Bringing avoidance and anxiety to the job: Attachment style and instrumental helping behavior among co-workers

Dvora Geller, Peter Bamberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While social psychologists have widely explored the link between adult attachment styles and interpersonal relating behaviors such as caregiving in intimate relationships, organizational researchers have yet to examine the generalizability of such findings to employee interrelating behaviors at work. Addressing this gap in the research, we extend attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969) to the work context in order to generate and test hypotheses regarding the way in which helping behavior may be explained on the basis of the help provider's level of attachment anxiety and avoidance. Data collected from 320 call center employees of a large Israeli telecommunications company suggest that while attachment anxiety is inversely associated with instrumental helping, it also attenuates the inverse effects of attachment avoidance on such helping. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1803-1827
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Volume62
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attachment anxiety
  • Attachment avoidance
  • Helping
  • Individual differences and group behavior
  • Interpersonal organizational citizenship behavior (OCB)
  • Sociometry

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