Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Reputational Concerns and Advice-Seeking at Work

Heursen, Lea; Friess, Svenja; Chugunova, Marina (2023). Reputational Concerns and Advice-Seeking at WorkMax Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 23-17.

We examine the impact of reputational concerns on seeking advice. While seeking can improve
performance, it may affect how others perceive the seeker's competence. In an online
experiment with white-collar professionals (N=2,521), we test how individuals navigate this
tradeoff and if others' beliefs about competence change it. We manipulate visibility of the
decision to seek and stereotypes about competence. Results show a sizable and inefficient
decline in advice-seeking when visible to a manager. Higher-order beliefs about competence
cannot mediate this inefficiency. We find no evidence that managers interpret advice-seeking
negatively, documenting a misconception that may hinder knowledge flows in organizations.

Available at SSRN