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It is Better to Receive than to Give: Advice Network Effects on Job and Work-Unit Attachment

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to investigate the relationship between advice-giving, advice-receiving, and employee work attitudes. We argue that (1) both advice-receiving and advice-giving will be positively related to job involvement; (2) advice-receiving will be more strongly associated with work-unit commitment than advice-giving; and (3) job involvement will mediate the relationship between advice-receiving and work-unit commitment.

Design/methodology/approach

We conducted an empirical study of admissions department employees at a large university in southwest Pennsylvania in the United States. Respondents completed surveys which included questions related to demographics, social network ties, and attitudes.

Findings

We found that while advice-giving and advice-receiving were positively related to job involvement, only advice-receiving was positively related to work-unit commitment. Job involvement fully mediated the relationship between advice-receiving and work-unit commitment.

Implications

Our study (1) shows that advice-giving and advice-receiving are related to important work-related attitudes in organizations; (2) highlights the importance of the directionality of advice flow, as employees who received as opposed to provided advice tended to have higher levels of work-unit commitment; and (3) demonstrates that social network ties were related to work-unit attachment through job involvement.

Originality/value

We examine job involvement and work-unit commitment using a social network analysis thus providing new insights about the relationships between advice-giving, advice-receiving and these important variables.

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Correspondence to Thomas J. Zagenczyk.

Additional information

Received and reviewed by former editor, George Neuman.

An earlier version of this paper won the Best Paper Award at the 2005 Southwest Academy of Management Conference. The authors would like to dedicate this paper to Margie Jonnet.

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Zagenczyk, T.J., Murrell, A.J. It is Better to Receive than to Give: Advice Network Effects on Job and Work-Unit Attachment. J Bus Psychol 24, 139–152 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-009-9095-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-009-9095-3

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