Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Julie Apker

Second Advisor

Dr. Leigh Ford

Third Advisor

Dr. Autumn Edwards


Facebook, workplace, superior, subordinate, dialectic

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This thesis project explores how Facebook friendship transforms the relationship between superior-subordinate dyads in the workplace through the lens of relational dialectics theory. A convenience sample of five superior-subordinate dyads (N=10) was used. Criteria for participation included: the superior must be full time and must be the subordinate's direct superior, the subordinate must work at least part time, both must have worked in the organization for at least three months, and the two must be friends on Facebook who communicate at least weekly through the site. This study utilizes qualitative, face-to-face, in-depth participant interviews. The interview questions are open-ended in order to garner specific examples from participants regarding the presence of dialectical tensions. Two relational dialectics are strongest in the sample: autonomy/connectedness and openness/closedness. Participants use a variety of deliberate communication techniques to manage these tensions. Conclusions are drawn through coding of participant interviews regarding relational dialectics and communication management techniques present in the data.

Included in

Communication Commons