Romantic relationships between colleagues can sour the workplace atmosphere, according to a new study.
Researchers found that employees who date colleagues feel excluded, ignored, rejected and even “sabotaged” in the workplace.
They say office romances can impact employees’ work-related attitudes and behaviors, including performance and job satisfaction.
However, until now, the relationship between workplace romance and the attitudes of other colleagues was unclear.
To better understand the impact of romantic relationships between coworkers, scientists from China and Pakistan conducted a study designed to collect data from service sector employees in Pakistan.
They gave questionnaires to participants every eight weeks, three times, collecting responses from 343 people.
The surveys questioned participants about their relationship status, and attempted to measure workplace ostracism, such as being ignored at work, as well as “knowledge sabotage” – such as a coworker supplying the wrong information or document.
The research team analyzed the data using statistical software and found that romantically involved coworkers were associated with feeling ostracized and sabotaged by other employees who may view their relationship unfavorably.
Co-author Professor Arslan Ayub said: “An intimate relationship may disrupt an intimate flow of knowledge in the absence of appropriate HR policies.
“Though workplace romance should be a cornerstone of organizational interventions, a review of existing literature accentuates that only a few organizations maintain a workplace romance policy.
“Workplace romance is a committed and consensual relationship among two members and can have a range of implications on the constructive spectrum too.”
Professor Arslan Ayub, of the National School of Management Studies at The University of Faisalabad, Pakistan, added: “Organizations should conduct interpersonal training, which helps employees discern acceptable versus unacceptable behaviors in the workplace.”
The team said future studies are needed to determine the generalizability of the experiment as the participants were all employed in Pakistan’s service sector, and further research should also consider examining whether perceived ostracism increases after a workplace relationship ends.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Fatima Khalid
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