A selection of interesting research and articles we found recently.

Identifying corporate psychopaths and their effects
Corporate psychopaths, particularly those in manager roles, can have serious consequences for an organisation, including stimulating counterproductive work behaviour among employees. Clive Boddy hypothesized that conflict and bullying would be higher, employee emotional well-being lower, and frequencies of counterproductive work behaviour would increase under corporate psychopaths.

In a sample of 304 respondents in Britain in 2011, Boddy embedded a psychopathy scale in a self-completion management survey. He confirmed that corporate psychopaths can inflict serious damage on an organisation. For example, they have large, significant effects on conflict and bullying as well as on employee emotional well-being. Psychopaths also have serious impacts on counterproductive work behaviour. Interestingly, male and female employees react similarly negatively to the presence of corporate psychopath managers.

Read more in: Clive R. Boddy. Corporate Psychopaths, Conflict, Employee Affective Well-Being and Counterproductive Work Behaviour. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, 121(1), pp 107-121.


Ethical leadership and abusive supervision – do they affect staff?
Michael Palanski, James Avey and Napatsorn Jiraporn view abusive supervision as the conceptual opposite of ethical leadership.  These researchers looked at the roles of ethical leadership and abusive supervision in staff turnover, an important theme given the benefits of retaining staff for organisational performance. The central conclusion is that ethical leadership influences employee job satisfaction, which then reduces intentions to quit, and this in turn dampens job search behaviours.

At the other extreme, abusive supervision has a negative effect on job satisfaction with corresponding increases in intentions to quit and job search behaviour. Interestingly, ethical leadership does not directly lead to job search behaviour, whereas abusive supervision can so upset people that they initiate looking for a new job. A word of advice for organisations resulting from this study: even low levels of abusive supervision can neutralise high levels of ethical leadership.

Read about the implications for research and practice, particularly in human resource management:
Michael, Palanski, James B. Avey, and Napatsorn Jiraporn. The Effects of Ethical Leadership and Abusive Supervision on Job Search Behaviors in the Turnover Process. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, 121(1), pp 135-146.


Abusive supervision is related to employee personality
Are employees with certain personality traits more likely to perceive themselves as recipients of abusive supervision? Christine Henle and Michael Gross suspected that subordinates’ emotional stability, conscientiousness, and agreeableness would be negatively related to perceived abuse received from their supervisors. Furthermore, the researchers proposed that negative emotions at work would influence these relationships. After surveying 222 employees, Henle and Gross confirmed that employees lower in emotional stability or conscientiousness were more likely to experience negative emotions. These negative emotions in turn were related to higher levels of supervisor abuse.

Find out more:
Christine A. Henle & Michael A. Gross. What Have I Done to Deserve This? Effects of Employee Personality and Emotion on Abusive Supervision. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, 122(3), pp 461-474.


How are employees affected when supervisors are unfair to their peers?
Pablo Zoghbi-Manrique-de-Lara and Miguel Suárez-Acosta asked how employees react to a supervisor seeming to act unfairly toward their peers. The authors predicted that employees in this situation would respond with deviant workplace behaviours (DWBs) or deviant organizational citizenship behaviours (OCBs). Prior literature suggested that supervisors are important sources of moral guidance at work, so the researchers predicted a mediating role for ethical leadership; that is, that supervisors who are unjust to staff are perceived as unethical leaders. These perceptions could then help explain why employees react to perceived injustices with deviant workplace behaviour and deviant citizenship behaviours.  Using data from 204 hotel employees, these predictions were supported.

Read about behavioural ethics and the managerial implications in more detail: Pablo Zoghbi-Manrique-de-Lara and Miguel A. Suárez-Acosta. Employees’ Reactions to Peers’ Unfair Treatment by Supervisors: The Role of Ethical Leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 2014, 122(4), pp 537-549.