My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: IX Friendship
The workplace is a field in which a friendship can be both a challenge and an opportunity. There are cultural differences pertaining to work performance. Individualists were found to perform better when working individually, while collectivists where found to perform better when in a group (Earley, 1993). Cultural differences were found to exist and create difficulties in communication also in virtual work tasks (Fujimoto et al., 2007; Staples & Zhao, 2006). One of these cultural differences pertains to the concept of time. Different perceptions of time are often an obstacle in intercultural business endeavors. Numerous studies on business negotiations relate to the difficulties in overcoming cultural differences in the perception of time (Adair & Brett, 2005; Alon & Brett, 2007; Brislin & Kim, 2003; Macduff, 2006).
As regarding business and friendship, it is commonplace in the West to think that they do not mix well and that one had better keep the two separated. However, many people in different societies make friends at work, and in recent years, this axiom has been questioned. Several studies pointed at the positive sides of business friendships (Ingram & Roberts, 2000; Spence, 2004). It was found that the importance of relationships and interdependence in collectivistic communities have direct impact on work values (Hartung et al., 2010), with those from a collectivistic culture expecting more socio-emotionally oriented relationships at work than those from a Western culture (Sanchez-Burks et al., 2000).