Victim and Culprit? The Effects of Entitlement and Felt Accountability on Perceptions of Abusive Supervision and Perpetration of Workplace Bullying

Jeremy D. Mackey, Jeremy R. Brees, Charn P. McAllister, Michelle L. Zorn, Mark J. Martinko, Paul Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although workplace bullying is common and has universally harmful effects on employees’ outcomes, little is known about workplace bullies. To address this gap in knowledge, we draw from the tenets of social exchange and displaced aggression theories in order to develop and test a model of workplace bullying that incorporates the effects of employees’ individual differences (i.e., entitlement), perceptions of their work environments (i.e., felt accountability), and perceptions of supervisory treatment (i.e., perceptions of abusive supervision) on their tendencies to bully coworkers. The results of mediated moderation analyses that examine responses from two samples of working adults (nSample 1 = 396; nSample 2 = 123) support our hypotheses. Specifically, we find evidence of an indirect relationship between entitlement and coworker bullying through perceptions of abusive supervision that is stronger for employees who report lower levels of felt accountability than employees who report higher levels of felt accountability. This study makes important theoretical and practical contributions to abusive supervision research, bullying research, and organizational efforts to promote ethical work environments devoid of interpersonal mistreatment by providing novel insight into how employees’ entitlement and felt accountability combine to influence their tendencies to perceive themselves as victims of abusive supervision and culprits of coworker bullying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-673
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Volume153
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Abusive supervision
  • Accountability
  • Bullying
  • Displaced aggression
  • Entitlement
  • Social exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law

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