What is it about?

Think of a time when you asked your work supervisor for support. You might have emailed them a document you wanted their feedback on, or perhaps you needed their advice on a task. You continually checked your email, eagerly awaiting a response. However, as hours and even days went by, you realized you would not receive a reply. This research examines this phenomenon, termed 'unanswered' support, and its consequences for employee well-being, performance, and relational oucomes.

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Why is it important?

This research examines the dynamic interplay between requesting and receiving supervisor support. Specifically, we examine employees as agents who are motivated to request support. It is important to understand employees’ degree of agency, as employees’ agency may affect the way they interpret the lack of support, resulting in poorer outcomes. For instance, if an employee does not ask for support and does not receive support, the consequences will likely be negligible – the employee would not have expected to receive support, and no support was provided. However, if an employee actively requests supervisor support, but this request goes unanswered, the consequences of this incident are likely to be more negative – this employee’s expectations of receiving support may affect the meaning of the lack of support, with possible consequences for the employee’s feelings and behavior, and how the employee connects with their supervisor and organization.

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This page is a summary of: The effects of unanswered supervisor support on employees’ well-being, performance, and relational outcomes., Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, February 2021, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/ocp0000270.
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