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Whereas most research has focused on the negative aspects of touch in the workplace (i.e. sexual harassment), this study focuses upon the positive use of touch. In an effort to explain individual differences in the use of workplace touch, three sequential studies are used to introduce the concepts of workplace touch self-efficacy and workplace touch initiation anxiety. In Study 1 we develop scales to assess the constructs. Study 2 provides an initial examination of the construct validity of the measures developed in Study 1. Results of Study 3 indicate that supervisor reports of touch self-efficacy and physiological touch anxiety are related to subordinate reports of supervisor touch. Additionally, results show that supervisor use of touch is related to several indicators of supervisor social effectiveness. Finally, sex of the supervisor appears to play a role in workplace touch as female supervisors report less touch anxiety, greater touch self-efficacy and more use of touch than male supervisors.


The pdf is the author's accepted version. The published Sage version can be found at