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DEALING WITH DRAMA: A Qualitative Study on Workplace Friendship Deterioration
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 240 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Relationships are an essential factor for wellbeing. To create and maintain relationships is also a crucial part of many jobs. These relationships sometimes develop into friendships, which often have been viewed as positive for performance and wellbeing at the workplace. However, previous research mainly focuses on the upsides of workplace friendships. In recent studies, the importance to also investigate the dark sides of workplace friendships have been emphasized. One of these dark sides has beenlabeled workplace friendship deterioration, which is the phenomenon which will be studied in this thesis. The study contributes to the research field of management with insights into coping mechanisms tied to the phenomenon. More specifically, the studyfocuseson organizational members within the service sectors. Therefore, the research question reads as follows: Which coping mechanisms are displayed by organizational members in service sectors when workplace friendships are deteriorated?The theoretical point of departure providesa foundation for the study by presenting previous academic studies, discuss the relevance of concepts and interpret findings reported in previous studies. The theoretical framework introducesthe theories of coping mechanisms and emotions. This forms a basis for the analysis and discussion of the findings. The study is based on a qualitative research method. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with nine different respondents, all based in Umeå, Sweden. The interviews were transcribed and then coded with the software Nvivo. The results of this study show that the coping mechanisms organizational members in service sectors display when workplace friendships deteriorate depend on the characteristics of the experienced situation. Depending on the situation, one of the main coping categories of problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, adaptive coping, or maladaptive coping are adapted. These are more specifically expressed as distancing, confronting, talking to others, reaching out, informing manager, altering point of view, denying, and breaking commitment. The main coping and the expressed coping together form the displayed coping mechanisms. The process of coping with workplace friendship deterioration is found to consist of four stages. These are labeled as causes, emotions, main coping, and expressed coping. Causes for workplace friendship deterioration, ordered from most to least commonly occurring, are toxic behavior, communication issues, different perceptions on tasks and responsibility, close relationships, polarization, injustice, organizational issues, management issues, differing moral and values, competition, differing ambitions and goals, and distractions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-161283OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-161283DiVA, id: diva2:1333564
Educational program
Service Management Program
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-02 Created: 2019-07-01 Last updated: 2019-07-02Bibliographically approved

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