Office Politics


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Work friendships are often tenuous and can depend on the quality of  one’s productivity in the workplace environment. When the work suffers,  then the friendship can quickly turn volatile. Sociologists often report  that people will more likely fake their friendships at work not to  upset their career prospects (Vernon, p. 27).

In at least 350  words total, please answer each of the following, drawing upon your  reading materials and your personal insight. In this week’s reading  material, the following philosophers discuss their views on this topic:  Aristotle, Russell, Smith Ferguson, Marx and Simmel. Make sure to  incorporate their views as you answer each discussion question. Think  about how their views may be similar or different from your own as you  answer the following questions:

  • To what extent do you personally agree with the sociologist’s findings and distrust the sincerity of your work colleagues?
  • What has been your own experience with enacting friendships of  utility and/or feigning friendship in order to secure your employment or  future career prospects? Do you believe this is ethical? Explain your  answer. 


Many companies are aware of the research that indicates that  friendships at work increase productivity and overall job satisfaction  (p. 17). People with friends at work are even twice as likely to believe  they are well-paid (p. 17). Those who share friendships at work are  more likely to share ideas, be innovative, and feel like their work has  real meaning and purpose (p. 17).

In reality, commercial society encourages friendliness but not strong  alliances, which can undermine the authority of industry. In short,  strong friendships can prove time consuming and produce less productive  workers, as well as contribute to nepotism and cronyism (p. 39). Other  thinkers and critics have noted the drive toward individualism and  competition that commercialism promotes, which undermines genuine  connection.

Consider the concepts from the Module 4 readings as you participate  in the module’s discussions and complete the poll. Be sure to cite the  textbook or other sources in your work.


Cooley, D. R. (2002). “False Friends.” Journal of Business Ethics. (195-207).  Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning of Friendship. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 1: Friends at Work

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