Purpose: Research examining the effect of helping on outcomes related to helpers has gained some mixed results. The purpose of this paper is to reconcile such inconsistency by understanding the multi-dimensional nature of helping behavior. Design/methodology/approach: The authors first develop a helping behavior scale that differentiates between the proactive and reactive form of helping. Furthermore, the authors also examined whether these two forms of helping are differently related to employees’ well-being. Data were collected from 448 employees and their immediate supervisors working in different organizations in the South Jiangsu province, in which the authors examined the main relationship and also explored the mediating effect of meaningfulness. Findings: Results provided corroborating evidence that helping behavior was a multi-dimensional construct, consisting of proactive and reactive dimensions. Furthermore, the authors are also able to support discriminatory validity between these two dimensions by showing that they are differently related to employees’ well-being. Practical implications: This paper contributes to management practice by specifying the benefits and detriments of different kinds of helping behaviors. Originality/value: The findings of this study do not only provide ideas to explain contradictions in the effect of helping behaviors on helpers themselves, but also deepens scholars’ knowledge and understanding toward helping behavior. © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.
- helping behaviour
- workplace well-being