DOI: 10.1177/01492063231191090 ISSN:

All Creatures Great and Small: A Review and Typology of Employee-Animal Interactions

Shawn Xiaoshi Quan, Carisa Lam, Kira Schabram, Kai Chi Yam
  • Strategy and Management
  • Finance

Employees interact with animals in a myriad of ways in the context of work. Herein, we seek to catalog this multiplex phenomenon in order to gain theoretical insights. Our article unfolds in four parts. First, we conduct an interdisciplinary review from which we develop a typology of four employee-animal interactions: working for, with, around, and on animals. Second, we outline the current research for each discrete category. Third, we consider key divergent experiences (e.g., the uniquely gendered nature of each) and convergent themes (e.g., all animal work is emotional and hierarchical) across the typology. Fourth, we supplement our review with two metasyntheses of other workplace team interactions—employee-employee and employee-machine/artificial intelligence interactions—to highlight how the study of human-animal interactions can address current conundrums in the organizational domain. We do so to demonstrate that considerations of employee-animal interactions can offer theoretical value to scholars, including those who may not have an inherent interest in the phenomenon. We complement theoretical extensions with suggestions for future research on core management topics, including humanizing workplaces, the future of work, and team collaboration.

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