Third parties' reactions to the abusive supervision of coworkers

Marie S. Mitchell, Ryan M. Vogel, Robert Folger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research examines 3rd parties' reactions to the abusive supervision of a coworker. Reactions were theorized to depend on 3rd parties' beliefs about the targeted coworker and, specifically, whether the target of abuse was considered deserving of mistreatment. We predicted that 3rd parties would experience anger when targets of abuse were considered undeserving of mistreatment; angered 3rd parties would then be motivated to harm the abusive supervisor and support the targeted coworker. Conversely, we predicted that 3rd parties would experience contentment when targets of abuse were considered deserving of mistreatment; contented 3rd parties would then be motivated to exclude the targeted coworker. Additionally, we predicted that 3rd parties' moral identity would moderate the effects of 3rd parties' experienced emotions on their behavioral reactions, such that a strong moral identity would strengthen ethical behavior (i.e., coworker support) and weaken harmful behavior (i.e., supervisor-directed deviance, coworker exclusion). Moderated mediation results supported the predictions. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1055
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume100
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology

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