Connecting with Coworkers on Social Network Sites: Strategies, Social Norms and Outcomes on Work Relationships

Ollier-Malaterre, Ariane
Luneau-De Serre, Kassandra
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Although an increasing number of individuals are connected with their coworkers on social network sites (SNS) that are professional and personal (e.g., Facebook), little research has explored the outcomes of these connections on interpersonal relationships at work. Drawing on SNS research as well as on an existing typology of online boundary management strategies (i.e., "audience", "content", "custom" and "open"), we took an exploratory qualitative approach and interviewed all employees of 4 teams in diverse working environments. Our findings reveal that although interviewees’ behaviors reflected the 4 strategies, there were gray zones, and the audience strategy veered off course. Almost all interviewees monitored their content disclosure through either content or custom strategies. Specific social norms regarding SNS emerged. The outcomes of connecting with coworkers on SNS were mostly positive, including liking, closeness, respect, and organizational citizenship behaviors toward individuals (OCBI). However, disliking, loss of respect and envy were also mentioned.
Social and Psychological Perspectices in Collaboration Research, Boundary management between work and life,Interpersonal relationships at work, Liking, Personal disclosure, Social network sites
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