Are You Sick? Understanding the Effects of Coworker Presenteeism on Workplace Mistreatment

Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming

SMU Cox School of Business Research Paper No. 21-13

45 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2021 Last revised: 13 Jan 2022

See all articles by Shannon Taylor

Shannon Taylor

University of Central Florida - Department of Management

Marcus Butts

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Management and Organizations Department

Michael S. Cole

University of St. Gallen

Troy Pounds

University of Central Florida - Department of Management

Date Written: August 13, 2021

Abstract

As organizations across the United States resume activities even as the novel coronavirus endures, millions of employees could come into contact with sick coworkers and become exposed to COVID-19. Unfortunately, little is known about how sick individuals might be treated at work. Because working with a sick coworker may simultaneously evoke concerns about oneself and one’s ailing colleague, we propose dual mechanisms of self-concern and coworker-orientation to explain the relationship between coworker presenteeism (i.e., a coworker attends work while ill) and interpersonal mistreatment. Across two studies with employees working face-to-face during the pandemic, our findings showed that coworker presenteeism decreases subsequent workplace mistreatment through coworker-orientation. Moreover, we found that coworker presenteeism increases mistreatment through self-concern when employees experience higher workloads. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: presenteeism, mistreatment, incivility, avoidance, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Taylor, Shannon and Butts, Marcus and Cole, Michael S. and Pounds, Troy, Are You Sick? Understanding the Effects of Coworker Presenteeism on Workplace Mistreatment (August 13, 2021). Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming, SMU Cox School of Business Research Paper No. 21-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3904809 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3904809

Shannon Taylor (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida - Department of Management ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

Marcus Butts

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Management and Organizations Department

United States

Michael S. Cole

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Varnbuelstr. 14
Saint Gallen, St. Gallen CH-9000
Switzerland

Troy Pounds

University of Central Florida - Department of Management ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

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