Workers With a More Diverse Group of Friends Outside the Job Are Better Employees

OhioStateResearch conducted at Ohio State University finds that employees who have a more diverse group of friends outside of work perform better at their jobs. Researchers found that workers who had more different-race friends in their personal lives than their co-workers also tended to have a more racially diverse network of friends on the job. This broader network was linked to employees who did more tasks beyond their job responsibilities and who, under certain circumstances, had more trust in their supervisors.

“Your friends outside of work actually have this connection to how you behave in the workplace, through the shaping of your relationships on the job,” said Steffanie Wilk, co-author of the study and associate professor of management and human resources at the Fisher College of Business of Ohio State University.

“Most of the research examining workers’ personal lives has focused on the role of family on work performance,” Dr. Wilk says. “Here we show how we carry our friendship patterns across the boundary of personal and work lives. These friendships are affecting us in terms of our relationships at work in ways that we may not even be aware of.”

The article, “Choosing the Company You Keep: Racial Relational Demography Outside and Inside of Work” was published on the website of the journal Organization Science. It may be accessed here.

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  1. Based upon their research findings, the Ohio State University and the rest of the schools in the Big Ten schools along with the overwhelmingly majority of HWCUs are woefully lacking in the number of non-Whites (i.e., native born Blacks) within the administrative, faculty, staff, and students. These institutions would definitely fail in meeting this goal of having “friends from diverse backgrounds”(i.e., non-White) because they tend to be treated as intellectual centerpieces for White intellectual hegemony. In other words, such institutions will do whatever is in its best interest to maintain this position for dominance. This includes the HWCUs who like to portray themselves as being so diverse and inclusive.

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