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Personal factors and the prediction of friendship behaviors in the workplace

Dissertation
Author: Anna E. Newton
Abstract:
Research is limited with regards to investigating the relationship between personal factors and friendship behaviors in the workplace. This research investigates the impact the big-five personal factors have on behavior within three levels of friendships in the workplace. Emerging, established and close friendships were studied, with results indicating that personal factors predict friendship behaviors within each level of friend. Specifically, when viewing results across the three levels of friendships more personal factors predicted a higher number of behaviors in emerging friendships than in established friendships, and more behaviors were predicted in established friendships than in close friendships. This trend suggests that an individual's personality could have a greater influence when developing a friendship than when maintaining that friendship. Other results indicate an interaction between how an individual describes their current position and the friendship behaviors they exhibit within the workplace.

ii Table of Contents

List of Tables ...................................................................................................................... ii List of Figures .................................................................................................................... iii CHAPTER I: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Introduction ..............................................................................................................1 Friendship ................................................................................................................4 The Life Cycle of Dyadic Friendships .....................................................................6 Behaviors within Friendships ..................................................................................9 Personal Factors .....................................................................................................13 Contextual Factors: Opportunity and Prevalence ..................................................17 Statement of Purpose .............................................................................................19

CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY Participants .............................................................................................................23 Measures ................................................................................................................23 Procedure ...............................................................................................................27

CHAPTER III: RESULTS Psychometric Analyses ..........................................................................................29 Demographic Analyses ..........................................................................................30 Hypothesis Analysis: Planned Contrast .................................................................32 Hypothesis Analysis: Personal Factors & Friendship Behavior ............................36 Personal Factor Facet Analysis ..............................................................................40

CHAPTER IV: DISCUSSION Interaction Effect: Friendship Behavior & Level of Friendship ............................44 Personal Factors Predicting Friendship Behavior ..................................................45 Facet Prediction of Friendship Behavior ...............................................................47

Bibliography ......................................................................................................................52

Vita Auctoris ......................................................................................................................59

iii List of Tables

TABLE 1: Facets of Big-Five Personality Domains ...................................................19 TABLE 2.1: Alphas of Measures used in Study .............................................................29 TABLE 2.2: Alphas of Work-Friend Observation Checklist .........................................30 TABLE 3.1: Correlations between Descriptive Statistics...............................................30 TABLE 3.2: Additional Correlations between Descriptive Statistics of Fri end .............31 TABLE 4.1: Planned Contrast for Friendship Level and Behavior ................................32 TABLE 4.2: Means and Standard Deviations for Friend Behavior Interaction .............33 TABLE 5: Correlations between Behavior and Current Position Description ............ 34 TABLE 6.1: Planned Contrast for Position Description and Emerging Behavior .........35 TABLE 6.2: Means and Standard Deviations for Position Behavior Interaction ...........35 TABLE 7: Correlations between Personal Factors and Friendship Behavior ............. 36 TABLE 8.1: Regression Table: Predicting Behavior in Emerging Friendships ............. 38 TABLE 8.2: Regression Table: Predicting Behavior in Established Friendships ..........39 TABLE 8.3: Regression Table: Predicting Behavior in Close Friendships....................40 TABLE 9.1: Follow-Up Regression Table: Emerging Friendships................................41 TABLE 9.2: Follow-Up Regression Table: Established Friendships .............................42 TABLE 9.3: Follow-Up Regression Table: Close Friendships ......................................43 TABLE 10: NEO-PI-R Facet Descriptions ....................................................................48

iv List of Figures

FIGURE 1: Adapted from Levinger’s (1983) Life Cycle of Dyadic Relationshi ps ........7 FIGURE 2: Depth and Breadth of Friendship Behaviors ..............................................12 FIGURE 3: Hypothesized Interaction Effect ................................................................20 FIGURE 4: Interaction Effect among Friendship Level and Behavior .........................33 FIGURE 5: Interaction Effect among Position Description and Behavior ...................35

1 Chapter I: Review of the Literature Introduction C.S. Lewis stated “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.” Friendships are inevitable factors of human existence, though it is difficult to pinpoint when a friendship is creat ed. Is it as C.S. Lewis stated, when we recognize similarities in others, or is this the beginning of an emerging friendship (one that has yet to take hold)? Regardles s of how the relationship is begun, friendships can be seen throughout a person’s life: from adolescence to old age, developmental processes to performance. Friendships and t he formation of these relationships can even be seen in the workplace. As individuals with differing sexual, spiritual, personal, racial and ethnic backgrounds enter the workforce in growing numbers, work relationships begin to play a larger role in employee’s lives. The interactions that evolve within the workplace already have been recognized and particular workplace policies have been formed. For exam ple, many organizations have workplace-violence policies as well as sexual harassm ent policies forbidding romance between two individuals of differing ranks. While thes e are the extremes of workplace relationships, it is important to note that organizati ons have begun to recognize the importance of investigating the benefits and disadvant ages of differing workplace relationships. While psychological research has expl ored romantic relationships within the workplace as well as superior-subordinate and team re lationships, research has not investigated the benefits or detriments of friendships within t he workplace. Investigating the behaviors within friendships in the workplace will bet ter aid

2 organizations in determining how to influence the relationships built between employ ees to ultimately improve an individual’s overall life satisfaction. Many of the studies that focus on friendships look into those that are outside of the workplace. Past research has focused on the more traditional, late adolesc ent or college student populations, more short-term relationships and first impressions of the se relationships (Johnson, 1988). In addition, much of the research has focused on how similarities in the stable characteristics of the person impact the de velopment of friendships or romantic relationships (Barelds, & Barelds-Dijkstra, 2007; Wa tson, Hubbard, & Wiese, 2000). While the current trend in friendship research involves studying the relationship outside of the workplace, studies that look at friendships w ithin the workplace concentrated on the relationship between friendship and job behaviors such as turnover intent, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and problem solving (Jehn & Shah, 1997; Nielsen, Jex & Adams, 2000; Strough, Berg & Meegan, 2001). Additionally, a few studies have focused on the development of friendships within the workplace and the contextual factors that support this development (Dotan, 2007). Studies have failed, however, to give attention to the specific behaviors that define workplace friendships themselves, how these behaviors differ across the deve lopment of the relationship, and the personal and contextual factors that play a role in thes e friendship behaviors. A review of the literature found few studies on the relationship between personality characteristics and friendship behaviors in the workplace. Christe ll (2003) reported that neuroticism was significantly related to affection behavi ors in a sample of employees in the retail business. This study found that those who are more emotional ly

3 stable report an increased amount of friendship affection behaviors. Other studie s investigating individual dispositions and behaviors at work focused primarily on the personality traits of the friend and the similarity with the individual and how these

similarities allow the friendship to develop or deteriorate (Sias, Heath, Pe rry, Silva, & Fix, 2004). No studies have been found that investigate how the stable characteristi cs of the person are related to friendship and behaviors within the friendship. Alternative

studies showed that friendship behaviors have been found to be important to both personal and social development. Horowitz and French (1979) found that the most common problem with individuals who are lonely is inhibited sociability. Their rese arch showed that individuals not able to develop affection also reported having fewer fr iends and thus being lonelier in life. Further, the importance of focusing on the behaviors within a relationship was illustrated in an article by Wills, Weiss, and Pat terson (1974). These authors showed that knowledge about one’s own pleasing and displeasing behaviors, in addition to knowledge about the other person’s pleasing and displeasing behaviors, was the best predictor of daily relationship satisfaction. In a study on individual’s well-being and friendship, it was found that “high well- being individuals reported fewer friends and characterized their same-sex friendships as involving more communication and consideration behaviors” (McDonough & Munz, 1994, p. 750). Furthermore, Schneider (1987) stated that interactions between people create their environment. These interactions can be seen between friendships wi thin the workplace. Friendship behaviors at work may have important quality of work life effects and organizational behavior outcomes. Therefore, research is needed that de fines

4 the behaviors and various levels of friendships at work and the personal and contextual factors that contribute to these behaviors. Friendship Wright (1985) defined friendship as being a voluntary relationship that is also reciprocal and equal. This relationship is seen as unique and special, and increas es the sense of self in addition to the understanding of the other individual. Friendships are a

particularly unique relationship within the workplace due to their definition of being a

voluntary relationship. While workmates, superiors or subordinates are not necessar ily chosen, one can choose whom to make friends with. Additionally, friendships within the workplace eventually grow out of that context and the members no longer see each othe r as workmates (Sias & Cahill, 1998). Kram and Isabella (1985) separated friendships at work into three categories: information peer, collegial peer, and special peer . An informational peer is one who shares information that contributes to successful job performance. The collegial peer offers career strategizing and job-related feedback. Finally, the special peer offers confirmation, emotional support and personal feedback. This final category has the highest level of commitment, intensity, trust and self- disclosure (Kram & Isabella, 1985). All of these categories and therefore friendships at work in general provide differing extents of career-enhancing and psychological

functions for the individuals involved. When in search of this voluntary, equal relationship, either in or out of the workplace environment, individuals look for people who have similar attitudes to themselves (Byrne & Nelson, 1965; Jellison & Oliver, 1983), interests (Davis, 1981; Whyte, 1956) and personality (Antill, 1983). Friends, as opposed to non-friends, have

5 similar educational backgrounds, live close to one another, enjoy the same hobbies, and are polite and friendly; however, they do not have similar sports participation, or inc ome (Johnson, 1988). Friendships have also been shown to be career-building relationships that render work more enjoyable, and enhance ones creativity (Sias & Cahil l, 1998). Winstead, Derlega, Montgomery, and Pilkington (1995) showed that people reporting higher qualities of friendships at work are more satisfied with their jobs, a n aspect important to both the individual and the organization. Others have also found that friendships are an integral part of the life and culture of organizations. Krackhardt and Stern (1988) found that crises between work groups are better dealt with when there are friendship ties between the two groups. Therefore, knowledge of friendship behaviors and the intricacies inherent in the friendships themselves may aid an organizat ion in better dealing with crises and other unforeseeable events. Friendships within the workplace play an important role in the structure of an organization, and the organization contributes to friendships through the arrangement of the environment and work units (Riordan & Griffeth, 1995). In addition, the Gallup organization has researched and determined that having a best friend at work is a tremendously powerful indicator of workplace engagement (Blizzard, 2002). They ha ve placed having a best friend at work among the other 12 indicators of workplace engagement in their Employee Engagement Hierarchy (Blizzard, 2003). Thi s interaction between the organization and friendship demonstrates the importance of identifyi ng contextual factors that contribute to friendships within the workplace.

6 The Life Cycle of Dyadic Friendships Friendships, much like every living thing, have a life cycle. All relationships, both dyadic and those in groups, experience a beginning, middle and end. The life cycle

of the friendship is an important characteristic that affects behaviors and ou tcomes of the relationship itself. Depending where in the life cycle a friendship has develop ed to determines the future of the relationship.

Levinger (1983) stated that there are five possible developmental stages for

dyadic relationships. Adapted in Figure 2, the stages are initial attraction, buildup, continuation and consolidation, deterioration and decline, and ending . This is not a linear process, but a circular one. The initial attraction stage of a friendship begins with the active seeking out of a relationship. The cycle begins when an individual sees another as being a potential relational partner. An individual has a feeling of a ttraction, either sexual or platonic towards another individual and begins a relationship (Levinge r, 1983). Without this feeling of attraction, a relationship will not be developed. An individual may not approach another and speak to them if there is no initial attraction. I n contrast, the relationship can begin and end at this stage (one may be attracte d to another but not interested in them after speaking to them). The buildup of the relationship is the second stage of the relationship lifecycle. This stage relies on a process of social exchange (the exchange of inform ation, goods, pleasures and unpleasantness) between two individuals. As relationships develop individuals share more of themselves and therefore exchange more information wit h their relationship partner (Levinger, 1983). An equal or unequal exchange within a

7 relationship will have positive or negative effects. Unequal exchange could end the

relationship, or it could spurn conversation that brings the relationship to another level.

Figure 1: Adapted from Levinger’s (1983) Life Cycle of Dyadic Relationships

Once the members of the relationship have mutually agreed on the level of social exchange required in addition to the norms of the relationship the members have been able to connect their lives with each other. This is the stage where individuals are consolidating and continuing the friendship (Levinger, 1983). The continuation of a relationship depends on the communication within the friendship and amount of self- disclosure, in addition to having a communal relationship and external supports surrounding the friendship. A communal relationship is one where each member is concerned with the others well-being and will give to them according to the part ner’s need, not based on social exchange. The relationship has evolved from the previous stage in that before the focus was on determining what level of exchange was going to be

involved in the relationship, and at this level the focus is on the other person’s needs. . Having external supports such as income, family and friends helps stabilize the relationship but also allows partners to be supported by others when issues arise. T he more positive the external support, the more likely a relationship will succeed and postpone movement to the following stage.

Buildup of Relationship

Continuation/

Consolidation

Deterioration/

Decline

Ending of Relationship

Relationship Continues

Initial

Attraction

8 The final stage of the life cycle of relationships is deterioration and decline . There are three factors that influence a friendships likelihood of ending: “(1) The attractiveness of the relationship itself, which is positively related to i ts rewards and negatively related to its costs, (2) the attractiveness of alternative re lationships, and (3) the barriers to ending the relationship.” (Lippa, 1994, p. 418) Barriers to ending the relationship include the way individuals negotiate through bad times. An individual can vary on two dimensions: how active-passive they tend to be and how constructive- destructive (Rusbult & Zembrodt, 1983). The individuals then either exit the relationship, talk about their issues, neglect the friendship, or wait for improvem ents within the relationship. In the workplace additional factors have been shown to lead to relationship decline, including: problem personality, distracting life events, conflicting expectations, promotion and betrayal (Sias, et al., 2004). A problem personality is one i n which a personality trait within an individual becomes so bothersome to the other that the

relationship comes to an end. When an individual constantly brings personal problems or distracting life events into the workplace the relationship can decline. Much like

Levinger’s (1983) supposition of unequal exchange within relationships being the caus e of decline, when members of a relationship find that their expectations regarding

behavior or attitudes conflict the end of the relationship is near. Promotion can end a relationship when one is elevated to a position of authority over another. Just as in a relationship outside of the workplace, when one partner feels the other has betrayed t hem the relationship may come to an end. The decline of a friendship can either strengt hen the relationship and recycle the relationship back through the life cycle or it can br ing the relationship to its ultimate end.

9 Behaviors within Friendships As friendships evolve through this dyadic cycle, behaviors inherent in the relationship can be seen. Behaviors themselves have been a broadly covered resea rch topic. Research into behavior, initially investigated conditioned and unconditioned behavioral responses to numerous stimuli, in addition to researching how to elicit particular behavior through differing stimuli (Pavlov, 1927, Thorndike, 1898). While these researchers were not specifically interested in behavior, though more in learning, their studies did revolve around the behavior of subjects. Thorndike (1898) studied cats to determine how many trials were needed to unlatch a box (behavior) to receive food. Pavlov (1927) was first interested in salivation, however the behavior of the dogs led hi m into studying what elicited this behavior. For both of these researchers, behavior was a central part of their studies. As researchers have found alternate ways to stud y learning in individuals, behavioral research has developed as well. Research specifically focusing on behavior has focused on many behaviors including negotiation behavior and how individuals attribute personality traits to those they are negotiating with (Morris, Larrick & Su, 1999). The study found that in ce rtain situations where one negotiates through bartering, the individual is perceived to be disagreeable, while those who negotiate through waffling were seen as more em otionally unstable. Within the work setting, researchers have also focused on organizational

citizenship behavior; those behaviors employees exhibit without the expectancy of reward or enforcement by supervision (Organ, 1988). This type of behavior has been researched with regards to the satisfaction of employees as well as the pe rsonality of the individual (Organ & Lingl, 1995). Studies found that the personality traits of

10 agreeableness and conscientiousness account for a substantial amount of variance in j ob satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior. While research has focused on t he broad concept of behavior, most have failed to focus on the behaviors seen within a relationship, specifically friendships, either those outside of the workplace or those within the workplace. A few studies have identified possible behavioral classes that define friends hips. For example, two people are perceived to be friends when others see that they spend ti me together (companionship) and communicate with one another about personal problems (Wright, 1969). These behaviors are the visible characteristics of the friendshi p. Few researchers however, have studied the behaviors that are shown in friendship relationships at work. Campion, Medsker, and Higgs (1993) studied work-team characteristics, and found that communication and cooperation were important in the effectiveness of a team in regards to productivity; they also found that soci al support and communication/cooperation have a positive relationship with productivity in teams. Communication, companionship and cooperation may represent particular behavior patterns of workplace friendships. Blieszner and Adams (1992) have also researc hed friendship behaviors. These two researchers stated that friends enjoy spending t ime together (companionship), and that communicating with a friend helps stabilize the

friendship. Taylor and Altman (1987) also stated that communication enhances the satisfaction within the relationship. Other researchers have noticed the importance of behaviors in friendship development and maintenance. Altman and Taylor (1973) emphasized in their theory that social penetration refers to the behaviors that take place in the interacti on between

11 two people, and the internal processes that precede, accompany, and follow the interaction. Social penetration theory has as its cornerstone the idea that the pr ocesses within a relationship “proceed in a gradual and orderly fashion from superficial to intimate levels of exchange as a function of both immediate and forecast outcome s” (Taylor & Altman, 1987, p. 259). Taylor and Altman (1987) revealed four stages of this progression: orientation, exploratory affective exchange, affective exchange, and stable exchange . During the first stage, orientation , individuals only allow small parts of themselves to be accessible to others. The second stage, exploratory affective exchange , involves communicating in public areas, and revealing more personality charact eristics that were not revealed in the previous stage. Friendships and romantic relationshi ps are developed in the third stage, affective exchange . Communication and companionship are at a deeper level during this stage, although there are still some hidden asp ects of each individual. The final stage, stable exchange , is continuous communication and openness. Deeper layers of disposition are revealed, and both individuals in the relationship are able to predict the others possible behaviors and feelings. Throughout the four stages of progression, the stable characteristics of the person are seen as an importan t aspect. The friendship behaviors within a relationship (according to social penetration theory) can be viewed in two general dimensions, breadth and depth (seen in Figure 3). The breadth of friendship behaviors is the number of major areas or categories that the individual allows another person to be aware of. These can be seen through the behaviors that two individuals exhibit when interacting. Each one of these categories has spe cific items or characteristics. The depth dimension is viewed as having layers that differ from the center to outer areas of each category. The outer levels of the depth dimens ion have

12 to do with more biographical characteristics, like ones gender or age, and are more

superficial in nature. The more intermediate areas are attitudes and opinions ( casual), and the central areas are fears, and basic values (intimate).

Figure 2: Depth and Breadth of Friendship Behaviors

Altman and Taylor (1973) stated that changes in the central layers are more l ikely to have an impact on the interactions of the individual. Hays (1984) showed that according to social penetration theory, four behaviors on the breadth dimension are explicit within a relationship between friends: companionship, communication, consideration, and affection. Hays (1984) also showed that on the depth dimension three intimacy levels can be identified: superficial, casual, and intimate. Man y important factors impact friendship behaviors on these two dimensions, either at home or in the workplace, such as situational factors, rewards and costs of the relationship and individual personality traits. According to social penetration theory, the behaviors that friendship interactions

reveal are communication, consideration, companionship, and affection (Hays, 1984). These identified behaviors are part of the overall friendship pattern, and have importa nt implications that further the development of the friendship. Friendship patterns consis t of Communication

Affection

Companionship

Consideration

Breadth Dimension (Behaviors)

Depth Dimension Superficial

Casual

Intimate

13 three important facets: structure, processes, and phases (Blieszner & Adams, 1992). The structure of friendship patterns refers to “the form of the ties linking an individual’s friends such as the hierarchy and solidarity among them, the similarity of t heir social positions, the number of friends, the proportion of them who know one another, and the pattern of connections among them” (Blieszner & Adams, 1992, p. 4). Thoughts, feelings and behaviors involved in the acting of friends are the processes of friendship patterns. The phases signify the formation, maintenance and dissolution of the network of relationships and the friendships within them. For the purposes of the present researc h the behaviors within the relationship (the processes facet of friendship patterns) and the phases the relationship progresses through will be the areas focused on within the friendship interaction at work. In addition to the development of the friendship, the disposition of the individuals involved may be related to differing friendship behaviors within the work relationship.

Personal Factors The steady temperament of each individual is an important aspect of his or her life; it affects many situations, and events. Some researchers emphasize d the importance of sixteen personality variables (Cattell, 1956); others emphasized only five ( Goldberg, 1992) or two (Eysenck, 1958). The Big-Five personality traits, as they are hi storically called are: extraversion/introversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscie ntiousness, and openness to experience. Goldberg (1993) gave credit to Thurstone discovering the Bi g- Five, after Thurstone published a paper in 1934. Wiggins and Trapnell (1997) gave Costa and McCrae the most credit for popularizing the Five-Factor Model. Costa a nd McCrae (1992) developed the widely used Neuroticism Extraversion and Openness

14 Personality Inventory (now known as the NEO-PI). Due to its measurement of six f acets contributing to each Big-Five Domain, this measure is quite extensive. With t he development of these scales, and the discovery of the five main factors of personal ity, many psychologists have come to believe that each individual can be measured using these five domains. The first of the Big-Five domains is extraversion. An extravert is someone w ho is open and who enjoys another person’s company. Extraversion is similar to posi tive affect, which reflects “enthusiasm (e.g. excited, enthusiastic ), joy ( happy, delighted ), energy ( active, energetic ), mental alertness ( attentive, interested ) and confidence ( strong, confident )” (Watson & Clark, 1997, p. 772). Research conducted by Jensen-Campbell, Adams, Perry, Workman, Furdella, and Egan (2002) showed a positive relationship between extraversion, peer acceptance and friendship. Extraversion has also bee n positively correlated with job satisfaction (Judge, Heller, & Mount, 2002). Those

individuals reporting higher levels of extraversion reported greater satisf action with their jobs than did those individuals reporting lower levels of extraversion. Watson and Clark (1997) found that individuals reporting extraverted characteristics are more like ly to find interpersonal interactions in the workplace more rewarding than those individuals reporting introverted characteristics. While extraversion has been shown to be correlated to many work and non-work variables, it has not been studied in relation to relationship behaviors specifically. Future research should specifically study the corr elation between extraversion and behavior to truly understand the relationship and its effect on both relationships within and without the workplace.

15 Agreeableness, the second of the Big-Five domains, is exhibited through kindness, unselfishness, generosity and fairness (Golberg, 1992). In a study linking agreeableness to peer acceptance and friendship, Jensen-Campbell et al. (2002) found a significant positive relationship. Job performance involving interpersonal interac tions has been shown to positively correlate with agreeableness (Mount, Barrick, & S tewart, 1998). Those individuals reporting higher levels of agreeableness had greater performance in sales positions than did those individuals reporting lower levels of agreeableness. Wiggins (1991) suggested that agreeableness might belong to a motivational system that drives individuals towards intimacy, union and solidarity w ith the groups in which they belong, or wish to belong. Much like extraversion, agreeableness has not been studied specifically relating to relationship beha viors. Researchers are missing potential factors that play a role in the behavior s an individual exhibits within their relationships at work and outside of work. An additional domain is neuroticism, which is seen as more negative in nature. Those high on neuroticism tend to experience more negative life events than those low on neuroticism (seen as emotional stability) (Magnus, Diener, Fujita & Pavot, 1993). An individual low on the neuroticism scale may be seen as being calm and poised, as opposed to anxious and easily upset. Angleitner, Kohnstamm, Slotboom, and Besevegis, (1998) found that neurotic individuals may have compromised adaptive processes that may have an impact on the relationships these individuals cultivate and the behaviors they show through the interaction within the relationship. Neuroticism is one of the le ast researched traits with regards to relationship behaviors. Christell (2003) showed that

16 neuroticism was related to affection behaviors in workplace friendships, wit h increased emotional stability predicting increased affection behaviors reported. Conscientiousness is a fourth Big-Five domain and is exhibited through organization, discipline, dependability, purposefulness, and diligence (Witt, Burke, Barrick, & Mount, 2002). Many managers see conscientiousness as an important attribute when making decisions between potential employees (Dunn, Mount, Barrick, &

Ones, 1995). As with agreeableness, conscientiousness is seen to be the best predictor of overall job performance and sales performance (Hurtz & Donovon, 2000; Vinchur, Schippmann, Switzer, & Roth, 1998). Individuals reporting higher levels of conscientiousness perform better on the job than do individuals reporting lower levels of conscientiousness. The pleasing nature of the conscientious person may be a facto r in these findings. With regards to relationships, individuals high in conscientiousness gain respect, social acceptance and approval through characteristics of dependabil ity, trustworthiness and carefulness (Hogan & Ones, 1997). Much like extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, conscientiousness is a fourth trait that has not be en studied specifically relating to relationship behaviors either in the workplace or outside the workplace contexts. The final Big-Five personality domain, openness to experience, has been very

difficult to research. This factor has been interpreted as intellect (Dig man & Inouye, 1986; Hogan, 1983) and intelligence (Borgatta, 1964). This personality characteris tic also includes such predictors as cultural interests, educational aptitude and cre ative interests (Hogan, 1986). An individual may see him or herself in a positive light regarding this trait, while others may view this same person in a negative light

17 (McAdams, 2001). Due to the difficulty in the interpretation of this factor, many s tudies have chosen not to include it; therefore there is little research linking it wit h workplace friendship. However, in the present research, openness to experience is included as a possible predictor of friendship behaviors at work. These findings indicate that personality does have an impact on reported behaviors. Investigating the Big-Five personality domains and their underly ing facets may provide additional understanding of friendship behaviors at work. Contextual Factors: Opportunity and Prevalence Many researchers have stated that for an interpersonal interaction to occ ur there must be physical proximity (Allen, 1977; Fine, 1986; Monge & Kirste, 1980). Pogrebin (1987) also states that a necessary precondition for friendship development and maintenance is physical proximity. The opportunities that organizations give t o their employees for interaction with each other creates heightened proximity . There are three types of proximity that Quinn (1977) recognizes: (a) continuing geographical proxi mity, (b) proximity resulting from constant work requirements and (c) intermittent prox imity. Nielsen et al. (2000) show that workplace friendship consists of two aspects: “(a) t he opportunity for friendship and (b) the prevalence of friendship” (p. 631). This opportunity is seen by Nielsen et al. (2000) to be the proximity that organizations offer

Full document contains 67 pages
Abstract: Research is limited with regards to investigating the relationship between personal factors and friendship behaviors in the workplace. This research investigates the impact the big-five personal factors have on behavior within three levels of friendships in the workplace. Emerging, established and close friendships were studied, with results indicating that personal factors predict friendship behaviors within each level of friend. Specifically, when viewing results across the three levels of friendships more personal factors predicted a higher number of behaviors in emerging friendships than in established friendships, and more behaviors were predicted in established friendships than in close friendships. This trend suggests that an individual's personality could have a greater influence when developing a friendship than when maintaining that friendship. Other results indicate an interaction between how an individual describes their current position and the friendship behaviors they exhibit within the workplace.