THE rise of political correctness and fear of the twin spectres of unwanted attention and sexual harassment appeared to have consigned office relationships to the history books.
But now unashamed flirting is being touted as the best way to reach the top in the competitive world of 21st-century commerce.
Scottish businessmen and women are clamouring for places on corporate courses where they are taught to use their sexuality as a key to success.
Flirting for Success seminars, where besuited workers stare into each other's eyes, have been taking place across Scotland.
Entrepreneur Melanie Harris, who designed the flirty masterclasses, said the popularity of the sessions had dispelled the stereotypical image of Scots as dour and inhibited.
"They are very charming, and naturally engaging and witty," she said.
Members of the traditionally conservative Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce turned up in record numbers for a recent half-day flirting class.
Harris, who runs the motivational firm Training Tree, encourages her students to dance like Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake, to purr like cats and pretend they are relaxing in a steamy bath.
But Dr Linda Perriton, of the University of York, who specialises in studying the impact of women in the workplace, felt it was unlikely that modern-day women would return to the days of batting their eyelids at males in the quest for a successful career.
"This is a triumph of fluff over feminism," she said.
"I'd like to think that those who attend would treat it all as a bit of fun, flirt harmlessly and then forget all about it."