Getting Closer at the Company Party: Integration Experiences, Racial Dissimilarity, and Workplace Relationships

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Using survey data from two distinct samples, we found that reported integration behaviors (e.g., attending company parties, discussing nonwork matters with colleagues) were associated with closer relationships among coworkers but that this effect was qualified by an interaction effect. Racial dissimilarity moderated the relationship between integration and closeness such that integration was positively associated with relationship closeness for those who were demographically similar to their coworkers, but not for those who were demographically dissimilar from their coworkers. Additionally, this moderation effect was mediated by the extent to which respondents experienced comfort and enjoyment when integrating. These findings highlight the importance of creating the right kind of interactions for building closer relationships between employees, particularly relationships that span racial boundaries.