The research on consequences of workplace helping is gaining momentum. However, we still have only a limited understanding as to why helping among colleagues can be either a positive or a negative phenomenon. Drawing on the theory of prosocial behaviour, we demonstrate that the consequences of helping will differ based on the actors’ underlying motivations. We focus on organizational altruism, where help is motivated by concern for others, and we suggest it will result in unique consequences that do not necessarily need to apply to other types of helping behaviours at work. In a qualitative study including three case studies with 94 individuals, we found that while organizational altruism brings a range of positive outcomes for individuals and teams, it can lead to negatives at an individual level. We further demonstrate that concern for others and feelings of empathy can make organizational altruism not only more persistent than other helping behaviours but, at the same time, also more prone to risks such as problems with own work or emotional fatigue. We identify contextual conditions that make organizational altruism particularly harmful as well as those which buffer against the negative outcomes. We discuss theoretical and practical implications.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of EURAM 19|
|Subtitle of host publication||Exploring the Future of Management|
|Place of Publication||Lisbon, Portugal|
|Publisher||European Academy of Management Conference, Lisbon, Portugal|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Event||Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management 2019: Exploring the Future of Management - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa , Lisbon, Portugal|
Duration: 26 Jun 2019 → 28 Jun 2019
|Conference||Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management 2019|
|Abbreviated title||EURAM 2019|
|Period||26/06/19 → 28/06/19|
Szulc, J. (2019). Motivated by concern for others: Consequences of Organizational Altruism. In Proceedings of EURAM 19: Exploring the Future of Management  Lisbon, Portugal: European Academy of Management Conference, Lisbon, Portugal.