Interviews on Employee Socialization Outside Work


The chosen topic for the assignment – socialization of employees outside of work hours – presents an accessible opportunity for in-depth research via interviews. I have conducted two semi-structured interviews at the Chinese restaurant ‘Great Wall of China’ for this study. The site is located in the city’s business area and attracts a large number of corporate employees after work hours. I had prepared a series of preliminary questions beforehand (Appendix A); however, the initial discussions led to thoughtful and open dialogues about corporate culture, making them semi-structured in-depth interviews (Kirner & Mills, 2020). Semi-structured interviews have demonstrated immense results in qualitative research, making it one of the best methods of empirical investigation (Basias & Pollalis, 2018). Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly complicates offline interview procedures (Robinson et al., 2020). Therefore, I prepared and applied all the possible safety measures appropriately. A comprehensive summary of the two interviews is presented below.

Interview 1 – Summary

The first group of respondents consisted of two young white males and a slightly older male of Asian descent 27, 28, and 38 years old, respectively. All three interviewees work together at a nearby IT company. The younger employees are data analysts in junior positions, while the slightly older man is the development lead. Nevertheless, there were no signs of inappropriate power dynamics throughout the interview. The three employees conversed casually with each other and were friendly toward me as well. As I learned through the dialogue, the older person invited his colleagues to the restaurant and was excited to show them his favorite dining place. The interview occurred on Friday after work hours, and the employees ordered both food and alcoholic beverage. Ultimately, the atmosphere in the group was relaxed, and the respondents were excited to share their opinions about the corporate culture in their company.

Concerning the discussion, I approached the group, stated that I was conducting an ethnographic study, and asked whether they would like to participate in an interview about corporate culture. I tried not to enforce the dialogue but rather respectfully expressed my curiosity and attempted to capture their attention. The respondents quickly agreed to the interview and were excited to participate in an academic study. Consequently, I acquired informed consent from the respondents, ensuring their anonymity and confidentiality rights, which is the essential process for semi-structured interviews (Kirner & Mills, 2020). The formalities of the procedure were slightly hindered due to the relaxed and cheerful atmosphere, but I promised that their names and the company’s title would not be revealed in the study.

Furthermore, I tried to eliminate any bias from my questions to receive honest answers and opinions. I recorded information via infrequent notes and decided not to use audio or video recordings to increase participants’ comfort levels (Kirner & Mills, 2020). Lastly, I used nonverbal responses, active listening, and echo techniques to ensure a free-flowing conversation (Kirner & Mills, 2020). Ultimately, the interview was highly productive, and, subjectively, I could eliminate any potential bias and undesirable consequences, such as response effects, expectancy, deference, and social desirability.

Based on the preliminary questions in Appendix A, I received the following information:

  • The corporate culture in the company is generally friendly and trusting;
  • Employees frequently spend time together outside of working hours;
  • The majority of the employees are male, and they usually spend time together; however, they reported no gender prejudice and would like to invite female employees as well;
  • There are various degrees of ‘friendliness’ among the employees, but the interviewed group is very relaxed and easy-going;
  • The group reported socialization as the primary objective of interaction after work hours;
  • They usually leave the restaurant together all at once.

Interview 2 – Summary

The second group of respondents consisted of two Asian females, presumably in their early 30s; however, they wished not to reveal their ages. They both work at a nearby retail company and occupy similar positions. They reported dining as their primary objective without emphasizing socialization or drinking. Both employees were friendly with each other but demonstrated some degree of nervousness and constraint talking to me.

Concerning the discussion, I repeated the procedure from the previous interview and made sure to acquire informed consent, open with a broad introductory question, and use effective probing techniques to facilitate the dialogue. Furthermore, similar to the first interview, I have not used audio or video recordings in an attempt to make the respondents more comfortable. The interviewees did not look stressed out; however, they were conservative and restricted in their answers, which could be a sign of the social desirability effect (Kirner & Mills, 2020). Unlike the previous group, the two employees demonstrated little interest in the topic of corporate culture and attempted to shift the subject several times. As a result, the interview lasted approximately fifteen minutes since I did not want put additional pressure on the group. Taking into account an approximately 40-minutes discussion with the previous respondents and the general guideline of 30 minutes to 2 hours for semi-structured interviews, the interview was relatively unproductive (Kirner & Mills, 2020). Nevertheless, I was able to receive the following information from the employees:

  • The gender ratio in the company is approximately 50/50, but people generally converse with employees of the same gender after work hours;
  • The interviewed group reported no signs of race, gender, or other types of prejudice at the workplace but demonstrated slight discomfort talking about the topic;
  • They usually come to the restaurant to order meals and leave together after eating.


Basias, N., & Pollalis, Y. (2018). Quantitative and qualitative research in business & technology: Justifying a suitable research methodology. Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research, 7, 91-105.

Kirner, K., & Mills, J. (2020). Introduction to ethnographic research: A guide for anthropology. SAGE Publications.

Robinson, K. A., Shin, B., & Gangadharan, S. P. (2021). A comparison between in-person and virtual fellowship interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Surgical Education, 78(4), 1175-1181.

Appendix A

Examples of Open Questions for Semi-Structured Interviews

  • How often do you come to the place (where the interview is happening), and do you generally come in groups?
  • When you spend time together after work hours, do you usually converse with colleagues of the same gender?
  • What can you tell me about the corporate culture in your company? Do you feel relaxed, or is there tension in social interaction?
  • What is the goal of informal meetings after work hours? Do you want to understand your colleagues better or simply relax after the workday?

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