Article | Management Science

Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence

by A.W. Brooks, F. Gino and M.E. Schweitzer

Abstract

Although individuals can derive substantial benefits from exchanging information and ideas, many individuals are reluctant to seek advice from others. We find that people are reticent to seek advice for fear of appearing incompetent. This fear, however, is misplaced. We demonstrate that individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not seek advice. This effect is moderated by task difficulty, advisor egocentrism, and advisor expertise. Individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent when the task is difficult than when it is easy, when people seek advice from them personally than when they seek advice from others, and when people seek advice from experts than from non-experts or not at all.

Keywords: Behavior; Cognition and Thinking;

Citation:

Brooks, A.W., F. Gino, and M.E. Schweitzer. "Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence." Management Science 61, no. 6 (June 2015): 1421–1435.