An attributional perspective of aggression in organizations

Jeremy R. Brees, Jeremy Mackey, Mark J. Martinko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper emphasizes that employee attributional processing is a vital element in understanding employee aggression in organizations. The purpose of this paper is to summarize attributional perspectives and integrate recent theoretical advances into a comprehensive model. Design/methodology/approach: The paper achieved its objectives by reviewing and integrating research and theories on aggression, cognitive processing, and attribution processes to explain how employee aggression unfolds in the workplace. Propositions are suggested. Findings: It was found that early conceptualizations proposing that employee attributions and attribution styles would play important and significant roles in predicting employee aggression were supported by recent research enabling theoretical advancements. Originality/value: Over the last 15 years, research advances show how attributions influence employee aggression. This paper integrates recent theoretical advances with prior empirical evidence and provides a comprehensive model exhibiting how attributions influence aggression in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-272
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Attributions
  • Cognitive schema
  • Motivation
  • Perception
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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