Helping out a co-worker—hard to find fault with that, right?
In fact, depending on the source and kind of help being offered, it might be perceived more like a threat than a relief, according to new University of Maryland research.
A new paper by management and organization Assistant Professor Jennifer Carson Marr published in the Academy of Management Journal compared two kinds of helping: reactive, when someone asks for it; and anticipatory, meaning preemptive offers of help. The study by Marr and co-authors Dana Harari of Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Michael R. Parke of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is the first to compare how these two kinds of help affect the helper.
The researchers ran four studies: two experiments with a simulated workplace scenario, one experiment where workers reflected on their own helping experiences, and a field study with consultants at a multinational professional services firm. Each study showed that employees were more likely to view anticipatory help from higher-status coworkers as threatening and view the helper more negatively as a result.Continue reading the original article at University of Maryland Business School.