טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentMichal Levite
SubjectAttachment Theory and Helping Processes: The Association
between Attachment Anxiety and Avoidance, and
Instrumental Help-Giving Behaviors
in Teams
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Mr. Bamberger Peter


Abstract

With the growing emphasis on teamwork within organizations, group processes and interpersonal relations among team members have become acknowledged as critical to the understanding of organizational functioning and firm performance. One of the prominent processes for better team-work is helping processes.

While recently recognized by some researchers as a significant issue in organizational behavior, helping has been largely neglected in the organizational literature. To the extent that organizational researchers have studied it, attention has been focused primarily on the psychological and physiological effects of helping behaviors on the recipient or on the help-seeker. Few studies have approached helping from the perspective of the help-giver. The current study focus on instrumental help-giving processes.

Given the interpersonal nature of these help-giving processes, it is important to understand the personal characteristics that influence those processes. In the present study, we focus on one source of individual differences - adult attachment style, and examine the association between attachment dimensions (avoidance and anxiety) and instrumental help-giving behaviors in teams.

We designed two studies in an attempt to examine this association. The first, involved a laboratory-based, computer simulation of service organization teams. The second, was a field study among MBA students working in study-teams over the course of several seven-week mini-semesters.  Both studies yielded nearly identical findings. Specifically, both studies indicate that team-member's attachment style has a significant impact on the level of instrumental help team members provide to their teammates. High levels of attachment avoidance or high levels of attachment anxiety were associated with higher levels of instrumental help-giving. Moreover, it seems that individuals with high level of avoidance or anxiety tend to provide more instrumental-help than they are actually asked to provide (i.e., even though their teammates don't ask for their help, or even needed for). In addition, we found a significant interaction effect between the two dimensions, which suggests that high levels on both dimensions were associated with lower levels of instrumental help-giving (relative to high level of one of the dimensions). It seems that individuals who scores high in both attachment avoidance and anxiety tend to provide less instrumental-help than they were asked to give (i.e., relatively fewer of the instrumental requests from their teammates went answered). Finally, individuals scoring low in both dimensions tended to provide instrumental help to their teammates in a level that was consistent with the level of instrumental requests received.