The perceived importance of water cooler moments

A study published by researchers Lin and Kwantes in 2015 in the Journal of Psychology suggests that people believe that office workers who are new to a job and who  take part in more social water-cooler type interactions are likely to be more well-liked and to be seen as more competent! According to the study's respondents, water-cooler aficionados are also likely to be more readily recommended for tasks and projects by their co-workers and also more likely to receive helping behaviour from colleagues.

The research was conducted by presenting respondents with 2 written vignettes, one depicting the actions of a high water-cooler user/communicator and the other featuring a less gregarious person. Whilst the research method obviously depends on attitudes and judgments which are often, as we know from other research, often not acted upon, we thought it was interesting to note that there was no statistically significant difference between the responses of extraverts and introverts as tested on the 'Big Five Inventory' which tests for neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness.

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