Untying the text: organizational prosociality and kindness
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-10, 06:17 authored by Rona Hart, Dan Hart
The scholarly field of organizational prosociality is experiencing a renewed interest, yet despite its long track record, researchers still disagree on the definitions of primary concepts. Two umbrella terms, prosocial behaviors and kindness, are particularly baffling, as they are defined similarly, at times used synonymously, yet the differences between them are unclear. Consequently, the field suffers from conceptual ambiguity, which hampers its development. In this brief critical paper, we provide a review of the definitions of prosocial behavior and kindness, in an attempt to semantically untie the text, unpack the context, and discuss the subtext that underlies these concepts. Our analysis suggests that the two concepts overlap in their emphasis on dispositions and actions that aim to promote the welfare of others. However, acts of kindness and prosocial behaviors differ in actors, their target recipients and scale. Acts of kindness are performed by an individual and directed at a person or a small group, while prosocial behaviors can be performed by a person or an organization, and can be directed at a person or a group, but may also be directed at a much larger entity: an organization, community, nation, or society at large.
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- Psychology Publications
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