Above and beyond: helping behaviors among nurses in positive and negative reciprocity relationships

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore antecedents of helping behaviors among nurses using a social exchange framework. The paper reports an investigation into the effects of reciprocity, perceived coworker efficacy and stress on active and passive helping behaviors. Design/methodology/approach: To test hypotheses, the authors performed random coefficient modeling on Mplus with data from 155 full-time nurses. Findings: Nurses were willing to help coworkers regardless of perceived reciprocity levels in the relationship. Rather, their perceptions of the coworker's efficacy and previous behavior predicted helping. Originality/value: This manuscript contributes to the literature in a number of ways. First, it provides empirical evidence that individuals will suppress or ignore reciprocity norms during an interdependent task. This lends credence to the idea that social exchanges may need to be examined in light of other variables or at other levels of analysis. Second, it demonstrates that investment behaviors (i.e. helping) can and do occur in exchange relationships despite low reciprocity. Overall, the data suggest that individuals are willing to maintain relationships despite a lack of returns.

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Journal of Managerial Psychology

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