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Attraction in Organizations: A Model of Workplace Romance

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Abstract

Antecedents and consequences of participating in a romantic relationship in the workplace are critically examined. These factors are derived from social-psychological theories of interpersonal attraction, romantic attraction, love, emotion, and social exchange, as well as from previous research addressing romance in the workplace. The antecedent factors explain the processes by which romantic relationships develop between two members of the same organization, and the consequent factors highlight both the beneficial and detrimental effects that such relationships have on the participants, coworkers, and the host organization. Based on these formation and impact factors, a conceptual model of workplace romance is developed along with a series of testable propositions in order to facilitate and direct future research on romantic organizational behavior.
... Employees' proximity, and interactions across long work hours, create the setting for workplace romance (WR) (i.e., office romance, organizational romance). Such opportunities for interaction provide employees with the chance to become acquainted with each other's personalities, abilities, interests, and sentiments resulting in feelings of attraction, mutual affection, and appreciation (Ha et al., 2020;Lickey et al., 2009;Pierce, Byrne, & Aguinis, 1996;Riach & Wilson, 2008). ...
... Since the beginning of WR's emergence in scholarly literature, few studies have examined the key advantages, or consequences, of WR on employees and organizations, leading to contradicting discoveries about the effects of WR (Wilson, 2015;Sidhu et al., 2020). Contextually, WR studies have used the terms 'sexual-attraction' (Pierce et al., 1996) or sexual relationships (Khan et al., 2017) between individuals working in the same firm. For instance, Pierce and Aguinis (2001, p. 206) defined WR as 'mutually desired relationships involving sexual attraction between two employees of the same organization'. ...
... Emotional (e.g., love, romance, and affection) and physiological components (e.g., arousal) can trigger people to develop affection for the person they desire which often results in difficult-to-control emotions and physiological changes. These emotions and psychological changes can lead people to be happy and show caring, desire sexual relations, and increase the likelihood of falling in love (Morgan & Davidson, 2008;Pierce et al., 1996). Sternberg's (1986) Triangular Theory of Love articulates the physical and emotional components of love. ...
Article
Workplace romance (WR), a terminology used to describe romantic relations between individuals in an organization, represents a phenomenon that has attracted academic attention for decades. However, despite its lure, the sensitive nature of WR has resulted in a limited quantity of empirical investigations, fragmented literary results, and an elusive understanding of how organizations should approach workplace romances. This study performs a systematic assessment of the WR research and uses an integrated approach to identify the antecedents, outcomes, and gaps in the literature to address in future WR research. Based on this conceptual backdrop, a CUPID (considerate, uncharacteristic, pragmatic, informed, and diligence) framework is proposed that may provide guidance for human resource managers grappling with WR.
... Workplace romance -a mutually agreed and welcomed romantic relationship between two employees working in the same organization that involves an intense longing for the romantic partner, passionate feelings of closeness, and desire for sex -is an undeniable workplace reality (Cole, 2009;Pierce et al., 1996;Wilson, 2015). Although past researchers (Mainiero & Jones, 2013;Pierce & Aguinis, 2003;Pierce et al., 1996;Powell & Foley, 1998;Quinn, 1977;Wilson, 2015) have acknowledged and highlighted the essential influences of workplace romance on employees' several work-related attitudes, behaviors and performance (Jung & Yoon, 2020), we know surprisingly little about how and why workplace romance is related to employees' job involvement and work effort. ...
... Workplace romance -a mutually agreed and welcomed romantic relationship between two employees working in the same organization that involves an intense longing for the romantic partner, passionate feelings of closeness, and desire for sex -is an undeniable workplace reality (Cole, 2009;Pierce et al., 1996;Wilson, 2015). Although past researchers (Mainiero & Jones, 2013;Pierce & Aguinis, 2003;Pierce et al., 1996;Powell & Foley, 1998;Quinn, 1977;Wilson, 2015) have acknowledged and highlighted the essential influences of workplace romance on employees' several work-related attitudes, behaviors and performance (Jung & Yoon, 2020), we know surprisingly little about how and why workplace romance is related to employees' job involvement and work effort. We understand work effort as employees' discretionary input in job-related activities and tasks beyond contractual obligations (Diefendorff et al., 2002;Podsakoff et al., 2009). ...
... The scarce literature on workplace romance is characterized by a lack of consensus on the relationship (positive or negative) between workplace romance and employees' workrelated attitudes and behaviors (Pierce et al., 1996;Willness et al., 2007). We understand that the gender differences can explain these variations, workplace romance types -homosexual (workplace romance between a same-sex couple) or heterosexual (workplace romance between an opposite-sex couple), lateral (workplace romance between peers who are in the same hierarchy), hierarchical (workplace romance between two employees who are at different hierarchy within the organization) (Chan-Serafin et al., 2017). ...
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This study advances research on workplace romance, employees’ work-related attitudes, and discretionary work behaviors by drawing on a positive psychology theory to theorize interrelations between workplace romance, job involvement, and employees’ work effort and provide empirical evidence of these interrelations. Data were collected in two waves (three months apart) from 365 supervisor-employee dyads in 64 firms from different Chinese manufacturing sectors. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM), bootstrapping, and multigroup techniques. The present study found that workplace romance was positively related to employees’ work effort. Moreover, employees’ job involvement fully mediates the positive relationship between workplace romance and employees’ work effort. Importantly, by using multigroup analysis, the current research found that workplace romance types – hierarchical/lateral and licit/illicit (extramarital) moderate the indirect relationship between workplace romance and employees’ work effort. This study offers important implications for managers and policymakers of business organizations in China and elsewhere.
... On the other hand research suggests that work place romance can enhance employee performance and improves organizational culture and more specifically climate of the organization (Quinn, 1977). It also boost excitement, develops communication, fuel creativity and escort to high job satisfaction (Pierce et al., 1996). Interestingly "a new sexual revolution'' has started with workplace romance Mainiero (1989). ...
... As per the research, on creative tasks romantic partners give better performance (Forster, Epstude, & Ozelsel, 2009;Griskevicius, Cialdini, & Kenrick, 2006). The major outcome of WR is enhanced teamwork, increased morale and more satisfied employees (Barsade & O'Neill, 2014;Pierce, Byrne, & Aguinis, 1996;Riach & Wilson, 2007). Most workplace romances are sincere, love-motivated, long-term companionate or passionate relationships as opposed to short lived flings or job motivated utilitarian relationships which are quite contrary to generalized opinion on WR (Dillard, Hale, & Segrin, 1994). ...
... Consensual sexual intimacy among couples was extensively found in many countries (Powell & Mainiero, 1990;Mainiero, 1993;Pierce, Byrne & Aguinis, 1996). Sexual harassment began when females fell victim to undue sexual demand from their male partners or superiors. ...
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There has been a lot of research work on Covid, but hardly any on impact of work from home (WfH) on workplace romance (WR). WR in organizations has been a controversial and debatable topic since early days. From the literature it was visible that researchers tried to analyze the impact of WR on organizational settings. In India the relationship is considered to be a forbidden taboo, especially in academic sector, where teachers are compared to the divine trinity-Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar. But, with growing westernization and mushrooming of professional institutions with long working hours, the forbidden relationship was booming. Our study was carried out to examine the antecedents and consequences of workplace romance on various socioeconomic variables, in Odisha before, during and post WfH scenario. A set of standard questionnaire on antecedents and consequences of WR was circulated. Data was collected from 230 samples consisting of 103 female and 127 male respondents from academic sector of Odisha. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis of the data.
... A survey in 1994 showed that 70% of participants had WR experience (Bordwin, 1994). This number was reported to be 80% in 1996 (Pierce et al., 1996), 51% in 2015(Vault Careers, 2015, and 58% in 2018 (Chory and Gillen Hoke, 2020). ...
... Workplace romance is defined as a mutually desired romantic relationship with the physical attraction between employees of the same organization (Mainiero, 2005), and is in forms of homosexual, heterosexual and other alternative lifestyles (Lickey et al., 2009;Pierce et al., 1996). It is not always easy to distinguish WR from other types of relationships especially when the elements of power and hierarchy are included (Mainiero, 1989). ...
... The same interpretation is accurate for the rest of the hypotheses with similar wordings. Pierce et al. (1996) suggest that overt body characteristics exert an influence on WR. Overt body characteristics are referred to physical attraction/physical attractiveness in the literature. ...
Article
Workplace romance is not a new phenomenon; yet, not many studies have investigated this matter in organizational behavior research. Leisure and hospitality industry holds the highest rate of workplace romance (57%) among different industries. In this study, following the theory of love, we have defined workplace romance as a romantic relationship among organization employees that is hypothesized to be determined by interpersonal solidarity, interpersonal attraction, physical attraction, motivation, perceived value, and attitude towards workplace romance. Using a sample of 603 employees from 13 industry categories, the proposed hypotheses were tested by employing both variance- and covariance-based structural equation modeling. Furthermore, the moderation impacts of organizational factors of injustice perception, culture and policies, organization size, and autonomy, as well as individual factors of previous experience, gender, and marital status along with the industry factor were tested. The results supported all the hypotheses except the hypothesis concerning the impact of attitude towards workplace romance. Findings also provide some interesting differences among moderating variables.
... Peters et al. (2017) found that witnessing others' positive or negative deviance led to the instigation of gossip. In addition, a recurring theme that leads to gossip, as theorized in multiple articles, is the A REVIEW ON WORKPLACE GOSSIP 21 observation of close others' romantic lives (Mano & Gabriel, 2006;Pierce et al., 1996;Powell & Foley, 1998;Quinn, 1977). ...
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The workplace gossip construct is currently divergently interpreted by organizational scholars, with perceptions of its origins, functions, and impacts varying widely. In this comprehensive narrative review, we seek to provide much needed clarity around the often studied and frequently demonstrated employee behavior of workplace gossip by synthesizing gossip studies conducted during the past four decades in both the organization and psychology literatures. The first section of our review considers measures, designs, and theoretical frameworks featured in these studies. In the second section, we consolidate and integrate research findings from the extant literatures into three emerging categories of gossip antecedents (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational antecedents), four categories of gossip functions (information exchange, ego enhancement, social integration, and social segregation), and three categories of gossip consequences (consequences for gossip senders/recipients, for gossip targets, and beyond the triads). In the last section, we propose an integrative model to guide future investigations on the antecedents, functions, and consequences of workplace gossip. Our review aims to provide a clear overview of existing gossip research across the organization and psychology literatures and to highlight several important trends to open up various opportunities for future impactful workplace gossip scholarship.
... Množstvo času stráveného v práci, spoločné záujmy i známi môžu prispievať k tomu, že sa pracovisko stáva prostredím vhodným pre vznik romantických vzťahov. Výraz romantický vzťah na pracovisku popisuje vzťah medzi dvoma zamestnancami, bez ohľadu na ich pohlavie, pričom tento vzťah je obojstranne žiadaný a obsahuje v sebe isté prvky intimity, či už sexuálnej alebo fyzickej povahy (Pierce, Byrne, Aguinis, 1996;Powell, Foley, 1998). ...
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... Uzun çalışma saatleri ve işler arası fonksiyonel bağlılık insanları birbirlerine yakınlaşmaya sevk etmektedir (Schor, 1991;Pierce, Byrne ve Aguinis, 1996). Çalışanlar zamanlarının büyük bir bölümünü iş yerinde geçirdiklerinden dolayı sosyalleşmek için büyük oranda iş ortamlarını kullanmaktadırlar. ...
... Levels of productivity may be lower at the start of the relationship as large amounts of time and energy are invested in it. Once the initial excitement of the new romance lessens, productivity tends to rise steadily (Pierce et al, 1996). Those who show a love motive avoid the negative consequences of inadequate performance by demonstrating increased effort in order to impress their supervisors. ...
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The prime purpose of this study is to assess the effect of informal relationships at work on employee retention intention, featuring the main three aspects of informal relationships at work: friendship; romance, and negative relationships. Building on Maslow's (1954) hierarchy of needs theory, a narrative literature review of all the relevant research papers known to the authors was conducted first. It was found that the underlying relationships between informal relationships at work and the employee retention intention are not clear and consistent in the extant literature. Hence, this quantitative, cross-sectional, field study was designed to be conducted in the Sri Lankan context. Primary data were collected through a standard questionnaire a survey. The Convenience Sampling technique was applied to select the sample where the final sample consisted of 215 professionals working in Sri Lanka. Data were analyzed with the aid of SPSS, employing the correlation, regression, t-tests, and ANOVA test. Findings revealed that friendship at work has a significant, moderate positive nexus with employee retention intention where there is no significant association was found between negative relationships and romance at work with employee retention intention. Further, it is found that 16.80% of the variation in the dependent variable (employee retention intention) could be explained by the fitted regression model of friendship at work. Moreover, prior engagement in romance at work is not statistically a significant factor affecting employee retention. Also, there is no significant impact on current participation status in romance at work on employee retention intention. The findings of the current study support the general notion that the workplace is not a mere place to come and work, but it is a complex social system through which people try to fulfill their social needs, including informal relationships.
... Workplace romances adalah hubungan yang saling diinginkan yang melibatkan daya tarik seksual antara dua karyawan yang bekerja pada perusahaan yang sama. Meskipun sangat bertolak belakang dengan pelecehan seksual yang merupakan perilaku seksual yang tidak diinginkan dan dianggap merugikan, namun workplace romances dan pelecehan seksual dianggap saling berkaitan (Pierce, Byrne, & Aguinis, 1996). Selain karena penyalahgunaan kekuasaan dan perilaku workplace romances di tempat kerja, unsur-unsur seperti jenis kelamin, kelompok usia, status pernikahan, dan pekerjaan (unsur demografi) muncul secara relevan pada setiap penelitian serius mengenai pelecehan seksual di pasar tenaga kerja. ...
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Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui apakah terdapat pengaruh workplace romance terhadap kepuasan pernikahan karyawan. Lokasi yang digunakan untuk penelitian adalah Yayasan X. Populasi penelitian adalah seluruh karyawan di Yayasan X yang memiliki pasangan satu tempat kerja yang berjumlah 254 orang. Sampel dalam penelitian ini sebanyak 72 orang. Teknik sampling yang digunakan adalah sampling acak sederhana. Skala yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini yaitu skala workplace romance yang disusun oleh Khan, Jianguo, Usman, & Ahmad (2017) dan Skala Kepuasan Pernikahan berdasarkan aspek-aspek kepuasan pernikahan dari Fowers & Olson (1993). Teknik analisis data yang digunakan adalah analisis regresi sederhana. Hasil analisis data menunjukkan bahwa terdapat pengaruh workplace romance terhadap kepuasan pernikahan. Besar pengaruh workplace romance terhadap kepuasan pernikahan sebanyak 24.6%, sisanya dipengaruhi oleh faktor lain.