Formal and Informal Discrimination of Intersectional Workplace Romances
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Workplace romances (WRs) have been shown to produce negative outcomes for organizations, yet are steadily increasing in prevalence. Prior studies have looked into both the interpersonal and organizational implications of WRs; however, researchers have not fully investigated how these implications can be impacted by workplace discrimination. Thus, the present study seeks to propose a model of discrimination and incivility as it pertains to coworker involvement in a WR. Through an experimental, policy capturing design, we measured participant responses to manipulated WR scenarios on various workplace outcomes. Employed participants (n = 544) were asked to report their perceptions of two hypothetical organizational members of varying identities engaging in a relationship with each other. Variables were analyzed using a 2 (Interracial or Same-race) x 2 (Same-sex or Heterosexual) x 2 (Hierarchical or Lateral) design on the outcomes of perceived problem level, perceived level of competence, and preferred organizational action. We suggest that (H1) interracial, (H2) same-sex, and/or (H3) hierarchical workplace romances will be (a) perceived as more of a problem for the organization, (b) rated as less competent, and (c) given more severe organizational action than same-race, heterosexual, and/or lateral WRs. Relevant literature, significance of our findings, and future directions for research are all discussed.
McKenzie, Cody A (2018). Formal and Informal Discrimination of Intersectional Workplace Romances. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from