The authors propose that broad aspects of lateral relationships, conceptualized as coworker support and coworker antagonism, are linked to important individual employee outcomes (role perceptions, work attitudes, withdrawal, and effectiveness) in a framework that synthesizes several theoretical predictions. From meta-analytic tests based on 161 independent samples and 77,954 employees, the authors find support for most of the proposed linkages. Alternative explanations are ruled out, as results hold when controlling for leader influences and mediation processes. The authors also observe differential strengths of coworker influence based on its valence, content, and severity, and on the social intensity of the task environment. The authors conclude with a call for more comprehensive, complex theory and investigation of coworker influences as part of the social environment at work.
Chiaburu, D. S., & Harrison, D. A. (2008). Do peers make the place? Conceptual synthesis and meta-analysis of coworker effects on perceptions, attitudes, OCBs, and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(5), 1082-1103.