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Let's Have a Cup of Coffee! Coffee and Coping Communities at Work

Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


Coffee breaks are the main target in this investigation as the paper draws upon a qualitative focus group among Danish public family law caseworkers employed in a newly merged workplace Coffee breaks were identified as the utmost important factor for social and personal well‐being within an emotional taxing occupation. Indeed, communities of coping were created through coffee break encounters. However, coping communities were deeply embedded in informal workgroup cultures, which made them difficult to enter for newcomers. Newcomers entered the communities of coping through office meetings with an informal tone and atmosphere of sharing a cake. Thus, coping communities and informal workgroup cultures were found to intersect in the sociality that formed in formal as well as spontaneous coffee break encounters.