Workplace relationships in Europe: An analysis by occupation and employment status

Margarida Barroso


Purpose: This article analyses the extent to which two objective attributes of work – employment status, and occupation – influence workplace relationships in Europe. Employing a quantitative and transnational approach, we explore how far the segmentation of the labour market is reflected in the non-material dimensions of working life, seeing the nature of work and the stabilisation of employment as resources that help explain broader dynamics of job quality.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on three indicators from the European Working Conditions Survey (support from colleagues; support from managers; and the quality of relationships), we performed a two-way ANOVA to test both the primary effects of the variables ‘employment status’ and ‘occupation’ on support and quality of workplace relationships, and their interaction effect. Additionally, we carried out a descriptive analysis of the mean scores of each of the dependent variables in the various groups of the independent variables.

Findings: The results show that workers with more stable jobs, and those who occupy positions at the top of the occupational hierarchy, enjoy more support and better interpersonal relationships, thus suggesting the need to extend labour market segmentation discussions to the relational spheres of work.

Research limitations/implications: The statistical indicators used need a more robust operationalisation, able to provide greater empirical validity. Other independent variables, such as the perceptions of job security or the country of work should be considered in future analysis to control for institutional and policy specificities.

Originality/value: Research on workplace relationships tends to emphasise the effects that such relationships have on both organisations and individuals, usually based on case studies and individual narratives of relationships formed in stable work contexts. In this article, we shift the focus from the effects of workplace relationships, to the ways in which they vary in accordance with the nature of work and the objective employment conditions.


Workplace relationships, support from colleagues, support from managers, occupation, employment status

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2023

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience