Helping others has always been a moral virtue, whether in the workplace or in any other environment; But recent research has shown that volunteering to help colleagues may not bring good results, and is an example of the Persian proverb “come reward, be grilled.” In this article, we review the findings of these studies through Professor Russell Johnson.
Recently, Professor Russell Johnson, a professor at Michigan State University, and colleagues conducted extensive research on the impact of volunteer work in the workplace. They asked a large number of like-minded employees working in a group to report their voluntary contributions within 10 working days.
Johnson and his team found that when employees volunteered to help their co-workers, they received less appreciation for the help they provided at the request of their co-workers. Also, those who come forward for these aids show less willingness to work in the next working days and feel less belonging to the group.
Unintended Consequences of Voluntary Assistance to Partners
Johnson says of his group’s findings in the study:
“Our studies have shown that we need to be cautious in providing voluntary assistance. Employees are always advised to take the lead in helping their co-workers, but it should also be noted that our voluntary contributions, regardless of our working conditions and the situation of the person we are helping, may not be appreciated enough. Have unintended consequences for ourselves and others. Our research found that people who helped others without asking were not appreciated; “So the person who helped others did not even get the positive psychological effects of his action.”
Part of this study states that the subjects experienced an unpleasant feeling such as lack of belonging and boredom even 24 hours after their voluntary help!
What if someone needed help? Shouldn’t we help him?
Johnson and colleagues suggest that it is best to reassess the situation. As an outside observer, we are not aware of the mental state of the person in need; On the other hand, we do not have enough information about his problem. In these circumstances, most of our judgments are based on our own mental perceptions rather than the facts of the story. In such a situation, we are involved in finding and solving our colleague’s problem, without being sure if he really needed help or not.
On the other hand, our colleague may want to solve his / her problem himself / herself in order to challenge his / her abilities and gain new experience. So our help in this situation not only makes him feel better, but also reduces his self-confidence and his trust in us.
“In this study, it was found that co-workers who volunteer help are both less aware of the problem and their help is less effective,” Johnson said, referring to a study of 500 full-time employees.
Are the conditions for voluntary assistance different between a manager and an employee?
Does a manager who goes to the aid of his employee question his subordinates? Does an employee who rushes to the manager’s request question his or her manager? Johnson et al.’s research was conducted only on all employees. “These results may be different in the manager-employee relationship,” he says of these questions; “However, we do not know yet.”
Should marketers and those who interact with the customer make their tips conditional on the customer request?
Johnson’s study was done voluntarily and only between colleagues. If we want to get the customer into the equation, the problem will be complicated. One piece of advice to marketers in the field of customer acquisition is to always be proactive; Because volunteer help is part of their job, no matter how grateful others are.
Is there a difference between men and women about the results of this study?
Johnson’s research showed no difference, as his team found no effect of gender on the results. “A lot of research shows that women are more active in the workplace and more willing to cooperate and help others,” she said. “Even research has shown that if a woman does not take such an approach, she may look bad to others, because most of them expect women to behave more dynamically.”
What is the role of voluntary assistance in teamwork? Does this kind of help in collective work also have harmful consequences?
Most likely, yes! Being ready to help others in a group is a good thing, but if it is not expressed properly, it can hurt others and one’s own personality; For example, if someone helps to show off their motivation, they may be perceived as opportunistic among their colleagues. Also, if someone helps someone in a group without prior request, it may damage that person’s personality and self-esteem among the members of the group.
So how you express your desire to help advance teamwork is very important.
If we want to help someone, how do we do it?
It is best to first ask the person we think needs help: “Do you need help?” This question gives him the opportunity to assess the situation and answer us. Body language and tone are also important when asking this question. We should not ask the question in such a way that the person is inclined towards a specific answer.
What is the role of corporate organizational culture in reducing and modifying the consequences of voluntary assistance?
Johnson et al. Did not investigate this, but he thinks that organizational culture influences the results of his study, as well as the methods by which potential harms are reduced.
In general, he advises corporate executives to manage employees in such a way that everyone focuses on their work; At the same time, there should always be a reassuring atmosphere so that anyone who asked for help can ask for it without embarrassment and receive the necessary help from their colleagues as soon as possible.
If you have a similar experience, share your experiences and opinions with us and other audiences بخش How. Through the comments section.