To read this content please select one of the options below:

Placing Relationships in the Foreground: The Role of Workplace Friendships in Engagement

Emotions and Identity

ISBN: 978-1-78714-438-5, eISBN: 978-1-78714-437-8

Publication date: 13 July 2017


We explore the role of workplace friendships as a lens for understanding the emotional element and relational context for personal engagement (Kahn, 1990). The review of engagement theory differentiates personal engagement, recognizing the role of emotions play in enabling individuals’ “preferred selves.” Workplace relationships and friendship provide a conceptual discussion of individuals in social and workplace roles in engagement, drawing on friendship, emotion, attachment theories, particularly Kahn’s work. A case study drawn from recent research illustrates our discussion before concluding with ideas for the development of a future research agenda in answer to recent calls for work on the social context of engagement.




The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the original Emonet paper and reviewers and participants at the APSEW Symposium in Brisbane.


McBain, R. and Parkinson, A. (2017), "Placing Relationships in the Foreground: The Role of Workplace Friendships in Engagement", Emotions and Identity (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 199-221.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited