This study investigated gender differences in the perceived benefits of workplace friendships and the relationship between friendship factors and organizational outcomes. Four hundred and forty-five respondents from predominantly Western countries including New Zealand, Australia and America completed an Internet based questionnaire which asked them to describe the benefits received from workplace friends, and which measured workplace friendship and organizational variables. Friendship prevalence and opportunities were more strongly correlated with job satisfaction for men. Women were significantly more likely than men to describe the benefits of workplace friendship in terms of social and emotional support in times of stress, while men focused mainly on the benefits friends provided them in their career or in functional aspects of ‘getting the job done’.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adigun, I. O., & Stephenson, G. M. (1992). Sources of job motivation and satisfaction among British and Nigerian employees. The Journal of Social Psychology, 132, 369–376.
Allen, A. D., & Eby, L. T. (2004). Factors related to mentor reports of mentoring functions provided: Gender and relational characteristics. Sex Roles, 50, 129–139.
Amit, Z., & Galina, Z. H. (1986). Stress-induced analgesia: Adaptive pain suppression. Physiological Reviews, 66, 1091–1120.
Anderson, C. M., & Martin, M. M. (1995). Why employees speak to coworkers and bosses: Motives, gender, and organizational satisfaction. The Journal of Business Communication, 32, 249.
Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice: A review and recommended two-step approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 411–423.
Andrew, A., & Montague, J. (1998). Women’s friendship at work. Women’s Studies International Forum, 21, 355–361.
Arbuckle, J. L. (1999). Amos 4.0 [Computer software]. Chicago: Smallwaters.
Aronson, E., & Cope, V. (1968). My enemy’s enemy is my friend. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 8–12.
Ashton, W. A., & Fuerhrer, A. (1993). Effects of gender and gender role identification of participant and type of social support resource on support seeking. Sex Roles, 28, 461–476.
Aukett, R., Ritchie, J., & Mill, K. (1988). Gender differences in friendship patterns. Sex Roles, 19, 57–66.
Baron, J. N., & Pfeffer, J. (1994). The social-psychology of organizations and inequality. Social Psychology Quarterly, 57, 190–209.
Bartlett, D. (1998). Stress: Perspectives and processes. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Becker, H. S. (1960). Notes on the concept of commitment. American Journal of Sociology, 66, 32–40.
Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indices in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.
Bentler, P. M., & Bonett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88, 588–606.
Biernacki, P., & Waldorf, D. (1981). Snowball sampling: Problems and techniques of chain referral sampling. Sociological Methods & Research, 10, 141–163.
Bird, S. R. (2003). Sex composition, masculinity stereotype dissimilarity and the quality of men’s workplace social relations. Gender, Work and Organization, 10, 579–604.
Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 445–455). Newbury Park: Sage.
Buunk, B. P., Doosje, B. J., Liesbeth, G., Jans, J. M., & Hopstaken, L. E. M. (1993). Perceived reciprocity, social support, and stress at work: The role of exchange and communal orientation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 801–811.
Byrne, B. M. (1994). Burnout: Testing for the validity, replication, and invariance of causal structure across elementary, intermediate and secondary teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 31, 645–673.
Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with AMOS. Basic concepts, applications and programming. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Campion, M. A., Medsker, G. J., & Higgs, A. C. (1993). Relations between work group characteristics and effectiveness: Implications for designing effective work groups. Personnel Psychology, 46, 823–850.
Cannon, W. B. (1932). The wisdom of the body. New York: Norton.
Carr, S. C. (2003). Social psychology. Context, communication and culture. Milton: Wiley.
Chang, E. (1999). Career commitment as a complex moderator of organizational commitment and turnover intention. Human Relations, 52, 1257–1277.
Cherniss, C. (1991). Career commitment in human service professionals. A biographical study. Human Relations, 44, 419–437.
Cohen, A. (1993). Organizational commitment and turnover: A metaanalysis. Academy of Management Journal, 36, 1140–1157.
Cohen, A. (1996). On the discriminant validity of the Meyer and Allen measure of organizational commitment: How does it fit with the work commitment construct. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 56, 494–503.
Cohen, A., & Hudecek, N. (1993). Organizational commitment/turnover relationship across occupational groups. A metaanalysis. Group & Organization Management, 18, 188–213.
Ellingwood, S. (2001). The collective advantage. Retrieved February, 2002, from http://www.gallupjournal.com/GMJarchive/issue3/2001915c.asp.
Fisher, C. D. (2002). Antecedents and consequences of real-time affective reactions at work. Motivation and Emotion, 26, 3–30.
Flaherty, J., & Richman, J. (1989). Gender differences in the perception and utilization of social support: Theoretical perspectives and an empirical test. Social Science and Medicine, 28, 1221–1228.
Furnham, A., Forde, L., & Ferrari, K. (1999). Personality and work motivation. Personality and Individual Differences, 26, 1035–1043.
Hackett, R. D., & Lapierre, L. M. (2001). Understanding the links between work commitment constructs. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 58, 392–413.
Hackman, J. R., & Lawler, E. E. (1971). Employee reactions to job characteristics. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 55, 259–286.
Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis (5th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Herzberg, F. (1966). Work and the nature of man. Cleveland: World.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. (1959). The motivation to work. New York: Wiley.
Hulin, C. L., & Smith, P. A. (1967). An empirical investigation of two implications of the two-factor theory of job satisfaction. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 51, 396–402.
Ibarra, H. (1993). Personal networks of women and minorities in management: A conceptual framework. Academy of Management Review, 18, 56–87.
Irvine, D. M., & Evans, M. G. (1995). Job satisfaction and turnover among nurses: Integrating research findings across studies. Nursing Research, 44, 246–253.
Kaldenberg, D. O., Becker, B. W., & Zvonkovic, A. (1995). Work and commitment among young professionals. A study of male and female dentists. Human Relations, 48, 1355–1377.
King, N. (1970). Clarification and evaluation of the two factor theory of job satisfaction. Psychological Bulletin, 74, 18–31.
Knoop, R. (1994). Work values and job-satisfaction. The Journal of Psychology, 128, 683–690.
Lu, K. Y., Lin, P. L., Wu, C. M., Hsieh, Y. L., & Chang, Y. Y. (2002). The relationships among turnover intentions, professional commitment, and job satisfaction of hospital nurses. Journal of Professional Nursing, 18, 214–219.
Markiewicz, D., Devine, I., & Kausilas, D. (2000). Friendships of women and men at work: Job satisfaction and resource implications. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 15. England: MCB Univ Press Ltd.
Marks, S. R. (1994). Intimacy in the public realm-the case of coworkers. Social Forces, 72, 843–858.
McEwen, B., & Sapolsky, R. (1995). Stress and cognitive function. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 5, 205–216.
Messner, M. A. (1992). Power at play: Sports and the problem on masculinity. Boston: Beacon Press.
Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1991). A three component conceptualization of organizational commitment. Human Resource Management Review, 1, 61–89.
Meyer, J. P., Stanley, D. J., Herscovitch, L., & Topolnytsky, L. (2002). Affective, continuance, and normative commitment to the organization: A metaanalysis of antecedents, correlates, and consequences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 61, 20–52.
Mobley, W. H. (1977). Intermediate linkages in the relationship between job satisfaction and employee turnover. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 62, 237–240.
Mobley, W. H., Horner, S. O., & Hollingsworth, A. T. (1978). An evaluation of precursors of hospital employee turnover. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 63, 408–414.
Morrison, R. (2004). Informal relationships in the workplace: Associations with job satisfaction, organisational commitment and turnover intentions. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 33, 114–128.
Mowday, R. T., Steers, R. M., & Porter, L. W. (1979). The measurement of organizational commitment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 14, 224–227.
Mulaik, S. A., James, L. R., Van Alstine, J., Bennet, N., Lind, S., & Stilwell, C. D. (1989). Evaluation of goodness of fit indices for structural equation models. Psychological Bulletin, 105, 430–445.
Nielsen, I. K., Jex, S. M., & Adams, G. A. (2000). Development and validation of scores on a two dimensional Workplace Friendship Scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60, 628–643.
Odden, C. M., & Sias, P. M. (1997). Peer communication relationships, psychological climate, and gender. Communication Quarterly, 45, 153–166.
Porter, L. W., Steers, R. M., Mowday, R. T., & Boulian, P. V. (1974). Organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover among psychiatric technicians. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 59, 603–609.
Ramsay, K., & Letherby, G. (2006). The experience of academic non-mothers in the gendered university. Gender, Work and Organization, 13, 25–44.
Rentsch, J. R., & Steel, R. P. (1992). Construct and concurrent validation of the Andrews and Withey job satisfaction questionnaire. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52, 357–367.
Riordan, C. M., & Griffeth, R. W. (1995). The opportunity for friendship in the workplace: An underexplored construct. Journal of Business and Psychology, 10, 141–154.
Robinson, S. E., Roth, S. L., & Brown, L. L. (1993). Morale and job satisfaction among nurses: What can hospitals do. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23, 244–251.
Sapadin, L. A. (1988). Friendship and gender: Perspectives of professional men and women. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5, 387–403.
Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40, 437–453.
Sias, P. M., & Jablin, F. M. (1995). Differential superior/subordinate relations, perceptions of fairness, and coworker communication. Human Communication Research, 22, 5–38.
Steers, R. M. (1977). Antecedents and outcomes of organizational commitment. Administrative Science Quarterly, 22, 46–56.
Taylor, S. E., Klein, L. C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., & Updegraff, J. A. (2000). Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: Tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight. Psychological Review, 107, 411–429.
Tett, R. P., & Meyer, J. P. (1993). Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover intention, and turnover: Path analyses based on metaanalytic findings. Personnel Psychology, 46, 259–293.
Turton, S., & Campbell, C. (2005). Tend and befriend versus fight or flight: Gender differences in behavioral response to stress among university students. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 10, 209–232.
Veniegas, R. C., & Peplau, L. A. (1997). Power and the quality of same-sex friendships. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 279–297.
Walker, K. (1994). Men, women, and friendship-what they say, what they do. Gender & Society, 8, 246–265.
Warr, P. B., Cook, J., & Wall, T. D. (1979). Scales for the measurement of some work attitudes and aspects of psychological well-being. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 52, 129–148.
West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1, 125–151.
Williams, L. J., & Hazer, J. T. (1986). Antecedents and consequences of satisfaction and commitment in turnover models: A reanalysis using latent variable structural equation methods. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 219–231.
Winstead, B. A. (1986). Sex differences in same sex friendships. In J. Derlelga & B. A. Winstead (Eds.), Friendship and social interaction (pp. 81–99). New York: Springer.
Wood, J. T., & Inman, C. C. (1993). In a different mode: Masculine styles of communicating closeness. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 21, 279–295.
Wright, P. H. (1988). Interpreting research on gender differences in friendship: A case for moderation and a plea for caution. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5, 367–373.
Wright, P. H., & Scanlon, M. B. (1991). Gender role orientations and friendship: Some attenuation, but gender differences abound. Sex Roles, 14, 551–566.
Yamashita, M. (1995). Job-satisfaction in Japanese nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 22, 158–164.
About this article
Cite this article
Morrison, R.L. Are Women Tending and Befriending in the Workplace? Gender Differences in the Relationship Between Workplace Friendships and Organizational Outcomes. Sex Roles 60, 1 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-008-9513-4
- Job satisfaction
- Social support