Professor shares dissertation at Graves Lecture

Work spouse relationships are based on many common themes, and they have both positive and negative effects on a person’s life. Shaunda French, assistant professor of the Social and Communication Arts department, talked about this relationship in her presentation, 7-8 p.m., Tuesday in room 111 of the Rita E. King library. It’s the third lecture of the Fall 2015 Grave Lecture Series.

The title of the lecture was “My Confidant, My Coworker: The Interpersonal Relationship of Work Spouses.” It focused and discussed work spouse relationships and the influence they have on an individual, both at work and at home.

French came up with three questions when she did her research: Is a work spouse a unique style of intimate relationship; how has having a work spouse affected respondents’ relationship; what is the impetus in work spouse relationships.

The result was the majority had a work spouse. Some formed romantic relationships. Some considered their work spouses as siblings or best friends.

She also concluded that work spouse relationships are based on many themes and have both positive and negative effects to other relationships. She said they covered the other’s work when one was busy, spent time together outside of work, forming a relationship with each other’s families . However, some members of their families did not approve the relationship and thought they should keep them only work-related.

To start the presentation, she explained what work spouses meant and why people looked for work spouses.

“Work spouse is a person at work whom you have a special intimate relationship with,” French said.

She also mentioned that people nowadays spent more time at work, roughly 50 hours a week, therefore, they tended to find someone at work to share their time with.

French conducted an experiment to understand more about work spouse relationships. To start off, she developed a pre-qualifying survey. The participants would be qualified if they answered six of eight question correctly. The result was fewer than 50 percent of people who took the survey qualified for interview.

To continue the experiment, she started in-depth interviews with 30 participants. There were 24 females and six males, from rural Nebraska to New Orleans. They have numerous jobs. However, French said she was surprised that there were more same sex work couples than expected.

There was a discussion at the end of the lecture to ask questions about the problems or opinions in minds which could be developed into future research.

Peggy Hinman, a motivational speaker, will wrap up the Fall 2015 Grave Lecture Series on Nov. 10 with a presentation based on the book “8 to Great.” The lecture is free and open to public.

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