A Qualitative Study of Task and Work-Social Networks
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Despite the well-recognized importance of interpersonal relationships within the work environment, there is no comprehensive approach or set of studies that provide a complete picture. As a step towards providing a complete picture, this research presents a qualitative exploratory study of how people experience the work environment through task and work-social interactions and through policies and norms present in the work environment. The purpose of this study is to understand the overall work experience from purely work-social and purely task network perspective. A semi-structured question-based set of interviews were performed among professionals from a Canadian university alumni society. The transcripts of the interviews were then manually coded and analyzed using statistical methods. The study found an overall higher level of positive responses for co-workers in the work-social network, as well as a preference for work-social co-workers in building a team for a hypothetical company. The study also found a general willingness to select only the best ranked co-workers from task network, whereas a leniency towards the selection of co-workers from work-social network was observed despite their lower ranking. At the same time, the study identified some of the most desirable attributes of fellow co-workers both in the task and work-social networks from an employee’s perspective. The significance of the people and team was found more important to the employees than factors such as specific task performed or compensation. This exploratory study provided insights into how employees view their co-workers and their work environment.