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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