Connections with Coworkers on Social Network Sites: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

AbstractA large number of individuals are connected with their coworkers on social network sites (SNS) that are personal and professional (e.g., Facebook), with consequences on workplace relationships. Drawing on SNS, social identity and boundary management literatures, we surveyed 202 employees and found that coworkers’ friendship-acts (e.g., liking, commenting) were positively associated with closeness to coworkers when coworkers were of the same age or older than the focal individual, and with organizational citizenship behaviors towards coworkers (OCBI) when coworkers were of the same age. Harmful behaviors from coworkers (e.g., disparaging comment) were negatively associated with closeness (but not with OBCI) when coworkers were older than the focal individual. In addition, preferences for the segmentation of one’s professional and personal roles moderated the relationship between coworkers’ friendship-acts and OCBI (but not closeness) such that the positive relationship was stronger when the focal individual had low (vs. high) preferences for segmentation.

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