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|Department||:||Singapore Management University|
|Project Title||:||Macroeconomic environment and workplace altruism|
|Keyword||:||Organizational Behavior and Theory , Work, Economy and Organizations|
|Publisher||:||Institutional Knowledge at Singapore Management University|
|Source||:||Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business|
|Abstract / Description||:||
Workplace helping is essential to the success of organizations and economies. It would thus seem that when economic times are tough, employees would stick together and engage in more helping behavior. In this research, we propose and show the opposite. We argue that cues that the economy is performing poorly make people more likely to hold a generalized view that the success of one person implies less success for others. This zero-sum view of success in turn makes employees less inclined to help even in situations in which others’ success does not come at the expense of their own. Three studies found evidence consistent with the theory. Study 1 used data from 59,694 respondents surveyed across 51 countries and 17 years and objective indicators of their macroeconomic environments, showing that worse economic periods are associated with a greater zero-sum construal of success. Study 2 is an experiment among employees of U.S. organizations in which we found that an induced perception that the U.S. economy was performing poorly led to a greater zero-sum construal of success and made employees less inclined to help. Study 3 was an unobtrusive experiment among freelance professionals from 47 countries that found that participants’ perception that the economy in their country was in a downturn was associated with a greater zero-sum construal of success and less helping behavior.