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Asking how to fish vs. asking for fish: antecedents and outcomes of different types of help‐seeking at work

Liu, Yihao, Chen, Fan Xuan, Chiang, Jack Ting‐ju, Wang, Zheng and Liu, Haiyang ORCID: 0000-0002-6900-3491 (2022) Asking how to fish vs. asking for fish: antecedents and outcomes of different types of help‐seeking at work. Personnel Psychology, 75 (3). 557 - 587. ISSN 0031-5826

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Identification Number: 10.1111/peps.12479


In the modern workplace, it is virtually impossible to succeed without seeking any help from others. Despite its widely recognized importance, several areas surrounding help-seeking have not yet been clearly understood in the organization literature. Specifically, it is unclear whether seeking help always benefits employees in need, and how various work demands drive help-seeking behavior in different ways. In this research, we drew from the dual-type view of help-seeking (i.e., autonomous and dependent help-seeking) and the challenge-hindrance stressors framework to elaborate how seeking help of different types influences employees’ work competence-related outcomes in various directions, what work demands drive employees to seek different types of help, and when encountering work demands is particularly influential on their help-seeking tendencies. Evidence from a field study (Study 1) showed that while challenge stressors increased employees’ autonomous help-seeking, hindrance stressors increased dependent help-seeking especially for employees with greater workflow centrality. Moreover, autonomous help-seeking benefited help-seekers’ job performance ratings through increased self-perceived competence, whereas dependent help-seeking hurt their job performance via decreased perceived competence by coworkers. To cross-validate our findings, we then examined and replicated our core findings with three experimental vignette studies (Studies 2, 3a, and 3b). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2021 10:48
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 20:45

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