An Examination of Individualism within Employee Help-Seeking Networks

Randall P. Settoon, Sang H. Lee


Prior research focusing on the impact of individualistic orientations on the performance of cooperative behaviors has produced mixed results. Researchers have concluded that the self-focused orientation of individualists will lead them to be less cooperative than others. On the other hand, some scholars have argued that helping others is core to individualists’ self-concept and that competently assuming the role of help-giver is a source of intrinsic satisfaction. In this study, we test this proposition by examining individualistic orientations within employee help-seeking networks. Results from a sample of 107 employees within a regional medical center indicate that the level of individualism in helping-seeking networks is positively associated with help-seekers’ perceptions of support. Further, the results suggest that the relationship is stronger in dense networks. Implications of this work and directions for future research are discussed.

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