Drawing upon conservation of resources (COR) and attribution theories, prior research in helping behavior has mainly focused on an independent view of the helper’s personal resources. This perspective, however, falls short of capturing the comparative nature of personal resources and attributions in a helping context. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to develop a theoretical model that helps predict employees’ decisions to help or not to help.
A theoretical model was developed by integrating social comparison, COR and attribution theories.
The theoretical model proposes the following. First, when employees perceive that they have fewer personal resources than a coworker who needs help, they are less likely to help. Second, when employees perceive that they have more personal resources than a coworker who needs help, they make causal attributions as to why the coworker failed to deploy personal resources. Finally, when employees have more personal resources than a coworker who needs help, they are more likely to help if they make situational, unstable and uncontrollable attributions to the coworker’s failure to deploy personal resources.
This paper extends the literature by offering a theoretical model that emphasizes comparisons and attributions of personal resources in a helping context. Additionally, this paper offers several managerial implications that help managers manage helping behavior effectively.
Chou, S.Y., Barron, K. and Ramser, C. (2021), "Helping coworkers only when I have more? Integrating social comparison, attribution and conservation of resources theories", Management Research Review, Vol. 44 No. 7, pp. 1012-1028. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-08-2020-0514
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