In this chapter, we learned that:
- The supervisor-subordinate relationship includes much information exchange that usually benefits the subordinate. However, these relationships also have the potential to create important mentoring opportunities.
- People engage in workplace relationships for several reasons: mentoring, information, power, and support. Methot’s further suggested that we engage in coworker relationships for trust, relational maintenance, and the ability to focus.
- There are three different types of workplace relationships: information peer, collegial peer, and special peer. Information peers are coworkers we rely on for information about job tasks and the organization itself. Collegial peers are coworkers with whom we have moderate levels of trust and self-disclosure and more openness that is shared between two individuals. Special peers, on the other hand, are coworkers marked by high levels of trust and self-disclosure, like a “best friend” in the workplace.
- Workplace relationships can transform into friendships. However, for a variety of reasons, individuals might no longer wish to be friends with a coworker. Patricia Sias and Tarra Perry describe three different ways that coworkers can disengage from coworker relationships in the workplace. First, individuals can engage in state-of-the-relationship talk with a coworker, or explain to a coworker that a workplace friendship is ending. Second, individuals can make the cost of maintaining the relationship higher than getting out of the relationship, which is called cost escalation. The final and most common disengagement strategy coworkers can use is depersonalization -when an individual stops all the interaction with a coworker that is not task-focused or simply to avoids the coworker.
- Group members can occupy a number of roles. Depending on the situation and the composition of the team, these roles can serve a positive or negative function.
- Toxic leadership can impair team effectiveness. Some behaviours can be ignored or managed with tact. Others constitute harassment and employees can find recourse for these inappropriate behaviours through organizational policies and Ontario laws.
- Status can be defined as a person’s perceived level of importance or significance within a particular context. In a group, members with higher status are apt to command greater respect and possess more prestige and power than those with lower status within the group.
- Group climate refers to the relatively enduring tone and quality of group interaction that is experienced similarly by group members. The degree of each type of cohesion affects the group’s climate. Groups can be very close socially but not perform well if they do not have an appropriate level of task cohesion. Groups that are too focused on the task can experience interpersonal conflict or a lack of motivation if the social cohesion, which helps enhance the feeling of interdependence, is lacking.
- Cooperation occurs when each group member completes their assigned tasks. Collaboration occurs when everyone shares ideas and contributes to all aspects of the project.
- There are many ways for groups to approach problem solving and decision-making. Strategies such as promoting common goals and assigning a “devil’s advocate” can help the group to keep conflict functional and focussed on producing positive solutions.
- Groups can make better decisions than individuals because group members can contribute more knowledge and a diversity of perspectives. Challenges can also arise due to differences in perception.
- Developing cultural intelligence skills can help individuals manage cultural differences when working in diverse teams.
Review your understanding of this chapter’s key concepts by taking the interactive quiz below.
Key terms from this chapter include:
- (cognitive, physical, and emotional components)
Within an organizational context, Methot (2010) defines ability to focus as “the ability to pay attention to value-producing activities without being concerned with extraneous issues such as off-task thoughts or distractions” (p. 47). See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Career strategizing is the process of creating a plan of action for one’s career path and trajectory. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Collaborative work is “a coordinated, synchronous activity that is the result of a continued attempt to construct and maintain a shared conception of a problem” (Roschelle and Teasley, 1995, p. 70). See Section 5.3 Collaboration, Decision-Making and Problem Solving in Groups
The second class of relationships in the workplace are collegial peers or relationships that have moderate levels of trust and self-disclosure and is different from information peers because of the more openness that is shared between two individuals. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Consensus rule is a decision-making technique in which all members of the group must agree on the same decision. On rare occasions, a decision may be ideal for all group members, which can lead to unanimous agreement without further debate and discussion. See Section 5.3 Collaboration, Decision-Making and Problem Solving in Groups
In The Construction of Shared Knowledge in Collaborative Problem Solving, Roschelle and Teasley define cooperative group work as “the division of labour among participants, as an activity where each person is responsible for a portion of the problem solving). See Section 5.3 Collaboration, Decision-Making and Problem Solving in Groups
Cost escalation involves tactics that are designed to make the cost of maintaining the relationship higher than getting out of the relationship. For example, a coworker could start belittling a friend in public, making the friend the center of all jokes, or talking about the friend behind the friend’s back. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Cultural intelligence is a competency and a skill that enables individuals to function effectively in cross-cultural environments. It develops as people become more aware of the influence of culture and more capable of adapting their behavior to the norms of other cultures. There is the cognitive component of cultural intelligence, a physical component (demeanor, eye contact, posture, accent) and an emotional commitment and motivation to understand the new culture. See Section 5.4 Working in Diverse Teams
Depersonalization can come in one of two basic forms. First, an individual can depersonalization a relationship by stopping all the interaction that is not task-focused.. The second way people can depersonalize a relationship is simply to avoid that person. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
The devil’s advocate intentionally takes on the role of critic. Their job is to point out flawed logic, to challenge the group’s evaluations of various alternatives, and to identify weaknesses in proposed solutions. This pushes the other group members to think more deeply about the advantages and disadvantages of proposed solutions before reaching a decision and implementing it. See Section 5.3 Collaboration, Decision-Making and Problem Solving in Groups
Ego motives include the “thrill of the chase” and the self-esteem boost one may get. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Explicit knowledge is information that is kept in some retrievable format. For example, you’ll need to find previously written reports or a list of customers’ names and addresses. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
GRIT stands for Graduated Reciprocation in Tension-reduction, sometimes watered down into Gradual Reduction in Tension. It involves one side initiating a breakthrough in the form of a concession or compromise on one of its demands. The norm of reciprocity obligates the other side to return the favour with a concession of its own, giving up one of its demands. Both sides build trust by reciprocal compromises back and forth till they reach an amicable solution. See Section 5.5 Conflict Management Strategies for Groups and Teams
Groupthink, or the tendency to accept the group’s ideas and actions in spite of individual concerns, can also compromise the process and reduce efficiency. Personalities, competition, and internal conflict can factor into a team’s failure to produce, which is why care must be taken in how teams are assembled and managed. See Section 5.2 Small Group Dynamics
Group climate refers to the relatively enduring tone and quality of group interaction that is experienced similarly by group members. To better understand cohesion and climate, we can examine two types of cohesion: task and social. See Section 5.2 Small Group Dynamics
In group communication, group fantasies are verbalized references to events outside the “here and now” of the group, including references to the group’s past, predictions for the future, or other communication about people or events outside the group (Griffin, 2009). See Section 5.2 Small Group Dynamics
People in individualistic cultures value individual freedom and personal independence, and cultures always have stories to reflect their values. Collectivist cultures, including many in Asia and South America, focus on the needs of the nation, community, family, or group of workers. See Section 5.4 Working in Diverse Teams
Information peers are so-called because we rely on these individuals for information about job tasks and the organization itself. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Job motives include gaining rewards such as power, money, or job security. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Love motives include the desire for genuine affection and companionship. Despite the motives, workplace romances impact coworkers, the individuals in the relationship, and workplace policies. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
In low-power distance cultures, according to Dutch researcher Geert Hofstede, people relate to one another more as equals and less as a reflection of dominant or subordinate roles, regardless of their actual formal roles as employee and manager, for example. In a high-power distance culture, you would probably be much less likely to challenge the decision, to provide an alternative, or to give input. See Section 5.4 Working in Diverse Teams
Maintenance difficulty can be defined as “the degree of difficulty individuals experience in interpersonal relationships due to misunderstandings, incompatibility of goals, and the time and effort necessary to cope with disagreements” (Merthot, 2010, p. 49). See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Majority rule is a commonly used decision-making technique in which a majority (one-half plus one) must agree before a decision is made. A show-of-hands vote, a paper ballot, or an electronic voting system can determine the majority choice. See Section 5.3 Collaboration, Decision-Making and Problem Solving in Groups
Hofstede describes the masculine-feminine dichotomy not in terms of whether men or women hold the power in a given culture, but rather the extent to which that culture values certain traits that may be considered masculine or feminine. Thus, “the assertive pole has been called ‘masculine’ and the modest, caring pole ‘feminine.’ See Section 5.4 Working in Diverse Teams
The mentoring relationship can be influential in establishing or advancing a person’s career, and supervisors are often in a position to mentor select employees. In a mentoring relationship, one person functions as a guide, helping another navigate toward career goals (Sias, 2009). See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Minority rule is a decision-making technique in which a designated authority or expert has final say over a decision and may or may not consider the input of other group members. When a designated expert makes a decision by minority rule, there may be buy-in from others in the group, especially if the members of the group didn’t have relevant knowledge or expertise. See Section 5.3 Collaboration, Decision-Making and Problem Solving in Groups
In monochromatic time, interruptions are to be avoided, and everything has its own specific time.. Polychromatic time looks a little more complicated, with business and family mixing with dinner and dancing. Greece, Italy, Chile, and Saudi Arabia are countries where one can observe this perception of time; business meetings may be scheduled at a fixed time, but when they actually begin may be another story. See Section 5.4 Working in Diverse Teams
The nominal group technique guides decision making through a four-step process that includes idea generation and evaluation and seeks to elicit equal contributions from all group members (Delbecq & Ven de Ven, 1971). See Section 5.3 Collaboration, Decision-Making and Problem Solving in Groups
According to organizational workplace relationship expert Patricia Sias (2009), peer coworker relationships exist between individuals who exist at the same level within an organizational hierarchy and have no formal authority over each other. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Primary tension is tension based on uncertainty that is a natural part of initial interactions. It is only after group members begin to “break the ice” and get to know each other that the tension can be addressed and group members can proceed with the forming stage of group development.. See Section 5.5 Conflict Management Strategies for Groups and Teams
The definition of the term “relational maintenance” can be broken down into four basic types: to keep a relationship in existence; to keep a relationship in a specified state or condition; to keep a relationship in a satisfactory condition, and to keep a relationship in repair. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Secondary tension emerges after groups have passed the forming stage of group development and begin to have conflict over member roles, differing ideas, and personality conflicts. These tensions are typically evidenced by less reserved and less polite behavior than primary tensions.. See Section 5.5 Conflict Management Strategies for Groups and Teams
The Canada Labour Code’s definition of sexual harassment is quite broad, but oriented more toward the perception of the person offended than the intentions of the offender. According to Provision 241.1 of the Code, sexual harassment means any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee, or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion. (Government of Canada, 1985, p. 214). See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
If you work within a culture that has a short-term orientation, you may need to place greater emphasis on reciprocation of greetings, gifts, and rewards. Long-term orientation is often marked by persistence, thrift and frugality, and an order to relationships based on age and status. See Section 5.4 Working in Diverse Teams
Social cohesion refers to the attraction and liking among group members. Ideally, groups would have an appropriate balance between these two types of cohesion relative to the group’s purpose, with task-oriented groups having higher task cohesion and relational-oriented groups having higher social cohesion. See Section 5.2 Small Group Dynamics
Kram and Isabella (1985) note that special peer relationships “involves revealing central ambivalences and personal dilemmas in work and family realms. Pretense and formal roles are replaced by greater self-disclosure and self-expression” (p. 121). See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
The first strategy people use when disengaging from workplace friendships involves state-of-the-relationship talk. State-of-the-relationship talk is exactly what it sounds like; you officially have a discussion that the friendship is ending. The goal of state-of-the-relationship talk is to engage the other person and inform them that ending the friendship is the best way to ensure that the two can continue a professional, functional relationship. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Status an be defined as a person’s perceived level of importance or significance within a particular context. See Section 5.2 Small Group Dynamics
Symbolic convergence refers to the sense of community or group consciousness that develops in a group through non-task-related communication such as stories and jokes. See Section 5.2 Small Group Dynamics
The supervisor-subordinate relationships can be primarily based in mentoring, friendship, or romance and includes two people, one of whom has formal authority over the other. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Tacit knowledge, on the other hand, is the knowledge that’s difficult to capture permanently (e.g., write down, visualize, or permanently transfer from one person to another) because it’s garnered from personal experience and contexts. See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
Task cohesion refers to the commitment of group members to the purpose and activities of the group. See Section 5.2 Small Group Dynamics
Methot (2010) defines trust as “the willingness to be vulnerable to another party with the expectation that the other party will behave with the best interest of the focal individual” (p. 45). See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work
When we meet each other for the first time, we often use what we have previously learned to understand our current context. We also do this to reduce our uncertainty. Some cultures, such as the United States and Britain, are highly tolerant of uncertainty, while others go to great lengths to reduce the element of surprise. Other cultures are high in uncertainty avoidance; they tend to be resistant to change and reluctant to take risks. See Section 5.4 Working in Diverse Teams
Workplace romances involve two people who are emotionally and physically attracted to one another (Sias, 2009). See Section 5.1 Interpersonal Relationships at Work