Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Love at the office? When relationships go from platonic to romantic

Date:
February 7, 2014
Source:
DePaul University
Summary:
A new study on workplace romances has found that company culture contributes to how coworkers view workplace romances. The authors propose that, often, more relaxed office environments don't have official policies on interoffice relationships, making them more acceptable, while more formal offices have strict policies in place, which distinguish them as inappropriate and unprofessional.

There are three key factors that contribute to how coworkers respond to a workplace romance including how they learn about the romance, their personal views of those participating in the romance and the company culture, suggests Sean Horan, assistant professor of relational communication in DePaul University's College of Communication.

Related Articles


Horan is coauthor of a new study, "Love at the Office? Understanding Workplace Romance Disclosures and Reactions from the Coworker Perspective," which was published online Feb. 5 in the Western Journal of Communication and will be printed in the March issue. The research explores the effect of workplace romances on coworkers and whether responses are primarily influenced by how the relationship is disclosed to them.

"I was interested in studying workplace romances because they are incredibly common yet, across social science, there is little research in the area," said Horan.

Horan, along with coauthor Renee Cowan, assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, discovered that if coworkers found out from the couple personally, there tended to be a more positive reaction than if they found out via office gossip or catching them "in the act."

"Individuals had much different reactions based on how they learned of the romance," explained Horan. "Being honest and upfront was better received than, let's say, walking in on your coworkers kissing in the parking garage or hearing it via office gossip."

How people personally perceived individuals in the relationship also plays a key role in their reaction. The titles of those in the workplace romance also affected their reaction, Horan said.

For example, in Horan's previous research in this area, he found that when a coworker dates a superior, they are likely to be lied to more, trusted less and viewed as less credible. One participant in the current study noted, "I was just taken aback because I knew he was pretty high up with the company and she not so much."

Additionally, the study found that company culture contributes to how coworkers view workplace romances. The authors propose that, often, more relaxed office environments don't have official policies on interoffice relationships, making them more acceptable, while more formal offices have strict policies in place, which distinguish them as inappropriate and unprofessional.

"It (the organization environment) kind of seemed like a college so it didn't seem too unprofessional," said another participant.

This is the fourth study in an ongoing series by Horan on workplace romance.

"I've concluded a couple of my studies the same way by saying 'date at your own risk,'" he said.

"Employees need to be aware that their peers will communicate with them differently if they have a workplace romance. Importantly, such differences can influence productivity and performance," Horan explained.

"It's always awkward seeing your ex. Now imagine having to see them all day, every day at work."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DePaul University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Renee L. Cowan, Sean M. Horan. Love at the Office? Understanding Workplace Romance Disclosures and Reactions from the Coworker Perspective. Western Journal of Communication, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10570314.2013.866688

Cite This Page:

DePaul University. "Love at the office? When relationships go from platonic to romantic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140207083623.htm>.
DePaul University. (2014, February 7). Love at the office? When relationships go from platonic to romantic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140207083623.htm
DePaul University. "Love at the office? When relationships go from platonic to romantic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140207083623.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First U.S.-Based Bitcoin Exchange Goes Live

First U.S.-Based Bitcoin Exchange Goes Live

Newsy (Jan. 26, 2015) — Known as Coinbase, the startup exchange debuted Monday morning, initially causing a spike in bitcoin’s value. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama's Wildlife Plan Renews Alaska Drilling Debate

Obama's Wildlife Plan Renews Alaska Drilling Debate

Newsy (Jan. 26, 2015) — President Obama&apos;s proposal aims to protect more land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but so far, all that&apos;s materialized is a war of words. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) — The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins