When does respectful engagement with one’s supervisor foster help-seeking behaviors and performance?

By: Jane Dutton, Anat Friedmana, Abraham Carmelib


We developed an integrative logic for why respectful engagement with supervisors would encourage and enable help-seeking from coworkers, resulting in greater levels of task performance. Using time-lagged data, the results of a moderated-mediated model supported our theorizing that respectful engagement between employees and their supervisors is key to fostering help-seeking behaviors. Our results suggest respectful engagement fosters help-seeking behaviors particularly when employees report lower levels of psychological safety. Those help-seeking behaviors consequentially improve employee performance. We use these results to suggest how and when workplace relationships endogenously resource individuals to engage and achieve higher levels of job performance.