The uncontrollability of relational indifference in blended workgroups

Anette Kaagaard Kristensen, Martin Lund Kristensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper aims to examine how temporaries’ experience and perception of encounters with permanent members’ relational indifference affect the social relations in blended workgroups.

Constructivist grounded theory study based on 15 semi-structured interviews with first- and third-year nursing students in clinical internships at somatic hospital wards was used.

The authors identified two themes around organizational alienation. Temporaries expected and hoped to experience resonance in their interactions with permanent members, which drove them to make an extra effort when confronted with permanents’ relational indifference. Temporaries felt insignificant, meaningless and unworthy, causing them to adopt a relationless mode of relating, feeling alienated and adapting their expectations and hopes.

Practical implications
Relational indifference is, unlike relational repulsion, problematic to target directly through intervention policies as organizations would inflict a more profound alienation on temporaries.

Unlike previous research on blended workgroups, which has predominantly focused on relational repulsion, this paper contributes to understanding how relational indifference affects temporaries’ mode of relating to permanent.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1844-1855
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022


  • Blended workgroups
  • Organizational alienation
  • Organizational ostracism
  • Resonance
  • Temporary work
  • Temporary workers

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