Does Seeking Advice Boost Perceptions of Competence?

Research Paper Title

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


Although individuals can derive substantial benefits from exchanging information and ideas, many individuals are reluctant to seek advice from others.

The researchers find that people are reticent to seek advice for fear of appearing incompetent. This fear, however, is misplaced.

The researchers demonstrate that individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not.

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 rather than when it is easy;
  • People seek advice from them personally rather than when they seek advice from others; and
  • People seek advice from experts rather than from non-experts or not at all.


Brooks, A.W., Gino, F. & Schweitzer, M.E. (2015) Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence. Management Science. 61(6), pp.1412-1435. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 25 February, 2018].


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