As a common phenomenon in interpersonal relationships, liking reflects a positive interpersonal emotion and is a synthesis of various feelings of being attracted. As an important predictor of effective leadership and employees’ job performance, liking has attracted increasing attention from foreign researchers. However, research on this topic in China is still at its initial stage of development and lacks a systematic review and induction of existing literature.
Firstly, using the method of bibliometrics, and taking 147 pieces of literature on the topic of workplace liking from the Web of Science (WOS) Core Collection database from 1985 to 2022 as the research object, this paper uses CiteSpace to present a visual quantitative overview of the literature on workplace liking, including the overview of publications, journals, regions, research institutions, literature citations, and keywords, so as to provide a comprehensive overview of the development and research focus of workplace liking research.
Secondly, based on the knowledge mapping obtained from the bibliometric analysis, this paper further conducts a comprehensive review of theoretical and empirical studies on workplace liking. Through a systematic review of the literature, it summarizes the origin of workplace liking research. Based on the definition of liking from the perspective of neuropsychology and social psychology, this paper further defines workplace liking as an overall evaluation of how much pleasure and utility a specific object can bring to oneself in the workplace. Then, it summarizes the features of workplace liking, distinguishes workplace liking from some related concepts, and sorts out some representative scales.
Thirdly, through a review of existing literature, this paper summarizes the antecedents of workplace liking from two aspects: individual factors and interpersonal interaction factors. Individual factors include individual characteristics, cognitive factors, and affective factors; while interpersonal interaction factors include influence tactics, role expectations, and extra-role behaviors. At the same time, this paper also summarizes the outcomes of workplace liking from three aspects: perceptions, attitudes, and behavioral performance. In addition, it sorts out the mediating mechanisms in workplace liking research from the perspectives of reciprocity, affect, and cognition, and also summarizes the moderating mechanism. On this basis, this paper constructs an integrated research framework including the antecedents, outcomes, and moderating effects of workplace liking.
Finally, this paper puts forward the limitations of existing literature and provides prospects for future research directions, so as to provide useful reference for future research on workplace liking in China. For example, future research can develop a scale for workplace liking based on the Chinese cultural context, further explore the factors that affect workplace liking from more aspects, and expand the research level to the team level or dynamic level to enrich the outcomes of workplace liking from different perspectives.