Are You Sick? Understanding the Effects of Coworker Presenteeism on Workplace Mistreatment
Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming
45 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2021 Last revised: 13 Jan 2022
Date Written: August 13, 2021
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
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