The impact of help seeking on individual task performance: the moderating effect of help seekers' logics of action

J Appl Psychol. 2012 Mar;97(2):487-97. doi: 10.1037/a0026014. Epub 2011 Nov 14.


Drawing from achievement-goal theory and the social psychological literature on help seeking, we propose that it is the variance in the logic underpinning employees' help seeking that explains divergent findings regarding the relationship between help seeking and task performance. Using a sample of 110 newly hired customer contact employees, a prospective study design, and archival performance data, we found no evidence of a hypothesized main effect of help seeking on performance. However, we did find that the help seeking-performance relationship was conditioned by the degree to which help seekers endorse 2 alternative help-seeking logics (autonomous vs. dependent logic) such that the level of help seeking is more strongly related to performance among those either more strongly endorsing an autonomous help-seeking logic or more weakly endorsing a dependent help-seeking logic.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adult
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Helping Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychological Theory
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Thinking / classification*
  • Young Adult