According to a new study by Jenifer Merluzzi of George Washington University, when employers show strong friendships among co-workers, they are less likely to experience conflict, especially among women employees.
The study explores difficult work relationships within and across gender at two firms, especially in primarily male dominated organizations.
Merluzi involved 145 management-level employees regarding workplace dynamics at two large U.S. firms. The firms were primarily male-dominated environments, with women representing less than one-third of the workforce and under 15 percent of the senior management.
Both men and women are equally likely to cite having a difficult co-worker. As compared to men, women are more likely to cite another woman as a difficult coworker than they are to cite a man, or not cite anyone.
Although, this tendency is reduced among those who have strong friendships among co-workers. Knowing that unique gendered network characteristics at work were associated with negative ties.
The study could help organizational leaders to erupt potential trouble spots within their firms, where gendered conflict generally arises.
Merluzzi said, “While gender diversity and inequality are well-documented topics in management, sociology and labor economics, few have looked closely at the gendered negative relationships within the workplace from a social relationship perspective.”
“Understanding the relational side of conflict also bears practical importance as companies increasingly organize using diverse teams, heightening the reliance on informal ties between and within gender to get work accomplished.”