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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of psychological empowerment on the relationship between perceptions of abusive supervision and interpersonal deviance.
Data were obtained from members of a professional hotel management association (Sample 1: n = 96) and a diverse group of full-time employees (Sample 2: n = 130). We used hierarchical moderated multiple regression analyses to examine the effects of the perceived supervisory abuse × psychological empowerment interaction on coworker- and supervisor-directed deviance.
Findings across two samples demonstrated that highly empowered employees were more likely than their less empowered counterparts to engage in coworker-directed deviance when they perceived supervisory abuse, but that psychological empowerment did not moderate the relationship between perceptions of abusive supervision and supervisor-directed deviance.
Traditionally, psychological empowerment has been associated with auspicious workplace outcomes (e.g., heightened performance). Results across two samples suggest that highly empowered individuals are more likely than their less empowered counterparts to respond to perceived supervisory mistreatment with coworker-directed deviance. Thus, our results imply that there exists a “dark side” of empowerment such that the negative effects of perceived supervisory abuse trickle over to innocent bystander coworkers, and this relationship is even stronger for empowered employees.
This is one of only a few studies to examine moderators capable of altering the negative effects of perceptions of abusive supervision on individuals’ behaviors in the workplace. Additionally, this study is unique given the introduction of psychological empowerment to the abusive supervision literature.
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- Empowered Employees as Social Deviants: The Role of Abusive Supervision
Jeremy D. Mackey
Rachel E. Frieder
Pamela L. Perrewé
Vickie C. Gallagher
Robert A. Brymer
- Springer US
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