Don't screw the crew: Exploring the rules of engagement in organizational romance

Kathleen Riach, Fiona M Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Thirty years ago sociological research began to discover what workplace romance might mean for the participants. Since then management research has tended to adopt a functionalist approach, using survey methods, or third-party approaches to ask about company policy and negative consequences of workplace romance, warning of the dangers and consequences of romance and offering solutions for managers on how to deal with this potential problem. Drawing on the sexuality of organization and critical literature, and adopting a position of constructivist structuralism with a qualitative research method, this research looks at how the concept of workplace romance is defined and negotiated within a public-house setting. It examines the rules of engagement , the personal experiences and views of both managers and workers, as well as first-hand stories of workplace romance. Romance was conceptualized as natural and something that could not be legislated for, where unwritten rules were defined but often ignored. However, the rules of engagement emerged as favouring particular groups depending on gender, position in the hierarchy and sexual identity. Subjective value judgements are made, often resting on gendered assumptions of male and female behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79 - 92
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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