To a certain extent I would personally agree with sociologist findings pertaining to the sincerity of my work colleagues. Though at times you may see your co-workers more times than your family during the week, they may still not know who you truly are. This kind of relationship is based on mutual activity and are easy to form due to the fact you don’t have to share too much of yourself to find in commonality amongst one another. In books 8 and 9 of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle identifies two categories of friendships that exist in the workplace as intrinsic and extrinsic. According to Aristotle, a intrinsic friendship was the perfect friendship. He states this by saying “Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends; for they do this by reason of their own nature and not incidentally…(Aristotle, 1156b7-9)^3.)” What this kind of friendship means to me is that you do something for one another without regard to self-reward.
When it comes to work you don’t truly know someone’s intentions on whether they are befriending you vs friending you. Vernon states when referring to business, “A capitalistic system fosters distrust among members of society; in part, because no one can ever trust anyone else”. I disagree with this view based on the I don’t see work relationships as being a trust or not trust relationship depending on if your safety is depended upon someone else. Most people just want to come to work to work and get their job done so that they may return to their families which aligns with Aristotle’s views that “…They like each other only insofar as it does them some good…They are friendly because its beneficial to be so”.
My experience with enacting friendships of utility to secure my employment have been well. Through observation of how others treat one another and gossip about one another when things aren’t going their way, I learned to not get very close to people I work with and to just come to work to work. I do believe this is ethical because I am not leading anyone on in a false friendship and I also believe people are allowed to create personal boundaries of who is allowed full access into their personal lives without having to pretend.
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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