Asian Business & Management

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 485–506 | Cite as

Organizational level and friendship expectation at work

  • Hsiao-Yen Mao
  • An-Tien Hsieh
Original Article


The literature on interpersonal interactions/relationships in work organizations indicates that personnel at higher organizational levels are more sociable and yet have workplace impersonality. This study unravels previous inconsistencies by examining employees’ friendship expectations across organizational levels. Data were collected from 222 full-time employees with a variety of occupational backgrounds in Taiwan. The results indicated that expectations of instrumental friendship at work did not differ across organizational levels. However, higher-level employees had lower expectations of expressive friendship at work, which provides personal emotional satisfaction, while detracting from workplace competitive advantage. The findings of this study shed new light on previous inconsistencies and the mutually contradictory organizational stances on workplace friendship. Significant implications are provided for dilemmas concerning isolated offices, ‘management by walking around’ and workplace relationships.


organizational level friendship expectations at work workplace relationships isolated office management by walking around 



We thank three anonymous reviewers and John Billingsley for helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hsiao-Yen Mao
    • 1
  • An-Tien Hsieh
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of International TradeCollege of Business, Chinese Culture UniversityYang-Ming-ShanTaiwan
  2. 2.PhD Programme, College of Management, Da Yeh UniversityDacunTaiwan

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