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School of Management
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
— by Anne H. Litwin, Ph.D.
Women's work relationships are a complex and often contradictory subject. Popular culture portrays women's workplace relationships as largely negative, with women often described as catty, mean, or intrinsically untrustworthy. In this article, we will present recent research that describes a continuum of patterns of behavior between women, from positive to negative. The study reveals a clash between friendship expectations that women carry into the workplace, and the masculine norms that dominate most work place cultures. This research also provides a more accurate and positive understanding of the origins of some patterns of relationship stereotypically seen as negative, such as conflict avoidance, gossip, and indirect communication. This study sheds light on sabotage behaviors.
Download the article here.
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