DOI: 10.1177/13505076231181194 ISSN: 1350-5076

We-experiences and the maintenance of workplace friendships: Being workplace friends together

Stefan Korber, Paul Hibbert, Lisa Callagher, Frank Siedlok, Ziad Elsahn
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management
  • General Decision Sciences

In this article, we are interested in how togetherness in workplace friendships is experienced in the absence of physical co-presence. We explore practices through which we-experiences, that is, shared experiences that produce feelings of togetherness, are realized and maintained across time and space and how different we-experiences constitute different modes of togetherness. Findings from our autoethnographic phenomenological study suggest four modes. Transactive togetherness as vivid and intense we-experiences in the face of tight deadlines but little genuine we-experiences at other times. Retrospective togetherness as re-lived we-experiences when shared memories or stories are retold, recalled, and ‘brought back to life’. Associative togetherness as we-experiences that emerge in the light of immediate emotional and personal challenges that are addressed collectively. Projective togetherness as anticipated we-experiences that emerge from a compelling vision of each other in our work and personal life. We add to the current conversations on the continuous entanglement and interlocking nature of we-experiences, the temporality of togetherness at work, and how friendships are actively accomplished through individuals.

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