The conflicting impact of COVID-19’s health and economic crises on helping

Journal article


Shoss, Mindy, Horan, Kristin A., DiStaso, Michael, LeNoble, Chelsea A. and Naranjo, Anthony. (2021). The conflicting impact of COVID-19’s health and economic crises on helping. Group and Organization Management. 46(1), pp. 3-37. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601120968704
AuthorsShoss, Mindy, Horan, Kristin A., DiStaso, Michael, LeNoble, Chelsea A. and Naranjo, Anthony
Abstract

Helping behaviors are considered critical for business and societal recovery in light of economic crises and natural disasters, including the COVID-19 pandemic that has both economic and health disaster elements. However, because the current COVID-19 pandemic has both of these elements, it is unclear how helping may be impacted. Economic crisis research suggests that such events are associated with less helping, whereas disaster research suggests that such events are associated with greater helping. We pair the event system theory (Morgeson, F. P., Mitchell, T. R., & Liu, D. (2015). Event system theory: An event-oriented approach to the organizational sciences. Academy of Management Review, 40(4), 515-537) with these two logics (economic downturn and disaster) to suggest that health and economic threats within the COVID-19 pandemic operate with potentially opposing forces on helping-related outcomes. To test these ideas at a macro-level, we examined internet search volume for recession, COVID-19, and interest in helping. At a micro-level, we examined the relationships between work- hour insecurity and perceived job-related COVID-19 risk—two salient COVID-19-related economic and health threats—and helping customers and coworkers. Consistent with economic crisis logic, macro-level concern about recession was negatively associated with interest in helping. Moreover, at the individual level, work-hour insecurity negatively predicted helping coworkers. Consistent with disaster logic, at the individual level, perceived job-related COVID-19 threat was positively associated with helping coworkers and negatively associated with helping customers. These findings suggest that the specific feature of the COVID-19 event system (economic versus health) and the target (organizational insiders versus outsiders) matter for shaping helping behavior. These findings have implications for helping during crises that involve economic and/or disaster elements.

KeywordsCOVID-19; helping; Google Trends; work-hour insecurity; recession
Year2021
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Journal citation46 (1), pp. 3-37
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1059-6011
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601120968704
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85093940425
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range3-37
FunderNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Oct 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted02 Oct 2020
Deposited04 Aug 2022
Grant IDT42OH008438
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