A selection of interesting articles we came across recently on abuse at work.

Abusive supervision: A meta-analysis and empirical review
Jeremy D. Mackey and his team conducted a meta-analysis and empirical review of abusive supervision research in order to derive meta-analytic population estimates for the relationships between perceptions of abusive supervision and numerous demographic, justice, individual difference, leadership, and outcome variables.

The use of psychometric correction enabled them to provide weighted mean correlations and population correlation estimates that accounted for attenuation due to measurement error and sampling error variance. Also, they conducted sensitivity analyses that removed the effects of large samples from analyses.

Then, Mackey et al. conducted subgroup analyses using samples drawn from the United States to provide population correlation estimates that corrected for attenuation due to measurement error, sampling error variance, and indirect range restriction. Finally, they examined measurement artifacts resulting from various adaptations of Tepper’s abusive supervision measure.

The results reveal that although the associations between perceptions of abusive supervision and outcome variables appear to be universally negative, the magnitude of the relationships between perceptions of abusive supervision and antecedent and outcome variables varies according to the design features of studies. Contributions to theory and practice, strengths and limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

For further details see: Jeremy D. Mackey, Rachel E. Frieder, Jeremy R. Brees & Mark J. Martinko. 2015. Abusive supervision: A meta-analysis and empirical review.
Journal of Management, March 3, DOI 0149206315573997


Review of workplace mistreatment and organisational outcomes
This meta-analytic study summarizes relations between workplace mistreatment climate—MC (specific to incivility, aggression, and bullying) and potential outcomes. The authors define MC as individual or shared perceptions of organisational policies, procedures, and practices that deter interpersonal mistreatment.

The researchers located 35 studies reporting results with individual perceptions of MC (psychological MC) that yielded 36 independent samples comprising 91,950 employees. Through these meta-analyses, they found significant mean correlations between psychological MC and employee and organisational outcomes including mistreatment reduction effort (motivation and performance), mistreatment exposure, strains, and job attitudes.

Moderator analyses revealed that the psychological MC-outcome relations were generally stronger for perceived civility climate than for perceived aggression-inhibition climate, and content contamination of existing climate scales accentuated the magnitude of the relations between psychological MC and some outcomes (mistreatment exposure and employee strains).

Further, the magnitudes of the psychological MC-outcome relations were generally comparable across studies using dominant (i.e., most commonly used) and other climate scales, but for some focal relations, magnitudes varied with respect to cross-sectional versus prospective designs. The 4 studies that assessed MC at the unit-level had results largely consistent with those at the employee level.

More details are at: Yang, Liu-Qin; Caughlin, David E.; Gazica, Michele W.; Truxillo, Donald M.; Spector, Paul E. 2014. Workplace mistreatment climate and potential employee and  organisational outcomes: A meta-analytic review from the target’s perspective.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19(3), 315-335.


Do abusive supervision and job embeddedness affect citizenship and deviance?
This paper draws from the turnover and emotions literatures to explore how job embeddedness, in the context of abusive supervision, can impact job frustration, citizenship withdrawal, and employee deviance.

Results indicate that employees with abusive supervisors were more likely to be frustrated with their jobs and engage in more deviance behaviours. And yet, the relationship between abusive supervision and job frustration was moderated by job embeddedness such that the relationship was weaker and negative for those higher in job embeddedness and stronger and positive for those lower in job embeddedness. In other words, contrary to our original predictions, individuals who were more embedded in their jobs with an abusive supervisor were actually less likely to experience job frustration or engage deviance behaviours. Important implications for management research and practice are discussed.

More details are at: James B. Avey, Keke Wu & Erica Holley. 2015. The Influence of Abusive Supervision and Job Embeddedness on Citizenship and Deviance.
Journal of Business Ethics, 129(3), 721-731


Abusive supervision as an escalating process of supervisor–subordinate interaction
Stefan Klaussner presents a dyadic process model to explain the emergence of abusive supervision as an escalating process of supervisor–subordinate interaction. Based on a social exchange framework, the model draws on  organisational justice and previous abusive supervision research, as well as insights from behavioural ethics literature.

Klaussner argues that the emergence of abusive supervision originates from initial subordinate perceptions of supervisor injustice. When reconciliation does not occur, subordinate perceptions of supervisor injustice and supervisor perceptions of inadequate subordinate (response) behaviour may accumulate and thereby increasingly reinforce one another in an escalating spiral.

It is proposed that perceptions of power asymmetry inhibit reconciliation attempts (e.g. remedial voice) systematically. Eventually, the tipping point of intentional supervisor hostility is reached and crossed. The author offers research propositions and discusses implications for future abusive supervision research.

Read the full article for free: Stefan Klaussner. 2014. Engulfed in the abyss: The emergence of abusive supervision as an escalating process of supervisor–subordinate interaction.
Human Relations, 67(3), 311-332.


Diminished self-esteem for employees under abusive supervision
Ryan Vogel and Marie Mitchell consider two theoretical perspectives on employees’ motivation associated with diminished self-esteem from abusive supervision. The self-defense view of diminished self-esteem suggests that abusive supervision motivates destructive behaviour in an attempt to reassert personal control and protect victims’ self-image. The self-presentational view of diminished self-esteem suggests abusive supervision motivates behaviour that attempts to signal fit with and value to the workgroup and  organisation.

On the basis of these two theoretical perspectives, Vogel and Mitchell examine how employees’ diminished self-esteem from abusive supervision can motivate destructive work behaviour (i.e., supervisor-directed deviance,  organisational deviance) and self-presentational behaviour (i.e., putting on a façade, ingratiation). Additionally, employees’ turnover intentions, which are an indicator of employees’ psychological detachment from the  organisation, are considered a moderator of the effects of abusive supervision on diminished self-esteem and associated behaviour such that high turnover intentions attenuate the effects.

Results of two field studies and a daily diary study support the hypothesized model and show that abusive supervision indirectly influences employees’ workplace deviance and self-presentational behaviour via diminished self-esteem. As predicted, the effects are stronger for employees with lower versus higher turnover intentions.

Read the article in full-text for free: Ryan M. Vogel & Marie S. Mitchell. 2015. The motivational effects of diminished self-esteem for employees who experience abusive supervision.
Journal of Management, January 15, DOI 0149206314566462.


Workplace incivility: A review of the literature and agenda for future research
A growing body of research explores workplace incivility, defined as low-intensity deviant workplace behaviour with an ambiguous intent to harm. In the 15 years since the theoretical introduction of the workplace incivility construct, research in this domain has taken off, albeit in a variety of directions. Pauline Schilpzand and her colleagues review the extant body of research on workplace incivility and note the multitude of samples, sources, methodologies, and instrumentation used.

In this review article, they provide an organised review of the extant body of work that encompasses three distinct types of incivility: experienced, witnessed, and instigated incivility. These three types of incivility serve as the foundation for a series of comprehensive models in which the authors integrate extant empirical research. In the last part of this review article, they suggest directions for future research that may contribute to this growing body of work.

More details are in the full paper: Schilpzand P., De Pater I. E. and Erez A. 2014. Workplace incivility: A review of the literature and agenda for future research.
J. Organizational Behavior, doi: 10.1002/job.1976.