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Journal cover: Gender in Management: An International Journal

Gender in Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1754-2413
Previously published as: Women In Management Review

Online from: 2008

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Romantic relationships in organisational settings: Attitudes on workplace romance in the UK and USA


Document Information:
Title:Romantic relationships in organisational settings: Attitudes on workplace romance in the UK and USA
Author(s):David Biggs, (University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK), Lisa Matthewman, (Department of HRM, Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, London, UK), Claire Fultz, (University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK)
Citation:David Biggs, Lisa Matthewman, Claire Fultz, (2012) "Romantic relationships in organisational settings: Attitudes on workplace romance in the UK and USA", Gender in Management: An International Journal, Vol. 27 Iss: 4, pp.271 - 285
Keywords:Company policy, Employee and manager romance, Employees behaviour, Interpersonal relations, Office romances, Workplace romance, Workplace sexuality
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17542411211244803 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and constructive engagement with the paper.
Abstract:

Purpose – Research illustrates that workplace romance is on the rise and has potentially negative and beneficial consequences. The purpose of this paper is to understand, from an individual manager and employee perspective in the UK and USA, what personal experience individuals had on workplace romance and what this meant to them personally and in terms of company policy.

Design/methodology/approach – A thematic analysis approach was taken to understand what experiences individuals had on workplace romance and how this experience should be reflected in company policy. The research utilised qualitative interviews which were preferred over other methods, such as focus groups by the participants. These interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded to formulate themes in the research.

Findings – The sample consists of 21 employees and 15 managers from Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania and England. Regardless of whether participants were from the USA or England, their opinions were similar. Managers and entry level employees feel that workplace romance was acceptable if it has minimal impact on the workplace. Managers and entry level employees are most concerned with the negative impacts of workplace romance on the atmosphere of the workplace, more so than the risk of sexual harassment lawsuits. Managers and entry level employees agree on the importance of companies having a policy on how workplace romance will be handled.

Practical implications – Both managers and employees stress that company policy should not place a complete ban on workplace romance; that workplace romances should be handled on a case by case basis.

Originality/value – The paper adds to existing research by comparing managers' and entry level employees' perceptions of consensual romantic relationships between people who work for the same organisation.



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