Hilla Dotan
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Management – Organizational Behavior Program
Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration
Tel Aviv University

Related Research Interests

My research focuses on informal social relationships at work, specially Workplace Friendships. I examine how workplace friendships come into existence and how and why they develop and evolve in ways that impact key job outcomes such as organizational commitment and performance. My research is guided by three fundamental research questions: 1) what are the stimulants that facilitate and/or motivate an individual’s decision to form a friendship at work with a given co-worker; 2) how and why do workplace friendships affect key job outcomes; and 3) how can managers facilitate/inhibit/manage the formation of relationships that form within their organization so as to achieve higher levels of business efficiency and effectiveness.

More specifically, in one line of my research, I try to understand individuals underlying cognitions, motivations, stimulants, and inhibitions in choosing to become friends with their coworkers. Since employees are not required under any job description, rules or regulations to pursue friendships with their co-workers, I’m curious why they nevertheless voluntarily choose to pursue such relationships at work. Moreover, since instruments to measure friendship formation are unavailable in the field, as part of my investigation of the antecedents of friendship formation, I developed and validated a new measurement tool for the formation of workplace friendships – the WFF Tool.

In a second line of research, I focus on the consequences and effects of workplace friendships. I try to understand how and why workplace friendships affect individual level job outcomes such as performance, organizational commitment, and turnover. In this work, I not only examine the effects, but attempt to account and explain why friendships occasionally have positive effects on job outcomes and at times negative. I develop a theoretical framework that can be tested empirically and be utilized to explain the conflicting evidence found in the literature regarding the effects of workplace friendships on outcomes.

In a third line of research, I focus on the dynamics of workplace friendships and adopt a developmental perspective. I not only examine initial attraction and formation, but examine why individuals maintain their workplace friendships, how friendships develop, and how they evolve as well as terminate. I propose a theoretical model of friendship development at the workplace that combines three levels of analysis to help explain how friendships transition between stages of development. The theoretical model provides many avenues for empirical investigation of the development of workplace friendships over time including how such relationships affect various job outcomes at different stages of the relationship.

Related Publications

  • Dotan, H. 2009. Workplace Friendships: Formation and Consequences for Managerial Effectiveness. Best Paper Proceedings. Academy of Management, August