Social support at work is considered useful in treating job-related stress, and supervisors’ emotional support has been found to be the most effective source of support at work. But an understanding of what elements make employees use supervisors as a source of emotional support is lacking. The present qualitative study included in-depth interviews with 24 teachers and 12 principals, and a focus group with 12 school counselors. The findings pointed at two groups of determinants of subordinates’ intentions of asking socio-emotional help from supervisors. The structural-organizational factors included low formalization structure, supportive and open work climate, shared goals, and manager’s professional expertise; the dyadic factors included quality of relationship and demographic similarity. The determinants reflected different dimensions of psychological distance forming a close construal level that played a central part in employees’ viewing the supervisor as an accessible socio-emotional resource. The role of construal fit is discussed.


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