizational role of the observer (manager/employee) on reactions. Hierarchical and homosexual (especially lesbian) workplace romances were perceived to have the most negative impact on the work environment. Only managers found heterosexual, lateral romances as problematic. Implications are discussed.


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