The Reciprocal Relationship between Counterproductive Work Behavior and Workplace Mistreatment: Its Temporal Dynamics and Boundary Conditions

44 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2015

See all articles by Yeonjeong Kim

Yeonjeong Kim

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Taya R. Cohen

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: July 31, 2015

Abstract

This research examines how employees’ behaviors shape their work environments and vice-versa. We identify and quantify the reciprocal relationship between three forms of workplace mistreatment (i.e., abusive supervision, ostracism, discrimination) and employees’ counterproductive work behavior (CWB) in a twelve-wave longitudinal study with a cross-lagged panel design. We show that employees’ bad behaviors at work (e.g., sabotage, theft, abuse of coworkers) are both a cause and a consequence of experiencing mistreatment from colleagues and supervisors. We investigate the temporal aspects of this reciprocal relationship and find that CWB-to-mistreatment and mistreatment-to-CWB effects both occur over a one-week time-span. Moreover, this reciprocal relationship continued across the twelve weeks of the study, and its magnitude neither intensified nor diminished over this time period. The CWB-to-mistreatment effect was roughly twice as large as the mistreatment-to-CWB effect, demonstrating the powerful influence of individuals’ behaviors on their work environments. Employees’ Conscientiousness moderated the reciprocal relationship by decreasing the frequency of CWB committed in response to mistreatment experienced the previous week, and to a lesser degree, by decreasing the frequency with which colleagues and supervisors mistreated employees who engaged in CWB the previous week. Surprisingly, no moderating influences were observed for individual differences in Honesty-Humility and Agreeableness, nor for organizational differences in procedural justice and the enforcement of an ethics code.

Keywords: counterproductive work behavior; mistreatment; Conscientiousness; abusive supervision; ostracism; discrimination

Suggested Citation

Kim, Yeonjeong and Cohen, Taya R. and Panter, A. T., The Reciprocal Relationship between Counterproductive Work Behavior and Workplace Mistreatment: Its Temporal Dynamics and Boundary Conditions (July 31, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2638429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2638429

Yeonjeong Kim (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Taya R. Cohen

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
4122686677 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/our-faculty-and-research/about-our-faculty/faculty-profiles/tcohen/cohen-t

A. T. Panter

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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