Workplace romances (WRs) have become a common occurrence and growing trend in today’s work-oriented culture. People are spending more time at work and in close proximity to their work colleagues which provides the ideal stage for romantic relationships to develop.
Whilst on the one hand, WRs could have beneficial consequences for the individuals or organisations involved, they could also on the other hand be a problematic occurrence for some employers. The reason is that WRs have the risk of ending badly and that could open a field of possible complicated legal, emotional, ethical or productivity consequences.
In the light of this problem, the general objective of this study is to explore the effects of dissolved romances on the psychosocial functioning and productivity of involved employees at an industrial clothing factory in Cape Town in 2012/13 and also to explore the consequent need for appropriate intervention through the existing employee assistance programmes (EAP).
The study followed a qualitative research approach in that it covered detailed descriptions of involved employees’ experiences of their psychosocial functioning and productivity in the workplace amidst a relationship breakdown.
A collective case study design was utilised because of its aims to understand a social issue, namely the breakdown of romantic relationships in the workplace, and studied the experiences and perceptions of a group of individuals affected by this phenomenon.
The researcher conducted a word and concept analysis and an extensive literature study. This enabled the researcher to draw up a framework for the semi-structured interview schedule which was used to collect data.