Positive relationships are key to flourishing at work

If your workplace mantra is “all business, all the time,” you might want to spend a bit more time chatting with colleagues around the water cooler.

Positive work relationships are key to flourishing at your job, according to a new paper co-authored by Radostina Purvanova, associate professor of management and international business at Drake University.

The paper, published in the Academy of Management Journal in August — and featured last week by the London School of Economics — is based on interviews with more than 200 employees across a variety of industries.

Purvanova and the other researchers found that positive work relationships are strongly associated with a high sense of well-being, a strong desire to thrive and grow in the workplace, and increase employee altruism. These are in addition to traditional wisdom that links positive relationships to task assistance, career advancement, and emotional support.

Purvanova and the other researchers—Amy E. Colbert, professor and Palmer Research Fellow at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, and Joyce E. Bono, the Walter J. Matherly Professor of Management at the Warrington College of Business, University of Florida—cited numerous workplaces that go to great lengths to foster positive workplace relationships. Those included Acuity, The Boston Consulting Group, Novo Nordisk, Deloitte, NuStar Energy, Wegman’s, and Zappos.

“We are encouraged to see that so many successful organisations are already doing what our research uncovers as a tool to promote employee flourishing – creating a generative culture where employees build positive work relationships with each other,” the researchers wrote on the London School of Economics website. “But, there are thousands of other firms that have not built an environment where employees can connect and flourish. We hope that our research encourages more organizations to create connected and generative work environments, in which employees get and give more through positive workplace relationships.”

Substack subscription form sign up
The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.