Supervisors' Instrumental and Emotional Influences on Subordinate Help-Seeking Behavior: An Exploratory Study


Rebecca A. Thacker, College of Business, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701. E-mail:


Research on subordinate help-seeking in the workplace is limited. In the present research, we hypothesize that subordinates' help-seeking behaviors will be influenced by 3 supervisor influences that are instrumentally and emotionally related to the subordinate: providing direct job-related assistance and emotional support, and socializing with the supervisor outside of work. The results indicate that providing job-related assistance and socializing are significant predictors of subordinates' help-seeking behaviors. Dominance analysis reveals that socializing outside of work is the dominant factor influencing subordinates' help-seeking behaviors. Implications from the findings and suggestions for future research are presented.