The role of self-regulation in the relationship between abusive supervision and job tension

Charn P. McAllister, Jeremy D. Mackey, Pamela L. Perrewé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Trait and state self-regulation both have critical influences on workplace behavior, but their influences are thought to operate quite differently. We draw from social exchange and ego depletion theories to investigate the relationship between trait and state self-regulation, as well as how they differentially affect the relationship between subordinates' perceptions of abusive supervision and job tension. Specifically, we examine (a) how the interaction between abusive supervision and trait self-regulation affects job tension and (b) how state self-regulation mediates the relationship between abusive supervision and job tension. Using 3 studies that include an experiment (n = 81) and 2 field studies with cross-sectional (n = 157) and time-separated (n = 109) data, we demonstrate that the interaction between abusive supervision and trait self-regulation increases experienced job tension for subordinates who report higher levels of abusive supervision and trait self-regulation than others. Also, we provide evidence that abusive supervision is indirectly associated with job tension through state self-regulation. This study's findings have important implications for abusive supervision and self-regulation research, as well as social exchange and ego depletion theories, because we extend our understanding of how trait and state self-regulation affect cognitive responses associated with abusive supervision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-428
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • abusive supervision
  • job tension
  • self-regulation
  • social exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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