The Relational Antecedents of Interpersonal Helping: ‘Quantity’, ‘Quality’ or Both?

16 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2017

See all articles by Diego Stea

Diego Stea

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization

Torben Pedersen

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization

Nicolai J. Foss

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation

Date Written: April 2017

Abstract

Having a large network of colleagues means having several opportunities to help those colleagues, as well as a higher chance of receiving requests for help from them. Employees with large networks are therefore expected to help more in the workplace than those with small networks. However, large networks are also associated with cognitive costs, which may reduce the focal employee's ability to both recognize the need for help and engage in helping behaviours. For these reasons, the authors assert an inverted U‐shaped relation between the size of an ego's social network and engagement in helping behaviour. However, high‐quality relationships imply higher mutual understanding between the actors, and hence lower cognitive costs. In turn, the position (and threshold) of the curve between network size and interpersonal helping should be influenced by the quality of the relationship between the provider and the beneficiaries of help. Analysis of employee‐level, single‐firm data supports these ideas, providing preliminary evidence that quality of relationship compensates for the difficulties that may arise from having large social networks.

Suggested Citation

Stea, Diego and Pedersen, Torben and Foss, Nicolai J., The Relational Antecedents of Interpersonal Helping: ‘Quantity’, ‘Quality’ or Both? (April 2017). British Journal of Management, Vol. 28, Issue 2, pp. 197-212, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2946518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12176

Diego Stea (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization ( email )

Porcelænshaven 24
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

Torben Pedersen

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization ( email )

Porcelænshaven 24
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark
+45 3815 3030 (Phone)
+45 3815 3035 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cbs.dk/staff/tp

Nicolai J. Foss

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation ( email )

Kilen
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

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