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The Management Of Workplace Relationships Essay

4738 words - 19 pages

In recent years the corporate workforce has become more diversified in gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. As a consequence the workforce at most major corporations is now more reflective of the general population than it was in the past. Yet the issue of diversity in the workplace is often not addressed or, in some cases, overlooked by management. Of particular interest is the management of interpersonal relationships of both heterosexual and homosexual employees in the workplace.In a prosperous economic climate, corporations are often forced to compete for qualified employees. Many corporations have attempted to attract such employees by offering benefits that meet their ...view middle of the document...

In discussing the management of interpersonal relationships in the workplace, it is important to clarify what is typically considered a workplace relationship. Most corporations that acknowledge relationships between employees, and subsequently have policies restricting their behavior, define a workplace relationship as that of a legally married heterosexual couple. In recent times some corporations have changed their policy to include same sex partners or spousal equivalents in their definition of a workplace relationship. Regardless of whether or not they are formally recognized by the organization, the majority of issues that face married heterosexual employees in a workplace relationship also apply to heterosexual and same sex partners who are not married. For the purposes of this paper we will consider both married and unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples as a being involved in a workplace relationship.When it comes to workplace relationships, corporations are fearful of all of the associated pitfalls. Generally, an employer will document certain corporate policies pertaining to who can be in a relationship with another employee. Some common restrictions are that managers are prohibited from relationships with their subordinates or that a couple is not supposed to work for the same manager. More often than not, there is an unwritten workplace code that employees should not start relationships from within the same group because of the possible negative consequences. Most corporations will also subject employees to workplace diversity or compliance training where the new employees will learn what is considered appropriate behavior. This usually includes sensitivity training for correctly dealing with diverse employee groups and various sexual harassment issues. Even small companies require these types of policies and training because many types of relationships exist in the work environment, including the introduction of same sex relationships in the workforce. As a result of today's lawsuit prone environment, corporations are more fearful than ever of impropriety by their employees. The training and rules are designed to avoid the costly litigation involved in harassment suits and the requisite problems that evolve from relationships. Corporations realize the importance of stopping such claims and limiting their liability by enforcing these laws. The problem though, as with any corporate decree, is that it is only as strong as the managers who implement the policies.The first step for a corporation is to put the policy into writing. If a corporation does not have a written policy on workplace relationships, all that is left are unwritten rules. Unwritten rules are left up to the manager to determine what is right, wrong, and the enforcement for that part of the organization. This leads to chaos because there are no management mediation techniques, no way for the employees to know they are about to cause organizational friction, and...

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