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PhD ceremony Ms. A.F.G. Regts-Walters: To work is to relate: the influence of work relationships on individual work outcomes

When:Th 19-12-2013 at 11:00
Where:Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

PhD ceremony: Ms. A.F.G. Regts-Walters

Dissertation: To work is to relate: the influence of work relationships on individual work outcomes

Promotor(s): prof. H.B.M. Molleman, prof. C.T.B. Ahaus

Faculty: Economics and Business

Nearly every employee is interacting with other people on the job, making work an activity that links the employee with others. As contemporary organizational structures are becoming flatter and more team-based, the influence of employee relationships on employee attitudes, intentions, and behavior comes to be more salient. Building on resource-based theories about social capital, social networks, and social exchange, this dissertation takes a relational perspective and aims to enlarge our understanding of the influence of several social network and dyadic variables on employee work outcomes.

Specifically, Regts-Walters examined the influence of employee relationships with coworkers and with supervisors on turnover intention, job satisfaction, and job performance, but also focused on when and why the strength or existence of these associations differed.

The findings of this dissertation provide several theoretical contributions that can be organized around four identified research gaps. First, Regts-Walters showed the importance of including contingency factors in research on the relationship between social capital, social networks, and social exchange on the one hand and individual work outcomes on the other. Second, Regts-Walters aimed to add to the few studies that have brought the individual back into structural analysis by examining individual characteristics that contingently influence the impact of social network variables on individual work outcomes. Third, Regts-Walters aimed to advance social exchange theory by the integration of different social exchange relationships into one research model and studying their combined impact on an individual work outcome. And finally, Regts-Walters contributed to social network research by theorizing about and empirically examining the distinct direct and indirect effect of different types of network ties on individual work outcomes.

In addition to the theoretical implications, the present dissertation offers organizations insights into the effects of work relationships on individual work outcomes. Specifically, the results indicate that employee relationships with coworkers and with their supervisor provide potential individual benefits, but that the realization or importance of these opportunities depends on an employee’s individual characteristics, task dependence, and the co-existence of workplace exchange relationships.

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