Help-Seeking and Help-Giving as an Organizational Routine: Continual Engagement in Innovative Work
Academy of Management Journal, Forthcoming
59 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 4, 2014
The literature on help-giving behavior identifies individual-level factors that affect a help-giver’s decision to help another individual. Studying a context in which work was highly interdependent and helping was pervasive, however, we propose that this emphasis on the initial point of consent is incomplete. Instead, we find that workplace help-seeking and help-giving can be intertwined behaviors enacted through an organizational routine. Our research, therefore, shifts the theoretical emphasis from one of exchange and cost to one of joint engagement. More specifically, we move beyond the initial point of consent to recast help-seeking and help-giving as an interdependent process in which both the help-seeker and the help- giver use cognitive and emotional moves to engage others and thereby propel a helping routine forward. In contrast to the existing literature, an organizational routines perspective also reveals that helping need not be limited to dyads and that the helping routine is shaped by the work context in which help is sought. Finally, we extend these insights to the literatures on routines and coordination and debate how our results might generalize even if helping is not part of an organizational routine.
Keywords: Help giving, help seeking, helping, routines, coordination, context
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