Workplace friendship and employees’ productivity: Lmx theory and the case of the seoul city government

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“Do workplace friendships influence employee work attitudes?” This topic is relatively under-examined by researchers and scholars because most of the emphasis has focused on the negative effects of workplace friendships. In addition, there is controversy over whether workplace friendship is possible inside bureaucracies. However, the positive potential for both individuals and the organization of having friendships at work may override the negative aspects. This study examines the impact of workplace friendship on employee productivity. Workplace friendship is conceptualized as friendship opportunity and quality of friendship between superior and subordinates. The findings indicate that workplace friendship can lead employees to have positive work attitudes, but the quality of friendship has a stronger influence on positive work attitudes by employees than friendship opportunity. Theoretically, the findings support the Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory in terms of emphasizing the importance of workplace friendship to increase the positive work attitudes and performance of employees. The findings imply that organizations may benefit from encouraging friendships among employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2006


  • Lmx theory
  • Positive work attitudes
  • Workplace friendship


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