High quality connections

By: John Paul Stephens, Emily Heaphy, Jane Dutton

Stephens. J.P., E. Heaphy and J. Dutton. High Quality Connections. In K, Cameron and G. Spreitzer (eds.), Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.


High-quality connections (HQCs) are short-term, dyadic, interactions that are positive in terms of the subjective experience of the connected individuals and the structural features of the connection. While previous research has shown that HQCs are associated with individual and organizational outcomes, we advance theory by identifying cognitive, emotional, behavioral mechanisms and aspects of the context that build and strengthen HQCs in organizations. We discuss the implications of uncovering these mechanisms for understanding processes such as relational formation and relational resilience, relational theories such as exchange theory, organizational moderators for these mechanisms, and the implications for individual agency. We close the chapter with suggestions for selecting methods and research designs that will enhance our understanding of the development and impact of HQCs at work.