My colleagues are my friends: The role of facebook contacts in employee identification

Jos Bartels*, Mark van Vuuren, Jaap W. Ouwerkerk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examined the extent to which having colleagues as friends on Facebook influences departmental and organizational identification by blurring the boundaries between work and private life. Based on social identity theory and proxy efficacy, we argue that work-related friends on Facebook may affect employee identification with different levels of the organization. The results of an online panel study among Dutch employees (N = 1,002) show that the perceived quality of online relationships with work-related Facebook contacts increases departmental identification, whereas the perceived authority of such contacts strengthens identification with the organization. Therefore, we suggest that blurring boundaries between work and private life through social media can have positive effects on organizational functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-328
Number of pages22
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • contact authority
  • Facebook
  • organizational identification
  • quality of Facebook contacts


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