Social-sexual behaviour in the workplace is a widespread occurrence. Inherent in such behaviour is the basic human need for social support, human contact and intimate bonding behaviour. This original research draws upon contemporary intimacy research (Kakabadse & Kakabadse (2004) and the organisational social support literature Bennet & Beehr (2013), to offer a fresh perspective on emotional and sexual intimacy in the workplace as facilitated by instant messaging and email. The paper investigates the role that new technology plays in intimacy formation & facilitation and the the buffering effect of social support within romantic and sexual relationships in the workplace.
The research employs qualitative research methods, and is underpinned by the phenomenological approach. Such a phenomenological paradigm is particularly suited to the focus of personal experiences and conceptualisations. The research line of enquiry incorporates a deep understanding or empathy or indwelling with the research participants involved in the study.
Semi structured research interviews were conducted with 62 men and women currently or recently involved in a romantic or sexual workplace relationship.
The research paper presents initial research findings based on first hand accounts of workplace relationships resulting from
Finally, the author will highlight the development of a process-orientated typology of sexual and romantic relationships and then conclude by highlighting the implications of the research for organisations. Through better understanding of emotional and sexual intimacy in the workplace, guidance for practitioners is offered to better prepare them to effectively address the difficulties of such sensitive encounters and still maintain positive employee relations, motivation and well-being.
10 minute interaction
The audience reflect on their own relationships in the workplace using ‘Work Relationships Style Questionnaire’ Lawless L (2008).