Multiplex relationships

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A multiplex relationship occurs between actors who share differentroles, affiliations, and actions that overlap, for example,co-workers who also happen to be friends when they are not in theirworking station. As opposed to simplex relationships whereexpectations are specific and have a limited scope, multiplexrelationships cross several cultural domains besides them beinggeneral and broad in scope(Kuwabara et al., 2010). In these relationships, thereis no specific expectation, for example, one does not have a specificobligation they must fulfill towards their friends, parents orneighbors the same way a banker does to his client or the bus driverto the passengers. In the case of a bus driver and the banker, thereis a sense of duty such that these participants must ensure that thepeople they carry reach their destination safely, in the case of adriver. Upon fulfilling these obligations, the passenger or theclient does not have any other expectation toward the driver or thebanker hence, the limited scope of expectation. However, a personmay have a multiplex relationships with a person who owes them asense of duty yet the person has another role that is more generaland less limited in scope. For instance, one`s neighbor, friend orchild may also double as one`s banker which results in a multiplexrelationship.

are built on trust, reliability and loyalty.In these types of relationships, the participants have known eachother for a long period as they have been in constant interaction.According to Yamini &amp Welch (2011) the incorporation ofadditional distinct behaviors as the relationship grows takes timehence, the persons in multiplex relationships must have encounteredseverally. It is through this repeated encounter that alters theparticipant’s ego and helps them gain confidence which in turnshelps them diverse the scope or the extent of their relationship.According to Yamini &amp Welch (2011), the ego utilizes thetrustworthiness created in one aspect of the multiplex relationshipto anticipate the same level of trust in the future interaction. Forinstance, in the case of two colleagues who also happen to beneighbors, the ego utilizes the sense of trust gained as theparticipants go on with their work to anticipate the same level oftrust in the neighbor’s relationship. When the participants in amultiplex relationship achieve this type of trust on each other, theego tends to delay gratification that may result in the destructionof this trust. In the long run, as a result of the closeness andtrust shared by participants in a multiplex relationship, thecultural norm and expectation is created and adhered to (Yamini, &ampWelch 2011). Besides, as opposed to simplex relationships, multiplexrelationships tend to result in strong bonds or ties among theparticipants, and this affects the level of assimilation into theculture of the participants. Additionally, once the participants holda central point in the social network, they offer material as well asemotional supports. This helps in the protection of the culturalnorms and expectation as a participant can depend on the other intimes of their need hence, they cannot contemplate going against theestablished societal way of living.

One of the multiplex relationships I am part of is that some of myfellow students also happen to be my fellow church members.Furthermore, we attend the same mentorship program with some of thesestudents. This means that there are several links as in one instance,we are schoolmates and at another instance, we are fellow churchmembers. It also comes to a point that we take a different role asmembers of a mentorship program. Additionally, I happen to be in thesame Facebook and WhatsUp group with my sister. In one instance, weare online acquaintance sharing ideas and connecting but, in anotherinstance, we are family members as we have blood links. When I am inthese relationships, everything I say or do is important and may comehaunting me in the future. For instance, when I am in the sameWhatsUp group with my sister, I may not say something personal suchas concerning my parents as she may like to know what I was talkingabout. Besides, she can tell on me in case I share that, probably Ispent a weekend at a friend’s home while I had told my parent I wasto a theater festival. This means that multiplex relationships affectone`s expression, and no much choice is exercised by participants asquitting the relationship is sometimes impossible. According to Hipel(2009), people in a multiplex relationship do not move out of thegroup as often, even though conflicts easily arise. Thus, when inthese multiplex relationships, I do not have much choice such as whatI can tolerate or when to leave the group which affects the way Iportray myself.

Multiplex relationship systems can cause social anxiety when theyresult in a conflict of interest hence conflicting loyalties. Thishappens because multiplex relationships have behavior expectation orrequirement such that, sometimes, maintaining the relationship isimportant compared to the need to settle the possible conflicts(Yamini, &amp Welch, 2011). For example, a daughter and her mothermay have a multiplex relationship in case the mother happens to bethe school teacher to her daughter. In case the student errs, theteacher may feel obligated to punish her, but this may be hard as shealso doubles to be the student`s mother which means that she is stillto demonstrate compassion to her child. This put the mother at aposition of an ethical dilemma. In another example, a company ownermay be in a multiplex relationship with his nephew who also happensto work in the company. In case the company owner sees it fit topromote the nephew, it may be hard as this move may be interpreted byothers that the company`s owner is promoting his nephew on the basisof the latter being his family member as opposed to his skill level.In other words, sometimes multiplex system calls for peacemaking, andthis may result in mixed feelings among the different individualsoutside the social network such as the company`s workers. This mayresult in social anxiety.

In the design on the last page of this paper, there are severalparticipants that shares different levels of relationships and whoare brought together by a social networking platform. For instance,we have two colleagues, three classmates, and two family members, butall of them happen to be friends outside their family, classroom andwork setting. Thus, to join this multiplex relationship one has toeither be a student, a colleague or a sibling. The design work whenthe siblings, two colleagues, and the three college mates each grouphave a separate interaction but at the same time, the sevenparticipants are having an interaction amongst themselves.


Hipel, K. W. (2009). Conflict Resolution. Oxford, Eolss PublishersCompany.

Kuwabara, K.,Luo, J., &amp Sheldon, O. (2010). Multiplex exchange relations.Advancesin group processes,&nbsp27,239-268.

Yamini, J &amp Welch E. (2011). The Relationship betweenMultiplicity and Academic Productivity in Six Field of Science andEngineering. Accessed on March 21, 2016,


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