WHEN HELPING HURTS: ANTICIPATORY AND REACTIVE HELPING, RECIPIENT SELF-THREAT, AND HELPER OUTCOMES
Organizational research has documented how those who help receive positive treatment and outcomes in return (e.g., Podsakoff et al., 2009). However, because the literature suggests that most helping at work is reactive (i.e., employees give assistance after an explicit request), it has prevented thorough investigation of anticipatory helping—anticipating the needs of others and offering or providing assistance without being asked. We argue that such anticipatory helping may result in less positive outcomes for helpers. Through a series of experiments and field studies, we are examining why and when help recipients react more negatively toward helpers who engage in anticipatory helping. By doing so, we more precisely identify the distinct forms of helping at work (anticipatory vs. reactive) and when they lead to more (versus less) beneficial outcomes for helpers.
Research conducted by Michael Parke, Assistant Professor of Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania