Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2010.0437

Although helping behaviors can increase the effectiveness of work units, when task interdependence is low, units often develop norms of self-interest that inhibit helping. Little research has explained how these norms can be changed by a work unit member. We present a minority influence framework that specifies how norms can shift in response to a challenger's consistent modeling, advocating, or inquiring about helping behavior, contingent on prosocial impact, status, similarity, work unit agreeableness and openness, and timing. We also examine how normative conflict motivates efforts to initiate and sustain challenges, depending on identification, status, and small wins. Our model provides a novel theoretical account of how helping norms emerge in work units to support caring and compassion.

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