Employees Help Each Other Less During Economic Downturns
Past research has well-documented how workplace peer-helping is essential to the success of organisations. In difficult economic periods, such helping becomes all the more critical for companies to remain effective. However, a research by SMU Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources Marko Pitesa, and his co-author Nina Sirola from INSEAD, showed that the extent to which people are willing to help at work, changes in response to prevailing macroeconomic conditions. They found that as the economic outlook darkens, so do employees’ attitudes toward one another. This behaviour was due to what they termed as ‘zero-sum construal of success’, a view that success is a finite resource, so one person’s success requires someone else to fail. In this podcast, Assoc Prof Pitesa discusses this research which has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, and highlights how managers can apply these insights in their businesses, and what they can do to strengthen workforce cohesion, especially during tough economic times.