McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

October 26, 2012

Should you friend your boss on Facebook?

In a sign of our changing times, a forthcoming white paper out of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton school bears the title, "OMG My Boss Just Friended Me."

The study will add to the small but growing body of academic research into how online relationships between colleagues inform, and are informed by, face-to-face interactions at the office.

Eager to hear the results before they are officially published, I asked professor Nancy Rothbard, who worked on the study with researchers Justin Berg and Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, the obvious question: So? Should you and your boss be friends on Facebook?

The answer, of course, is not simple. Among the team's findings was that people weren't just uncomfortable getting friend requests from their bosses; even requests from their subordinates felt awkward. "It was just the asymmetry of hierarchy that made people uncomfortable," Rothbard said.

When it was the bosses who reached out on Facebook, participants in the study appeared to equate them with their parents. They had the same dilemma over whether to add them as 'friends' or not. And they used the same logic to arrive at their ultimate decision.

The boss's gender plays a role in an employee's willingness to accept the invitation. In one experiment, Rothbard found that participants were more likely to accept Facebook friend requests from female bosses when the women disclosed more information about themselves online. When male bosses disclosed more information about themselves, however, participants were less likely to want to virtually connect with them.

"It's the creep factor," Rothbard says.

Gender, it seems, may not only influence how likely work colleagues are to connect online but also how likely it is that such connections will help their career. A separate study, conducted by marketing firm Russell Herder in October 2011, found that almost a third of men in their sample said that being online friends with their manager helps them do their job at least somewhat more effectively. Only 15 percent of women connected to their supervisor said the same.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.