Learning from academia: the importance of relationships in professional life

By: Connie J.G. Gersick, Jean M. Bartunek, Jane Dutton

Gersick, C., J. Bartunek and J. Dutton. Learning from Academia: The Importance of Relationships in Professional Life. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 6, 1026-1045, 2000.


In-depth interviews with business school faculty members suggest that work relationships are more than strategically chosen means to career mobility. Relationships are career-defining ends as well, and negative relationships may be as consequential as helpful ties. Findings also showed significant gender differences: women, more than men, told stories about harm; men, more than women, told stories about help. Workplace relationships may play different roles for professionals and managers, and men’s and women’s different relational experiences may foster different career logics, or ways of striving for success.